I’ll be honest from the start: I almost didn’t spend enough time with the HUAWEI Mate X2. And no, I’m not referring to the fact that I would have preferred to have it forever, but for the purpose of this HUAWEI Mate X2 review, it was for just over the one week I spent doing it, too have allowed me to experience it more deeply. That being said, if ever given the opportunity to use it for a longer lap, I look forward to moving into the following.
That being said, I’ve used HUAWEI’s latest and greatest foldable device as my main phone for five days, and I think I have a pretty good understanding of what the product is and who it is directed to. No, it is not for everyone, even if everyone could afford to buy it at this prohibitive price.
Before we start our HUAWEI Mate X2 review, it’s important to remember that the company made a huge design change from the two previous models, the Mate X and Mate X, as I did in my February editorial expected. You see, the predecessors had a fold-out design that had the advantage of only using a single screen. The main disadvantage: the display was exposed to the elements at all times.
With the Mate X2, HUAWEI did what Samsung did all along. A secondary display has been added to act as the main screen when the now-folding Mate X2 is closed. With that in mind, this is our HUAWEI Mate X2 review.
The way HUAWEI designs its smartphones has always fascinated me. The Editor’s Choice Design Award that the Mate 40 Pro won is proof of that.
Without the thickness and taper (more on that later) you’d think you had a Mate 40 Pro from the front and a P40 Pro + from the back.
The ingenuity of the company’s engineers and designers lies in how they built the phone at the concept level. While the two halves are almost identical in real estate, they vary in thickness and use a wedge shape. This not only helps with the center of gravity of the device and makes it easier to use when deployed, it also plays an important role in the overall folding mechanism.
The second aspect of the actual “fold” is the revolutionary teardrop hinge, which replaces the old Falcon Wing hinge of the previous models. This new approach bends the screen into a teardrop shape to avoid shrinking the display. And with the use of liquid zirconium-based metal in the hinge, HUAWEI claims that this particular component is twice as strong on the Mate X as it was before.
The disadvantage of this hinge is that, with the exception of the two anchor points in the folded and unfolded state, everything in between is spring-loaded. This means that when the device is left alone, it often defaults to one of two states: folded or unfolded. Because of this, you can’t just prop it up on its own to use it half-unfolded (like a laptop), but you can emulate that condition with the help of an enclosure that helps support the device.
Another aspect to consider is that unfolding the device with one hand is not an easy task as the magnets hold it in place when folded. Fortunately, this isn’t that big of a deal because, unlike its main competitor, the Z Fold 2, the Mate X2 has a larger outer display that doesn’t require you to resort to the inner display on a daily basis.
Because of these nifty tricks and their translation (a really flat, relatively wrinkle-free, unfolded display), we believe the Mate X2 deserves ours Recommendation for the best foldable smartphone design.
When it comes to horsepower, HUAWEI hasn’t held back and thrown in everything they have, including the kitchen sink. And it makes sense when you think about it. If you’re spending nearly $ 2,800 (in Chinese Yuans since the phone is only available in China), make sure it’s future proof.
The heart of the Mate X2 is the 5G Kirin 9000 chip with eight cores and its Mali-G78 MP24 GPU. There is only one storage option with 8 GB, but there are two storage options to choose from: 256 GB and 512 GB, which can be expanded using the company’s own NM memory cards.
The outer display (cover) is a 6.45-inch OLED panel with a refresh rate of 90 Hz and a resolution of 1160 x 2700. Unfold it and you will see an uninterrupted 8-inch panel with a resolution of 2200 x 2480. Yes, by continuous we mean there are no holes or notches, which increases entertainment and media consumption, but it dials back on the user experience side for those who want to make video calls while unfolded.
And since these are cameras, on the cover display is the front camera, a 16-megapixel unit, along with sensors and other hardware in the oval hole.
On the back there is a Leica system with four cameras, which consists of the following components:
- 50 MP Ultra Vision camera (wide angle, f / 1.9 aperture, OIS);
- 16 MP cine camera (ultra wide angle, f / 2.2 aperture);
- 12 MP telephoto camera (3x optical zoom, f / 2.4, OIS);
- 8 MP SuperZoom camera (10x optical zoom, f / 4.4 aperture, OIS), AF support.
The rest consists of the usual suspects, mentioning Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner (in the power button), and a 4,500 mAh battery with 55 W fast charge via HUAWEI SuperCharge.
When it comes to software, the story stays the same. Android 10 AOSP-based EMUI 11 without Google Services, but a continuously growing HUAWEI ecosystem via HMS.
The software experience is pretty much the same as that of the Mate 40 Pro. So, take a look at the Experience segment of this review for a high-level view of what to expect.
However, there are some foldable specific features that make the experience pretty fluid even if those features aren’t on your face. The transfer between the two displays as a result of folding or unfolding the device is seamless.
The operating system itself is immediately equipped with China-specific software. This makes sense as it is the only market this phone is available in.
App scaling works well, at least for the apps that we had access to and that we could use. It also helps that there is a special segment in the settings specifically for this. And with an 8-inch display, it makes a lot of sense to use apps side by side where the Mate X2 (for the apps it supports) does an excellent job.
However, there is one caveat: you can’t resize the apps that appear side by side, but this could be my design more than a mistake to avoid aspect ratio and app scaling issues in the equation.
When it comes to the experience, you have to live it firsthand to really appreciate it. From the speed of the folding mechanism to sliding your finger over the barely visible fold to simply holding it with one hand due to the offset center of gravity. HUAWEI really nailed the Mate X2 in most respects, which shouldn’t come as a surprise for a 3approx Generation foldable smartphone.
Basic phone operation
Basic phone functions just work. There is nothing to report here. Calls and reception are good, the data speed corresponds to any other device (only tested on 4G, as 5G is not yet available on my mobile operator in my region).
A special thank you goes to the speaker system, which is very loud, clear and clear and offers enough momentum to silence an entire room from surprise.
The battery life is at least two days with regular use. Disclaimer: We didn’t count the time we spent on the 8-inch screen compared to the cover display. While this will affect battery life, you won’t spend most of your time with the phone unfolded. However, it is safe to say that with regular use, you can get through two days. If you ever need to charge it, you can be sure that after 30 minutes you will get almost 80 percent of the battery juice.
When it comes to cameras, HUAWEI has been a benchmark for some time. Evidence of this is my colleague Adam Lein’s recent take on the Mate 40 Pro and he is a professional photographer.
This is also the case with the Mate X2. Since this is a hyper flagship, the company made sure to add the best of features, sensors, and optics.
There’s no breakthrough here, just delivering the solid performance we’ve grown accustomed to from the partnership between HUAWEI and Leica. Whether you take wide-angle, normal, telephoto, day or night shots, portraits or classics, you can be sure that you will end up getting high quality shots. If we were impressed with the Mate 40 Pro’s camera, the Mate X2 almost completely replicates the setup of the Mate 40 Pro +.
When it comes to the front camera, you no longer have to turn the phone over to take a selfie with the main cameras like you did with the previous two models because it’s a collapsible design. Since there is a special selfie shooter, you can take your selfies with the phone folded, just like any normal phone.
What we want to see is the ability to turn on both displays at the same time. This can be useful for previewing your subject on the outside display before taking the picture with the unfolded position. You can of course use the main cameras to take a selfie and it looks a little awkward as shown below.
Completing the HUAWEI Mate X2 review
In the last few years I’ve started to dismantle flagships even more. Yes, the flagship category still defines a certain type of smartphone characteristics, but flagships have more levels. I see things this way: The Mate 40 Pro is a flagship. The Mate 40 Pro + is a super flagship. … And then the devices like the Mate X2 in my book are hyper flagships. Yeah, I think you have my car analogy.
Whether you think spending $ 2,300 in the north is insane or not doesn’t matter. The Mate X2 is a niche product and, since it is not intended for the masses, it can carry the price tag with pride.
But even if you had the money, you couldn’t buy it outside of China. For some reason, HUAWEI made that decision and they seem genuinely determined to keep things that way.
As I suggested in the heading, the Mate X2 would be the one I would go for if I had to pick a single device for the next five year period.
+ excellent design;
+ great displays;
+ excellent cameras;
+ great battery life;
+ amazing speakers;
+ solid performance.
– no wireless charging;
– prohibitive price / limited availability;
– Lack of Google services (if that still bothers you).