Huawei announces $3,425 foldable display Mate X smartphone

James Martin  CNET

James Martin CNET

Even though both Huawei Mate X and Galaxy Fold are foldable phones, they are quite different in the way they fold. Huawei seems to have put a lot of thought into designing the device. It's not clear whether this three-camera system is the same as the one found in the Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro but expect Huawei to leveraging their Leica-built photography hardware as a point of difference over rival foldables in the future.

When folded out the screen measures at eight inches with 2480 x 2000 resolution and has a thickness of 5.4mm. A main 6.6-inch display and a secondary 6.4-inch one on the back.

There is no gap between the panels when the phone is closed. On the body is a fingerprint sensor on the right-hand side. We're looking at an all-screen foldable device with tiny bezels, as well as a thicker edge that houses the triple-lens camera. Maybe it's because we've seen it up close, unlike the Fold, but the Mate X just looks better. On these metrics, it beats out Samsung's version which Huawei had no trouble with pointing out. Should Samsung or Huawei's phones be more expensive than Samsung or Huawei's laptops?

Industry experts believe Huawei has landed the first blow in the battle of the foldable phones following the announcement of its Mate X.

An outward fold means the plastic-covered screen is always going to be at risk of picking up dents and scratches, which isn't a problem you'll have with Samsung's encapsulated solution.

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Check out that "falcon hinge" design. That said, for a foldable phone, it could be the one of the thinnest. It also has 8GB of RAM and come with 512GB internal memory.

The grip bar is where makes the Mate X easy to use with one hand. Samsung's foldable phone started at just under $2000 for the USA market so an Australian price will likely be north of $2500.

As for the U.S., Huawei can only make so much headway as long as the government is casting the company as a cyber-villain, said Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen. Economies of scale and maturing technologies will bring prices down if that's what the market decides it wants.

The Chinese tech giant also unveiled a new range of laptops at the press event. Unfolded, the Mate X's screen is 8 inches diagonally, making it the size of a small tablet.

The company also introduced the phone in a series of tweets boasting of its many features. It is the first PC with that feature. It also shares the Kirin 980 processor of that phone, along with a Balong 5000 7nm 5G chipset, so it's a phone ready for the next-gen of mobile networking. Maybe smart assistants will finally catch up to the promises their creators have made, and we'll switch to more conservatively-sized phones because voice will take a greater role.

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