It is a better implementation of the foldable telephone concept. I like the dreamy outer screen of the Mate X, and the grippy edge makes sense and brings back memories of the Kindle Voyage – the premium e-reader model.
It also looks like a Filofax. As a nine-year-old aspiring banker / lawyer / guy Gordon Gecko, I found the idea of a leather and leatherette notebook in very good shape. That has this aesthetics. The MateBook X looks (and sounds) professional and modern.
Instead of folding the screen inside the device (a la Galaxy Fold), Huawei placed this screen on the outside. This avoids the tricky problem of folding screens that can not be folded perfectly. Huawei also took advantage of this handy part to house cameras, logos and other phone labels. Translation: No nicks, no hole indications.
The Mate X not only has a square tablet surface, but "recycles" half of the screen to create a more functional "typical" smartphone display when it's closed. This makes the tiny screen of the Samsung Galaxy Fold (even more) embarrassing. On paper, the Mate X is more useful as a phone if you do not want to unfold it.
Under the muffled crowds at Huawei, I was surprised at how polished the unit looked. Like Samsung, this was a very controlled revelation. No touches, but a Huawei employee was ready to distort the phone through a series of positions and poses.
Huawei's screen did not look much better (or worse) than Samsung's. The visible seam of the Galaxy Fold raised a few eyebrows and asked questions – what about a few hundred wrinkles? The Mate X looks better, at least under flattering light. (Look at our photos here.) But throw some aggressive headlights on, and the tablet screen, which once looked completely flat, has a similar line in the middle.
So it's interesting if not more attractive than Samsung's folding phone – at least before we get one of the devices in our hands. But how will Huawei tackle the harsh reception in the US and elsewhere? The Chinese company faces allegations of wire-breakage and confidentiality theft, and as the heat between Huawei and the US focuses on 5G networks, losing phones to customers is an accident. The Mate X is, in a sense, a charming offensive aimed at customers – hard-boiled techies. What better way to convince your customers (and carrier partners) than with a tempting next-generation phone that early users want now.