Folding cell phones, VR for the masses and e-scooters on every street corner: 2019 offered lots of technology highlights. We show what impresses us most.
Admittedly, even in 2019, from a technical point of view, evolution was revolution rather than revolution in many areas. But who loves technology, for the year 2019 had plenty of surprises ready. We're separating the wheat from the chaff and showing the gadgets that particularly impressed the TechStage editors.
The history of the Galaxy Fold is like a roller coaster ride. When Samsung introduced it in February 2019 in San Francisco, the euphoria was hard to beat. Because the Galaxy Fold is the first commercially usable smartphone with a foldable OLED display. When closed, it looks like an old, thick brick smartphone with too small a display and large display edges. Once opened, however, it reveals an incredibly large display, which provides rows of open mouths.
But the initial enthusiasm was short-lived. Because the few months later delivered first folding smartphones had blatant flaws, especially on the durability of the folding display, there was a lot to suspend.
But Samsung did not give up and improved. The devices were retracted and the actual sales launch moved to the end of 2019. Now the new models are there and seem to be much more stable. We already have one in the editorial team and put it through its paces. The report will come in 2019. Our impression so far: The Samsung Galaxy Fold justified a new generation of devices and could be the beginning of something very big.
That foldable displays in smartphones make sense, know other manufacturers besides Samsung. So has Huawei with the Mate X a counter-design to Fold in the making, in which the display is not as inside the fold, especially on the outside. Already available is the LG G8X, a folding smartphone with two identical, internal displays, which we are also currently testing. Preliminary verdict: Yes, it works. But with the thick edge between the displays, it does not look nearly as futuristic as a Samsung Galaxy Fold. The two models offer different scenarios and are unlike the first impression hardly compare.
Samsung Galaxy Fold black
Samsung Galaxy Fold silver
Huawei Mate X
Some smartphone cameras will mark real milestones in 2019. As an example, we want to highlight two devices that are currently able to do things that were previously not possible.
The Google Pixel 4 (review) is perhaps the most scathed smartphone 2019. This is mainly because the expectations were initially extremely high and Google could not meet them in many areas. Among the main criticisms include the stale optics with much too thick display edges, the disappointingly small battery and the missing wide-angle camera. But it also offers real innovation. We do not mean the radar eye or the 90 Hz display. Because we were particularly impressed by the opportunity to photograph the starry sky in such detail as it has never been possible with a smartphone before. Clipped onto a tripod (or leaning against a stone), the pixel illuminates the sky for about four minutes, then calculates the star motion. The result is a starry sky that was previously only displayable with professional equipment. The best: Google brings the feature to other, much cheaper pixel phones. We recommend our purchase advice: Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 3a?
Another milestone is the Xiaomi Note 10 (review). Because it is the first smartphone with a 108-megapixel sensor. The sensor is called Isocell Bright HMX and was developed in cooperation with Xiaomi and Samsung. Incidentally, he is also the largest chip ever installed in a commercial smartphone. And in fact, he showed in the test that the images taken with him are neatly crispier and show more detail than the competition. In the future we will see the chip in some other smartphones.
Pixel 3a XL
Xiaomi Note 10 black
Xiaomi Note 10 green
Xiaomi Note 10 white
2019 is the year of Xiaomi. The relatively young company uses the weakness of Huawei and is pushing with full force into the German market. The Chinese manage with impressive regularity to undercut existing price points and to tie up technology packages that are otherwise only available for considerably more money.
Perhaps the most complete smartphone of Xiaomi 2019 is the Mi 9T Pro (review). It costs under 400 euros and reveals hardly any weaknesses. But Xiaomi shows in 2019 four Mi models, which are all very good. For whom Mi-Smartphone is the right one, shows our purchase advice: Xiaomi Mi 9 vs Mi 9T vs Mi 9T Pro vs Mi 9SE.
If you really want to save on smartphone purchases, check out the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (review) for 210 euros. Still not cheap enough? Then Xiaomi shows with the Redmi Note 8T (test report) that in 2019 you will also get a surprisingly good smartphone for 150 euros.
What makes Xiaomi apart from smartphones else, shows our contribution From smartphone to smart home – Xiaomi in Germany.
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro black
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro blue
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro gray
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro white
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T gray
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T white
2019 is also the year of e-scooters. For the first time they come with street legal. What is there to pay attention to everything, we show in our basic article on e-scooters with street legal. Immediately with the approval are available almost overnight in most major German cities countless electric scooters for rent. We clarify the question of whether Lime, Tier, Voi or Circ is the best e-scooter rental.
But even buying your own e-scooter has its appeal. You do not have to spend 1700 euros for the very good Metz Moover (test report). Even for 500 euros there are already decent models such as the Trekstor EG3178 (review). Anyone who buys an e-scooter, then must also insure him. How to do that best, we show in the article e-scooter or electric scooter properly insure – this is how it works!
Metz Moover black
Metz Moover red
On the DJI Mavic Mini (review) prominently emblazoned "249 g". DJI is especially proud of this weight of the drone. For drones that fall below the 250-gram mark need neither name plaque, nor registration. A model flight insurance is sufficient. The lightweight in many areas can keep up with the big drones: The flight characteristics are fantastic, the image quality thanks to 3-axis gimbal and good camera good and the equipment extensive. Their price is under 400 euros – a real hit. Until now, drone aircraft had to reach far deeper into the bag for a similar quality.
The DJI Mavic Mini adds momentum to the camera drone market and is therefore our favorite drone in 2019. But even if it's our value for money, there are even better drones for more money. The very best are on our list of bests: the top 6 video drones on the go. We also answer the question, which is the best video drone for beginners.
Mavic Mini Fly More
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Yuneec Mantis Q
Virtual Reality is expensive and complicated to set up. In addition, you tangled in the game constantly in the cables. Those were the legitimate arguments of the VR opponents, but then came the Oculus Quest and let the critics fall silent. The VR glasses work completely autonomously, there is neither a computer nor a console needed to dive into the virtual worlds. That makes her very beginner friendly. Switch on, create account, link to smartphone – done!
In addition, it only needs to charge the battery, a cable is gambled wirelessly. Even though this may sound so relevant, VR gaming brings a whole new sense of freedom completely without cables. Finally, you can turn as often as you like on your own axis and get lost even better in the VR worlds. It's only a matter of time before games make use of it. Although the Oculus Quest graphically can not keep up with the big PC variants, it makes VR attractive to the masses. Chapeau!
Currently, it costs 450 euros and is thus the most affordable entry into VR worlds besides the PSVR. But also VR on the computer becomes affordable. We show how to build a VR gaming PC for 520 euros. The most popular VR game 2019 is cross-device Beat Saber. Armed with two laser swords, you cut colored blocks into the driving beat of the music. On which system the rhythm game is the most fun, we are looking in the post Oculus Quest vs HTC Vive vs PS VR – Beat Saber King.
Oculus Quest 64 GB
Oculus Quest 128 GB
So far, anyone who used to talk about a 3D printer for their home was talking about FDM printers. The printer melts plastic and applies it layer by layer until the desired shape is obtained. In contrast, SLA printers cure viscous resin with UV light in layers. This significantly higher resolutions are possible, which lead to a finer printed image. The most important differences of both methods can be found in the article UV resin or plastic filament: 3D printers in comparison.
In 2018, SLA printers were barely below 2000 euros and the resin was still really expensive. In 2019, the printers are massively in the price, are now available for a few hundred euros. For example, the Elegoo Mars (review), which we rated as Very Good, costs 260 euros. More very cheap SLA printers we collect in the market overview: SLA printer from 250 euros.
Anycubic LCD Photon
Wanhao Duplicator 7 Plus
Pixel art displays are really nothing new. One of the best known and best is Lametric Time. It's about a networked alarm clock with 37 × 8-pixel display, which thanks to loads of apps not only the time, but also weather info, currently running Spotify songs, a timer, news, stock quotes, youtube followers and much, can show a lot more. That's great and exudes charming retro flair. However, the Lametric Time is already two years old and still much too expensive at around 170 euros. Cheap alternatives must therefore come from!
Of which there is now a small selection thanks to Divoom. We especially liked the Divoom Tivoo Retro Bluetooth Speaker. Not only is its sound pretty good for the small size. The highlight is the display with 16 × 16 pixels resolution. There are a number of pre-made videos again. On request, you can also program your own pictures and animations or social media notifications, an alarm clock, the current outside temperature, pixel games, voice notes, a DJ mixer and much more. If you can do without the bluetooth speaker, you can get it for about 45 euros as a picture frame.
In 2019, we also find rucksacks with LED panels really cool. These LED displays allow users to run graphics and animations. There is currently hardly a backpack with a higher nerd factor, which guarantees prying eyes. We were in the post Pix vs. Clone: backpacks with LED display in comparison the market leader taken a closer look and compared it with his sometimes much cheaper replicas.
Divoom Timebox Mini
2019 has a lot to offer for technology fans. Folding phones show the future, smartphone cameras take pictures with over 100 million pixels, e-scooters change the streetscape in big cities, VR is mass suitable and drones are as good, small and affordable as never before. If 2020 starts there, where 2019 stops, all nerds and geeks can look forward to many more surprises.