Huawei Mate X: You’ll want to fold and unfold this smartphone over and over

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I’ve lastly been in a position to spend some actual time with the foldable Huawei Mate X, the Chinese firm’s folding phone rival to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Motorola’s folding Razr. After an entire day utilizing it throughout Paris, I’ve gotta be sincere, this foldable Android system is rattling cool. 

I’ll begin with the apparent, the precise folding mechanism. The Mate X’s versatile OLED display screen folds backward on itself, in distinction to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which closes in on itself like a guide, or the Razr, which folds shut like an previous clamshell phone. That means you should use the whole 8-inch show even when the phone is closed. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, there isn’t any inner Mate X show.

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Huawei Mate X fingers on: I like this folding phone


Now we are able to debate all we would like about which screen design and mechanical hinge are best, however that is purely concerning the Mate X, so I’ll let you know what I’ve discovered to be nice to date.

First of all, that folding show simply appears to be like superb. The method the display screen bends again round on itself, with none type of distortion to the photographs, is superior and I like the best way the interface — it doesn’t matter what you are — immediately resizes into the proper facet ratio. When I first noticed this at MWC earlier within the yr I had a real rush of pleasure at witnessing one thing so futuristic. Months later, and even having used the Galaxy Fold since its launch, I’m no much less enthusiastic about the best way the Huawei Mate X bends. 


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Trust me once I say that from the second you get it out of the field, you may need to fold and unfold the Mate X time and time once more. Your associates will need to have a go, your colleagues will desire a go and even random strangers in bars will desire a go.

But there’s extra to love about this foldable phone than simply its capacity to attract consideration on an evening out. By folding backward because it does, that huge display screen is basically cut up in half, providing you with a 6.6-inch show in its common, “closed” phone format, outsizing all however the largest phablet giants. (You get full use of the display screen solely whenever you unfold the phone.) As a end result, movies and images look nice, notably as a result of there is no notch interrupting the view — one thing I’ll come again to later.


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Having an enormous outer display screen in “phone mode” makes it far more usable than the closed Galaxy Fold. In my a number of months with the Fold, I’ve discovered its 4.6-inch outer display screen to be so slim that typing on it may be extraordinarily tough. As a end result, I nearly all the time use it in its giant, folded-out pill mode. I’ve been compelled to ask myself, do I actually have a foldable smartphone or do I’ve a pill that may be folded away for straightforward storage?

With the Huawei Mate X, I needn’t ask myself the identical query. The Mate X’s design is comfy to make use of and whereas it is wider than the Fold, it is a lot thinner in its closed kind, so it sits in my denims pocket extra simply and did not really feel in any respect awkward to maintain there as I paced the busy Parisian streets. 


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The draw back? By bending outward, the rear display screen is completely uncovered to the world, or to doubtlessly damaging keys and cash in your pocket. Although the plastic materials appeared fairly powerful in my time with it, I can not vouch for it over months or years of possession and I can not deny I’d be involved about how simply it may get broken. Let’s not neglect that Samsung canceled all orders of the unique Fold following quite a few situations of the display screen breaking and finally launched it with a refreshed design. At the very least, I’d need to hold it in some type of protecting sleeve when not in use.

The OLED show itself is brilliant, vibrant, pin-sharp and even underneath the intense lights of my lodge room — and later, underneath the admittedly grey sky of winter in Paris — I did not battle to learn what was on display screen. Watching movies in phone mode is nice, but it surely’s whenever you fold it out into its full Eight inches that these movies develop into considerably extra immersive. I actually cherished testing the photographs I shot on my day trip within the metropolis on that huge show.


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To enable it to bend, the show is roofed in plastic, not glass (as are all of immediately’s foldable phones) and, like we have seen on the Galaxy Fold, there are some noticeable ripples on the display screen’s floor when it lays flat. But they’re finest described as “ripples” moderately than the extra pronounced “crease” on the Fold. This is probably going because of the truth that the display screen does not bend at such a pointy angle, thereby inflicting much less of a crease within the show materials. In my prolonged hands-on all through the day, I hardly ever seen these ripples and by no means discovered them to be a distraction. 

If I have been actually nitpicking (which, after all, I’m), I’d say that the folding hinge is a bit stiff. Bending it backward from its pill mode feels such as you’re having to drive it greater than it actually needs, and on my first few makes an attempt I wasn’t certain if I used to be doing it correctly. But it is one thing I’m certain you’d get used to as soon as you bought over the preliminary jarring sensation of mainly attempting to bend a pill in half. It does imply that you just’re not more likely to unintentionally shut it whereas utilizing it as a pill. I do like {that a} bodily clasp holds it securely in its phone kind and there is an easy-to-reach button that you’re going to press to launch it and fold again out. The Fold and Razr use magnets to stay shut, however I consider the Mate simply depends on the clasp. Time will inform which is best.


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The cameras are housed in a vertical side-bar, which I discovered to be a helpful gripping level when unfolded in pill mode (when closed, the phone folds again, sitting flush towards this sidebar). It additionally means the cameras do not interrupt the show with notches, not even for selfies, as you merely flip the phone over and take these with the principle digicam. 

The digicam lineup is far the identical as Huawei’s P30 Pro: a typical lens, a zoom lens that provides 3x and 5x zoom, a brilliant wide-angle lens and a fourth “time of flight” sensor for depth processing. Having used the cameras extensively all through my time with the smartphone, I’m fairly happy with the outcomes, notably the portrait mode, which gave an especially correct bokeh round my prepared topic. Exposure appeared good throughout the board and it makes use of the identical night time mode that is impressed me a lot on Huawei’s earlier flagship phones, with the ability to seize brilliant, sharp photographs in darkish night-time scenes.


The depth sensor did an important job of recognising that this metro signal is nearer to the phone, thereby managing to supply a stunning trying bokeh with the background.

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There’s pretty publicity and distinction on this avenue scene.

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Accurate colors and an excellent publicity. Lovely stuff!

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Although shot at night time, this picture is vibrant and pin-sharp.

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Other specs are just about consistent with what you’d count on from any top-end smartphone. It runs Huawei’s newest Kirin 980 octacore processor, has a 4,500-mAh battery with all-day battery life, 512GB of inner storage and 8GB of RAM. 

But it is not inner specs which can be vital right here. The Huawei Mate X is all about that bend and having spent all day with the phone I’m assured in saying that that is my favourite foldable phone I’ve used to date. Given that it is only available in China, I’m unlikely so as to add one to my everlasting assortment anytime quickly, and that is an actual disgrace, however my time with it has left me extraordinarily enthusiastic about what we’ll see from folding units within the years to come back. 

Originally revealed in December 2019.

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