Huawei Mate X Hands-on, First Impressions

Perhaps the most celebrated smartphone announced this year is the Huawei Mate X and that’s even after Samsung announced their Galaxy Fold a few days earlier.

This is primarily because not a lot of people have actually held the Galaxy Fold in their hands and the display that Samsung had on the floor was encased in a glass box with a security line around it.

Yugatech 728x90 Reno7 Series

On the other hand, Huawei has shown the Mate X to many journalists and the media, making the round around the region to get everyone to have a good glimpse of their foldable smartphone. And so we did have about half an hour of hands-on time with the Mate X yesterday and it was everything we thought it would be.

First off, the Mate X, when folded, might seem like an ordinary phone due to its thin profile (merely 11mm thin). Only when you fold it out do you see the expansive display.

At 8 inches, that’s already tablet territory for the Mate X. One can actually say that this can be considered a foldable tablet with a phone functionality.

First-time users will be a bit awed and confused at the same time on how to use the Mate X. However, as you casually poke around the interface and functionality, it becomes more familiar and easier to use. The interface is the familiar EMUI so there’s not much problem getting acquainted.

The mechanism to fold the Mate X is very interesting. Since it folds outwards instead of inwards, the display is always exposed which can be a concern to a lot of people. The display is covered in polycarbonate instead of glass, which is why it feels thin and why it can be folded that way. Which brings us to the concern that the polycarbonate display might not give a similar feel and smooth feel compared to a typical glass. Huawei says they are addressing this when they finally release the device.

When folded out, there is a ride or spine that runs along the left side. This houses the ports and the triple camera. This design allows the Mate X to fold out almost perfectly and reduces the footprint, making it thinner compared to the Galaxy Fold. That small latch mechanism to keep it in a folded position is also very smart.

We have several questions and this has been echoed by many others since the Mate X was revealed.

Does anyone need 3 screens and a foldable phone?

This is still a niche product and in its infancy. The technology is there and this concept will test if there is really a need in the market for a foldable phone. There will be a very select number of people that will be enticed to get this one, despite that hefty price tag. Besides, if it’s offered in postpaid plans like Smart’s Infinity or Globe Platinum 10000, the cash out price might be affordable.

Isn’t a fodable phone fragile?

Well, compared to your conventional candy-bar type smartphone, it is more fragile. The polycarbonate material on the display can be easily scratched compared to glass, say, Gorilla Glass 6. What Huawei is doing is including a protective casing that fits the bill. That should help remedy the concerns.

Will this be the future of smartphones?

It’s a glimpse of the future but the jury is still out on that one. Who knows, this might not actually pan out. At least we get to see a novel execution. We’ll have to just wait and see how the market reacts with their wallets.

Well, as for the price, innovations are costly due to R&D but as it matures we should be seeing more and more of them at a much affordable price tag.

Huawei Mate X key specs:

  • 8-inch 8:7.1 AMOLED screen @ 2480 x 2200 px (unfolded)
  • 6.6-inch 19.5:9 display @ 2480 x 1148 px (front, when folded)
  • 6.4-inch 25:9 display @ 2480 x 892 px (back, when folded)
  • Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 980 5G chip
    2x Cortex A76 2.6GHz + 2x Cortex A76 1.92GHz + 4x Cortex A55 1.8GHz
    Balong 5000 5G modem
  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB storage
  • expandable via Huawei NM up to 256GB (uses SIM2)
  • 40MP (Wide Angle Lens, f/1.8) + 20MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens, f/2.2) + 8MP (Telephoto, f/2.4) Leica Triple cameras, AI Stabilization
  • Dual SIM (hybrid, nano), Dual Standby
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dual-band GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • EMUI 10 (Android 9 Pie)
  • 4,500mAh Li-Po battery
    55W Fast Charge
    Huawei Supercharge

Huawei will launch the Mate X this mid-year in key countries with a EUR 2,299 price tag, or roughly Php135,700 when directly converted.

For the Philippine release, local reps have not given any dates yet nor any suggested retail price. They’ve added that they are refining the design and making sure all the kinks like creases in the display are ironed out (no pun intended) before they make the release date known.

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

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