Now that IFA 2019 is over, we can pore over all the announcements from one of the world’s biggest annual tech events. There were a few new phones announced from some of the biggest companies like Samsung, Nokia and Motorola, and a returning foldable face that we first heard of almost five months ago.
There’s a prevailing theme among the IFA 2019 smartphones – they’re all at the cheaper end of the market. This is no MWC 2019 (an annual show with more of a smartphones focus), so we weren’t expecting new high-end devices, and these are all the kind of phones most people will buy anyway.
- All the big announcements from IFA 2019
- Check out our favorite cheap smartphones
- These are the overall best smartphones
We’ve looked at all the new smartphone releases from IFA 2019 to decide which are the ones you should pay attention to, and here is our final list.
Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A90 5G is one of the first affordable 5G phones. That’s not to say it’s cheap, but it’s certainly more affordable than other a lot of other 5G handsets.
Beyond its connectivity capabilities, the phone has some of the features that make Samsung’s Galaxy A series of handsets real mid-range contenders: there’s a high-quality Super AMOLED display, powerful 4,500mAh battery, and impressive 3-camera array, helmed by a 48MP sensor.
This is certainly a handset to watch out for in the future, especially if you’re keen to get in on the 5G hype without breaking the bank.
- Read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review
Motorola One Zoom
The Motorola One series of smartphones is the company's attempt to impress in the mid-range segment, and its newest addition is the Motorola One Zoom.
Packing four cameras (including, yes, a telephoto zoom lens, as the name suggests), you’re probably going to be able to take fantastic pictures on the device. They are the main camera, an optical zoom lens, an ultra-wide angle lens, and a depth sensor, so you’ll be able to take pictures in a range of different situations.
That’s not all, and the One Zoom packs a complement of other features. It seems like a worthy sibling to the One Vision and One Action, and shows that the Motorola One series is something to take seriously.
- Read our hands-on Motorola One Zoom review
HMD Global (the current owners of the Nokia brand) released two new phones at IFA 2019. We'd argue the most impressive is the Nokia 7.2 thanks to one important addition.
It features a 48MP camera, the first to ever grace the rear of a Nokia handset, and it’ll raise the handset from ‘fine mid-range camera phone’ as the Nokia devices tend to be, to ‘serious mid-range contender’.
The rest of the phone has a middling range of specs and stats, including an intriguing display and a sleek design, but it’s great to see Nokia taking its photography sensibilities more seriously.
- Read our hands-on Nokia 7.2 review
Sony Xperia 5
The handset takes after the Sony Xperia 1, with similar specs and design, but while the Xperia 1 was the same size as the Xperia 10 Plus, the Xperia 5 has roughly the same dimensions as the Xperia 10, which is to say it’s a bit smaller. It’s not quite as ‘compact’ as Sony’s retired Compact range, but it’s certainly a better size for your pocket.
At TechRadar we were pretty big fans of the Xperia 1, so it’d be interesting to see its specs scaled down into the Xperia 5. Its entire success depends on the price, and at the moment we don’t know what that is.
- Read our hands-on Sony Xperia 5 review
LG G8X ThinQ
With LG’s smartphones struggle to garner interest in recent years, the company has been trying to find new features with which to win back audience interest, and at the moment its pet project is dual-screen tech.
The LG G8X ThinQ has a dual-screen attachment (unlike the base LG G8 ThinQ, but like the LG V50 ThinQ), and it’s the best use of this tech we’ve seen so far. In fact, this feels like the closest you can get to a great foldable phone without actually waiting for that new tech to finally come out.
The phone overall is a mixed bag, as the screen isn’t the greatest, and the design can be a bit bulky when you’ve got the second-screen attachment. But if dual-screen tech actually catches on, LG will certainly be at the forefront.
- Read our hands-on LG G8X ThinQ review
And then there’s the rest…
While the five phones listed above are our highlights of the show, a few more were announced that you might like to know about.
The Nokia 6.2 was released alongside the bigger 7.2, with pared-back specs and a price to match. Another phone that had a buddy is the Moto E6 Plus, which launched in the shadow of the Motorola One Zoom.
One last noteworthy product was the F(x)tec Pro1. If we had an award for ‘worst name’ this would be vying for top spot alongside LG’s new smartphone, but that’s not a real award.
The Pro1 is a premium smartphone with a flip-out keyboard, so if you miss that feature on your current device you should consider the Pro1.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.