The cancellation of MWC didn’t stop Huawei from going ahead with a hardware event today. Instead of heading to Barcelona the firm revealed all via a live stream from China and there's plenty to talk about. During proceedings, the Shenzhen tech firm showed off a new smart speaker, flagship laptop and tablet – but by far the most exciting announcement was for its next foldable phone, the Mate Xs.
The Mate Xs is a direct successor to the Mate X – the foldable phone Huawei launched at MWC last year. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Xs isn’t different at all – it boasts the same wrap-around design, screen size and quad-camera system as its predecessor.
Instead of focusing on flashy upgrades to generate feverish excitement amongst its fans, Huawei is improving the Mate Xs where it matters. The tech giant is beefing up the Mate Xs’ screen and hinge in an attempt to make the device more durable.
Unlike Samsung’s shiny new Galaxy Z Flip, the Mate Xs still comes with a display that’s made entirely of plastic. That said, Huawei has said it has added an extra layer to the handset’s display that should make it tougher overall.
It’s the same story with the hinge – Huawei is claiming it made a few design improvements to what it’s dubbing the Xs’ “falcon wing” that should allow it to be better equipped to survive a full two, three or more years of use.
That said, we do still have major concerns about the Mate Xs when it comes to durability. Although Huawei has claimed to have improved its display, the phone’s panel is still ultimately made of plastic. As shown by tests conducted on other plastic foldables like the Galaxy Fold and Motorola Razr, that means it’s still going to be pretty useless at defending against scuffs and scratches. In fact, other plastic displays have been shown to take on permanent marks if even a human fingernail is pressed up against it too hard.
Display aside, it’s also unclear just how resistant the Mate Xs will be to the likes of dust, lint and even sand if you’re someone that takes your shiny new foldable phone to the beach.
Let’s turn our attention to the Mate Xs’ internals – the device is powered by the firm’s in-house Kirin 990 processor as opposed to the Kirin 980 that powered the original Mate X.
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Just like its predecessor, the Mate Xs supports 5G networks, meaning you can easily reach mobile download speeds exceeding 300Mbps if you’re close enough to a node.
Express.co.uk has already been hands-on with the Mate Xs and we think it’s the most ambitious foldable phone yet. That’s primarily because the handset (durability concerns aside) realises the vision we’ve had for foldables since they were merely a pipe dream.
The Mate Xs is the first foldable phone we’ve used that expertly delivers a traditional smartphone and tablet experience without compromise. Folded, the device boasts a 6.6-inch display with extremely tiny bezels that allows you to use it like, well… basically any other Android phone on the market right now.
Unfold the Mate Xs and things get really exciting though. The device unfurls to reveal an 8-inch tablet display that gives you more room to watch videos, or just open more apps at once if you want to be more productive.
Of course, you have all the foldable-specific features you’d expect on the Mate Xs – if you have an app open in one form factor it will seamlessly transition to another as you fold or unfold the device. And because Android 10 really pushed for foldable support, you’ll find a number of third-party apps support either form factor without a hiccup.
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Huawei always goes all-out with cameras on its flagship devices and the Mate Xs is no different. The handset boasts a similar sensor array to the Mate 30 Pro (that performed exceptionally in Express.co.uk’s review) with a 40-megapixel main, 8-megapixel telephoto, 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle and a time-of-flight (ToF) lens.
Because of the nature of the Mate Xs’ wrap-around design, it means when folded the device boasts a 6.38-inch display on its rear. Huawei is using this for a couple of nifty camera features – the first one being the ability to utilise it as a viewfinder to take selfies, primarily because the Mate Xs has not traditional selfie snappers of its own.
Secondly, you can also enable the viewfinder even if you’re snapping using the phone’s primary display when folded. That means the person you’re taking a picture can get a little preview of the image before it has been snapped – perfect for any last-minute hair adjustments.
Last, but certainly not least, the Mate Xs comes fitted with a sizeable 4,500mAh battery that can be recharged from empty to 85 percent in a mere 30 minutes thanks to Huawei’s 55W wired charging.
Written by David Minister
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