Huawei’s new $2,800 foldable phone copies Samsung’s Galaxy Fold line

Huawei is not going to let a minor inconvenience like US sanctions cease it from designing new telephones. As we speak, the corporate introduced the subsequent system in its flagship foldable-smartphone line: the Huawei Mate X2. Whereas 2019’s Mate X (X1?) was an innovative-but-impractical form factor with a single wraparound show on the skin of the cellphone, the Mate X2 follows Samsung’s lead and goes with a book-style foldable with a inflexible cellphone display on the skin and a foldable pill display on the within. It appears to be like similar to a Galaxy X Fold 2 however with a number of attention-grabbing design evolutions.

Huawei spent loads of time saying the Mate X2 was higher than the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, declaring larger inside and exterior screens in addition to a smaller hinge space with slimmer bezels on the entrance. One factor Huawei did not examine is the value, which begins at a whopping $2,784, whereas the Galaxy Fold 2 is $2,000.

The outside display is a 6.45-inch, 2700×1160, 90Hz OLED, whereas the inside display is an 8-inch, 2480×2200, 90Hz OLED. Each are larger than these within the Fold 2, which has a 6.2-inch exterior show and a 7.6-inch inside show. Huawei’s work to slim down bezels appears to be like spectacular, and it actually appears like the corporate bought the facet ratios proper. Huawei managed to suit a bog-standard 21:9 show on the entrance—it appears to be like like a traditional smartphone from some angles. The inside show is almost two 21:9 show put collectively, with what Huawei known as a “8:7.1 facet ratio.” It is arduous to say what the inside facet ratio “ought to” be, since Android pill apps are almost nonexistent, however a minimum of this will probably be good for split-screen app utilization.

Enlarge / Actual photos of the show exhibit how uneven it’s. The highest row highlights the ditch working down the center of the cellphone. The underside row reveals off uneven reflections from the ripples in the remainder of the show.


The folding motion of the Mate X2 appears to be like like a cross between Samsung’s Fold 2 and the Moto Razr. From the Fold, we’ve inside, behind-the-screen gears for the hinge motion. From the Razr, we’ve a hinge that ends in a teardrop show fold when closed, as a substitute of a tough crease. Identical to within the Razr, there are two foldaway help plates to the left and proper of the hinge. They swing out of the best way when the system closes up, permitting the cellphone to shut with out crushing the show. Huawei says the system closes and not using a hole.

One large draw back to this being a Huawei system and never a Samsung system is that it will not have Samsung’s ultrathin glass show cowl. Samsung is at the moment the one firm transport a foldable show cowl that’s even barely inflexible to the contact, whereas everybody else is utilizing a crinkly, ripply, plastic show cowl that strikes round anytime you contact it.

Throughout the presentation with a reside unit, a light-weight reflection briefly rolled throughout the show, highlighting simply how uneven the show floor is. Like on the Moto Razr, there isn’t a help overtop of the hinge space, so the versatile show sags over high of the hinge and varieties a substantial trench working down the center of the show. The sunshine additionally emphasised all types of uneven ripples and distortions alongside what needs to be the “flat” sides of the show.

It's a wedge! The right side is thicker than the left side, and the phone body smoothly tapers from one side to the other.
Enlarge / It is a wedge! The suitable aspect is thicker than the left aspect, and the cellphone physique easily tapers from one aspect to the opposite.


One attention-grabbing design alternative: the physique of the Mate X2 is a wedge form. When open, the best aspect of the cellphone is 8.2mm, which tapers all the way down to the left aspect measurement of 4.4mm. Huawei says the best aspect of the cellphone is thicker so it might home all of the cameras in a traditional cellphone physique, which is roughly 8mm thick. The left aspect of the cellphone does not want as many elements, so it may be thinned out as a lot as attainable.

I am not one to push for ever-thinner smartphones with slimmer batteries and the elimination of headphone jacks, however for foldables, thickness is a significant concern if you wish to truly carry one in a pocket. Loads of these early gadgets are as thick as two smartphones stacked on high of one another, and that simply does not match effectively in a pocket. Huawei’s tapered design and fold-flat hinge actually appears to be like like a winner right here. The corporate is popping in a tool with the identical dimension battery because the Galaxy Z Fold 2, 4500mAh, however has shaved almost 2mm off the 16.8mm thickness, handing over a 14.7mm-thick system when folded up.

However is it even attainable for Huawei to construct this cellphone in any vital portions? Huawei remains to be within the midst of a suffocating US export ban, which has made the corporate unable to supply elements from worldwide suppliers and has despatched its market share plummeting. Huawei Shopper Enterprise Group CEO Richard Yu kicked off the Mate X2 presentation with a number of defiant phrases for the US authorities. “2020 was a rare and difficult 12 months for Huawei,” Yu mentioned. “We discovered ourselves concurrently attacked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the second and third rounds of US sanctions, which has posed nice difficulties to our enterprise operation and day-to-day work. Nevertheless, due to the strong help of our companions, suppliers, and particularly, customers across the globe, we survived 2020!”

Surviving 2020 is one factor, however Huawei’s market share remains to be quickly trending downward, and issues solely look extra bleak heading into the long run. There are already studies that Huawei’s smartphone output will probably be cut in half in 2021. This is simply one in all what are most likely many provide issues: the Mate X2 has a Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 9000 SoC, constructed on TSMC’s 5nm course of, however TSMC halted shipments to Huawei in September 2020. Based on provide chain reports, Huawei ordered 15 million chips produced, however TSMC was solely capable of ship simply over half that, 8.8 million chips, earlier than the cutoff deadline. This provide must be stretched throughout the Mate X2, the flagship slab smartphone Mate 40 Professional, and doubtless another launch this 12 months, the P50 Professional.

Understand that the Mate X2 additionally will not have any Google apps. Talking of Huawei’s software program points, the corporate ended the present with the announcement that “Huawei flagship-phone customers” will be capable of improve their telephones to Huawei’s in-house OS, HarmonyOS, beginning in April, and the Mate X2 will probably be one of many first to do it. So in keeping with Huawei, the cellphone will ship with Android and be upgraded to HarmonyOS. For many who missed our earlier report, Huawei claims that HarmonyOS is its in-house working system, however after truly it, there’s no discernible difference between HarmonyOS and Android. It needs to be a simple “improve,” a minimum of.

With all the availability points and the hardly there launch of the Mate X in 2019, it is arduous to deal with this like an actual cellphone, however Huawei claims it is going to be on the market, in China solely, on February 25.

Itemizing picture by Huawei

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