The biggest MWC 2022 news you might have missed

Spoiler alert: There were way fewer phones than usual.

We’ve come to the end of Mobile World Congress 2022, which, despite the pandemic and a war in Europe, went on as planned. While it’s typically a show full of phone launches from companies like Sony, Huawei, TCL, Xiaomi, Oppo and more, this year there were surprisingly few of those. Instead, we saw lots of laptops and tablets, as well as some foldable concepts. Plus, with major players like Sony choosing to sit out the event, MWC 2022 was generally quieter than years past. Still, if you feel like you’ve missed out on the news from the show, here’s a recap of everything interesting out of the convention this week.

Oppo kicked things off early, unveiling one of the few phones announced at the show: the Find X5 Pro. It’s a beautiful device with a ceramic body and a pair of 50-megapixel cameras using Hasselblad-infused software. In addition to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, the Find X5 Pro also carries the company’s own Marisilicon neural processor for faster processing when you’re recording content in high-res or low light. Like many phones unveiled at MWC, the Find X5 Pro’s availability in the US is unconfirmed, so don’t get too excited if you’re based in America.

Meanwhile, there was so much Huawei news out of PR Newswire’s daily MWC recaps that this year’s event should really be called the Huawei Show 2022. In addition to big speeches about global strategies and 5G, the company unveiled a new MateBook laptop, a MateStation all-in-one PC, a PixLab laser printer, new speakers and a tablet called the MatePad Paper.

The most intriguing of these is the MatePad Paper, a 10.3-inch e-ink tablet with some particularly thin bezels. Its texturized paper-like screen is easy to read in both sunlight and lowlight, and displays not only text and still images, but videos as well. It also works with Huawei’s M-Pencil so you can write on it, and the company’s custom software allows you to simultaneously read and write in a split-screen view. An onboard mic lets you record audio while taking notes, while a fingerprint sensor in the power button enables convenient logins.

Huawei MatePad Paper

On standby, Huawei says the MatePad Paper can last up to four weeks. It’ll be available in Europe for 499 Euros and that price includes an M-Pencil. Honestly this might be the most modern e-ink device yet, and I’m quite taken by the sky blue and khaki color options.

Of course, Huawei continues to battle US restrictions that keep it from selling its devices stateside. This is likely part of the reason former Huawei sub-brand Honor left its parent company in 2020. At MWC this year, Honor debuted the Magic 4 series — a pair of flagship-level phones meant to contend with Samsung’s Galaxy S22s. They have triple rear cameras with 50-megapixel primary sensors, 120Hz LTPO screens and are equipped with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chips. But all the specs comparisons might be moot, because despite promises of a global rollout, last year’s Magic 3 never made it outside of China. For now Honor has shared initial European prices on its newly announced devices, which include new earbuds and a smartwatch, but US availability remains unknown.

Though Samsung already unveiled the Galaxy S22s and Tab S8 tablets, it still had products to show off in Barcelona — namely, a new line of laptops. The new Galaxy Book 2 series iterates on last year’s models with a trio of configurations, which include a pair of convertibles and a clamshell. All three flavors are available in 13- and 15-inch sizes, with upgraded webcams and 12th-gen Intel Core processors.

As with previous Samsung laptops, these also feature beautiful AMOLED displays and are impressively thin and light. The Book 2 Pro 360 and the Book 2 360 both support the S Pen, though only the former comes with the stylus in the box. I’ve been a fan of Samsung’s PCs for awhile, and though this year’s generation doesn’t seem to bring major improvements, I’m still curious to see how they stack up against the competition. Plus, Samsung added a burgundy color option that has me kind of mesmerized.

A burgundy Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 on a white desk with decorative ornaments behind it.
Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Lenovo rolled into MWC 2022 the way it usually does most other shows: armed to the teeth with laptops. This week, the company unveiled about 20 new devices, including the ThinkPad X1 Extreme 5th gen and four other ThinkPads and ThinkBooks; two new sets of IdeaPad Gaming laptops and a pair of IdeaPad Flex mainstream notebooks; three Chromebooks, a Windows 11 detachable and an Android tablet. Oh, and not to mention a new USB-C monitor and a wireless gaming mouse.

I didn’t even include the new ThinkPad X13s, which is the first ThinkPad powered by a Snapdragon chip. It’s also the first in the series to run Windows 11 on ARM, and the company says it’s the first time the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 has been used in a commercial device. The biggest draw here is the estimated 28-hour battery life, in addition to support for sub-6 and mmWave 5G and WiFi 6E. Sure, Windows on ARM has struggled to appeal to a mainstream audience, but with more OEM support and increasing app compatibility, 2022 could be the year Microsoft and its partners turn things around.

One of the best things about events like MWC is seeing the wilder concepts some companies showcase alongside their more traditional products. For the last few years, TCL has teased us with various concept devices at these shows, and this time around, it brought us the “Ultra Flex.” This is a prototype foldable phone that can bend both inward and outward — meaning its hinge and screen have to be extremely durable and carefully designed. The idea is intriguing, but in reality we never saw the display turn on during a demo session ahead of MWC. We did get to see the company’s “Fold n’ Roll” prototype that it announced last April, though, and while it had a technically “working” screen, it was still incredibly janky.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

TCL didn’t just show us experimental products it doesn’t intend to sell. The company also launched five new phones in its 30-series, as well as two new tablets, including the NXTPAPER Max 10. That’s a bigger version of last year’s 8.8-inch slate with a reflective LCD screen that enables a full-color paper-like display.

There’s still more news from MWC 2022 that might pique your interest, like Qualcomm’s new X70 5G modem and former Xiaomi sub-brand Poco’s new X4 Pro 5G phone with a 108-megapixel camera. OnePlus also confirmed that the OnePlus 10 Pro is headed to the US, Europe and India this month.

Of course, since this is a mobile show, we learned about new developments in 5G. Specifically, FCC chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the US will hold an auction in July for 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum. Finally, we also couldn’t escape everyone’s favorite buzzwords: NFTs and the metaverse. FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta said in a keynote that there’s been “a lot of attention [on] blockchain products and services such as NFTs and metaverse.” During the same speech, he said the football club “should be able to offer digital products” to its members and fans that will “generate a very interesting emotional experience.”

Although we couldn’t be on the ground in Barcelona, team Engadget was still able to check out many of these new products first-hand at various preview events. Check out our hands-on videos and reports to get all the details.

Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2022 right here!