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5G handsets and networks: Everything you need to know about roll-outs and roadmaps for the UK

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Huawei ban: Winners, losers, and what’s at stake (a whole lot)
ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani and Jason Perlow talk with Karen Roby about how the security and trade brouhaha impacts everything from the future of regional carriers and the bottom lines of tech giants to 5G’s prospects and consumer’s pocketbooks. Read more: https://zd.net/2WzVRbq

If you’ve been waiting impatiently for 5G, your wait is nearly over: networks are beginning to be switched on and handsets are becoming available. However, it’s very early days, and the utility of 5G services will depend for some time on where you live, what you want to do with the new mobile technology, and how much you’re prepared to pay as an early adopter.

Every new mobile generation generates plenty of media coverage, but 5G is different thanks in no small measure to the controversy surrounding Huawei, which is a leading supplier of networking equipment and smartphones. At the time of writing, Huawei remains on the US Commerce Department’s Entity List, which prohibits US companies from exporting technology products and software to the Chinese company without specific authorisation.

Although alleviated somewhat by a 90-day special licence, this move — driven by the suspicion that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat to US interests — severely hampers Huawei’s long-term ability to do business in the 5G market. Two of the key suppliers of the smartphone ecosystem — Google (the Android operating system) and Arm (processor designs) — have put their ongoing relationships with Huawei on hold, for example. 

SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

All UK operators use multiple vendors for their network infrastructure, but Huawei’s equipment is both reliable and competitively priced, and therefore widely used. In April, the UK government signalled that it would allow Huawei to supply ‘non-core’ components of its 5G infrastructure such as masts and antennas. In response, the Trump administration indicated that Huawei’s involvement in UK 5G networks could disrupt intelligence co-operation between the two countries (which has historically been very close). However, President Trump’s latest statement seems more positive: “We are going to have absolutely an agreement on Huawei and everything else,” he said at a press conference in London during his recent state visit. “We have an incredible intelligence relationship and we will be able to work out any differences,” Trump added.

This is the background to the 5G roll-out in the UK, which is covered here. The key point to note is that 5G coverage will remain patchy and dependent on existing 4G infrastructure for some time. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) will be supported from the start, but new use cases based on Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), Massive Machine Type Communication (MMTC) and network slicing will require updated standards and standalone 5G infrastructure to come on-stream. Additional geopolitical complications can only delay these developments.

UK 5G networks

ee-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

30 May 2019

eMBB, FWA

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester (see coverage maps)

Radio Access Network (RAN), 4G core

later in 2019  Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield

2020  Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester, Wolverhampton

2022/3  full 5G core network

Post-2023  URLLC, network slicing, multi-Gbps speeds

vodafone-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

3 July 2019

eMBB, FWA

Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester (check network status)

RAN

later in 2019  Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, Wolverhampton

Roaming in UK, Germany, Italy, Spain (summer 2019)

three-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

August 2019

eMBB, FWA

London (FWA only at first)

RAN, Access transport services

later in 2019   Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland, Wolverhampton on 700MHz and 3.5GHz 5G spectrum

early 2020s  mmWave (>24GHz)

o2-logo.png

Launch

Use cases

Where

Huawei equipment

5G roadmap

Other

H2 2019

eMBB, FWA

Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London (plus Millbrook Proving Ground in June 2019)

RAN

includes ‘5G innovation spaces across the country, offering next generation 5G test environments to business of all sizes’

UK 5G smartphones

Smartphone manufacturers are beginning to release 5G handsets in the UK — although as you can see from the information above, network coverage is only just getting underway. The ‘standard’ platform is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor and X50 5G Modem, although Huawei’s handsets use the company’s Kirin 980 processor and Balong 5000 5G modem. So far, both EE and Vodafone have put their plans to launch with Huawei 5G phones on hold.

With the exception of new folding designs, most early 5G handsets are based on existing 4G devices. But to accommodate the 5G modem and antennas, trade-offs need to be made. So as well as being more expensive, you’ll usually find that 5G models either have a smaller battery for the same weight and dimensions, or use a bigger battery in a slightly bulkier, heavier chassis.

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G

huawei-mate-20-x-5g.jpg

Image: Huawei

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

June 2019

£999

£799

£200

smaller battery (4,200/5,000mAh) than Mate 20 X, but supports faster charging (40W/22.5W)
More specs

on hold

on hold

Huawei Mate X

huawei-mate-x-5g.jpg

Images: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

Q3 2019

£2000

n/a

n/a

Specs

on hold

on hold

LG V50 ThinQ

lg-v50-thinq.jpg

Image: LG

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

TBA

~£850

£750

~£100

thicker (8.3/7.6mm) and heavier (183/169g) than V40 ThinQ, but has bigger battery (4000/3300mAh); 40% better heat dissipation; optional folding second screen (£147)
More specs

pre-order

OnePlus 7 Pro 5G

oneplus-7-pro-5g.jpg

Images: OnePlus

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

30 May 2019

TBA     

£649

n/a     

Specs

order

OPPO Reno 5G

oppo-reno-5g.jpg

Images: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

TBA

~£790     

£699

~£100    

heavier (215/210g) than Reno 10X Zoom
More specs

pre-order

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

samsung-s10-5g.jpg

Images: Vodafone

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

7 June 2019

£1099                    

£899

£200    

bigger screen (6.7/6.4-inch) and heavier (198/175g) than Galaxy S10+, but battery is bigger (4500/4100mAh) and charges faster (25/15W); 3D depth cameras front & rear; no MicroSD slot
More specs

pre-order     

pre-order

announced

Samsung Galaxy Fold

samsung-galaxy-fold-5g.jpg

Image: Samsung

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

TBA

£1800                         

n/a

n/a                        

5G version of the Galaxy Fold has a 4235mAh battery, compared to 4380mAh for the 4G LTE model
More specs

                   announced

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

xiaomi-mix-3-5g-2.jpg

Image: Xiaomi

Launch

RRP

RRP for 4G model

5G price delta

5G trade-offs

EE

Voda

O2

Three

23 May 2019

~£530                       

£299

~£230                          

heavier (225/218g) than Mi Mix 3, but has a bigger battery (3800/3200mAh) and newer GPU (Adreno 640/630)
More specs

               

pre-order

Other 5G devices in the UK

HTC 5G Hub

htc-5g-hub.jpg

Image: HTC

HTC’s 5G Hub is a small (129x100x43mm) Android 9.0 device with a 5-inch HD touch-screen and a Nano-SIM slot for 5G or 4G LTE connectivity. It runs on the Snapdragon 855/X50 platform with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 512GB via MicroSD, and can support up to 20 devices over wi-fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad). The 5G Hub can function as a home media hub or serve small offices with secure (encrypted, VPN) connections. It’s also battery powered (7,660mAh, ‘all day’ life) and lightweight enough (340g) to serve as a mobile hotspot.

Availability
EE
Price
~$600/£472

Huawei CPE Pro 

huawei-cpe-pro.jpg

Image: Huawei

Powered by Huawei’s multi-mode Balong 5000 5G chipset, the 5G CPE Pro is a dual-band (2.4/5GHz) wi-fi router with Huawei HiLink support. The 5G CPE Pro supports both 4G and 5G wireless connections; on a 5G network, Huawei says, a 1GB HD video clip can be downloaded in three seconds, and 8K video can be streamed smoothly without lag.

Availability
EE, Vodafone
Price
$1099 in US (~£866)

Lenovo 5G laptop (Project Limitless)

lenovo-project-limitless.jpg

Images: Lenovo

Although they won’t ship until early 2020 and pricing has yet to be announced, Lenovo has unveiled a new class of 5G-connected PCs in a collaboration with Qualcomm called Project Limitless. The new Arm-powered devices will use Qualcomm’s 8cx 5G chipset featuring the multi-mode Snapdragon X55 5G Modem.

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2020 Mazda6 Review – Poised and Practical

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My first surprise when the 2020 Mazda6 arrived was the color. Mazda sure does love its Soul Red – and with good reason – but the Signature-spec sedan was a far more sober Machine Gray metallic. The second surprise was the price.

At $36,620 – including $300 for that handsome, if subtle, paint job; $100 for trunk mats; and $920 destination – the Mazda6 Signature lands right about the average new car spend in the US. In fact, it’s slightly under that figure, which according to the calculators at KBB is now almost $38k.

Sedans, of course, aren’t the auto industry’s rising star. Crossovers are where the retail money goes, though as car companies like to point out there’s still plenty of sales to be made among those looking for something more traditional. Mazda isn’t immune to the SUV trend – the new CX-30 is a particularly good example of that – but the Mazda6 still holds a special place in its line-up.

The styling certainly helps, muscular and swooping, with just the right amount of chrome to feel premium without edging into fuddy-duddy. Signature trim is the Mazda6’s top spec, so you get 19-inch wheels, a rear lip spoiler, LED lights front and back, and dual exhausts with extra brightwork. It also adds Mazda’s turbocharged engine under the hood.

That’s the Skyactiv-G 2.5T, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s rated for 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, though feed the gas tank with 93 octane and you unlock a further 23 hp. Mazda’s regular engine, still 2.5-liters but no turbo, packs just 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque.

Front-wheel drive is your only choice, sadly; unlike the Mazda3 there’s no all-wheel drive option. Still, while the bigger sedan may not fit the mold of a sports car, it punches above its weight from behind the wheel. The suspension is tuned for more eager drivers, and combined with the eager engine you get an unexpectedly engaging experience. Other cars may have more gears, but the Mazda6 proves it’s how you use them that counts, dropping down enthusiastically to keep you in the midst of all that power, while the steering errs on the meatier side.

The downside to the mechanical simplicity is that, when it comes to wafting, the Mazda6 isn’t quite as placid. Without clever adaptive dampers or anything as complex as air suspension, there’s only so much the drive modes can do to soften the ride. You’ll notice it most at highway speeds, where things are just a little less compliant and forgiving than competitor sedans.

Inside, Mazda’s cabin is restrained and has a refreshingly old-school feel. Swathes of clean surfaces – with real wood and metal trim on the Signature spec – along with pleasant Nappa leather and an admirable willingness to not plaster everything with needless detailing and patterns. The HVAC system is a straightforward row of readily-twiddled knobs and buttons, while drive modes get a simple toggle.

Mazda’s infotainment system, unfortunately, is one area where a little more fussing would have paid dividends. The 8-inch touchscreen isn’t small, but the UI looks tired; the low-resolution reversing camera is a particularly crunchy throwback. While Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are onboard – as they are in every Mazda6 unless you pick the entry-level Sport – they’re wired-only.

Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts, lane-departure warnings, lane-keep assistance, and forward collision warnings are standard across the board, though, which is great. All models get keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, and push-button start; whiz up to Signature and you’re sitting on heated and ventilated front seats, too, plus listening to a Bose 11-speaker audio system, while those in the back get heated seats too.

The trunk is a reasonable 14.7 cu-ft, and both rows have no shortage of head, leg, and elbow space to play with. The rear seats drop down with a 60/40 split, too. Mazda quotes 23 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg combined. My own, mixed driving fell short, though only by a few miles.

There’s a lot to like about the Mazda6. The line-up kicks off at $24,100 (plus destination), though you need to spend $32,300 or more to get the much-preferable turbo engine. That’s a lot of space, style, and driving engagement for the money, and while the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord may have moved ahead in refinement and technology, Mazda’s sedan still has the prestige edge in design.

Personally, I’d double-down on that with the Soul Red paint job – perhaps a little cliched at this point, but no less striking for it – and embrace the Mazda6’s eagerness to play. In a market dominated by crossovers and SUVs, you can either give up or stand out, and the Mazda’s style shows there’s room for the sedan yet.

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Aston Martin Racing Vantage Legacy Collection is a car collector’s dream come true

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Aston Martin Racing is celebrating the brand’s most successful Vantage racing cars with the Legacy Collection. It consists of race cars based on the 2005 Vantage and includes the V8 Vantage GTE, V12 Vantage GT3, and Vantage GT4.

“For a collector, this trio of Aston Martin Racing Vantages represents the ultimate tribute to a halcyon period for the brand in international sportscar racing,’ said David King, President of Aston Martin Racing.

“While Aston Martin has since gone on to record world championship titles with the current generation turbo-charged V8 Vantage, the foundations laid by the huge success of the original car won admirers around the globe and led to it becoming a firm favorite with racing fans,” added King.

British sports car maker Aston Martin has a knack for releasing limited-edition collection models, most notably the DBZ Centenary Collection unveiled last year. The previous collection includes a limited-edition DBS GT Zagato and a luscious DB4 GT Zagato Continuation model, collectively priced at around $7.2 million and change.

Included in Aston’s newest Vantage Legacy Collection is a V8 Vantage GTE. It became the most successful car in the FIA World Endurance Championship and won seven titles. It also won two Le Mans class victories, and it competed for the last time in the GTE Am class at Le Mans in 2018.

Aston only built six V8 Vantage GTEs. Additionally, the GTE car included in the collection bears chassis number 007 and is the seventh and final model to be made. The original car debuted in 2012 at Sebring and took its first win in Shanghai at the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship that same year.

Also part of the collection is the Vantage GT4. It debuted in 2009 and is still competing as of press time. The GT4 has a tuned 4.7-liter V8 engine, adjustable double wishbone suspension, integrated air jacks for faster tire changes, and a six-speed Sportshift transmission with a twin-plate Cera-metallic clutch.

Last but not least is the V12 Vantage GT3, which made its first appearance in 2012 alongside the V8 Vantage GTE. It immediately became a strong contender in the British GT championship and racing titles in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

All race-spec, previous-gen Vantages included in Aston’s newest Legacy Collection are brand new and ready to hit the circuits. All three are sporting similar Sterling Green paint and yellow trim lines. Aston has yet to disclose the pricing for its new three-car collection, but we’re sure it’ll cost a significant amount of money.

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Ferrari 488 GT Modificata: Raising the Checkered Flag

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The Ferrari 488 Pista is a unique racing-inspired supercar for the street, but the 488 GT Modificata is a different animal. This limited-edition, track-ready race car slots neatly between the hardcore 488 GT3 and 488 GTE.

And as such, the 488 GT Modificata is, according to Ferrari, transcending the limits imposed by the FIA Balance of Performance (BoP) regulations, allowing the Italian carmaker to unleash the car’s full racing potential.

Ferrari’s newest track toy combines the vital performance merits of both the 488 GTE and GT3 race cars. The ‘Modificata’ moniker points to a slew of modified everything, including the engine, aero bodywork, and even the paint livery.

It has a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine (similar to the 488 Pista), producing 690 horsepower courtesy of ‘innovative solutions’ and ultra-high performance ECU mapping. This high-strung racing motor is connected to a carbon-fiber clutch in a gearbox that, Ferrari says, can be ordered with different gear ratios.

The most critical aspect of a racing car – specifically one with a modified racing engine – is how hard it sticks to the road. In the new 488 GT Modificata, Ferrari tinkered with the aerodynamics to further shift the pressure center forward, allowing it to generate more downforce at the front without increasing drag.

According to Ferrari, 488 GT Modificata produces over 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of downforce at 142 mph (230 kph). The lightweight body is crafted from carbon-fiber, while the uprights and the roof are made of aluminum to reduce weight.

Meanwhile, the suspension is derived from the 488 GTE while the brakes were developed in partnership with Brembo. The braking system features an ABS from the 488 GT3 Evo with race-specific settings. Furthermore, the low residual torque calipers are the same ones fitted to champion racing cars.

Standard equipment includes two seats, a high-resolution rearview camera, and a tire pressure monitoring system that measures both temperature and tire pressures. The Ferrari 488 GT Modificata has a standard V-Box acquisition system with Bosch telemetry data, making it effortless to download your track data onto a USB stick.

It’s safe to say the new Ferrari 488 GT Modificata is one of the most coveted track-ready racing machines to leave the gates at Maranello. If you want one, too bad: Only drivers/owners who raced in a Ferrari Competiozini GT or Club Competizioni GT event are entitled to buy one. Ferrari has yet to reveal the actual production numbers or pricing, but a hardcore Ferrari track monster is hard to ignore.

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