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Huawei Mate X to touch: our foldable future

Huawei's zeal to keep journalists away from their new foldable Mate X phone came a little late today, and I was able to hold it for myself and fold it up. The hands-on experience with this device confirmed and deepened all of my feelings that I already had: it's a polished, refined physical design that brings us closer to the ideal of a folding block with minimal compromise. There are still big questions as to what the software UX will look like, how durable and scratch-resistant the wraparound display will be in the long run, and how long the battery will last if you take full advantage of this 5G tablet. I can not answer that today, but I can tell you what I know about the Huawei Mate X so far.


How does the screen feel?

The Mate X's OLED display is made of plastic and not glass like most smartphones today. This will be an inevitable feature of all foldable devices since glass can not be folded. Nothing on the plastic surface gave me problems or cause for concern. It has comparable friction and response to a normal glass-covered phone, and the only problem is the possibility of further scratches due to the softness of the plastic.

Viewing angles, contrast, saturation, vibrancy and uniformity look just as good as you find in most smartphones today. I find the plastic display a bit less reflective than its glass counterparts, which I like and prefer.

As for the all-important question, if I can see or feel the spine in the middle of the screen, where the fold is. The answer is "no". My time with the Mate X was not long enough to make a categorical statement, but this is definitely the flattest foldable I've encountered so far.

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Substantial. I was a bit surprised by the weight of the Mate X when I got it for the first time, as it is heavier than its ultra-flat look suggests. That's all well: I do not want a $ 2,299 gadget forgetful, light and unobtrusive, and the Mate X feels tight and firm in the hand. Inside is a large 4.500 mAh battery that probably contributes most of the weight.

In terms of basic ergonomics, the open tablet is very easy to use with one hand, and the 8: 7 aspect ratio means that it still has landscape, and portrait orientations, if only fair. I find its form most useful for tasks like surfing the web and least compatible with watching YouTube or other widescreen content.

The shape of the Mate X is half open when placed on a surface – you can always use the thinner back of the display as a stand. I like it. I also like the fact that the Mate X works in the folded state just as you would expect from a rather chunky phone. When you turn the phone over when folded, it switches between the rear 6.4-inch screen and the 6.6-inch main display with speed and accuracy.


How does the hinge feel?

For me, this is the least impressive part of the Mate X. The hinge feels almost crisp in its operation. There is no tactile smoothness that can be talked about, you just have to push it open. I think Huawei has put a lot of emphasis on durability in this design because the hinge has a lot of resistance and feels like it can withstand many opening and closing operations. It does not feel very elegant or supple. I can imagine that this is one reason why Huawei cared too much about too many people touching the device. The hinge will not break, but it could break your dreamlike trance if you use this smartphone tablet from the future.

Huawei has attached a latch to the grip area of ​​the Mate X that holds the folded tablet in a closed position. I doubt that the lock is absolutely necessary, since the joint already has a lot of friction, but it is an additional security. The Mate X closes with a nice click as the latch snaps into place, and there's a button to reopen it right on the latch.

Ask, "does it feel like € 2,299?" So I should address that issue directly. The Mate X is not a linear extension of an existing device or design trend. It is a completely new form factor, though based on existing smartphone and tablet technologies. Therefore, the Mate X together with Samsung's Galaxy Fold must now build its own market and reimburse not inconsiderable research and development costs. Today's early adopter price reflects all of these factors and it would not be fair to judge this hybrid device based on existing smartphone standards and existing smartphone prices.

The Only Thing I Want to Say about the Mate X According to our current, sky-high smartphone standards, foldable devices are most likely to meet those expectations. At least in terms of hardware design. We still have a long way to go before we reach the goal of an ideal foldable phone, but Huawei's Mate X speeds us faster than anyone else.

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