VERDICT : A foldable phone that expands into a tablet has been thought of as the next form factor for mobile devices.
Huawei has thrown conventional design out of the window with Mate Xs by placing the foldable screen on the outside and we think this design makes great sense as you’re not stuck with a secondary smaller display. What remains to be seen is if the Mate Xs can prove to be durable enough for the long run. It’s a pricey proposition and without Google’s framework, it requires you place your faith in Huawei.
- The best foldable phone design
- Flagship level performance and features
- Excellent camera
- No access to Google Apps
- Very expensive
- Uncertainty about the longevity of the screen
Huawei Mate Xs two-minute review
The Mate Xs is the latest foldable phone from Huawei and improves upon the original Huawei Mate X in a number of ways. It features an improved Falcon Wing hinge design that is stronger and makes it easier to unfold the Mate Xs.
Huawei has also improved the durability of the phone with a quad layer construction using polyamide film.
Unlike every other foldable phone that we have seen where the foldable screen is protected inside a clam shell and complemented by an external screen, Huawei sticks the screen on the outside perimeter of its Mate X devices.
The advantage to this design is that you have the primary screen readily available and it’s all part of one big display, but this also may make it more susceptible to damage.
We found the use case of the Mate Xs very different to the Galaxy Fold, even though both these foldable phones unfold to provide you a larger screen. With the Galaxy Fold, the external 4.6–inch external screen felt too small for regular usage and the device needed to be unfolded almost every time we wanted to do more than a call or answer a quick text.
That’s not the case with the Mate Xs where we used the display more frequently in its folded state than the unfolded state.
In its folded state, the screen is sized at 6.6-inches which is large enough to compete with non-foldable flagship phones. When unfolded, the 8-inch screen on the Mate Xs is a sight to behold, and that’s especially the case as there’s no notch. It’s a great replacement to a small sized tablet and that’s exactly how we used it- sitting on a couch with a cup of coffee or in bed before turning the lights out.
The Mate Xs features Huawei’s latest Kirin 990 5G chipset which is built on 7nm+ technology and is the only chipset with an integrated 5G modem. Huawei also provided a very generous 512GB of storage on the Mate Xs and while 8GB of RAM handled all the apps we threw at it without any issues, we would have liked to see Huawei equip it with 12GB to make it a bit more future proof.
The primary camera on the Mate Xs is a Leica branded 40 MP, f/1.8 primary camera with an RYYB sensor that’s capable of taking great low light shots. Also present is an 8 MP, f/2.4 telephoto lens fixed at 52mm or 3X zoom and a 16 MP, f/2.2, 17mm ultra-wide module.
Huawei has pretty much been at or around the top when it comes to phone cameras and the Mate Xs keeps that going with a versatile camera system that sports AI capabilities for impressive shots. An advantage on the Mate Xs is that the primary camera system also works as the selfie camera with the screen folding around the back allowing you to take as impressive selfies.
All of this tech is powered by a 4,500mAh battery that lasts you all day and can be charged quickly using the included 45W charger. The phone lacks wireless charging which is a tradeoff we are willing to accept considering that the screen wraps around back.
What is harder to swallow is the lack of Google Apps and the price tag – the Mate Xs is an expensive phone at €2,499 / AED 9,999 (around $2,746 / £2,134 / AU$4,205). Then again, this phone isn’t targeted towards the average consumer and considering that all foldable phones are expensive, it isn’t surprising.
Huawei Mate Xs release date and price
- Expected release date: end of March 2020
- 512GB + 8GB of RAM: AED 9,999 / Euro 2,500
Huawei announced the Mate Xs at the end of February and pre-orders for the phone are expected to go live by mid March with the phone reaching the hands of consumers by the end of March. We don’t yet have exact dates.Advertisement
If you thought smartphones had reached their pinnacle with pricing, think again. The Huawei Mate Xs is priced at €2,499 / AED 9,999 (around $2,746 / £2,134 / AU$4,205). and there is only one configuration available for it which is with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage.
Foldable phones are all expensive and the Mate Xs is no exception though it is pushing boundaries with its pricing. That being said, there is no foldable phone like it in terms of design and with the lack of GMS, the Mate Xs is definitely not for everyone. By pricing it on the higher side, Huawei is playing the exclusivity game. More