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The Huawei Mate X is one of the most sensational and expensive technology devices we have tested in years.
The software works well, well-built, attractive to technology fans, it works well to view content
Too expensive It may not be useful for everyone There is no 5G network to use it
We sat excitedly in the seats assigned to us, while Huawei CEO Richard Yu was preparing to answer the questions of the select group of journalists in front of him. Just moments before, we were among the first people who tested the Huawei Mate X foldable smart phone, and the experience was sensational.
We spent some time with Mate X in the company of Yu, who spoke with enthusiasm about it during all that time, either showing himself or watching others use the device. "We've been working on this for three years," Yu said, smiling as he demonstrated the functions and design of Mate X. "It's the most difficult smart phone project we've had so far."
And we do not doubt that it was difficult, but the work has paid off. Forget the worries that the Mate X is just a prototype; This is a seemingly finished product with all the details you expect. The Huawei Mate X looks and feels very different from any other product we have tried so far. It is strangely confusing, but not in a negative way, but rather new and avant-garde. This is all you can expect from the new – and expensive – Huawei product.
Unfolding the magic
The phone was folded, so the first thing we did was try to deploy it. There is no obvious grip point, because the screen bends over itself and the edge fits flush with the sidebar. To open the Mate X you must press a button on that bar, and the section of the rear screen is ready for the phone to fully deploy. Because it is such a new experience, it was difficult to know how to hold it and where to grab it at this stage. This is something to change with use, but it shows how different Mate X is currently (and all the new folding phones) with respect to the smartphones we have had so far.
Closed, the Mate X feels quite thick compared to other modern smart phones, but the 11 mm are not annoying. The thickness makes it feel a bit heavy, but that seems to be an illusion since the Mate X is very light and almost perfectly balanced. That edge bar really works for a better grip, and makes the phone simple, natural and comfortable to hold with just one hand.
The open screen is perfect for watching movies, photos, reading books or general media consumption.
The open screen is perfect for watching movies, photos, reading books or general media consumption, but as with any tablet, it doesn't feel natural to use its functions or write on it with one hand. However, over time, users will have to discover new ways to use and interact with these types of phones. We examined the screen, and saw that it is smooth, with no ripples, bumps or imperfections that are immediately noticed, and the viewing angles are excellent.
A slight degree of force is required to close the Mate X, since the Falcon Hinge hinge is mechanical and does not move by itself. The hinge is rigid and of high quality, which ensures that the screen does not open or close indiscriminately. Richard Yu said that the folding screen has been tested at 100,000 folds and that the entire phone has undergone tests of each substantial. Initially, additional tests were required to solve a problem where the lines were shown along the fold itself, but this problem was clearly solved.
Web, visual and multitasking
Android software felt fluid and functional. Samsung, Huawei's current rival in this area, has not yet allowed journalists to try the Galaxy Fold, which makes us assume that it is probably not as surprising an experience as the flashy videos suggest, but it remains to be seen. That is not the case with Mate X. Huawei's CEO Richard Yu said he has been using the phone for about a week, and showed how he browses the web and watches videos on the device we had in front of us. He did that job without problems, and the experience was similar when he was in the hands of several journalists.
The most impressive was the way it changes smoothly between screens, although technically it only has one screen. The playback of videos on the large screen displayed quickly changed to the main screen when Yu closed the phone, and then to the rear screen when the Mate X turned. We were able to use gesture controls, which worked smoothly, the screen felt normal and There were no negative navigation experiences. However, this is not entirely ready for launch, and in other demonstrations we have seen that the software is confused, but our first impressions are very positive.
What happens to the apps? Yu said that at first the compatibility with the applications was a concern, but once the tests began, the company found many apps adapted to the design without modifications. Google Maps was specifically mentioned. Naturally, not all applications are ready for this challenge, and developers should get involved to make sure they work properly.
Launch and 5G network
The Mate X is a 5G device, and this next generation network is a key part of its appeal in Huawei's mind. Therefore, the phone has not yet been released.
"4G does not inspire and encourage people, in the same way that 5G does and a foldable phone," said Yu, and confirmed that the launch of the phone will occur when 5G networks are ready for commercial use. We cannot sell it yet, because operators are still building the network. We need some time until they are ready.
The phone launch will occur when 5G networks are ready for commercial use
Based on these statements, we expect Mate X to be launched globally as soon as operators are ready, which could happen in the middle of this year. Yu seems to agree. “We could launch in May, said Yu, underlining the preparation of the Mate X as a piece of hardware. "But operators may need two or three months to build the network and launch the service, so you can buy this innovative phone in June or July."
Huawei is also motivated to keep the Mate X until a 5G signal can reach it, as it has invested heavily in 5G from the infrastructure side. Having a highly desirable futuristic product, in addition to pushing the fantastic technology to the benefits of 5G, it can be said that it is more important for Huawei in the long term than simply selling Mate X.
What a price!
After many were excited, amazed and even excited to have some phone in our hands, disappointment came to know that the phone cost 2,300 euros, or about $ 2,600 dollars. Whether we like it or not, it's easy to see why Mate X costs so much, and we don't expect that to change in the near future. Yu said that the price of foldable smart phones will not be reduced for two or three years, due to the complex display and the mechanical technology of the interior.The Huawei Mate X is the new most sensational and expensive mobile phone technology we have tested in years.
This means that it should be treated as a product for geeks How was Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens or even the first HTC Vive? In a way, yes, although we could verify that Mate X works and feels like a product ready for the consumer, unlike what happened with Google Glass or HoloLens. Just remember that when you decide to buy a next-generation experience, you should pay a high price for it, whether it is a smart phone, a television, a car or even a trip to space. In addition, you should also accept any inconvenience that may arise.
Be better than the Galaxy Fold?
Unfortunately, because we have not yet tried the Samsung Galaxy Fold physically, it is unfair to compare the two specifically, and we will not take the risk by saying that Huawei has achieved a design in a way that Samsung has not done, or that it seems that At this time it has a more complete and usable product. You pay a little less for the Galaxy Fold, but if you are considering a smart phone of more than $ 2,000 dollars in the first place, you probably have enough budget, and a few hundred dollars probably won't make much difference. However, if we had to decide at this time, our money will be in Mate X.
Using the Huawei Mate X only a few minutes was exciting, as expected from the new technologies. The experience was attractive enough to try again, and so full of potential that our planned questions for the interview simply went to our head. Many have complained that the smart phone industry lacks innovation. But, those who think so clearly did not have Mate X in their hands.