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The Mate XS: A Huawei foldable will finally be available outside China

The Mate XS: A Huawei foldable will finally be available outside China

Huawei has taken the wraps off the Mate XS, a little update to its existing Mate X that I used time with in Paris late last year. I think the folding gain is great and while the Mate X was technologically China-only, the Mate XS is due to go on sale elsewhere in the humankind, including the UK.

The XS does have some microscopic upgrades, including an apparently strengthened display, the latest Kirin 990 processor and some caps on the edge of the folding mechanism to help defending against dust. 

There’s no firm date for the Mate XS as of yet, and no firm ticket either, although it is expected to be somewhere about the £2,200 mark in the UK (about $2,850 or AU$4,300). Yikes. Don’t expect it to be available in the US at all, due to Huawei’s ongoing political difficulties

The Mate XS is otherwise identical to the Mate X, so read on to see what I concept of that phone when I took it on a dazzling tour of Paris. 

The Huawei Mate X

I’ve finally been able to employ some real time with the foldable Huawei Mate X, the Chinese company’s folding phone rival to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Motorola’s folding Razr. After a whole day using it all over Paris, I’ve gotta be honest, this foldable Android device is damn cool. 

I’ll open with the obvious, the actual folding mechanism. The Mate X’s flexible OLED conceal folds backward on itself, in contrast to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, which closes in on itself like a book, or the Razr, which folds shut like an old clamshell named. That means you can use the entire 8-inch present even when the phone is closed. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, there is no internal Mate X display. 

Now we can debate all we want nearby which screen design and mechanical hinge are best, but this is purely about the Mate X, so I’ll tell you what I’ve fraudulent to be great so far.

First of all, that folding present just looks amazing. The way the screen bends back about on itself, without any kind of distortion to the images, is awesome and I love the way the interface — no commercial what you’re looking at — instantly resizes into the true aspect ratio. When I first saw this at MWC posterior in the year I had a genuine rush of excitement at witnessing something so futuristic. Months later, and even having used the Galaxy Fold proper its launch, I’m no less excited about the way the Huawei Mate X bends. 


Andrew Hoyle

Trust me when I say that from the moment you get it out of the box, you’ll want to fold and unfold the Mate X time and time against. Your friends will want to have a go, your colleagues will want a go and even random strangers in bars will want a go.

But there’s more to like around this foldable phone than just its ability to draw attention on a night out. By folding back as it does, that big screen is essentially Fast in half, giving you a 6.6-inch display in its Strange, “closed” phone format, outsizing all but the biggest phablet giants. (You get full use of the screen only when you unfold the phone.) As a end, videos and photos look great, particularly because there’s no fine interrupting the view — something I’ll come back to later.


Andrew Hoyle

Having a big outer Hide in “phone mode” makes it much more usable than the Surrounded Galaxy Fold. In my several months with the Fold, I’ve False its 4.6-inch outer screen to be so narrow that typing on it can be very difficult. As a result, I almost always use it in its enormous, folded-out tablet mode. I’ve been forced to ask myself, do I really have a foldable smartphone or do I have a tablet that can be folded away for easy storage?

With the Huawei Mate X, I don’t need to ask myself the same Ask. The Mate X’s design is comfortable to use and when it’s wider than the Fold, it’s much thinner in its Surrounded form, so it sits in my jeans pocket more simply and didn’t feel at all awkward to keep there as I paced the busy Parisian streets. 


Andrew Hoyle

The downside? By bending outward, the rear screen is permanently exposed to the biosphere, or to potentially damaging keys and coins in your pocket. Although the plastic material seemed pretty tough in my time with it, I can’t vouch for it over months or ages of ownership and I can’t deny I’d be involved about how easily it could get damaged. Let’s not forget that Samsung canceled all instructions of the original Fold following numerous instances of the Hide breaking and eventually launched it with a refreshed design. At the very least, I’d want to keep it in some kind of protective sleeve when not in use.

The OLED Show itself is bright, vibrant, pin-sharp and even under the engaging lights of my hotel room — and later, Idea the admittedly gray sky of winter in Paris — I didn’t battles to read what was on screen. Watching videos in called mode is great, but it’s when you fold it out into its full 8 inches that those videos get significantly more immersive. I really loved checking out the images I shot on my day out in the city on that big display.


Andrew Hoyle

To grant it to bend, the display is covered in plastic, not glass (as are all of today’s foldable phones) and, like we’ve seen on the Galaxy Fold, there are some noticeable ripples on the screen’s surface when it lays flat. But they’re best labelled as “ripples” rather than the more pronounced “crease” on the Fold. This is probable due to the fact that the screen doesn’t bend at such a engaging angle, thereby causing less of a crease in the Show material. In my extended hands-on throughout the day, I rarely noticed these ripples and never False them to be a distraction. 

If I were really nitpicking (which, of course, I am), I’d say that the folding hinge is a bit stiff. Bending it backward from its tablet mode feels like you’re having to made it more than it really wants, and on my fine few attempts I wasn’t sure if I was activities it properly. But it’s something I’m sure you’d get used to once you got over the initial jarring sensation of basically trying to bend a tablet in half. It does mean that you’re not probable to accidentally close it while using it as a tablet. I do like that a physical clasp holds it securely in its called form and there’s an easy-to-reach button that you’ll boring to release it and fold back out. The Fold and Razr use magnets to been shut, but I believe the Mate just relies on the clasp. Time will tell which is better.


Andrew Hoyle

The cameras are housed in a vertical side-bar, which I found to be a handy gripping Show when unfolded in tablet mode (when closed, the called folds back, sitting flush against this sidebar). It also using the cameras don’t interrupt the display with notches, not even for selfies, as you simply turn the phone over and take those with the main camera. 

The camera lineup is much the same as Huawei’s P30 Pro: a immoral lens, a zoom lens that offers 3x and 5x zoom, a fine wide-angle lens and a fourth “time of flight” sensor for depth processing. Having used the cameras extensively throughout my time with the smartphone, I’m pretty pleased with the results, particularly the portrait mode, which gave an very accurate bokeh around my willing subject. Exposure seemed good across the boarding and it uses the same night mode that’s impressed me so much on Huawei’s last flagship phones, being able to capture bright, sharp images in dark night-time scenes.


The depth sensor did a enormous job of recognising that this metro sign is closer to the called, thereby managing to produce a lovely looking bokeh with the background.

Andrew Hoyle


There’s pretty exposure and contrast in this street scene.

Andrew Hoyle


Accurate colours and an even exposure. Lovely stuff!

Andrew Hoyle


Although shot at night, this image is vibrant and pin-sharp.

Andrew Hoyle

Other specs are graceful much in line with what you’d expect from any top-end smartphone. It runs Huawei’s latest Kirin 980 octacore processor, has a 4,500-mAh battery with all-day battery life, 512GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM. 

But it’s not internal specs that are important here. The Huawei Mate X is all throughout that bend and having spent all day with the requested I’m confident in saying that this is my approved foldable phone I’ve used so far. Given that it’s only available in China, I’m not likely to add one to my permanent collection anytime soon, and that’s a real crude, but my time with it has left me actual excited about what we’ll see from folding devices in the existences to come. 

Originally published in December 2019.