After a tough 2019, Huawei is back with a sequel to its revolutionary folding phone, the Mate X, to bring us the Huawei Mate Xs. And with its clever folding mechanism, impressive camera specs and 5G capabilities, it's keeping up with all the latest premium smartphone trends.
But although you can fold the phone in half, take professional-level photos and access super-fast 5G internet, can it do the basics, like use Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp?
Last year, Google banned Huawei from using Android on its devices due to ongoing tensions between China and the US.
And while there will still be ongoing support for old devices, any new products released by Huawei after the ban won't be able to use Android's operating system. In a nutshell, that means they won't have Google apps. So no YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail or Chrome.
To help combat this, Huawei has made a lot of big improvements to its own app store over the last few months and is working with app developers around the world to bring Huawei users their favourite apps. And if they can't do that, Huawei will offer its own version, so you can still use maps and send emails.
We caught up with Huawei’s head of mobiles for Western Europe, Walter Ji, who told us: "27 million apps use Huawei App Gallery. So some (Huawei) apps provide better service to consumers. Therefore, we are quite confident that our consumers will love our app gallery.”
When we asked him if we're likely to see WhatsApp, Facebook or Spotify in Huawei's App Gallery anytime soon, Ji said: "We can't disclose right now. But we are talking with developers to integrate more apps into our App Gallery.”
So there you have it. We'll just have to watch this space. But we'll keep you posted as this develops.
In the meantime though, let's find out more about the Mate Xs:
Huawei Mate Xs
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona may have been called off. But that didn’t stop Huawei from announcing the Mate Xs at its special event in the Catalan capital.
If the Huawei Mate Xs looks familiar, that’s because it's an upgrade of the Mate X which was revealed last year but never made it out of China. Does this new version have what it takes to compete with the other folding phones on the market, namely the Samsung Fold, Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola razr? Let’s see if it’s back to the drawing board or check-Mate for Huawei.
Measuring 6.6-inches when folded and 8-inches when unfolded, the Huawei Mate Xs is certainly a striking piece of kit. Unlike the original Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Mate Xs in its folded state is still a full screen smartphone, two screens in fact.
And also unlike the Galaxy Fold, it doesn’t fold in like a book, but rather it’s more of a wraparound design. When you want to use it in its tablet form, just press the button on the back to unfurl the big screen, flatten it out and gaze in awe at the 8-inch, 2200 x 2480 AMOLED tablet screen. It really is very nice.
So far it’s bigger than the fold and has more screen on display when closed, and it’s also thinner than the Fold. You can run three apps simultaneously, an exciting proposition for all you multitaskers.
Camera wise, the Mate Xs has a 40MP main camera, an 8MP telephoto camera and a 16MP ultrawide camera, as well as a 3D depth-sensing camera. So it stacks up pretty well on the photography side, as you would expect with a Huawei handset.
Crucially, the new, improved Mate Xs has 5G connectivity, so you can make the most of content on the big screen with super speed downloading, swift streaming and bufferless gaming. All of which will look great on the Mate Xs when it's in tablet mode.
When’s the Huawei Mate Xs out?
While an exact date has not been set, Huawei has confirmed that the Mate Xs will be available in ‘global markets’ and not just China. March 2020 has been suggested as a release date. As for the price? Well, it’s not gonna come cheap and it looks like the Huawei Mate Xs will cost upwards of £2,000.
Check out some great Huawei deals.