Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X – two devices you’re going to hear a whole lot more about over the months ahead as mobile companies set out to redefine the mobile phone from this point forward.
Huawei have taken an alternate approach to the folding phone with the Mate X – and that’s not a bad thing, because with something so new, we really don’t know what it is to be and how it should work, so these different devices will help consumers discover that.
The Mate X folds outward – it doesn’t open up like a book (as in Samsung’s Galaxy Fold).
Where Samsung have two screens, one 4.6inch on the outside, one 7.3inch on the inside – Huawei have just one screen. It’s 8 inches and with a resolution of 2480 x 2200 and a screen aspect ratio of 8:7.1 – very squarish.
That screen is folded around the outside of the device, so part of it is the front and part of it is the back.
What would be described as the main screen or front is a 6.6 inch 19.5:9 ratio 2480 x 1148 area that you’d use like a normal Android phone.
Around back, the screen is narrower – or taller as the case may be – at 6.38 inches and a 25:9 aspect ratio rocking 2480 x 892 pixels.
Now if you do your maths, that’s a missing 2480 x 160 pixels – because when closed the screen is still wrapped around the hinge, but not on or used.
Huawei define this as the “Future of Design” and “Future of Technology” because like Samsung – they don’t really know how we want to use these new screens.
However – at a glance, I’ve got to say, I like the Huawei approach better.
It’s a usable smartphone – 11mm thick when folded – which is a whole lot less than the Samsung, and in fact the bulk of the “tablet” when folded out is just 5.4mm thin (compare that to a 5.9mm iPad Pro).
That’s achieved because like the original Lenovo Yoga Tablets back in the day, there’s a bit of a grip on one side. Where the smaller “side” folds into the device, there’s an side that’s thicker and makes it somewhat easier to grip – this is where the camera module is for the Leica camera system.
Speaking of which, there’s just the one camera array on here. Again, in a different approach to Samsung, who have “front” “rear” and “inside” cameras, there are just the three here.
This means no “notch” on the tablet screen, which goes almost edge to edge – and it also means some cool camera software functions.
Like – imagine holding the device up to take a photo of someone. You can see the image – so now, because the back side of the phone is also a screen, you can mirror that image so they can see themselves too!
The whole device is built on a Flexible OLED display with a hinge system they are calling “Falcon Wing” and while we haven’t used the device, at a distance I think there might be some warping of the screen when not in full open or closed mode – this will be the real concern for people when testing these new products I think.
On the side is a power button with integrated fingerprint reader, and the whole thing is “interstallar Blue” which you really only see on the back side of the tablet form factor.
But wait, there’s more. It’s a 5G device too.
Running the Huawei Kirin 980 Processor and “Balong 5000 Modem” Huawei reckon this thing could achieve speeds 10 times 4G, and 2 times 5G industry levels. This assumes the “Sub 6G” standard of 5G – which varies country to country, so don’t get too excited about the 1GB movie in 3 second claims just yet.
It’s not light on power either – a 4500mAh battery, which offers 55W Huawei Supercharging – giving you 80% of that 4500mAh recharged in 30 minutes.
So, there’s a catch
The price. Yeah. €2299. On a basic conversion that’s $3,655 – so yeah, if it comes to Australia we’re looking at $4k – that kinda takes the edge off all that Samsung bashing they did at the unveil.
However, to their credit, CEO Richard Yu said when the price appeared on screen that Technology like this is expensive, it’s early days, it’s innovation – and that costs money. It will take time to reduce that. Fair call – but still, it’s not a great look.
A whole lot of detail, but not a whole lot of time with the device – it’s still under executive lock and key until it’s ready for the public. No word, or hope yet on if or when it might make it to Australia. We shall wait and see.
EFTM’s coverage of Mobile World Congress is supported by Oppo, Huawei and Vodafone.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.