The whole smartphone world is slowly “unfolding” as every major brand out there is trying to hop on the flexible screen train. Meanwhile, Huawei is aiming to perfect what the company has already achieved, being one of the pioneers and forerunners in this race.
Huawei was kind enough to let us fiddle with the device in an early-bird hands-on, so we’re going to share our first impressions here, and later on do a full-blown review. Let’s get to it!
The phone is really thin when unfolded – just about 5.4mm, and even in a folded state it keeps the bulk just over 11mm. The Mate XS2 weighs 255 grams, which is kind of amazing for a device of this size and formfactor (the Z Fold 3 weighs 271 grams in comparison).
As we already mentioned, the crease is almost indistinguishable and the actual material laying on top of the display has been redesigned and strengthened to accommodate input from a stylus.
(We can’t wait to carry out our full display test procedure, so stay tuned – results should pop-up here in the following days).
Performance and Software
Now, sporting a processor from a generation back could be a turn-off for some people but in reality, the Mate XS2 is plenty fast. The device runs EMUI 11.0 still, which is pretty optimized at this point – there are no hiccups or lag of any kind – everything works smoothly.
It seems that the OS makes really good use of the large screen – the Adaptive UI allows you to split the screen with a single swipe, open small windows, and apps also automatically stretch when you unfold the phone, and retract when you fold it back. Of course, Google apps are not present onboard, no way around that.
We weren’t able to run benchmarks on the Mate XS2 (that’s coming) but our initial impressions were very positive when it comes to real-life performance and what you can and can not do with a foldable device of this sort.
On the front there’s a 10.7 megapixel selfie camera, and Huawei also boasts something called “enhanced computation optics” to further enhance the resulting images. We were able to snap a few quick shots during the hands-on time (can’t publish those at this point), and the results were pretty pleasing, especially from the main camera.
We’ll do a full camera run-down with samples and video once the phone falls in our greedy hands!
Battery Life and Charging
Well, obviously the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the main competitor here, there aren’t many foldable devices out there with this formfactor (yet). We’re cooking a detailed comparison between the two phones but initially – the biggest advantage of the Fold 3 lies in its software and the fact that Google services are present onboard. On a pure hardware level, it’s pretty tight between the two phones (both sport the 888 chipset), and design wise – it’s a matter of personal preference – whether you prefer the inward or outward folding design.
The Huawei Mate XS2 shapes out to be a great foldable device. It feels premium, and Huawei has focused on perfecting the most important aspects of a foldable – the hinge mechanism, the crease in the screen, the durability of the flexible panel, and the functionality of the OS (despite the GMS omission).
(This article is just a simple hands-on preview – it will grow and transform itself to a full-blown review once we get to put the phone through its paces. Stay tuned)
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