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Without Google, but with a huge display – the new HUAWEI smartphone has not only an interesting design, but also a cool stuffing. We test the flexible Mate Xs and figure out whether it is convenient to use a folding device.
Externally, the Mate Xs is no different from last year’s Mate X – the same dimensions of the case, the diagonal of the display and a set of cameras. Unless the button for opening the screen turned red. However, HUAWEI has improved the OLED panel cover and mechanical hinge, and also updated the processor. Now the smartphone operates on the top Kirin 990.
In Europe, the device will cost 2,499 euros. The price tag is due to the fact that in this flagship all the best practices of the brand are collected. And the flexible screen technology is quite young and expensive.
How does it work
The design of the smartphone will cause genuine curiosity even for a sophisticated user: HUAWEI Mate Xs is equipped with a display that folds like a book. At the same time, both the back and the front panel are screens with diagonals of 6.6 ”and 6.38”. When unfolded, the phone turns into an almost square 8-inch tablet.
The two halves of the body are connected by a Falcon Wing mechanical joint. It uses an alloy based on zirconium, thanks to which the structure can open up to 180 ° and remain strong. A button is provided for opening – this is more convenient than manual, but it still requires a noticeable effort.
The Mate Xs screen is based on OLED technology. Plastic coating makes the display more durable and flexible. As a result, we have a bright matrix with wide viewing angles and rich colors. There is no flickering effect.
Speaking of flexibility: one of the most popular questions is whether the junction between the parts of the screen is visible. If you look at the flagship at a right angle, as is usually the case during use, the display seems completely flat. No stripes or folds. The joint is felt when you swipe in the center of the OLED panel. However, this is not a problem at all – the display is very sensitive, responds to all actions.
The folding screen is vulnerable to mechanical damage – scratches quickly appear on the protective film. In addition, when folded, the novelty is noticeably thicker than conventional smartphones, although thinner than two medium phones.
Another feature: the display has rounded edges and there is a complete silicone bumper – all this gives a certain guarantee of protection in the event of a fall.
Large but square
An additional OLED panel, which appears on the back, is turned on only when taking a selfie. The Mate Xs, in fact, does not have a front camera, so face unlock is not provided.
When folded, the main 6.6-inch screen is active. It is large enough to in most cases use only it, and not lay out the case for all eight inches. However, at first it’s hard to resist this possibility, and I want to do everything on a large display.
Oddly enough, watching a video on an expanded screen is not much more convenient than on a regular one. Many videos have an aspect ratio of 16: 9. When you launch them on the square display, black fields remain above and below. As a result, the frame size is not much larger than on a 6-inch phone.
Another thing is surfing, reading and social networks. Popular applications like Telegram and VKontakte perfectly adapt to the Mate Xs format, taking up all the space. Content immediately becomes larger and easier to read. Flipping a tape and answering chats on a rather big diagonal is much more convenient. Of course, you have to hold the Mate Xs with both hands, but let’s be fair – now it is difficult to control classic smartphones with one hand.
Also, the large screen looks great in games. Of course, not all releases are suitable for him. But those that are adequately stretched look simply gorgeous. If you turn the phone so that the protrusion with the cameras is at the bottom, it is convenient to hold it using your thumbs to control the gameplay.
The new product runs on Android 10 in the EMUI 10 assembly. The system is perfectly adapted to the device format and supports multi-window Multi-Window mode. To open two applications, drag the icon from the side menu to the desired half of the display. You can transfer text and files between programs: just select a photo or paragraph and drag it to the next window. This is especially convenient when working with mail – no need to search for a specific document to add to the attachment. You can open the file folder and attach everything you need with one swipe. If two programs are few, it’s easy to open the third one in a floating window by placing it in any corner of the display.
In addition to the multi-window mode in EMUI 10, there are other chips. For example, a dark theme and smart unlocking using Bluetooth. The latter functions as follows. Choose your favorite wearable device, for example a fitness bracelet or a wireless headset. And when the gadget is connected to the smartphone, the screen is easy to unlock with a simple swipe.
Where to get applications?
Like all recent HUAWEI phones, the foldable Mate Xs comes with no Google services. Instead of Google Play, a proprietary HUAWEI AppGallery app store is installed here. Last year, such a step seemed a disaster – users had to install Google services bypasses, even if it was not difficult. But today, no extra gestures will be required: AppGallery has many popular programs.
For example, you can directly download the VKontakte, TikTok, Viber utilities, banking programs, as well as Yandex services: taxi, maps, browser, and the like. The vendor strongly supports developers adding new releases to the store. And even promises that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will appear soon (though without specifying specific dates).
Despite the noticeable progress of HUAWEI, there are still few games in the AppGallery – you can’t just download the same PUBG. YouTube is only available through a browser. Such nuances lead to the fact that you often have to install the necessary applications in the form of apk.
Simultaneously with Mate Xs, the virtual assistant HUAWEI Assistant was launched, which settled on the left desktop of smartphones without Google services. The assistant collects information about the use of the device, displays a news feed, the number of steps and icons for quick access to the latest utilities and selected contacts.
One camera unit for all photos
Mate Xs received the same set of sensors from Leica as the previous model. This is the main camera with a resolution of 40 megapixels, ultra wide-angle 16 megapixels, an 8-megapixel telephoto lens and a ToF sensor. The flagship supports optical stabilization and AI, and also can shoot with a 30x hybrid zoom. Another feature is the ability to set ISO to 204,800 in professional mode.
However, even in automatic mode, the photos on the Mate Xs are high-quality. Particularly pleasing is night shooting and portrait format with quick focus on the subject. And since the main role is played by a selfie camera, self-portraits are obtained as clear as possible.
On the HUAWEI Mate Xs, you can record video in 4K and Full HD at 60 fps. But various effects are only supported when shooting in Full HD and lower resolution. Stabilization works in all formats, so that the clips are smooth even when working with hands.
Since the main camera here is also frontal, you need to turn the case over to create a selfie. Strange, but when using the camera application, the viewfinder does not occupy the entire screen, but only half. So the shutter button is in the center of the display. Therefore, to reach it with your finger is not easy, especially when shooting horizontal portraits. You need to use the volume down key or expand the screen.
Top iron without eSIM
As befits the flagship, Mate Xs has absorbed all the latest HUAWEI technologies. The smartphone runs on the most powerful Kirin 990 5G processor, made using the 7-nanometer process technology. The platform is equipped with a built-in 5G modem and supports Dual SIM mode, in which one SIM card is able to function in 4G networks, and the other 5G.
The filling is very productive. Even in multitasking mode there is not the slightest slowdown. This is also confirmed by tests in benchmarks: more than 445,000 points in AnTuTu are no longer a record, but quite a decent result.
Despite the high power, in terms of equipment for the Mate Xs there are questions. Due to the design features, the phone did not receive water protection. Yes, there are stubs on the hinge now. But they will save the body except from the rain, and not from falling into the bath. It is also strange that with a fast processor and 5G, the smartphone does not work with eSIM. In the top model of this level, I would like to see support for virtual sims.
The device was equipped with two batteries with a total capacity of 4500 mAh – they are installed in different halves of the Mate Xs. Given the rather large screen size (both folded and unfolded), the battery lasts a maximum of a day. And in the evening you will need to look for an outlet.
If you turn on Wi-Fi and set the average brightness, hourly video viewing in Full HD will discharge the battery by 8% with the display folded, and when unfolded – by 9%. In half an hour of playing Asphalt 9, the smartphone in tablet mode will lose another 8 percent of the charge.
The Mate Xs comes with a fast 65W charger. And it’s really smart – in 30 minutes the battery was charged from zero to 72%. It takes about an hour to complete the procedure.
- Plastic coated OLED
main screen: 6.6 “, 2480×1148
secondary screen: 6.38 ”, 2480×892
Unfolded: 8 ”, 2480×2200
- CPU: eight-core Kirin 990 5G, 7 nm, 2.86 GHz
GPU: 16-core Mali-G76
- 8/512 GB, support NM SD Card up to 256 GB
- 4500 mAh
- main 40 MP (f / 1.8) + ultra-wide 16 MP (f / 2.2), 8 MP telephoto lens (f / 2.4, OIS), ToF module
- folding screen, support 5G, fingerprint sensor in the power button, fast charge 40 W (in Russia)
- GEEKBENCH 5
- 768 single-core
- 3876 Slingshot OpenGL
3383 Slingshot Vulkan
- up to 12 hours of video playback when the screen is open
up to 13 hours when the screen is folded
HUAWEI Mate Xs is one of the most interesting new products of the year. The flexible display format is still a delight, especially when you open the screen all eight inches. Yes, there are controversial points: video on a square OLED panel does not look much better than on a regular one. And even a capacious battery lasts a maximum of a day of active use. But interacting with a large display is a pleasure, given the convenient multi-window mode.