The Huawei Mate X is a 5G Foldable Smartphone with the Kirin 980, 55W Fast Charging, and Quad Cameras
After a year of uninspired smartphone releases, 2019 is gearing up to be one of the most exciting for smartphone enthusiasts. We’ve got smartphones with under-display cameras and smartphones with no ports or buttons. Thanks to the inevitable popularity of the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S10, we expect to see more smartphones with display holes this year. However, the display hole isn’t the only trend that Samsung is spearheading. The company has kicked off a race between the biggest industry players to pull off the first successful smartphone with a foldable display. Huawei is challenging Samsung with their own take on the foldable form factor with the new Huawei Mate X. We’ve already seen how the Samsung Galaxy Fold works thanks to Samsung extensively showing off the device at Samsung Unpacked. Now, let’s take a look at the Huawei Mate X and how it differs from the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Huawei Mate X Design
Besides the fact that both the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X are both ultra-premium smartphones with foldable displays, they couldn’t be more different. While the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s foldable display is designed to fold inward to allow the secondary cover display to act as the main display when the device is held like a smartphone, the Huawei Mate X’s foldable display is designed to fold outward so only half the main display is shown when the device is held like a smartphone. This means that the Samsung Galaxy Fold has 2 displays while the Huawei Mate X only has 1. Here’s a short video demonstrating how the Huawei Mate X is unfolded.
The entire OLED screen, when unfolded, measures 8-inches in diameter. The screen resolution is 2480×2200 at an aspect ratio of 8:7.1. When folded, the front-facing part of the display measures 6.6-inches in diameter with a resolution of 2480×1148 (19.5:9). The other side of the display, which can be used to view content entirely separately from the front side, measures 6.38-inches in diameter with a resolution of 2480×892 (25:9). The Huawei Mate X doubles as a tablet and a smartphone with dual displays, like the Nubia X.
On the side of the device, you’ll find the bar which houses the entire quad camera setup (so far, Huawei has disclosed that it has a 40 MP Wide Angle Lens, a 16 MP Ultra Wide Angle Lens, and an 8 MP Telephoto lens), a fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button, volume buttons, and other sensors. Huawei says the Mate X has a “sophisticated falcon wing hinge design” outside curvature, whatever that means. To the company’s credit, the Mate X is incredibly thin when unfolded—a mere 5.4mm, to be exact. Folding the Mate X predictably doubles the thickness, but at 11mm, the device is only approximately 1mm thicker than the Google Nexus 6. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Huawei Mate X folds perfectly flat, which helps with the thickness a bit.
To protect the smartphone, Huawei is offering a full cover flip case that can protect the rear half of the display when it’s not in use.
Huawei Mate X Specifications
The Huawei Mate X is not only Huawei’s first foldable smartphone but also their first smartphone that supports 5G connectivity. The device is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 980 chipset like on the Huawei Mate 20 series, but it’s accompanied by the company’s Balong 5000 5G modem, a multi-mode modem that supports sub-6GHz and mmWave frequencies and standalone and non-standalone networks. The Balong 5000, like the new Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem, is manufacturing using a 7nm process. Huawei says the Balong 5000 supports downlink speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, and Huawei claims a user can theoretically download a 1GB video file in 3 seconds. We’re many months away from seeing 5G’s promised speeds becoming a reality, so don’t read into those numbers too much. Since the device is unlikely to launch in the United States, though, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is so far the only 5G foldable smartphone that Americans will be able to purchase.
The smartphone has a huge 4,500mAh battery, which is larger than the battery found on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (4,200mAh) but smaller than the battery found on the Huawei Mate 20 X (5,000mAh). Like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Huawei Mate X’s battery is split across both sides of the device for more even weight distribution. Perhaps because of this, Huawei is able to offer a staggering 55W wired fast charging solution, charging the phone to 85% in 30 minutes—the fastest we’ve ever seen in a mobile device. Even OPPO’s SuperVOOC only charges at 50W power, while Huawei’s current SuperCharge 2.0 solution charges at 40W power. Maybe the upcoming Huawei P30 Pro will feature this new fast charging solution, but we expect it to show up in a special edition smartphone before any mainline product lineup.
Other than that, the Huawei Mate X will come in an 8GB RAM and 512GB storage model for €2199. The device will support dual SIM for 5G/4G connectivity and expandable storage via an NM Card. The device will be available starting from the middle of 2019, according to Huawei. The device will only be available in an Interstellar Blue color. Here are the full specifications:
|Dimensions||Unfolded: 146.2 x 161.3 x 5.4 mm|
Folded: 78.3 x 161.3 x 11 mm
Size: 8″ unfolded, 6.6″ for front panel, 6.38″ for back panel
Resolution: 2480×2200 unfolded, 2480×1148 for front panel, 2480×892 for back panel
|Chipset||Huawei Kirin 980|
Balong 5000: 2G/3G/4G/5G multi-mode, SA & NSA support
CPU: 2 x Cortex-A76 @ 2.6GHz + 2 x Cortex-A76 @ 1.92GHz + 4 x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
|Software||Android 9 Pie-based EMUI 9.1.1|
|Storage||512GB, expandable via NM card|
|Cameras||40 MP (Wide Angle Lens) + 16 MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens) + 8 MP (Telephoto)|
|Charging||55W Huawei SuperCharge|
|Sensors||Gravity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Gyroscope, Compass, Fingerprint Sensor, Hall sensor, Barometer, Infrared sensor, color temperature sensor|
|Connectivity||SIM: Dual SIM|
NFC: Yes, RW mode/P2P mode/Card Emulation
Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, BLE, SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC and HWA Audio
Location: GPS (L1 + L5 dual band) / AGPS / Glonass / BeiDou / Galileo (E1 + E5a dual band) / QZSS (L1 + L5 dual band)
Primary SIM card:
5G NR TDD: N41 / N77 / N78 / N79
Secondary SIM card:
4G LTE TDD: B34 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41
|Ports and Buttons||USB Type-C (3.1). No 3.5mm headphone jack. Fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button.|
|Accessories||Full Protection Case|
|Availability||Middle of 2019|
Samsung and Huawei’s approach to foldables are complete opposites, though Huawei’s approach notably mirrors that of Royole’s FlexPai. Given that both smartphones are incredibly expensive and haven’t launched yet, we don’t expect either device to sell very well. However, both tech giants are testing the waters by releasing these experimental smartphones before the market is really ready for the foldable form factor to take off. Will the inward or outward fold become the norm? How many displays does a foldable need? How many cameras should there be? These are all areas where the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold heavily differ, and we’re excited to see how the form factor evolves over the course of 2019.
This article was updated at 10:48 AM EST shortly after publication to add the full specifications table.