Folding phones seem to be the hottest tree in technology these days. And perhaps the most talked about folding phone is the Huawei Mate X, which is expected to be launched later this year.
We had a chance to spend some time with a prototype of the device (not the final version), and we felt that these ten points about it were well worth noting:
It folds out into a bigger display
From the front, the Mate X looks like a normal large display phone: it has a 6.6-inch display in front. However, what’s amazing is that this display actually folds out from behind to become a large 8.0-inch display. So it is basically a larger display folded into a smaller form factor.
It actually has THREE OLED displays… and switches between them automatically
The Mate X actually has three displays — the 6.6 inch one in front, a 6.38 inch on the back and of course, the large 8.0-inch one which both blend to form when folded out.
And these are all three high resolution, OLED displays: 2480 x 1148 in front, 2480 x 892 at the back and 2480 x 2200 when it is folded out. The amazing part is that the phone recognises which of the three displays you are looking at and adjusts itself automatically, accordingly. It is magical!
It is very solidly designed, but a little heavy
It might be all-display but the Mate X is built on very solid lines. The hinge around which the display folds is a strong one and very innovative too — it recesses inside when the phone is folded.
On one side of the back of the phone is the bar containing the triple camera unit and it is into this bar that the folded display attaches itself, ensuring no accidental openings. At almost 300 grammes, this is definitely on the heavy side, but hey, you are getting two devices in one compact package!
Terrific hardware, latest software
Huawei has thrown the kitchen sink at the Mate X. The phone comes with cutting edge hardware apart from that insanely innovative display. The phone comes with Huawei’s flagship processor, the HiSilicon Kirin 9800 (the same that was seen on the Mate 20 Pro), a massive 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, which is expandable using Huawei’s proprietary memory card.
That is about as powerful as any hardware in a phone out there. And of course, it will come with Android Pie with Huawei’s EMUI 9 running on top of it. Hardware and software wise, this will be a flagship.
Leica cameras back (and front also)
Thanks to its very innovative design, the Huawei Mate X uses the same set of cameras for selfies as well as normal rear camera shots. To take a selfie, simply turn the phone around and the rear display will come on, letting you see yourself and take a selfie.
And it is no set of ordinary cameras that do all this shooting. The Mate X comes with cameras with Leica technology: a 40-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera and an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor. And they take both normal as well as selfie snaps. Of course, this being a Huawei device, there will be lots of shooting and editing options. And editing on that large display will be quite an experience!
It is 5G ready
Huawei has told us that unlike other phones that are getting software tweaks to be 5G compatible when that network arrives, the mate X has been designed for 5G.
Its hardware and software are totally 5G ready. Of course, it means it will also work with existing networks, but it is 5G ready right out of the box. It also has Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity.
A big battery…actually two batteries
All that display stuff is going to need a lot of battery juice to keep it going. And Huawei has actually packed in two batteries to make sure the Mate X lasts a long time on a single charge. The two batteries together account for 4500 mAh, which is a lot, take our word for it.
And the fastest charging
The Mate X will come with the fastest charging battery seen at the time of writing. It will come with a 55W charger that can charge up to 85 per cent of the device in just half an hour. How cool is that?
It is getting a special cover
There is, of course, a lot of concern that: as the front and back of the Mate X, when in phone mode, have displays on both sides, the phone is going to be prone to scratches and smudges.
Huawei is working on a special cover to ensure that the phone stays in pristine condition, irrespective of how you use it. No, we do not know whether it will come in the box itself.
It is da bomb, and will cost a bomb as well, when it arrives
We saved the toughest part for the last. All this high tech will come with a very stiff price tag. The Mate X is expected to retail at about 2300 Euros (about USD 2600), and is expected to be close to Rs 1,75,000 -2,00,000 in India.
That’s a lot of money, but then it IS a tasty bit of new tech. And is not just future proof, but perhaps THE future itself. The final release dates for the Mate X have not been officially revealed but it is expected to arrive in international markets as well as India by the middle of this year.
Traveller’s tip: They might be a little on the expensive and heavy side, but we think phones with foldable displays are great for travellers, as they save you from the hassle of carrying an additional device. A phone like the Mate X can double up as your phone AND your tablet (even notebook, with the right apps), saving you valuable baggage space. Hey, you won’t need to pack in an extra device and its charger!