Huawei Mate X: first look at the foldable phone of the future


Huawei has just unveiled its most revolutionary and most innovative smartphone ever: this is the Huawei Mate X, the phone that could set the tone for the future of not only Huawei, but the smartphone industry in general.

This is because the Mate X is a foldable phone, one of a new breed, but unlike others that we've seen so far, it looks way more advanced: it features a massive, 8-inch AMOLED screen uninterrupted by a notch, it has Huawei's best processor and best cameras, it features a modern, razor-thin design and it comes with the fastest 5G modem out there.

It is a sci-fi dream come true, but before we take a closer look, here are the specs highlights:

  • Foldable phone with its screen on the outside
  • Main 8" nearly square AMOLED screen, 2480 x 2200px, 414ppi
  • Unfolded 5.4mm thick, bulging strip for firm grip, folded - 11mm thick
  • Folded divides into front 6.6" and back 6.38" tall 25:9 screens
  • Fingerprint in power key
  • World fastest 5G phone, 1GB movie in 3 seconds
  • 4500mAh battery, divided in 2 cells in each half
  • 55-watt Huawei SuperCharge, 85% in 30 minutes
  • New Leica Triple Camera, Best-in-class selfie

The Foldable Phone of the Future, Now

Huawei teases what could be its most important smartphone

Huawei Mate X: first look at the foldable phone of the future

Foldable phones used to be something we’d see in the sci-fi movies, a distant dream that would linger around in people’s imagination like flying cars or human-like robots, but while we are yet to see cars flying above our heads, foldable phones are no longer just a fantasy.

A number of different companies are unveiling their first foldable phones in 2019 and out of them all, one company has the boldest and bravest vision. And surprisingly to many, the name of that company is... Huawei.

The Chinese company might be out of favor in the United States, but it has shown that it will not hesitate to put all sorts of innovative ideas in its devices and the one that it showed us now truly wow-ed us. This is the Huawei Mate X, a phone that folds out to reveal a tablet-sized 8-inch display, and then with one move transforms back into a much more compact phone form factor. And all of that comes in an elegant, razor-thin body, with the latest and most powerful processor that Huawei has on its hands and with a beautiful AMOLED screen technology.

Huawei did not let us touch its new Mate X just yet. It’s still working on this device and we were only allowed to look at the phone from a distance as an experienced Huawei representative showed us how easy it is to fold and unfold this handset, but we noticed that it was a fully operational unit running Huawei’s familiar EMUI.

A Tablet That Fits In Your Pocket

The Mate X features an 8-inch screen and when unfolded, it measures just 5.4mm thin

Huawei Mate X: first look at the foldable phone of the future

So what is it that makes the foldable Mate X so special compared to the competition? First of all, it’s the giant 8-inch AMOLED screen. There is no notch here, just the display with its thin bezels and vivid, lively colors. Truly impressive… And when you fold it in its compact state, parts of the screen go dark and to divide it into a separate 6.6-inch front screen part and a 6.4-inch back part. Even when folded, the device is not too thick at 11mm, and when unfolded it measures just 5.4mm. It can unfold to a completely flat state while on the back of it you would notice a narrow vertical strip that bulges out and gives you something to hold on to and get a firmer grip. This is also where Huawei has placed all three cameras on this phone. And did you notice there are no front cameras on this phone? That is not a mistake: since you have that back screen when you use the phone folded, you can use the main cameras for your selfies too and this way you get much better-looking selfies.

For security, you have a fingerprint scanner embedded inside the power button on the side. No fancy fingerprint scanners embedded inside the screen here and since there are no front cameras, no face recognition either.

One area where the Mate X stands out is connectivity. This is a 5G phone, and not just any: Huawei says it's the world’s fastest foldable 5G phone, reaching download speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, double that of the competition. This compares to 2.3Gbps on rival Qualcomm and Samsung models. Translating these numbers into human language, the Mate X should theoretically be able to download a full-featured 1GB movie in just three seconds when your network actually supports such speeds (and that probably will not be as fast as we wish).

And then comes the battery to support all this. Or rather batteries because there is a battery in each half of the phone and together they form the full, 4500 mAh capacity on the Mate X.

Huawei SuperCharge is also back. On the Mate 20 Pro from late 2018, Huawei introduced 40-watt charging speeds, but the Mate X is even quicker with support for charging speeds of 55 watts, nearly 40% faster.

Price and Release Date


All of this comes together in one futuristic phone, a phone that is a true embodiment of those dreams we had as kids and those gadgets we saw in sci-fi movies. However, all that futurism will come at a price, and a steep one at that. The Mate X is expected to be available for purchase from mid-2019. That long we can absolutely wait, no problem. The price tag of the device may be a bit of a shock, though: EUR 2300! If we make a direct conversion, that comes out to $2600! It's possible that the phone may actually cost a bit less in the US, but we cannot be certain yet. And 'a bit less' than $2600 is still a ton of money for a phone, be it a foldable one.

Thus, it becomes apparent, that the Huawei Mate X will in no way be a mass consumer product. It'll be for the early adopters and hyper-enthusiasts out there, who would spare no resources to get the most cutting-edge device there is. Add to that the fact that we still have no idea how this phone, which is almost experimental in its nature, is going to hold up in the long term, as well as Huawei's less than pristine reputation these days, and it makes us think that waiting for the second generation of foldable phones might be the smart move to play this year.

So… how do you feel about this new Huawei Mate X?

And how do you feel about foldable phones in general: do you think they will eventually take over traditional smartphones?

FEATURED VIDEO

45 Comments

1. adecvat

Posts: 593; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Need to rename Galaxy Fold to Galaxy F. F

2. drunkenjay

Posts: 1617; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

while they are at it, you can change your name to L

40. almostdone

Posts: 416; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

I'll give this one a name the Flexpal v1.1. Looks good but almost bad as the Royole Flexpal.

3. Sparkxster

Posts: 1112; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Huawei has put a lot of thought into the design of the Mate X and it's a showstopper!! Want to see how Huawei adapted emui for the foldable display.

16. phljcnth

Posts: 548; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I beg to disagree. First, that grip is too right-handed-only (unless you can use the device upside down). Second, how will you be able to do video chat in tablet mode? Third, the outfold means the screen is gonna be more vulnerable to damage. Fourth, we've yet to see how that tacky hinge is gonna hold up.

33. kashdoc

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

Spot on...

4. Cat97

Posts: 1676; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

I only wish they paid more attention to that "color". If they used stainless steel on the top and bottom it would have look much better. But from the usability point of view, Huawei is vastly superior. No useless small third screen, no useless selfie cameras (why not use the superior main cameras when you have the folded screen advantage ?), no useless notch, you have access to a huge screen even when folded (so 90% of the time). This is simply the design of the future, and the design that makes me consider a foldable phone when they will drop under $1000.

8. drunkenjay

Posts: 1617; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

on paper huawei is more practical but the screen is stretched from the folding that it actually has a bulge in the middle at 00:57https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5jIIcsXbI8 the phone is also folded outwards and the screen is made out of plastic so it will be full of scratches as well and screen protectors will not work since it bends and retracts. the tablet mode cant also sit on the set flat.

10. Cat97

Posts: 1676; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Regarding screen protection, it is indeed an issue, but I think a screen protector can be applied (maybe skipping the flexible part. Either silicone, or even 2 pieces of glass without protection for the middle part.

12. drunkenjay

Posts: 1617; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

2 pieces of glass wont work due to the sharp edges and if its 3rd curved glass in some glass protectors it makes the tablet look more weird. plastic screen protectors will also just protect the 2 sides but the middle portion will be vulnerable and full of scratches. all in all im sure none of us will get it. its first gen tech as well. ill wait for the 2nd iteration at best. not wasting 2000 or 2600usd for a half baked product.

18. ph00ny

Posts: 1976; Member since: May 26, 2011

I guess i wasn't the only one that noticed something weird about the center portion of the screen. Also the man demoing the device had trouble making the device flat. I wonder if the "hinge" is very hard to open and fold

5. colin30

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 06, 2014

future of nightmares...

6. KakashiHatake4444

Posts: 72; Member since: Jul 30, 2018

That's a great implementation. Can just imagine the second generation of this thing

7. odachek

Posts: 105; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

The way the demonstrator pressed the center hinge area when unfold, I think Samsung Galaxy Fold's hinge last longer than the Mate X.

39. almostdone

Posts: 416; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

This is no where near as polished because it does not unfold properly and leaves a huge crease + hump. Explains why the man has to push hard in the middle to remove the hump. This is one step up from the Royole Flexpal but leagues behind the tech of Samsung Fold.

9. Delightt

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 24, 2019

Bro, this beats the Galaxy fold hands down. huawei isnt joking

11. lee480 unregistered

nah. look at the amount of Samsung fanboys saying otherwise. The mate x is a punch to samsung's face. LOL

42. uberzero

Posts: 42; Member since: Jul 07, 2018

Not at all. Mate X looks rushed, presents several issues and feels like a rejected 2014 Samsung concept. In case someone forgot, Samsung presented the inward folding screen in 2013 and even a bendable screen in 2014. The first generation production of Galaxy Fold is a result of intensive research solving issues from the concept.

35. Donone41

Posts: 246; Member since: Dec 17, 2014

Beat my ass!! Only a fool would think this crap is more practical than the galaxy fold. In every day use this thing will crease, scratch and become a big ass dumpster fire you paid $2600 for.

13. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 399; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

The amount of fanboys for Huawei is terrible. This phone looks like rushed unpolished junk. The p-oled screen already has creases in it. This looks like it was built off stolen Samsung tech, taken pictures on look ridiculous. How would you even pocket this thing.

26. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 332; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

I Like the mate x design but it is no where near as polished and refined as the galaxy fold. Everything about the fold exudes luxery and has an exquisite touch, the mate x doesn't posses those qualities l

41. worldpeace

Posts: 3075; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

They're not Huawei's fanboys, they're just a bunch of people who hate samsung, and will praise other manufacturer that go against samsung.

14. db1020000

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 17, 2019

It is ugly, and considering its price, and the fact that it will be banned in USA (and USA people are maybe the few ones in the world willing to spend such money for that) then...

27. DeanMachine

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 26, 2017

Lol Americans think they matter, Europe and Asia don't care at all

15. maherk

Posts: 6632; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

At first glance, this kicks the Galaxy Fold straight in the nuts. But when you look how the center is not evenly straight flat when it's laying down on the table, and how the man holding it had to push on the center to eliminate that hump in the middle, it doesn't feel that natural for me. Then you add the practically issues, having plastic to protect that screen while laying down on flat surfaces, will be a major issue, it will collect scratches in no time. And also because it's plastic, you can see right before the screen lights up, how an uneven the plastic in the middle already is.

20. ph00ny

Posts: 1976; Member since: May 26, 2011

You nailed my thoughts exactly. Initial reaction was wow this looks better than samsung's implementation but then i watched the video and thought the center section was odd. Discoloration in the center section along with somewhat of a difficulty the man in the video seem to be having while flattening the device

31. maherk

Posts: 6632; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

This feels like when they rushed the announcement of the Nova 4 when the first picture of the S10 was leaked, but at least they were able to showcase a polished product back then. As for this, I saw the thumbnails of the phone on YT like 3 hours ago, got super excited and didn't know which video I should check, then after watching two videos about it, I was super underwhelmed, I expected much more from Huawei.

36. AbhiD

Posts: 516; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Samsung didn't spend half a decade on perfecting foldable phones for nothing! They know their s**t. Huawei on the other hand rushed to beat Samsung.

37. maherk

Posts: 6632; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Huawei couldn't get the curved screens right with the Mate 20 Pro, I doubt they'll be able to ace the foldable phones this quick. I'll add one more thing over your comment, that while Samsung has been working on their technology for years, Huawei are using someone's else hardware, most likely BOE, that's why I ak having my doubts about their product.

17. antroid

Posts: 360; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

Personally it feels like a real product rather than just a "prototype".

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