Are foldable smartphones the future of telephony? The future will tell, but we must admit that this format is attractive. Let's start with what is most obvious, the mechanism to fold the device. Unlike Samsung's Galaxy Fold, which closes like a book, or Motorola's razr that takes the format of a flip phone, the Mate X's OLED screen folds backwards. This means that you can use its foldable screen even when the phone is closed.
We can debate this format extensively, all this will evolve in the months and years to come, so we focused on the experience offered by the Mate X.
An attractive format
First of all, this foldable screen is beautiful. The way the screen folds back on itself, without any distortion of the image, is impressive and how not to appreciate the way the interface – no matter what you look at – resizes instantly in the right format. Foldable screens blow a breath of fresh air on a sector that has not changed significantly in 10 years. From the moment you take the Huawei Mate X out of its box, you will feel the urge to fold and unfold it again and again.
By folding backwards as it does, this large screen splits in half, giving you a slab of 6.6 inches. As a result, the videos and photos are superb, and there is no notch to reduce the immersion.
More smartphone than tablet?
Having a big screen even when the phone is folded makes it much more usable than the Galaxy Fold and its small 4.6-inch outdoor display. With the Galaxy Fold, the impression was to have a foldable tablet. In the case of Mate X, it's a little the opposite. It is comfortable to use and relatively thin, it fits in the pocket of jeans, you will not have to hold it in the hand all day.
The disadvantage of folding the screen to the outside? He is permanently exposed to keys, coins and other things lying in a pocket or on a table. Although the plastic seems hard enough, it is difficult to guarantee the long term. Let's not forget that Samsung canceled all the orders of the original Fold as a result of many cases of broken screen and finally launched it with a new design …
The OLED screen itself is bright, with sparkling colors. Watching videos when folded is great, but it's when you unfold it that the result is really convincing.
Some negative remarks …
To allow it to bend, the screen is covered with plastic and not glass, there are undulations visible on the surface when it is flat. However, they seem a little less visible than on the Fold, which is probably due to the fact that the screen does not bend at such a sharp angle. After a few minutes of use, these waves are quickly forgotten.
Another note, the hinge is a bit rigid. Folding it backwards gives the impression of forcing the mechanism. But maybe it's something you have to get used to and evaporate once you've overcome the terrifying sensation of trying to fold a smartphone in two. The physical clasp system is quite practical and there is an easy access button to release the screen.
And the photo in all this?
The cameras are arranged vertically on a vertical bar, which is also convenient enough to hold the phone in tablet mode. This means that cameras do not block the screen with a notch, even for selfies, as you simply flip the phone and use the main camera.
The photo module is about the same as the Huawei P30 Pro: a standard lens, a 3x and 5x zoom lens, an ultra-wide-angle lens and a fourth ToF sensor for depth processing. The result is satisfactory, especially the portrait mode which is extremely accurate. The show is also well managed and uses a very efficient night mode that captures clear, crisp images when the scene is dark.
The other features are logically those of a high-end smartphone. The Huawei Mate X runs on a Kirin 980 processor with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage. With its 4,500 mAh battery, it has a range of one day. We regret that it is only available in China.
CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance