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Huawei Mate Xs Hands-on Review

Huawei has unveiled its next entry to the foldable smartphone segment, the Mate Xs. While Samsung has two varieties of form factor, Huawei seems to have leveled up their foldable phone on the inside instead. Curious about the Mate Xs? Read on to find out more about it.

The Mate Xs is almost similar to last year’s Mate X. Unfolded, it uses a single 8-inch outwards-folding AMOLED display. When folded, it will give you two displays on either side — the larger screen measures 6.6-inches, while the smaller one measures 6.38-inches.

First-time users of a folding smartphone will feel cautious or anxious when using it. Since the Mate Xs has an outward folding mechanism, it leaves a whole display exposed whether you’re using it unfolded or not. The Mate Xs has a button to release the latch that will allow the user to unfold the screen.

When using the Mate Xs in its folded mode, the 6.6-inch display acts as the main screen. The opposite panel doesn’t display anything on it, and it rests on a spine.

The spine houses the quadruple cameras, the release button to unfold the screen, and the device’s ports.

On the side of the spine, one can find the volume rocker and the power button-fingerprint scanner combination. We find the Mate Xs’s use of space to be efficient; thanks to the spine, it removes the need for a dedicated secondary display, like the Galaxy Fold. Additionally, it allows the Mate X to be more pocketable than the Galaxy Fold as the thinnest portion (unfolded) measures at 5.4mm.

Holding the Mate Xs together and allowing it to fold-unfold is Huawei’s Falcon Wing Design Hinge, made of zirconium liquid metal and put together with about 100 components. Huawei claims that the hinge of the Mate Xs is more durable than its predecessor. First-time users will probably get worried about the small, squeaking sound the device makes upon unfolding, but it’s pretty normal. The Mate Xs has a crease on its display where the hinge is located, but unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s crease, it’s not that noticeable nor much of a bother. Additionally, it’s easy to mistake both ends of the hinge for a stylus.

The Mate Xs is armed with a Kirin 990 5G chipset, which will support SA and NSA 5G. This is accompanied by 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. It runs on the open-source Android 10, with Huawei’s EMUI 10.0.1 skin laid on top of it. For biometric security, we get a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that doubles as the power button. Since the unit we tested is an engineering sample that lacks the final version of EMUI for this device, we can’t say yet whether or not it will support face unlock as well.

For battery, the Mate Xs sports a 4,500mAh battery, paired with a USB Type-C port, and has Huawei 55W SuperCharge Support, which, according to the brand, charges the device up to 85% in just 30 minutes.

Diving into the cameras, the Mate Xs sports a Super Sensing Leica Quad Camera system, similar to the Huawei Mate 30. The 40MP main, 16MP ultrawide, 8MP telephoto and 3D Depth Sensing snappers all reside on the spine. The system’s also equipped with OIS and AI Image Stabilization.

We took several sample shots with the Mate Xs. As expected, the photo quality is impressive; images are very detailed, and while the colors don’t appear to be natural, they’re definitely punchy, have good dynamic range, and there’s a sizable boost in contrast. Images taken with the ultrawide lens appear to have the same image reproduction as the primary snapper. The device also has a macro feature that allows users to take photos up to 2.5cm away. As for the telephoto lens, it has the same zoom functionality as the standard P30 and Mate 30, allowing up to 3x optical zoom and up to 30x digital zoom.

The quad-cameras also function as the selfie cameras, since the Mate Xs doesn’t have a dedicated one. The photo quality of the selfies is impressive as well. Seeing that we’re using the same set of cameras, users can also take ultrawide selfies and telephoto selfies.

The Mate Xs shows that Huawei is still kicking in the folding smartphone segment. Although, we’re wondering if the Mate Xs will suffer the same fate as its predecessor. The Mate X showcased that Huawei can create a folding phone; however, it didn’t end up getting a global release.

With the Mate Xs, we were honestly expecting a bit more — the device is mostly just the Mate with a newer chipset and cameras. While we weren’t exactly hoping for a new form factor, it would’ve been ideal given that Samsung leveled up their foldable phone game with the Galaxy Z Flip. If we’re looking at it from a big picture perspective, that’s where we stand in this situation. However, if you were to ask us to pick between the Mate X/Mate Xs and the Galaxy Fold’s form factors, we prefer the former.

Huawei Mate Xs specs
Folded main: 6.6-inch (2480 x 1148) 19.5:9 display
Folded secondary: 6.38-inch (2480 x 892) 19.5:9 display
Unfolded: 8-inch (2480 x 2200) 8:7.1 AMOLED outwards-folding display
HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G octa-core CPU
Mali-G76 MP16 GPU
512GB storage
Leica quad-camera (rear/front): 40MP F1.8 (main) + 16MP F2.2 (ultrawide) + 8MP F2.4 (telephoto, 30x hybrid zoom, 3x optical) + 3D depth-sensing cameras with OIS, AI Image Stabilization, 2.5cm macro
USB Type-C
Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
EMUI 10.0.1 (Android 10)
4,500mAh battery w/ 55W Huawei SuperCharge
Flying Fish Fin cooling system

With additional input by Joey Maceda. 

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