Huawei’s Mate X has not one but two claims to fame: not only is it the world’s slimmest foldable phone, it’s also the world’s fastest folding 5G handset. At least it is according to Huawei.
So how does the design differ from the ostensibly similar Samsung Galaxy Fold? Which is better? And when will it go on sale? Read on for everything you need to know.
There's one screen, not two
This is the main difference between the Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Whereas the Fold has a front screen like the cover of a book, and then a bigger screen once you open it up (the ‘pages’, to extend the book analogy), the Mate X only has one screen that spans the front and ‘folds’ over to the back.
The hinge is on the other side to the Galaxy Fold – open it up, and the ‘back’ screen joins the ‘front’ screen to make one large display.
This means it has bigger screens all round. The front screen is 6.6 inches, and the back 6.38 inches. Open it up, and they combine to make an 8-inch screen.
All those screen sizes are bigger than the Galaxy Fold’s respective equivalents. And the 6.6-inch front screen is marginally bigger than the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max.
It’s completely flat when closed
Huawei calls this the Falcon Wing design. It gives The Mate X another crucial advantage over the Galaxy Fold – it’s completely flat when closed, whereas the Galaxy Fold has a slight gap between the front and back meaning it doesn’t close fully.
The result? A more elegant handset that should feel more natural in the hand.
It’s all down to the hinge. Huawei is very proud of its patented hinge design, claiming it has over 100 components.
It also describes it as “very complicated and sophisticated,” which we don’t doubt.
Slim and trim
This unique design also allows the handset to be slimmer than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. It’s only 5.4mm slim when unfolded, and 11mm when closed.
That’s 6mm slimmer than the closed Galaxy Fold – a big difference when trying to fit it in your pocket.
There’s no notch
Huawei has built in a sidebar for holding the unfolded phone in one hand.
This sidebar also houses the cameras, meaning there’s no unsightly notch at the top of the display eating into your screen.
The camera lenses are made by Leica
Camera specialist Leica has provided the lenses, meaning Huawei can claim a “best in class selfie camera”.
That could just refer to the world of folding phones, however, which is very small and very niche. Samsung’s cameras are some of the best around, remember.
So we’ll have to try Huawei’s for ourselves before we can validate that claim.
Huawei claims the Mate X is the world’s fastest 5G folding phone, and technically it is – but that’s because it’s also the world’s only folding 5G phone.
Its stats are pretty impressive though. Huawei says you can download a 1GB film in just three seconds, thanks to the Balong 5000 5G modem.
5G is set to start rolling out this year, offering speeds way faster than 4G. But until 5G networks are switched on, 5G phones don’t really have any advantage over 4G handsets, apart from being future proofed.
**What is 5G and when does it launch in the UK? Read our 5G guide to get up to speed.
There’s a big battery
Two, actually. Like the Galaxy Fold, each side of the phone has its own battery, and these combine to make a total of 4,500mAh. Which should keep it going all night long, Lionel Ritchie-style.
It charges super quick, too. The phone supports Huawei’s 55W SuperCharge technology, which is 11 times faster than the iPhone XS Max’s.
To put that in perspective, a 30-minute charge should juice it up to 85 per cent battery. Handy if you need to give it a quick tickle before heading out for the day.
It has its own case
Well, you wouldn’t want to drop this thing and break it. Huawei showed off its full protection case, though it looks like you’ll have to take the phone out of it to unfold it.
The fingerprint scanner is on the side
It’s built into the power button. It’s not as seamless as having it built into the screen, as on the Samsung Galaxy S10, but that would have bumped the price up even more. Speaking of which…
It’s not cheap
Not by a long shot. It will cost €2,299 (£1,997) – for that you get 8GB RAM and 512GB storage.
We’re waiting on a UK price, but wouldn’t be surprised by a straight Euro-to-pound conversion. Which would make it slightly pricier than Samsung’s already-quite-pricey Galaxy Fold.
Look out for it around June of this year.