Tonight, 10 May 2023, Huawei announced seven new flagship consumer devices including the foldable Mate X3 and P60 Pro at its Middle East and Africa regional launch event held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Stuff had boots (or flip-flops, in this case) on the ground to watch it all unfold. We can also confirm that five of the seven new devices will be launching in South Africa at a separate event slated for next week.
Headlining the event was Huawei’s new flagship foldable, the Mate X3. It was joined by the P60 Pro, the latest addition to Huawei’s ever-popular P series. The Matebook D 14 and X Pro received 2023 refreshes, as did the MatePad 11. Those were joined by the bizarre-looking Freebuds 5 earbuds and the Watch Ultimate.
Meet your new Mate
Thankfully for anyone with decent eyesight and opposable thumbs, the Mate X3 does not follow the Mate Xs2’s design but rather that of the Mate X2 (and almost every other foldable smartphone). It unfolds to reveal slim bezels, an inner 7.85in 2,224 x 2,496 120Hz OLED display, and an 8MP selfie cam.
When folded, the front of the device is home to the 6.4in 1,080 x 2,504 120Hz OLED cover display and another 8MP sensor. Huawei’s Kunlun glass protects both. Over on the rear, the circular camera bump houses a main 50MP main sensor featuring OIS (Optical image stabilization), a 12MP periscope telephoto sensor with OIS and 5x optical zoom, and a 13MP telephoto shooter.
In reverting to the classic foldable design, Huawei is now able to claim the Mate X3 is “the world’s thinnest and lightest foldable smartphone”. With a weight of 239 grams and measuring only 11.08mm when folded, we’re inclined to believe them.
Crack one open (as long as it’s paid for), and you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G chipset with 12GB of RAM and either 256, 512, or 1,024GB of storage. Also inside is a 4,800mAh battery capable of 66W wired fast charging or 50W if you ditch the cable.
A return to form?
While the Mate X3 might seem impressive, of the two, the P60 Pro is probably what most folks will opt for. The newcomer to the P series also comes packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G chipset which can be paired with 8 or 12GB of RAM – though the former seems likely for South African models. As does the 256GB storage option, instead of 512GB. Sitting up front is a 6.67in 1,220 x 2,700 120Hz LTPO OLED display, adorned with a 13MP selfie cam in the centre.
As with previous devices in the series, the P60 Pro is aimed squarely at photography enthusiasts. It features an… interesting-looking camera module that shrouds two 48MP sensors, the main sensor and one for telephoto shots, along with a 13MP ultrawide sensor.
If you don’t go for the black model, then maybe the 18th-century French art-inspired Rococo Pearl colourway will be enough to distract you from the camera array. You can also then brag to whoever will listen that no two phones feature the same design.
The rest of the crew
Also announced, but slightly less exciting, were refreshes to the MateBook D 14 and X Pro laptop ranges. Both receive Intel’s newest 13th-gen CPUs and join the 16:10 display revolution.
The MatePad 11 joins the MateBooks on the refresh train, although, like the MateBooks, not much has changed from the 2021 model. The new device is 5g lighter and features a 0.05in larger display.
On the newer side of things, Huawei has added another set of wireless earbuds to its catalogue. The Freebuds 5 might sound very similar to the already-available Freebuds 5i but they definitely look distinctive enough to stand apart with what the company calls “a futuristic water drop-shaped design with seamless curves for optimal fit.”
With support for Hi-Res Audio Wireless and Sony’s LDAC codec, there’s a good chance they’ll sound the part too. Active Noise Cancellation functionality is present along with five hours of playback on a single charge with six charges available in the case for a total of 30 hours of battery life.
For folks interested in something to weigh their wrists down while diving but also don’t want to look out of place on a billboard, there’s the Huawei Watch Ultimate. Made with a “Zirconium-based liquid metal body” and sapphire glass, it’ll take a tumble or knock without needing intensive care or repairs (supposedly).
Not that knocks are too common underwater, especially at depths of up to 100 metres, something the Watch Ultimate is capable of. There’s a quoted two-week battery life keeping the 1.5in 466 x 466 AMOLED display, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, and all-night sleep tracking going.
The when and the how much
Of tonight’s announced devices, Huawei South Africa has said that all but the Freebuds 5 and MatePad 11 will be coming to South Africa. Some, if not all, of the locally available devices will show up again at the South African launch next week. We’ll have to wait until then to learn local pricing and exact availability dates.