Huawei was always going to reveal a new folding smartphone, even though we haven’t actually seen its first draft in stores here in South Africa. And with the announcement of the new Mate Xs, it seems like the first falcon-wing folding phone is completely out of the question. Unless you’re an eBay collector-type.
Beyond the Fold
Huawei’s Mate Xs took more than a few shots at Samsung’s Galaxy Fold — with a few direct comparisons in spec in its presentation. Prime among those was the 8in foldable display, which now uses a multi-layer polymer screen — a material the company reckons is ‘more valuable than gold’. Might go some way to explaining the price. The Mate Xs uses an improved version of the falcon wing hinge, which incorporates a zirconium liquid metal.
This year’s big new chip? The Kirin 990 5G processor, which beats at the heart of this one. They blasted through what the hardware can do but there’s an obvious power improvement on the way. Up to 23% better on the CPU side, up to 32% for the GPU and a much, much larger increase for NPU performance. And it’ll supposedly do all this while offering improved power efficiency. We can’t wait to test those claims.
Plus massive 5G band support — pity we won’t be able to play with that properly here in SA for a while. But, for something we can test here, the Mate Xs will feature 55W supercharge, which’ll get you topped up in 30 minutes. That’s 2.3x faster than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 5G, Huawei says — we’re going to need one so we can charge ’em head to head.
Huawei wouldn’t be Huawei if they didn’t announce some interesting camera tech. The Mate Xs folding smartphone incorporates a main 40MP superwide f/1.8 sensor, an 8MP telephoto f/2.4 , a 16MP ultrawide f.2.2, as well as a ToF camera — no real surprises there, though we’re also dying to get our hands on the camera to see what it can do. Huawei says that it’ll manage 45x zoom, as well as 2.5cm macro while offering OIS and AIS. Nice claims, but seeing is believing.
Feeling soft, going hard
The update from the last version of EMUI to the current version, EMUI 10, is kinda obvious. The big change is a new multi-window interface — a riff on Samsung’s Edge dock but you can move it around at will. Which makes it feel more like Windows than anything else, even if the whole thing is accessed by interacting with the edge of the screen.
Huawei’s Mate Xs starts at 2500 Euro (R41,000) for the 8GB/512GB version, which launches globally in March. South Africa is part of the global rollout and Huawei was at pains to point out that this launch isn’t going to be China-only. We may actually see it here, unlike the sadly missing Huawei Mate X.