A number of high profile gadgets and services were on display at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. But while the event showcased some of the best technology in the world, alongside all the excellence on display there was also a certain amount of eccentricity. The event also saw a range of products that were unconventional and even borderline odd as manufacturers boldly ventured beyond the tech box. Not all of these weirdos worked, but some were very notable.
Here are six always weird but sometimes wonderful gadgets from the MWC 2023:
ZTE Nubia Pad 3D: adding a new dimension to tablets…literally
A tablet on which you can view content in 3D? Without additional hardware or 3D glasses?
Well, ZTE wants to deliver exactly that with the Nubia Pad 3D tablet, which it recently showed off in Barcelona.
The tablet features a layer of diffractive light field backlighting (DLB) in its 12.4-inch display that enables it to convert content to 3D almost seamlessly. There are sensors near the display that detect your position and adjust the 3D effect accordingly.
The tablet is also equipped with two 8-megapixel cameras on the front and two 16-megapixel cameras on the back, which also allow you to create 3D images and videos. The tablet is powered by a vintage, but still flagship, Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor.
We’d seen Nintendo and a few brands try the glasses-free 3D trick a few years ago before phasing out. Will ZTE succeed where they stumbled? The Nubia Pad 3D definitely looks trippy.
Huawei Watch Buds: The deafening smartwatch
Huawei has put a twist on the smartwatch case by literally making it a case for TWS. We don’t love them – the very aptly named Watch Buds appear from the front like your regular smartwatch with a round 1.43-inch AMOLED display. Then the face flips open to reveal a pair of TWS earbuds housed in the watch itself.
They’re pretty high-tech buds too – you can use them in either ear and they’ll detect if it’s the right one or the left and work accordingly. They feature a planar membrane, touch controls, and even active noise cancellation.
Add all of that to the smarts on the watch itself (heart rate monitor, gyroscope, optical ambient sensor, etc.) and this has got to be the most “charged” smartwatch in tech history.
OnePlus liquid cooler: Don’t calm down, keep cool
OnePlus caused quite a stir with a concept phone with a spectacular back on the MWC 2023, but its 45W liquid cooler raised many more eyebrows.
This is basically in the shape of a power adapter that has a clip attached with the red OnePlus-branded cable. Attach the clip to the back of your phone and the “semiconductor-based water cooling system” lowers your phone’s temperature by nearly 20 degrees Celsius, with coolant flowing out of the larger box toward the clip attached to the back of your phone.
That can be a good chunk for those who get into game battles on their phones with the settings maxed out. There’s also a version of the dock for Oppo, which we’re hearing adds wireless charging to the mix.
No, there are no fancy graphics, but gamers are sure to find that one “cool” accessory.
Lenovo notebook with rollable display: Rise, ThinkPad
A concept that seems compelling in one product may seem almost ridiculous in another. Lenovo gave us examples of both at MWC 2023. Its Motorola brand showed the benefits of a rollable display in the RIZR phone by packing a larger display into a portable form factor.
However, when a similar display was placed in a laptop, it seemed strange. Interesting, but definitely weird. Lenovo showed off what appeared to be a standard-looking ThinkPad with a 12.7-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
However, flick a switch on the body and the display suddenly starts to increase and, after some whirring (it’s still a concept product, remember) finally at 15.3-inches with an 8:9 aspect ratio. There’s a way more way viewing space, but it also looks oddly oversized, almost to the point of being overweight.
It’s technologically intriguing but has a very unfinished feel to it and we really hope work on it moves forward!!
Unihertz Luna: Inspired by… nothing
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Unihertz is out to flatter Carl Pei’s Nothing.
The brand presented a phone called Luna that seems to be extremely “inspired” by the Nothing Phone (1), a device that made headlines last year with its LED-loaded back and transparent design. Well, the Luna has a similar LED-backlit back, although the light patterns differ from the phone (1).
You also have the option to choose from six different lighting options, a large 6.81-inch display, a 108-megapixel main sensor, and a massive 5000mAh battery.
It was definitely one of the most different devices at MWC, but how good it will be when it actually launches (it’s unlikely to make it to India) remains to be seen.
Panzer Matrix Hybrid Glass Screen Protector: Good for your phone… and good for the environment too
One of the first things most people get after investing in a new smartphone is a screen protector. While these thin sheets of plastic and tempered glass protect your phone’s display from scratches and damage from falls, they themselves can be bad for the environment as they’re made of plastic and glass, so they’re not easily recycled.
Panzer has come up with a solution of sorts with its Matrix series of screen protectors, which are said to be made out of hybrid glass. This screen protector is made from 100 percent recycled plastic and, according to many reports, feels just as good as glass without the stickiness you get with plastic screen protectors, although there are some concerns about its durability compared to traditional tempered glass.
Currently, this range is only available for the Samsung Galaxy S23 series, but we hope to see it for other devices as well.