At Mobile World Congress, Chinese network giant Huawei stole the show with its Mate X folding smartphone . But there was a flaw: the potential future of the cell phone could only be assessed by glass, not try. We could not say much about the folding mechanism and the flexible display. This is changing now: Huawei has sent a prototype on a big European tour had the opportunity to try out the folding smartphone.
Who folds and bends, which is not thought since the invention of the smartphone for folding and bending, it has a strange feeling. If the folding and bending is accompanied by a slight creak, as was the case with our first contact with a prototype of the Mate X in a Viennese hotel, the skepticism does not diminish.
In fact, the Mate X is not as fragile as it looks. Our test run with a number of bending processes, the device survived completely unscathed, the numerous other journalists at the official Austrian premiere did not kill the folding smartphone synonymous.
The place where the display is kinked, you can see
for the long-term use, of course, that means nothing. At the prototype, we noticed a slight bump at the point where the display kinks. In frontal view barely noticeable, you can see them laterally, especially right after unfolding.
A reminder that you’re dealing here with a flexible display under a plastic protective layer and not with the screens of conventional smartphones hidden behind scratch-resistant glass. And a reminder that this is the first generation of a new device category that has yet to prove its longevity and scratch resistance.
First of all, not necessarily as a folding phone recognizable
The first contact with a folding smartphone remains something special. When folded, the Mate X would basically go through as a normal smartphone. We can imagine that uninitiated people do not necessarily recognize the device as a folding smartphone.
Only when you turn on the display on the back or solves the lock of the display by pressing a button and completely unfold the screen with 2480 times 2000 pixels resolution with good resistance, until you hold a nearly square tablet in his hands, it becomes obvious what you are in there Holding hands. That makes for a proper wow effect at the beginning.
With a large display, you can do a lot
What you can do with the Mate X, then we became immediately aware: Especially when reading and viewing pictures has advantages. On the big screen it surfs through the larger space on a clearer on the web than on a small smartphone screen. You are not limited to mobile websites, but you can also use the desktop version of your favorite website. When viewing the image, you benefit from the extra diagonal.
Multi-tasking with two apps also works well. The minimal unevenness in the middle of the device, where the display is folded, did not bother us. The slightly thicker part of the case, housing the camera, processor, finger scanner and other parts, provides a practical grip when used in tablet mode and provides ergonomics. In fact, we think the light Mate X is very comfortable, so it invites you to go on extensive raids through the Web.
Also folded not unpractical
Practically, the foldable display appeared sometimes even in the folded state. The display on the back serves as a viewfinder when taking selfie snapshots with the main camera – a front camera does not need the Mate X for design reasons. If you hold the camera on another person, this can be seen in the second display.
The fact that the Mate X is covered with display in transportable mode both at the front and at the back, but it also makes it vulnerable. The device can not be protected with scratch-resistant glass due to the flexible screen, and the hardened plastic it is coated with might not be as robust as glass. A protective case is almost mandatory – especially with a planned retail price of 2300 euros. Looking ahead, Huawei has already devised a transport case that protects the front and back of the Mate X on the go. We could not test it yet, but the bag should have the disadvantage that you have to take out the device first if you want to unfold it. In terms of robustness, it seems, couldAlready before the Mate X announced rival Galaxy Fold from the house Samsung by design have the nose ahead . We could not try it out yet.
Display, Camera: The smartphone basics are right!
And what is the Mate X apart from bending and folding for a smartphone? Our first impression after a very good one. The interface was shown fluently thanks to the fast HiSilicon Kirin 980 chip, apps started quickly. The recognition in which display – front or back – you look straight, works thanks to position sensor quite well. The triple camera with Leica branding, to which we are supposedly in line with the one in the still unannounced P30, which will be presented at the end of the month, takes sharp and detailed photos indoors. The battery should also provide enough juice for a few hours of tablet operation thanks to its 4500 mAh capacity.
The display itself enjoys OLED technology with intense colors and great contrast, the brightness and sharpness were also convincing in the short test. At least in terms of lateral readability, we had the feeling that conventional smartphones are a bit ahead of the pack here. 5G mobile radio is on board, but given the just beginning network expansion currently probably no real advantage. The expandable by microSD card – 512 gigabytes of flash memory, the Huawei donated the Mate X, should also offer larger media databases enough space.
Conclusion: It is exciting again in the smartphone market
Everything made in all Huawei Mate X even as a prototype a really exciting idea and promises to finally bring back wind in a smartphone market, in which the wheel of innovation has recently turned more slowly ,
But it is also the first generation of a new device category and as such, given the high price to enjoy with caution . How many folds the display survives unscathed, how the “Falcon Wing” special hinge beats after two years of use and how it stands for the release of the software offering, which uses the possibilities of the folding display, has yet to show.