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Huawei Mate X first look: Is this the most polished foldable phone so far?

Huawei's Mate X is not about the specifications or how brilliant the cameras are; the idea is show off a smartphone that belongs to the future.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | Barcelona |
Updated: February 26, 2019 12:21:18 pm
Huawei, Huawei Mate X, Mate X first look, Mate X foldable phone, Mate X foldable phone photos, Mate X first review, Mate X specifications, Mate X price in India, Mate X sale Huawei Mate X with a foldable screen was showcased at MWC 2019. Our first look at the world’s first 5G-ready foldable phone.

The stakes are high for Huawei as it fights with Samsung and Apple to keep its place among the most innovative smartphone company in the world. At a packed show in Barcelona, Spain, the Chinese tech giant took the wraps off the Mate X, which it calling the world’s fastest 5G foldable phone.

The announcement was made just days after Samsung showed off the Galaxy Fold in San Francisco. The Mate X is not about the specifications or how brilliant the cameras are; the idea is show off a smartphone that belongs to the future.

Watch our first look video of Huawei Mate X

The Mate X uses two screens that then flip together and become an 8-inch tablet. But the smartphone of the future doesn’t come cheap, with the entry-level model costing over $2600. Still, the level of hype surrounding the Mate X is enough to make anyone feel excited about the future of smartphones.

Even though Huawei did not allow journalists to try out the device, we got to see the demo of the Mate X up close. Here is all you need to know about Mate X.

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Huawei, Huawei Mate X, Mate X first look, Mate X foldable phone, Mate X foldable phone photos, Mate X first review, Mate X specifications, Mate X price in India, Mate X sale The Mate X uses two screens that then flip together and become an 8-inch tablet.

Huawei Mate X: Design and display

Like Samsung, Huawei is also using a foldable OLED screen on the Mate X, but the latter phone has a few advantages over the Galaxy Fold in terms of design. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, which opens like a book to offer a tablet-like experience, the Mate X allows the larger screen to wrap around the device.

Read more: Huawei Mate X vs Samsung Galaxy Fold: Is one fold better than the other? 

When opened, the Mate X sports an 8-inch display and its screen resolution is 2480×2200. Comparatively, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has a smaller 7.3-inch display. When closed the phone segregates into two screens — 6.6-inch 2480×1148 screen on its front, and 6.38-inch 2480×892 display on its back.

When unfolded it becomes an 8-inch tablet, which is thinner than the new iPad Pro. The aspect ratio of three screens are as follows: 19.5:9 for the main display, 25:9 for the rear one, and 8:7.1 for the tablet.

Huawei, Huawei Mate X, Mate X first look, Mate X foldable phone, Mate X foldable phone photos, Mate X first review, Mate X specifications, Mate X price in India, Mate X sale When unfolded, Mate X becomes an 8-inch tablet which is thinner than the new iPad Pro.

This design approach is interesting, as it eliminates the need for a secondary screen like the one found on the Galaxy Fold. I didn’t get a chance to touch the device, but the phone appears to be really slim.

In tablet mode, the Mate X is just 5.4mm thick. When you fold the device in half, it makes the whole thing about 11mm thick, which is chunkier than most traditional phones, but then this is not one of them.

Read more: MWC 2019: Huawei takes on Samsung, launches Mate X ‘5G’ foldable smartphone 

Given the fact that the larger screen wraps around the outside of the device, rather than being enclosed on the inside; it relies on a patented ‘Falcon Wing Hinge’ design that connects the two pieces together. The approach is very similar to the Surface Book’s dynamic fulcrum hinge.

Next to the secondary screen is a bar on the outside, which houses the Leica-branded cameras and other components. This bar is primarily designed for added grip, as it gives extra rigidity when holding the tablet in one hand.

Huawei, Huawei Mate X, Mate X first look, Mate X foldable phone, Mate X foldable phone photos, Mate X first review, Mate X specifications, Mate X price in India, Mate X sale In tablet mode, the Mate X is just 5.4mm thick at its thickest point.

There’s no front-facing camera. Instead, the secondary screen acts as a viewfinder when taking a selfie. And that’s not all, the secondary screen also acts as a mirror for when you take a picture of someone.  The power button and fingerprint reader are on the side, which means there’s no notch in the display.

Huawei Mate X: Hardware and battery

Huawei Mate X is powered by the Kirin 980 processor and a Balong 5000 modem for 5G connectivity. Huawei claims a 1GB movie will take around three seconds to download on this device, but that’s on a 5G network. The phone includes 512GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM.

Huawei says it packs in two batteries inside, totalling 4,500mAh. Additionally, the Mate X offers 55-watt charging, allowing it to be charged up to 85 percent in 30 minutes.

Huawei, Huawei Mate X, Mate X first look, Mate X foldable phone, Mate X foldable phone photos, Mate X first review, Mate X specifications, Mate X price in India, Mate X sale Huawei Mate X is powered by the Kirin 980 processor and a Balong 5000 modem for 5G connectivity.

Huawei Mate X: Software

Huawei gave us a small demonstration of the Mate X and were impressed with what we saw. We liked the way how it works. We watched a YouTube video on an 8-inch screen and it looked great. But other than that, we really don’t know how apps work on the Mate X.

However, Huawei said it is working with leading app developers to tweak apps for the Mate X. The Mate X is running EMUI 9.0, based on Android Pie.

Huawei Mate X: Early thoughts

The Mate X is indeed a futuristic device, but a lot is still unknown about a foldable phone. In its presentation, the company made no mention of the durability of the screen and the exterior casing, though it did show a case for it. It’s also not clear how well apps work on the phone’s different modes.

Keep in mind that that the Mate X is not for everybody. For a price of Euro 2299 (around $2600 or nearly Rs 1.85 lakh), it would certainly make the Mate X the most expensive smartphone to date.

And when will it be made available? At the moment, Huawei is only saying the phone will hit retail shelves in the middle of 2019. Given the fact that it supports 5G, its availability will be limited to a handful of countries.

Disclaimer: The author is in Barcelona on the invite of Huawei India

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