The smartphone industry seems to have run out of innovations since the introduction of slab-shaped devices that we use today. But the latest buzz over foldable smartphones has created a new hype with various brands showcasing their prototypes in technology meets.
Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold at the Galaxy Unpacked event on February 20 giving journalists a short glimpse of the technology. Taking on Samsung in a head-on competition, Huawei showcased its foldable Mate X in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But unlike Samsung, some journalists from cNet and TechRadar were able to hold the phone in their hands to get a closer look.
In this post, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the Huawei Mate X so that you can demystify the aura around it!
Design and Feel
The Mate X has the main display on the outside in stark comparison to Galaxy Fold which features the main display on the inside. When folded, the front display measures 6.6-inches winning over Samsung's small 4.6-inch display with large bezels. The front screen comes with a resolution of 2480 x 1148 and aspect ratio of 19:5:9.
The rear part of the phone is also all-screen and measures 6.38-inches and supports resolutions of 2480 x 892 pixels with an aspect ratio of 25:9.
The Mate X unfolds to create an 8-inch screen whereas the Galaxy Fold offers a 7.3-inch display when unfolded. The tablet-size screen of Mate X features an aspect ratio of 8:7:1 and has a resolution of 2480 x 2038 pixels.
The AMOLED display is made of plastic as glass is not fold-friendly. The display is responsive and offers similar friction you expect from a glass panel. But it can be vulnerable to scratches owning to the soft nature of plastic which also raises questions about its durability.
Huawei has ensured that users don't see or feel the spine in the middle of the display. According to The Verge, it is one of flattest foldable phones in the market.
You can also perch the phone on any surface when it is semi-folded. The slimmer rear part can be used as a stand so that you can watch videos on Youtube without holding the phone in your hands. The apps and programs also have a smooth transition as they accommodate themselves between the two displays when you fold it.
What about the Folding Mechanism?
Huawei Mate X takes help of hinges to make the phone foldable. The hinges are obviously hidden from view just like Galaxy Fold but produce a lot more friction in comparison. Vlad Savov writes on The Verge that the Mate X hinges feel really gritty in their operation. You have to almost shove it open as the hinges don't offer any tactile smoothness.
Costing considerably more than Galaxy Fold, Huawei could have taken a cue from Samsung to make the unfolding more elegant. But the compromise can be worth it as Huawei has focused on durability rather than offering smoothness.
The resistance of the hinges should support a lot of opening and closing. Huawei says that their phone can endure 100,000 folds in stress tests in labs and they are also working on a special case to protect the hinges. Interestingly, Samsung claims that the Galaxy Fold can withstand 200,000 folds which is higher than Huawei's claim!
The Mate X also uses a clasp to lock the front screen when it's folded. You can hear an assuring 'click' when you close the phone indicating it's locked in place. Basil Kronfl mentions in TechRadar that the clasp can wear out with repeated use and can become a matter of concern.
We have to wait and see if the world's slimmest foldable phone is really worth it!
Mate X comes with triple cameras all of which are located at the back of the phone. One of them is 40 megapixels and suitable for wide-angle shots. Another 16 megapixel camera will let you take ultrawide pictures while an 8 megapixel camera is for telephoto.
You will not find any selfie camera on the front of Mate X. You can use the high-quality rear cameras for the purpose and use the rear screen as a viewfinder to take better selfies. The front screen also shows the frame so that you don't have to ask strangers to click your picture once again!
Chipset, Battery and Other Specifications
The Mate X houses an octa-core Kirin 980 chipset which is quite efficient but has already become a dated silicon which will age more by the time the phone launches.
The initial model showcased in Barcelona comes with 512GB internal memory and 8GB RAM with expandable memory up to 256GB. Huawei is expected to launch other variants of the phone down the line.
Huawei has provided two batteries just like Galaxy Fold but churns up more juice at 4500mAh. It has also got fast charging and can reach 85% from zero charge in 30 minutes!
You can get 5G speeds up to 4.6Gbps thanks to Huawei's Balong 500 modem. The quad antenna design is far efficient than rivals like Exynos 5100 and Qualcomm's X50, both of which can max around 2.4Gbps. But it all depends on the quality of your network and we are still some years away from using the full potential of Huawei's modem.
When will Mate X Launch?
The Mate X is expected to be available during the summer months in 2019. The phone will be priced at 2,299 Euros which translates to roughly US $2,600. Customers in the UK will be able to purchase the phone through Vodafone, EE and Three.
Huawei hasn't announced any release dates for the US and Canadian market, so you may have to import the phone in the USA.