Huawei Mate X – The first foldable phone you'll actually want to buy, if you can afford it

Huawei Mate X – The first foldable phone you'll actually want to buy, if you can afford it

- in Technology

Unfolded, the Mate X boasts an 8-inch panel that has a 8:7.1 aspect ratio (Image: Getty)

Huawei Mate X is the firm’s first foldable flagship that has a single 8-inch display that folds round the device.

This is different to the foldable method employed by the Samsung Galaxy Fold that flexes on top of itself, effectively doubling its thickness.

Unfolded, the Mate X boasts an 8-inch panel that has a 8:7.1 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2480×2200.

Folded, the hardware effectively has two panels, one on either side of the device.

In this form factor the product has a 6.6-inch front display and a 6.38-inch rear screen.

One of the most distinguishable features about the Mate X is its side panel that acts as a grip and also houses the phone’s camera system and other vital components.

During the unveiling of the product, Huawei was keen to boast about its mechanical hinge that allows the screen to fold.

The Chinese firm is claiming this particular mechanism houses over 100 parts.

Mate X has two batteries inside it that combine to deliver a 4,500mAh capacity.

Moreover, during the futuristic phone’s unveiling Huawei also unveiled its new 55W charging technology it claimed would be capable of delivering 80 percent of power to the Mate X in just 30 minutes.

Following Huawei’s MWC keynote, media outlets and influencers were invited to test the products that had been announced.

While the Mate X made an appearance in the demo area, it was shielded by glass.

However, during an interview session with the CEO of Huawei Technologies Consumer Business Group, Richard Yu, this outlet got a chance to use the Mate X and we walked away incredibly impressed.

During the briefing, Yu confidently allowed journalists to handle the Mate X while he answered questions about it.

The most striking thing about the Mate X is just how light and thin it is; unfolded, most of the hardware is thinner than typical smartphones on the market.

The notable exception to this is the firm’s side panel that acts as an intuitive way to grip the 8-inch panel and is the only part of the phone thick enough to fit a necessary USB-C port.

Mate X’s display certainly left us impressed; the screen presented vivid colours and was incredibly bright.

Although a crease could be seen if it was held under a light at the right angle, it was only noticeable when we were looking for it.

Richard Yu was eager to boast about the native support for applications on the device and showed programmes such as Google Maps and CNN running on the 8-inch screen.

Using the Mate X in tablet mode felt fast, fluid and most importantly, natural.

Huawei Mate X

Yu confidently allowed journalists to handle the Mate X while he answered questions about it (Image: Express Newspapers)

But it was folding the hardware itself that immediately made us understand why phones of this nature are an emerging sector and why Huawei is so excited about the product.

Applying pressure on the left-hand side of the display started the flexing process.

While folding the hardware, we could feel every single one of the moving parts inside the phone’s hinge working.

During the movement, the Mate X did not feel delicate or brittle.

Instead, the product was assured while folding and certainly felt secure.

Once the user has completed the fold, there is a little clip that locks the panel into place.

Unfolding the Mate X is completed by pressing a little button on the device that releases the 8-inch screen and allows it to be flexed.

Using the futuristic handset in its foldable form factor was the biggest reason it is appealing.

Huawei Mate X recently went hands-on with the Mate X (Image: Express Newspapers)

Holding and using the device felt familiar and uncompromising.

The 6.6-inch panel on the front of the hardware is surrounded by minimal bezels that is certainly reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 9’s design.

When folded, the Mate X is easy to hold in one hand and while it is thicker than traditional smartphones, it does not hamstring the user experience in any way.

The biggest point to note is using the Mate X in its folded form factor feels just like using a normal smartphone and Huawei should be commended for the fact.

And while has not had a chance to go hands-on with the Galaxy Fold, its cover display certainly looks compromised thanks to its small 4.6-inch size and huge bezels.

When we turned the Mate X over to reveal its 6.38-inch panel, we immediately noticed the display was split into two.

Just over half of the display presented us with the hardware’s home screen while the other showed a prompt that would have allowed us to take a selfie.

Huawei is positioning the rear panel as one to be harnessed when the user wants to take such photos.

Huawei Mate X attended an interview session with Richard Yu where we went hands-on with the Mate X (Image: Express Newspapers)

And while we did not get to test out the quality of the triple-camera setup, it is assumed the lenses will offer improved clarity over traditional selfie sensors.

With regard to the durability of the Mate X’s display, Yu insisted the product has been designed to withstand 100,00 folds.

This means, if the user folded the hardware 20 times a day, it would last 5,000 days, or over 13 years.

However, it is worth noting such claims cannot be verified by this outlet.

During our short time with the Mate X the idea of a foldable handset became incredible appealing.

Being able to use the device and experience its notable lack of compromises left us wanting the device.

By far the biggest problem with the Huawei Mate X is its price; the product costs 2,299 euros which is equivalent to £1,977.27 at the time of writing.

The eye-watering cost will surely present an incredibly high barrier to entry for anyone that is interesting in picking up the foldable device.

Huawei Mate X

Huawei Mate X staunchly rivals the Samsung Galaxy Fold (Image: Getty)

Huawei Mate X

The Huawei Mate X is proof foldable phones are not a gimmick (Image: Getty)

But, during our interview session, Richard Yu admitted the high cost is a result of all the futuristic technology housed inside the hardware.

More importantly, he expressed hope that Huawei will be able to lower the cost of the product as early as next year, which will surely come as good news to Android fans.

The Huawei Mate X is proof foldable phones are not a gimmick.

Instead, it serves to show why having multiple form factors on a single device is compelling and could be the future of the smartphone industry.

While there are sure to be new entires in the foldable phone market that will challenge Huawei’s offering, can confirm the Mate X is currently the best in its class.

Huawei has not given a precise date for when the Mate X will launch, instead it has merely declared the flagship will release by the middle of this year.

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