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The Huawei Mate X is even more exciting than you think it is

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

By the way, anyone interested in technology may have heard of the Mate X – Huawei's fantastically expensive, bendable cellphone, which despite the second launch is the headlight of Samsung's Galaxy Fold Steel

The Mate X even managed to turn some skeptics into curvaceous believers. But not me, I've always been optimistic about flexible display technology. Foldable screens do not like scores. Not just a step-by-step step toward a bigger goal like an all-screen phone. Flexible displays have the power to change the way in which entire categories of gadgets are created and designed, especially wearables and phones.

But after trying the Mate X, it surprised me the most, even though it's state-of-the-art. With X space still plenty of room for refinement, the Mate X was even more seductive than I thought.

The joint of the Mate X is spring loaded. So if you press the button, it will open about 45 degrees.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

But before we go deeper, all this kind of caveat comes with the caveat that we first have to ignore how much this thing costs. Yes, with a price of 2,300 euros (about 2,600 euros), the Mate X is unforgottenly expensive and under no circumstances guarantees a premium of 150 percent over mobile phones like the Mate 20 Pro or the Galaxy S10, which are already expensive devices. High prices are common for new technologies. When the Motorola DynaTac, the first mobile phone, hit the market in 1983, it cost $ 4,000 – and that's before you even think about inflation. Bendy-tech will be expensive at first, and when it arrives, it will become more affordable.

So back to the device. From the moment I picked it up, the Mate X felt a lot more solid than the swiveling, curvy screen design suggests. Much of this stability is due to the Mate X's asymmetric case, which has a large bar on the right side that holds most of the phone's bowels, and a USB-C port that also serves as a firm grip.

You Normally I would not use the Mate X bent, but that's what it looks like when you do it.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Even if you hold and shake it in one hand, the screen does not really flutter around and if you really try it, you can turn the screen in the opposite direction to the hinge does not happen without provocation. Huawei also opted for a surprisingly old school to keep the phone tightly closed when half folded: a simple button among the Mate X's triple cams.

It's a surprising addition. So many new phones tend to look more streamlined (and some even say they have no ports at all). But it works. The click you hear when you close the Mate X's screen gives you a reassuring, satisfying sound that informs you that the screen is closed.

Huawei also worked on the software of the Mate X, whether you are using the camera app, surfing the web or checking your calendar: the transition from switching half of the foldable display to full screen mode is pretty smooth. Unlike the Royole FlexPai, jittering or graphic artifacts do not occur when switching between modes.

Meanwhile, the Mate X feels in one-handed mode is not so much different than a normal device. Thanks to the reinforced panels behind the display, the screen has not been squashed by the screen found on old Nintendo 3DS displays. The roundness of the screen to the side when it is collapsed, gives almost the same impression you get on modern phones with rounded "3D" data glass displays.

As for the screen itself, it looks damn good. The colors look full and saturated. For people who like to take pictures with a tablet or just do not see much, using the camera app or viewing photos with the 8-inch screen of the Mate X is a real treat. For something that is essentially a pioneer of a whole new class of devices, it does not seem to give the frustration of the first generation of something like the dual-screen ZTE Axon M.

. That said, there are still some very important questions that the Mate X has to answer, especially in terms of screen longevity. When Samsung speared its pliable Infinity Flex display for the first time in November last year, the company emphasized all the efforts it had made to create a new flexible OLED layer and backplane, ultra-thin polarizer and even new types of flexible adhesives. its flexibility enabled the phone to withstand thousands of turns.

Even though the Mate XI was so far out of the center, it showed virtually no signs of wear.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Huawei made similar claims The Mate X, but unlike Samsung, has provided much less details about how the Mate X's screen was made or where it came from. When I asked Huawei for more details on the origins of the Mate X screen, a spokesman said only that Huawei does not reveal the names of its suppliers. Overall, there are only a handful of companies around the world that can even produce flexible screens, and Samsung is almost certainly not the company responsible for the Mate X's screen, leaving only a few other vendors, such as LG or TCL , [19659003] However, there is a scenario that suggests that the screens of Mate X and Galaxy Fold may be based on the same underlying technology without the direct involvement of Samsung. At the end of 2018, a Samsung supplier was arrested and charged with stealing flexible display techniques and selling them to a Chinese display manufacturer. According to rumors, the display manufacturer on the other side of the transaction is said to have been BOE, a manufacturer that is known to have supplied components used on previous Huawei devices.

Some devices had a screen that showed more signs of wrinkles than others.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

If you do not know the origin of the technology, it can be worrisome about its durability, and there are signs that the Mate X may have problems. Huawei had shown a handful of Mate Xs, some of which showed a suspicious fold in the center of the screen. This raised some doubts about the accuracy of Huawei's statements on durability.

Although the wrinkles themselves could be a problem in some ways, as seen from the front or from anything other than very sharp angles you can see that. & # 39; It actually looks like the fold. The wrinkles were not visible on any Mate XI, although this was not very surprising as some units were likely to see more use than others.

The other problem is the use of plastic instead of glass for the top. As a protective layer on flexible displays, they could be more susceptible to damage from otherwise harmless items such as coins or keys, objects that in recent years did not pose a threat to modern smartphones , No matter how tough devices like Mate X and Galaxy Fold are in the wild, we do not know how hard bendable cell phones really are.

Still a little concern, Huawei is preparing for the alleged 5G capabilities of the Mate X, which allegedly downloads up to 4.6 Gbps in one sub 6 GHz network. If that's true, that would be twice the maximum download speeds that can be achieved with the Qualcomm X50 5G modem, though Patrick Moorhead can only achieve something on the millimeter wave 5G, as the industry analyst found on Twitter is executed, and thus should achieve transfer speeds fast.

Taking selfies on a folding phone, what a great use of tech.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

But even with the questions, what Huawei showed at MWC with the new Mate X was still revolutionary. And even more than ever, I'm convinced that devices with flexible screens are not just a fad, unlike 3D TVs and LaserDisc. I just hope that when curvy gadgets are actually affordable, most of the kinks will be resolved by then.

The Mate X is expected to hit the market in June, two months after the Samsung Galaxy Fold was released by Samsung.

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