The MWC 2019 has been one interesting place to be. Besides the plenty of 5G-related announcements, the Spanish city of Barcelona has also given us a treat to some of the future innovations in the smartphone industry – the foldable phones.
First on stage was Samsung with the Galaxy Fold that was received by a raucous crowd. With its inward-folding design that leaves a mere 4.6-inch screen on a single panel, the Fold doesn’t look like a great device in this age of 6-inch screens and given Samsung’s lead in the smartphone business, this wasn’t a good sign going forward.
But then came Huawei with what looks like a better take on foldable phones’ design – the Huawei Mate X. The screen folds on the outside leaving users with plenty of display real estate on not just one but two panels as well as nearly no bezels. The screen becomes even much bigger when unfolded.
Huawei Mate X specs
- Unfolded: 8-inch 8:7 AMOLED foldable display (2480 x 2200, 414ppi)
- Folded: Dual-screen 6.6-inch 19.5:9 AMOLED display (2480 x 1148) + 6.38-inch 25:9 AMOLED display (2480×982)
- Kirin 980 processor
- Balong 5000 5G modem
- 8GB RAM
- 512GB expandable storage, up to 256GB
- Tri-lens main camera: 40MP (wide-angle) + 16MP (ultra-wide) + 8MP (telephoto)
- 4500mAh battery
- Android 9 Pie with EMUI 9.1.1
- Extras: 5G connectivity (1GB movie in 3 seconds), 55W Huawei SuperCharge (85% in 30 minutes), NPU, NFC, Fingerprint in power button, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, etc.
With this design that takes advantage of a Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge, the Mate X doesn’t leave a significant gap between the folded parts. Like the Galaxy Fold, the Mate X has a two-fold battery that adds up to 4500mAh.
This massive unit can take ages to charge from 0-100% with standard charging technology, but Huawei has something else it calls Super Charge, promising an impressive 55W fast charging to juice the unit from 0-85% in just 30 minutes.
The thicker phone edge houses a quad-lens camera setup and since the lenses are aligned on the edge, the phone doesn’t essentially have distinct front and back cameras. But when the phone is folded, screens appear on either side, meaning you can still capture a perfect selfie. This same edge also houses the USB-C port and a power button that also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner.
How Huawei managed to make the Mate X such a thin phone still amazes. When unfolded, it measures just 5.4mm thick. Look around and when you find a thinner smartphone than this, pat us on the back. Even the 11mm thickness when folded is still ideal in the current setup.
What makes this whole design story about the Huawei Mate X such interesting is the fact that the devices shown on stage are still early designs. That said, we are likely to see a more complete product when the handset arrives later this year.
Huawei Mate X pricing and availability
Speaking of which, the Huawei Mate X is expected to be ready for commercial adoption in mid-2019 priced at a staggering €2,299. This would make it one of the most expensive smartphones yet, but to further justify this price tag, Huawei has included a 5G modem in the handset, becoming the first from the company to offer crazy fast internet speeds.
The phone is coming to Europe, but the exact market availability will depend on how 5G-ready these markets are. The phone has been confirmed to come in one paint job – Interstellar Blue.