Huawei Mate X: a first look at Samsung's biggest foldable rival


This is the starting point. The Mate X has two screens: a 6.6-inch main display and a 6.38-inch on the back. Open the device and these are merged into one 8-inch screen with a resolution of 2,480 x 2,000. In all three configurations the screen is 2,480 pixels long, with a width of 1,148 pixels on the front and 892 pixels on the back. The Galaxy Fold, on the other hand, has a slightly smaller 7.3-inch screen on the inside that folds inwards. Samsung offers a 4.6-inch panel on the outside for use in closed condition. The Mate X is also a little slimmer, with 11 mm (0.43 inch) folded in comparison to the Fold's 17 mm (0.67 inch).

In the middle of the Mate X is what Huawei calls a Falcon Wing hinge that bends out – similar to the Royole line-up. Batteries with a capacity of 4,500 mAh are located on either side of the hinge. That is larger than the combined 4.380mAh of the Galaxy Fold, which normally takes quite a long time to recharge. Huawei believes that this can be remedied with the updated SuperCharge technology, which says that the Mate X can be charged 85 percent in 30 minutes.

The differences between the approaches of Huawei and Samsung are where it becomes interesting. The Mate X has a long, narrow beam (in "Interstellar Blue") on the back with three Leica cameras and an on / off button. Like the Galaxy Fold, the Huawei phone has a fingerprint sensor that is embedded in the on / off button. But compared to the six total camera's on the Fold, Huawei's tri-camera system on the Mate X feels like a more measured approach compared to Samsung's overkill.

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<p>There may be only one set of cameras here, but they seem versatile enough, whether you're making a landscape or a selfie. If you want to make a portrait, place the lenses on your mug and use the screen that is facing you to take pictures. Go to the other screen if you want to record what is in front of you. When you take a picture of a person, they can also see themselves in the screen facing them and their attitude, hair, expression or anything else they want to change. The cameras also work when the Mate X is unfolded, although you look like you are using a tablet to take a photo. Ew.</p>
<p>Because the Mate X cameras are neatly tucked away in the strip, no notch is needed for the recess in the screens. You get a full edge-to-edge screen in all configurations, compared to the small 4.6-inch screen that records about two-thirds of the back of the Galaxy Fold.</p>
<p>Huawei's "bar" is also slightly curved, which has the added benefit of giving the device a good grip, so you can easily handle it with one hand. The installation reminded me a bit of Lenovo's Yoga tablets from 2013, which had a cylinder on one side to accommodate a standard. Huawei's grip also includes the USB-C port of the Mate X at the top.</p>
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Unlike the Galaxy Fold, the Mate X seems to close completely when it is folded, meaning there is no gap between the two halves. That is impressive in itself – it is the first foldable phone we have seen without and it is remarkable that Huawei is the company to achieve that, instead of Samsung's display experts.

Of course, we have not yet been able to touch either device, so it is quite possible that neither the Fold nor the Mate X screens actually work when they are folded together. But from a purely technical point of view, Huawei now has the upper hand.

In the future (when networks become available), I am intrigued to see if Mate X's Balong 5000 modem is indeed reaching 5G speeds that are twice as fast as the Snapdragon X50 from Qualcomm. According to Huawei, this radio and the setup of the quad-antenna help the Mate X with a downlink of 4.6 Gbps, compared to the 2.3 Gbps of the Snapdragon X50. The foldable flagship will also package the Kirin 980 chipset from the company, which drives the fast Mate 20 Pro. I am happy that Huawei uses high-end guts in the Mate X – these are in fact two phones in one and all the juice will need to work smoothly.

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<p>We could not see that Mate X did anything other than show the home screen, so I can not say whether it is good for multitasking. But Huawei said that you can run two apps side by side and enjoy your movies on the 8-inch screen.</p>
<p>The future of smartphones seems to be expanding and I am sure that we will see more of these devices on MWC. That future can also be very expensive: Huawei said that the Mate X will start at € 2,299 (about $ 2,600) and will be available in the middle of 2019. Samsung's Galaxy Fold is scheduled for release at the end of April for but preferably $ 1.980. Although it is exciting to see these innovations, I would wait for second generation devices or at least complete reviews of these newfangled flagships before I spend money on them.</p>
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