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MWC 2019, day 0: Here's what you missed from Microsoft, LG, Huawei and Nokia

MWC kicks off with a new AR headset, 5G phones -- including one that folds -- and a five-camera handset.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Although MWC 2019 officially starts on Monday, day 0, otherwise known as preview day for the press, has already kicked off in Barcelona. As the biggest conference for the mobile industry, the show is buzzing with products from big-name tech companies, including Microsoft and LG, being unveiled. That includes a variety of phones with 5G and foldable screens, AR/VR headsets, laptops and lots more.

Read on for the lowdown about what's already debuted at MWC as the show begins in earnest this week.

Microsoft's HoloLens 2 isn't made for the masses


The HoloLens 2 from Microsoft.

James Martin/CNET

Microsoft's new mixed reality headset, the HoloLens 2, costs $3,500. But even if you could afford the high price, don't think about getting yourself one anytime soon. But you might get to use one at work: The device is designed for factory workers, industrial designers and military personnel. Instead of focusing on consumer applications like games and movies, Microsoft designed the HoloLens 2 for times when these workers need to be hands-free -- say, for overlaying instructions in their view while they assemble a heavy piece of machinery. We got to try the HoloLens 2 out ahead of MWC at Microsoft's HQ in Redmond, Washington.

As an improvement on 2016's original HoloLens, the successor has a new look, eye tracking, double the field of view and it makes room for glasses, if you wear them. Preorders are open now and it ships later this year.

Now playing: Watch this: Microsoft HoloLens 2: A first dive into the future of...

LG unveils G8 flagship and first 5G phones


The G8's Air Motion gesture controls.

Angela Lang/CNET

At MWC, it's LG's time to shine -- its biggest rival, Samsung, had its bumper Unpacked event last week. At the show on Sunday, LG announced two phones, one of which was the G8 ThinQ. The G8 has new sensors that work with its front-facing camera, and enables features like 3D mapping for face unlock, hand- and vein-scanning for user authentication and touchless gesture controls. Although a bit awkward to execute, these new tricks give a glimpse of big changes in how people will interact with their phones.

The second phone LG announced was the V50 ThinQ 5G. It is the phone-maker's first 5G-enabled device, meaning it'll connect to the latest generation of high-speed mobile data. As one of the first few high-end 5G phones, it'll also directly compete with Samsung's recently launched 5G phone, the Galaxy S10 5G

Now playing: Watch this: LG G8's Z camera serves up some trippy gesture controls

Huawei Mate X checks all the trend boxes


The 5G-enabled foldable Mate X.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Jumping on the trends of 5G phones and foldable displays, Huawei announced a phone that has both. The Mate X has a 6.6-inch display when folded closed, but it has an 8-inch OLED screen when you flip it open. It also features 5G connectivity that's said to be four times faster than 4G, a 4,500-mAh battery and three rear cameras.

On top of that, Huawei showed off new laptops. The MateBook X Pro is the best of the bunch and is one of the first laptops with the new Nvidia MX250 graphics chip. Though it's not considered a gaming laptop, the chip gives it extra power for graphics-heavy tasks. Huawei also showed updated versions of the MateBook 13 and MateBook 14. More affordable than the X Pro, the laptops have dual speakers (instead of the X Pro's quad speakers) and a lower display resolution.

Nokia 9 PureView crams all the cams


The Nokia 9 PureView, with its five rear cameras.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Just how many is too many? With the new Nokia 9 PureView, which takes the trend of triple-rear cameras to the next level by having five rear cameras. Apparently, you can never have enough. There are three 12-megapixel monochrome cameras, two 12-megapixel RGB cameras, a standard flash and a time-of-flight sensor for depth mapping. Altogether, the Nokia 9 PureView claims to take better HDR photos and depth-based photography.

But it's not all about looking to the future. Nokia also continued its retro streak with its Nokia 210, a phone with a purposefully classic look -- physical number keys and a brick body -- and a user-friendly interface. As if that wasn't enough, the phone-maker introduced three midrange phones, all running a lighter version of Android 9.0 Pie: the Nokia 1 Plus, 3.2 and 4.2.

Now playing: Watch this: Nokia 9 PureView goes crazy with five rear cameras