Samsung must be rather happy about the current geopolitical spat between US and China that basically took Huawei off the market when it comes to high-end phones outside of China. Not only does it get to shine alone at the top now, but, seeing Huawei's creations, as the new foldable Mate Xs that it just announced, it can often slap Samsung at its own game.
We've been hearing that Huawei is preparing to release its first foldable phone - the Mate X - under a different name and with thoroughly upgraded specs and design, and today the CEO Richard Yu took the stage in Barcelona to announce the Mate Xs. What's different from the original Mate X as it was announced? Quite a lot, actually.
Huawei Mate Xs display sizes, cameras and 5G connectivity
The full Huawei Mate Xs specs list contains many surprises when compared not only to the Mate X, but the Galaxy Fold as well:
Dimensions: 161.3 x 78.5/146.2 x 11/5.4 mm (closed/open)
Display size(s): 8" 2480 x 2200 pixels when opened, 6.6" (front) or 6.4" (back) when closed
Memory: 8GB RAM/512GB storage
Processor and 5G connectivity: Kirin 990 with integrated Balong modem, global 8-band 5G support
OS: EMUI 10 on AOSP Android 10 with Huawei App Gallery
The beauty of Huawei's foldable phone design approach is that it is not only of the out-folding type that gives you giant displays to work with in both open and shut states, but also escapes the ugly notch concept of Samsung's Galaxy Fold.
Huawei simply placed all the top-notch cameras that are seemingly borrowed from its flagship P30 and Mate 30 series in a slightly thicker strip on one side of the phone that serves as a grip when the phone is open, and as a supercharged selfie kit when closed, win-win.
The updated Falcon Wing hinge with zirconium-plated mechanism ensures smooth and durable operation, while the flexible 8" OLED display provided by BOE is now protected with a dual layer of optical transparent polyimide like on the Motorola Razr. Huawei didn't miss the chance to brag that the PI material is more expensive than gold, too. Still, you can expect some wrinkling at the ridge but that's the price to pay for unfurling the future.
A big-screen 6.4"-6.6" phone when closed, a veritable 8" tablet when opened - that's what foldable phones were supposed to bring, and Huawei still managed to keep things relatively thin and small. For comparison, the closed Mate Xs is shorter, just as heavy, and only slightly wider or thicker than the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Huawei Mate Xs press shots and hands-on photos
Powered by a second-gen 7nm processor dubbed the Kirin 990, it won't lack in performance, too, but perhaps the most intriguing part is that Huawei managed to integrate a full-spectrum 5G modem inside the chipset. With Qualcomm and Samsung it is an either-or scenario, i.e. if you want all the 5G bands supported, the modem has to be separate from the processor chip.
Huawei Mate Xs price and release date
There is some pretty amazing tech stuffed in what is the best folding phone announced so far when it comes to specs and design practicality, but unfortunately you will only be able to import in the US, as Huawei is a persona non grata on this side of the pond. At the announced price of 2499 EUR, though, only the most dedicated fans would get one anyway, when the Mate Xs lands globally this spring.
The other issue would be official support for Google's services, despite that Huawei is heavily pushing its own alternatives and hoping for a geopolitical breakthrough in the meantime. In any case, Samsung should breathe a big sigh of relief that these guys are prevented from properly competing at the global stage at the moment.