Huawei Mate X2 vs Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G: Samsung gets beat at its own foldable game
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During the course of our Mate X2 review, it started becoming increasingly clear that Huawei is on to something in the heretofore Samsung game to lose in the realm of foldable phones. How come?
Here's where the Galaxy Z Fold 2 gets beat by the Mate X2, and we hope that the Z Fold 3 will soon come to its predecessor rescue so that we can compare the X2 with that one as well.
Mate X2 vs Z Fold 2, the good and the bad:
- Mate X2 is more ergonomic as a daily driver, and has the more refined design
- Mate X2 has larger, better displays, and is more suitable for outdoor usage
- Both offer very good battery life, but the Mate X2 charges twice faster
- The Mate X2 camera kit is unsurpassed among foldables
- Z Fold 2 is cheaper and compatible with Google's services
Mate X2 vs Z Fold 2 display crease, hinge design, and multitasking
Cringy crease from Samsung, superior ergonomics and display(s) from the X2
First off, the Mate X2 has the better, more refined, and more useful as a daily driver design and displays. Don't get us wrong, both foldables are still ten-ounce fatsos that are a chore to lug around, open or closed, but at least the Mate X2 halves align perfectly when closed, unlike the visible Fold 2 gap at the hinge side.
Speaking of the hinge, Huawei has done a better job than Samsung here, simplifying its design, and making it easier to open and close with no strange noises created in the process. The new hinge design with less yet reinforced moving parts, has allowed for the least visible crease among foldable phones.
In our Z Fold 2 review we were talking that you get used to the crease, whereas with the Mate X2 you forget there is one, as it is way more shallow than what's on Samsung's phone. This fact, and the excellent side-sloping design with perfect weight balance in the palm when opened, make the X2 the most refined and ergonomic foldable phone so far.
Moving on to the all-important display(s) part - besides a larger, 7.6" vs 8" real estate when unfurled, the Mate X2 offers a panel that is much less reflective hence easier to use outdoors than Samsung's shinier thing, thanks to a unique nanolayer that minimizes the annoying mirror reflections to under 1.5", a new phone record.
That is three times less than what the best antireflective coatings were able to achieve so far. The Fold 2's glossier screen surface, on the other hand, is not very conducive to outdoorsy usage. These are not the Mate X2's 8" panel of BOE making only virtues, though, as it is also very color-accurate, as you can see from our display tests below, and the screen has a higher 90Hz refresh rate making scrolling and animations smoother than on the Z Fold 2.
When it comes to the external displays, there is no contest as well. Besides the higher refresh rate, the 6.5" panel of the X2 is much larger than the extremely tall and narrow 6.2-incher of the Fold. The 21:9 aspect ratio makes for one very usable daily driver, and the 8" internal display can also split in two 21:9 halves for easier multitasking. Here the Z Fold 2 has a slight edge, as it can split the internal panel in three resizable parts, instead of taking the third app out as a pop-up screen like Huawei does, but we struggled to find an application for that particular feature.
Mate X2 vs Z Fold 2 camera performance
The X2 has a true 2021 flagship camera kit, 10x periscope zoom included
One needn't look much further than the sheer Mate X2 camera specs to deduce which phone takes the better photos, as not only does it have a big-pixel 50MP main sensor, but also both 3x telephoto and 10x periscope zoom, against the 12MP . Specs are not always everything, but in this case they are.
Back when we did our Z Fold 2 review, we were extremely disappointed by the camera software especially in low-light conditions. Samsung has since improved things a lot via a bunch of updates but the Mate X2's superior sensors and periscope zoom can't be matched by the Fold's camera kit.
That's not to say that the Z Fold 2 can't produce pleasing results, especially in daylight but when it comes to indoor and especially zoom shots, the Mate X2 has the upper hand. Both phones allow you to take selfies with the rear camera as well, but the process is much more streamlined on the X2. It has a shutter button on the external display in that dedicated mode, whereas Samsung simply uses it as a viewfinder, and you have to contort to take a selfie with the rocker instead.
Mate X2 vs Z Fold 2 battery life and charging
Unsurprisingly, the phones perform excellent in terms of battery life, what with the big 4500mAh batteries, 1080p external, and sub-2K internal displays. We clocked day and a half of regular usage from both the Mate X2 and Z Fold 2, with excellent standby endurance. If you are not a mobile gamer, you'd be extremely pleased with the battery life of these two foldables, or should we say lives, as the Fold sports two separate units, while X2 has one in the thicker part for better weight distribution hence ergonomics in the palm
When the large screens are used for gaming, though, and the Kirin 9000 or Snapdragon 865 graphics are revved up, all battery life bets are off, despite that the Kirin is made with the latest 5nm process. The displays are simply too big not to take a toll on the power draw in graphically-intensive tasks like, ehm, Asphalt 9.
Thankfully, the Mate X2 compensates with extremely fast, 55W charging supplied by the 65W brick in the box, while the Z Fold 2 makes do with a 25W charger that tops it up in more than an hour. The Mate X2, on the other hand, takes just 30 minutes or so to fill up the battery, and it is ready to go for another day or two, depending on the usage scenarios.
Things that are NOT allowed: