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The Huawei Mate X is an untouchable foldable

– Hey guys, we’re here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and we’ve just taken a look at Huawei’s Mate X. Its first foldable phone, a competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, and it’s one of the most exciting devices we’re gonna see this show. I do say see, because none of us got a chance to touch it, so let’s have a look at it, and I’ll tell you what we know about it so far. So the big difference between the Mate X and the Galaxy Fold is pretty obvious, the Galaxy Fold folds inwards, the screen is on the inside, whereas with the Mate X it wraps around the outside of the device. When you have the screen on the inside, you have to be aware about it freezing, so you do have to have a radius on the inside of the hinge. Now when the screen is on the outside, that radius is already integrated into it so the actual device can pretty much fold flat, and that’s what the Mate X does. But in terms of holding it in your hand, when the person was demoing it, it just looks much more natural, it looks also a more robust and durable device.

Huawei’s demo person, he held it pretty much within reach of myself so I could see it up close, he handled it super casually, it wasn’t like one of those super fragile prototypes where you’re tenderly opening and closing it. It almost feels like an expanded smart phone. You really stretched out a smartphone, and then you decided, you know what, we’ll just fold it. So to me that says we’re talking about a device that is really much closer to a retail product than pretty much any other foldable device we’ve seen.

Hopefully, at some point during the MWC somebody will let me touch it, so I can speak about how it feels, and whether it’s as light as it looks. And that’s the other thing with the Mate X, it’s super thin. It’s got a millimeters of thickness across most of the device, and then it has little bump which I consider pretty much a grip, which makes it 11 millimeters. And that grip also integrates with the cameras, it has a USB C charging port, which also brings to mind, there’s no headphone jack. As far as I’ve seen, no headphone jack. It matches the Galaxy Fold, what can we do, the future has no headphone jacks in it apparently. Anyway, that’s not the important thing, the important thing is how the thing functions. You have an eight inch display when the tablet is fully open, and when you close it up, you have a inch. Pretty much a regular smartphone on the main display, and then you have a inch really tall display on the back, because that’s sitting right next to the grip with the camera stuff.

Then you have the rear one which helps you with taking selfies with the main camera, if you wanna take a photo of somebody and you want them to see you taking their photo, you can do that. You have screen mirroring. And then again you have the eight inch tablet, which is almost a square. It’s an eight by aspect ratio.

I don’t know why Huawei couldn’t just make it a little bit wider and give us a perfect square, that would have been just the magical Instagram device. So Huawei’s keeping quite a few of the specs under wraps for now, but I’ll tell you what we do know. Firstly the processor is the Kirin 980, and there’s also a 5G modem in there, the Balong 5000, I love that name. Both of them are built on seven nanometer process, so it’s about as advanced as Huawei can give you, both of them are from Huawei itself. There’s also 4500 milliamp-hour battery in there. Huawei’s also upgraded its charging to 55 watts, which is kind of intense for a pocketable device. That means 85% charge in 30 minutes. Again, with such a large battery it’s super impressive. No wireless charging that I know of, but y’know by that point we’re really talking wishlist items. In terms of practicalities there’s a fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button on the side.

So this is our first, very fleeting, very complete look, at a Huawei Mate X. What I will say is that, having handled the Royal Flexpai at CES, having seen as much as you can see of the Samsung Galaxy Fold earlier this week, and now having come close to the Huawei Mate X, I think this is by far the most complete concept. It’s not even a concept anymore, it really seems like a retail product, something that’s ready to go on shelves, and be put into people’s hands, y’know. Huawei is going to have to figure out the software.

It’s doing some side-by-side multitasking with apps. It needs to figure out how to make the screens turn on and off when you want to use just the smartphone section, just the tablet section etc. So there’s still so many questions with it, but I do feel like, this is the closest we’ve come to producing a foldable device that is really just ready to go on sale, and for people to use, and to actually enjoy using. I do adverts. For more news, gadgets, smartphones, 5G, cameras, etc. coming out of Mobile World Congress, stay tune to theverge.com and youtube.com/theverge. Can’t promise you that all of it will be as exciting as the Mate X, but we’ll try and get our hands on this thing and bring it to you.

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