Huawei unveils 5G Mate X folding phone to rival Samsung Galaxy Fold

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Huawei has entered the ‘folding phone fray’ in an attempt to show that Samsung hasn’t cornered the market on innovation, at least when it comes to the gadget de jour.

The Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has followed Samsung’s lead by unveiling a super-luxury 5G phone with a folding screen called the Mate X with a price tag of €2,299 (£1,995).

The Huawei Mate X folds out to be a tablet and folds over to be a phone(Credit: Huawei)

We knew foldable phones would be one of the smartphone trends of 2019, but we’re now starting to see the actual devices appear. Days after Samsung took the wrappers off its Galaxy Fold phone, Huawei has been showing off its own foldable Mate X handset at Mobile World Congress 2019.

The Huawei Mate X screen folds in the opposite direction to the Samsung Galaxy Fold(Credit: Huawei)

Huawei’s handset folds in the opposite direction to Samsung’s – so the screen ends up on the outside rather than the inside when it’s closed. You get an 8-inch display in the flat tablet mode, and in the folded over mode the Mate X offers a main 6.6-inch display on the front and a secondary 6.4-inch display on the back.

The Huawei Mate X screen folds in the opposite direction to the Samsung Galaxy Fold(Credit: Huawei)

Other highlights include a 4,500 mAh battery (split into two sections), fast 55W charging that gives you 85 percent of a full charge from zero in 30 minutes, and 5G – another technology we’re going to be hearing a lot about this year.

When closed, the Huawei Mate X has a secondary screen on the back(Credit: Huawei)

As for a camera, the phone sports a triple-lens camera that sits on the back when you have the device open, and on the front or the back when it’s closed (depending on which way round you’re holding it). The camera tech is backed into a black strip on one side of the screen, which doubles as a closing mechanism and handle.

The rear of the Huawei Mate X when fully open(Credit: Huawei)

Keeping the screen bending reliably is what Huawei is calling a Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge. It apparently won’t stretch when folded over, and won’t bulge when laid flat, making it perhaps even more of a technological marvel than the one Samsung is using (which folds the other way).

The front of the Huawei Mate X when closed, with a 6.6-inch display(Credit: Huawei)

Inside you get the latest super speedy Kirin 980 processor from Huawei, paired with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of internal storage. The fingerprint sensor is built into the power button for one-touch unlocking.

The Huawei Mate X when fully open, with an 8-inch display(Credit: Huawei)

Huawei says the on-board software will adapt to suit both open and closed modes. If the phone screen is laid open, the extra screen space can be used for movies and photos and so on, or a split screen mode can be set – enabling you to drag pictures from a gallery into an email, for example.

The Mate X features what Huawei calls a Falcon Wing hinge in the middle(Credit: Huawei)

So what will it cost you? As you might expect, this foldable, 5G-equipped phone doesn’t come cheap: Huawei says the handset will retail for €2,299 in Europe (roughly equivalent to $2,605 US dollars, though it’s unlikely to go on sale there).

The Huawei Mate X software offers different layout modes for different device configurations(Credit: Huawei)

What we don’t have yet is an official launch date. Samsung says the Galaxy Fold will go on sale in April, but it’s notable that the tech press haven’t been given any actual hands on time with either the Samsung or the Huawei foldable phones yet – so it’s possible there are still some technical wrinkles to be ironed out.

Product page: Huawei

The Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold are two of several folding phones we’re expecting this year(Credit: Huawei)

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