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First Look At Huawei's Foldable 5G Phone, The Mate X(Forbes)

The Huawei Mate X, a foldable phone that supports 5G connectivity.

The article first appeared on the Forbes.

Just a few days after Samsung unveiled a true foldable phone with one single display that can bend and fold in half like a piece of paper, Huawei has introduced its own take, the Mate X, and judging by looks, Huawei’s version is just as cutting-edge as Samsung’s, if not more.

I say “looks” because that’s all anyone can go by right now — like Samsung, Huawei announced the device officially, but didn’t let anyone other than Huawei executives touch the device. Huawei at least allowed select media members, including myself, to get up close to a demo unit (Samsung only demo’ed its phone on stage).

The Mate X has a single 8-inch OLED display that can be folded like a book. The fold is backwards instead of inwards (meaning the screen continues to face out even when folded), and the hinge isn’t quite at the mid-way point, as one side of the display bends back to fit into an aluminum chassis that holds a vertical row of Leica-branded cameras.

Once folded, the “front” of the Mate X has a display that measures 6.6 inches, while the back screen is 6.4 inches. The back screen will be used for taking selfies, and possibly tasks that users tend to use with one hand, such as dialing phone numbers. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, whose unfolded screen has a cut-out for cameras and the folded-screen is wrapped by bezels; the Mate X’s display spans edge to edge in both folded and unfolded form factors. This makes the Mate X even more immersive and “futuristic looking” than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.

The Mate X runs on Huawei’s Kirin 980 and Balong 5000. The former is Huawei’s much-talked about 7nm SoC; the latter is the company’s new 5G chipset. With it, the Mate X is 5G ready out of the box. Huawei claims the Mate X can reach peak download speeds of 4Gbps, which is ten times faster than the current max speeds via 4G.

There are two battery cells inside the Mate X which combine for 4,500 mAh capacity. This is huge by smartphone standards, but it is powering an 8-inch, hi-res (2,480 X 2,200) display, so I don’t expect the Mate X to be an endurance beast, like the Mate 20 Pro.

At the time of this writing, Huawei hasn’t revealed pricing, release date and other crucial specs, such as camera hardware and RAM. I suspect the camera array will be the same as found in the Mate 20 Pro, which means it should be a very capable camera. And considering the Mate X has a larger screen and 5G capability (something Samsung’s foldable phone doesn’t support), the Mate X could retail for even higher than Samsung’s $2,000 asking price for its foldable phone.

Read the full article on the Forbes.

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