I’ll make a confession as I start penning this: I’m now not actually certain methods to evaluation the Huawei Mate X2.

This can be a extra special piece of {hardware}, with one of the best specifications throughout nearly each and every facet of the telephone that are meant to make it a shoo-in for the most productive foldable telephone round.

However, no-one studying that is ever most likely to shop for one. For starters, it’s solely to be had in China anyway. Then there’s the cost, which kind of converts to a ruinously dear £2,000/$2,800. Oh, and because it’s a contemporary Huawei software, it has the now-familiar issues working the rest to do with Google.

So don’t take this as purchasing recommendation, as I’m assuming none of you might be making plans on purchasing the Mate X2 anyway. However if you wish to know the way Huawei’s {hardware} holds up, learn on.

Design and construct

Huawei principally rebuilt its second-generation foldable from scratch. The primary Mate X, and its half-step sequel the Mate Xs, used an exterior folding demonstrate that wrapped across the software. This time, Huawei has adopted Samsung’s lead in switching to an inside fold, that opens out like a ebook, however with a couple of suave design tweaks that assist the corporate beat Samsung at its personal sport.

Huawei Mate X2 closed

When the Mate X2 is closed, it seems to be and appears like a lovely usual slab telephone – albeit an strangely thick one. The entrance demonstrate is a 6.45in panel at a narrow facet ratio of 21:9 – the similar narrow structure that Sony has followed for its previous few Xperia telephones.

There’s a reasonably thicker bezel across the edges of this demonstrate than you could be used to from a normal telephone, in conjunction with a big punch-hole selfie digicam, however Huawei has executed a just right process maximising the demonstrate house in this outer display, so past the additional weight and thickness – 295g, and 14.7mm thick when folded – there is actually no compromise on usability when the telephone is closed.

What’s possibly maximum spectacular here’s how cast the closed telephone feels. In contrast to different foldables, which nonetheless go away a small hole when folded, the Mate X2 seals nearly utterly. That suggests it appears like a unmarried, cast unit, sufficient so to roughly disregard it’s a foldable telephone in any respect.

Huawei Mate X2 closed hinge

That’s partially due to a brand new hinge design, and partially right down to a tapered design that leaves the left fringe of the telephone a lot thinner than the fitting facet. When closed, they have compatibility in combination completely to depart a balanced entire, but if open the majority of the telephone’s weight sits at the right-hand facet. That’s in fact a just right factor for the ergonomics of protecting the telephone one-handed whilst it’s open – however provided that you’re right-handed. Lefties needn’t observe.

The hinge itself has its execs and cons. Held closed via magnets, it feels strong and safe, however is hard to open with one hand. In contrast to Samsung’s newest foldable it can even’t anchor itself partway – the display must be both totally closed or totally open, so there’s no strategy to prop the demonstrate open at an attitude, laptop-style.

As soon as it is open, you get an expansive 8in demonstrate that’s nearly sq.. Once more, there’s a little bit of bezel happening across the edges within the type of a plastic body, however that’s the character of the beast. At the plus facet, there’s no selfie digicam in any respect in this inside display, this means that it’s fully uninterrupted.

Huawei Mate X2 open Instagram

Rather then the plastic body round that demonstrate, the remainder of the telephone is constructed nearly fully out of steel and glass, with Huawei making no compromise at the top rate really feel – even though it’s value noting that there’s no reputable declare at the scratch-resistance or sturdiness of the glass, and there’s additionally no IP score for water-resistance.

The rear of the telephone is available in a spread of shiny finishes: black, white, crimson, and blue (pictured). The glass end is a marginally slippy, and an simple fingerprint magnet, however it for sure seems to be slick, and is interrupted solely via a small Huawei emblem and not-so-small digicam module.

Huawei Mate X2 rear

Audio comes from a couple of stereo audio system. They’re situated at the most sensible and backside of the telephone, so even if it’s spread out you’ll need to flip the display sideways to get stereo sound whilst staring at the rest. Audio is crisp and strangely loud even though – lots for fundamental TV staring at or a little bit of song.

One ultimate be aware – Huawei in fact features a kickstand case with the telephone, which you’ll see under. This situation clips onto the bulkier right-hand/rear phase of the telephone, and has a pretend leather-based end which provides slightly bulk however does give a boost to grip. Extra importantly, the small plastic kickstand, whilst a difficult fragile in really feel, means that you can prop the telephone up in a few other orientations, which matches some strategy to making up for the hinge locking out at both open or closed.

Huawei Mate X2 kickstand case

I haven’t attempted out the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 for any period of time, and haven’t observed the Xiaomi Mi Combine Fold in individual in any respect, however I’m nonetheless beautiful assured that, at this time, that is the smoothest little bit of foldable {hardware} available in the market. It feels strong, it feels top rate and, except for the locked-out hinge, it really works beautiful flawlessly.

Show

It’s value speaking a little bit extra concerning the presentations specifically, which stay a large level of differentiation within the foldable house.

Each presentations are OLED, and improve a 90Hz refresh fee. I’m stunned Huawei opted for 90Hz over 120Hz, when even funds telephones are actually hitting that upper refresh fee, however in equity the bounce from 90 to 120 is tricky for lots of to even spot.

The 6.45in outer panel has a facet ratio of 21:9. It’s narrow, however now not as strangely narrow as Samsung’s an identical, this means that it nonetheless feels somewhat herbal to make use of, and maximum apps will nonetheless demonstrate appropriately. That is, in all honesty, the display I in fact used probably the most frequently.

Huawei Mate X2 Disney+

The bigger inside demonstrate has its execs and cons. I like Huawei’s option to fail to remember a selfie digicam right here, and actually maximise all that display actual property, however any individual hoping to make video calls at the giant display will understandably be dissatisfied.

The top solution – 2200 x 2480 – is helping, however the almost-square facet ratio is a bit more advanced. It’s now not tall sufficient for apps like Instagram to demonstrate appropriately – it may possibly’t in fact have compatibility a complete symbol in view immediately – however it is too tall for many video, so in case you watch a movie you’ll get in depth letter-boxing. There’s no actual strategy to win right here, as nobody facet ratio can perhaps go well with each and every goal, however take into accout that there’ll nonetheless be little compromises and frustrations on account of the display form.

The opposite caveat right here, as ever, is the crease. Sure, you’ll see it. Sure, you’ll really feel it. No, it actually doesn’t subject.

Huawei Mate X2 crease

It’s the very first thing other folks appear to note concerning the telephone when it’s spread out, however inside of a couple of mins of use I in truth stopped noticing the faint define, and also you don’t swipe sideways around the centre of the display frequently sufficient for the sensation to be a subject both.

It is helping that there’s a solidity to the demonstrate in different places. You’ll inform it’s versatile plastic moderately than glass, however there’s not one of the mushiness that different foldable monitors frequently have, so that you don’t ever fear you’re about to by hook or by crook put your finger via it in case you jab too onerous.

Specifications and function

The Mate X2 is powered via the Kirin 9000, Huawei’s newest and biggest 5nm silicon. It’s necessarily a rival to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, the chip you’ll to find in maximum different most sensible tier Android flagships this yr. Huawei combines it with 8GB of RAM, and both 256GB or 512GB garage – that is expandable, however solely with Huawei’s proprietary Nano Reminiscence structure, now not microSD.

In benchmark effects the Mate X2 does lag slightly at the back of Snapdragon 888 competitors, and the Exynos 2100-powered Galaxy S21 Extremely, however now not via a lot. Geekbench 5 CPU ratings lag via a couple of hundred, and framerates on GFXBench have been additionally reasonably less than different 2021 flagships, even though that is partially defined via the upper solution demonstrate – I ran the benchmarks at the better inside display.

In the end, efficiency is shut sufficient on paper, and indistinguishable in actual use. The Mate X2 is easy and responsive whichever display you employ, and I didn’t hit any considerable lag in my time the use of the telephone.

I didn’t actually put it via its paces in any cell gaming, however with the specifications on be offering it will have to be greater than able to benefiting from that massive inside display for gaming – even though as ever, take into accout that now not each and every sport you’re used to will likely be to be had within the Huawei App Gallery.

The Kirin 9000 brings with it 5G improve after all, in conjunction with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Huawei Mate X2 side

As for biometrics, you’ll use face liberate when the telephone is folded close, or a fingerprint sensor at any time – as a substitute of the use of in-display readers, Huawei has opted for a extra dependable side-mounted bodily fingerprint scanner.

Digicam

Should you examine the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s digicam setup to any of the company’s Extremely flagships, you’ll to find that in spite of a better price ticket, the foldable comes up quick.

Now not so with the Mate X2.

Huawei Mate X2 camera

Huawei has packed in what is largely the similar digicam setup discovered on its perfect spec slab telephone, the Mate 40 Professional+: a 50Mp RYYB major digicam with a 1/1.28-inch sensor, ultrawide, 3x telephoto, and 10x periscope.

To position it succinctly, this is likely one of the perfect digicam setups you’ll to find at this time. Main points are crisp and noise is minimum around the lenses, and the 10x periscope delivers outstanding sharpness and readability – sufficient to learn the spines of my document assortment from around the room. Virtual zoom is going as much as 100x, however effects at this level are a lot blurrier.

Colors are colourful however now not relatively to the purpose of over-saturation, and have a tendency to depart photographs taking a look herbal, however with slightly further kick. The large sensor is helping carry some stunning bokeh results too, even though if (like me) you generally tend to shoot relatively shut up, you might to find it’s important to pull again a little bit and crop in to get the focal point relatively appropriate.

Huawei Mate X2 camera test

I wouldn’t relatively say the digicam is easiest. Even in just right gentle I noticed some color consistency problems between the ultrawide and the opposite lenses, and this lens specifically struggled to deal with abnormal lighting fixtures – footage taken within the glow of a heater lamp got here out with an orange hue, whilst the principle lens controlled to colour-correct with out factor.

I additionally discovered low-light efficiency to be a combined bag. Some photographs have been superbly tuned and uncovered, whilst others suffered from blown-out lighting fixtures and glare. You’ll a minimum of get just right effects from around the cameras due to optical stabilisation integrated on each and every lens aside from the ultrawide.

Video caps out at [email protected], which might disappoint the ones hoping for 8K or upper framerates, however for many sensible functions this will likely nonetheless over-deliver.

Huawei Mate X2

As I’ve already discussed, there’s no selfie digicam throughout the fold, so selfies – and video calls – are restricted to the outer demonstrate. Right here the pill-shaped punch-hole doesn’t include two lenses, however as a substitute a unmarried 16Mp selfie lens in conjunction with a color temperature sensor. It’s onerous to evaluate precisely how a lot this sensor brings to the desk, however I do admit that given the selection I’d most certainly ditch it in favour of a smaller punch-hole.

Battery and charging

With two monitors to energy, chances are you’ll fear that the 4500mAh battery within the Mate X2 wouldn’t be sufficient, however right here a minimum of I used to be pleasantly stunned.

This isn’t relatively a battery powerhouse, however it very easily lasted the day, which for most of the people is all that issues. You’ll for sure get well battery in different places, however that’s now not actually why you’d imagine purchasing a posh foldable.

Huawei Mate X2

As for charging, the telephone maxes out at 55W stressed out charging over USB-C, which in my check used to be sufficient to most sensible the telephone up via 30% in quarter-hour, and as much as 65% in 1/2 an hour.

Confusingly, even though the telephone caps at 55W, Huawei ships it with a sooner 66W charger, so there is a bit of additional overhead there. You’ll use this to rate different gadgets, however because it doesn’t improve the PD usual, it gained’t fast rate many non-Huawei devices.

In some of the uncommon disappointments for this telephone, there’s additionally no improve at interested in wi-fi charging right here – one thing I in fact stored forgetting, losing the telephone down on a Qi pad and anticipating it to begin topping up, as a result of route this telephone will have to have wi-fi charging. Possibly house constraints squeezed it out, however confidently Huawei unearths a strategy to paintings it again in subsequent time round.

Device

Final and sadly least, we get to the elephant within the room.

Huawei’s ongoing US industry ban nonetheless sadly limits its telephones’ device facet, and the Mate X2 isn’t any exception.

Huawei Mate X2 EMUI

It ships working Android 10 with Huawei’s EMUI 11 pores and skin on most sensible. First, the nice: EMUI has come on leaps and boundaries over time and feels somewhat subtle at this level. It’s a long way from my favorite Android pores and skin, however it’s simple to navigate, somewhat customisable, and stays a pleasant access level for any individual switching from iOS.

It additionally handles the foldable structure with aplomb. Final or opening the Mate X2 right away switches apps from one display to the opposite, whilst quite a lot of multi-tasking choices come up with a lot of techniques to take advantage of the bigger inside demonstrate. The break up keyboard is a pleasing contact too, making it simple to sort two-handed when the telephone is spread out.

Huawei Mate X2 Instagram

The dangerous, after all, is Google. There’s no Android 11, and definitely gained’t be Android 12. You gained’t get local Google apps like Gmail or YouTube, and and not using a Play Retailer get entry to you’ll in fact fail to notice numerous non-Google apps too.

Huawei is, to its credit score, running onerous to give a boost to issues. Its Telephone Clone instrument will now replica throughout maximum apps from different Android gadgets, even the ones now not to be had in its personal App Gallery, and the Petal Seek app does an excellent process of discovering a couple of extra. I had WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter all up and working effective, which in truth accounts for 90% of my telephone use anyway.

Huawei Mate X2 apps

Sadly, some stay unimaginable, and others will replica over however nonetheless now not paintings in the event that they depend on Google Cellular Products and services to serve as. Choices frequently exist, however now not at all times, and you’ll to find that some issues – like banking apps – will merely be unavailable.

On the time of writing, Huawei is nearing free up on HarmonyOS, its personal in-house working device, and guarantees that the Mate X2 will likely be some of the first gadgets to be introduced the improve. I will’t say whether or not or now not this will likely give a boost to issues – possibly it nonetheless gained’t come with Google improve – however it’s some other signal that Huawei a minimum of isn’t complacent concerning the device facet.

Worth and availability

Like I already mentioned: you’re most certainly now not in fact going to shop for the Mate X2.

It’s solely formally on sale in China, the place it prices 17,999 CNY (approx. £2,000/US$2,800) for the 256GB garage type, and 18,999 CNY (£2,100/$2,900) for a model with 512GB. Some import costs are even upper – as much as $5,000.

Huawei Mate X2 screen

The nearest similar telephone is Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, which is very easily inexpensive at £1,599/$1,799. Xiaomi’s newer (and likewise China-only) Mi Combine Fold undercuts it even additional, with a Chinese language beginning worth of 9,999 CNY (£1,100/$1,500).

The Mate X2 outpaces each the ones gadgets from the {hardware} facet, even though they do have the advantage of complete Google improve. They’re in the long run all luxurious gadgets even though, so usual questions of price do fall a little bit via the wayside. If it’s important to ask, you’ll’t find the money for it…

Verdict

In case it’s now not transparent via now: you shouldn’t actually purchase the Mate X2. Assuming you’re out of doors China then uploading it’ll be a ache, including further charges on most sensible of the exorbitant worth, and finally that you simply nonetheless gained’t be capable to run 1/2 of your apps.

Set that apart even though, and the Mate X2 is a transparent triumph. There are small, particular compromises right here – refresh fee and wi-fi charging are the most obvious ones, even though waterproofing could be welcome too – however in each and every different appreciate this telephone is outstanding.

Huawei Mate X2 closed

Huawei already feels adore it’s mastered the foldable shape issue, and from a design viewpoint it’s onerous to look all that a lot room for development – an astonishing feat so early into the foldable generation.

Throw in robust inside specifications and probably the most robust digicam modules in any telephone, let by myself foldables, and it’s onerous to argue that this isn’t the most productive foldable {hardware} on this planet at this time.

So no, you shouldn’t purchase the Mate X2. However you will have to actually need to.

Specifications

Huawei Mate X2: Specifications

  • Android 10 with EMUI 11
  • Internal: 8in foldable 90Hz OLED demonstrate (2200 x 2480)
  • External: 6.45in 90Hz OLED (2700 x 1160)
  • Kirin 9000 chipset
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256/512GB garage
  • 50Mp, f/1.9, RYYB OIS rear digicam + 16Mp, f/2.2 ultra-wide + 12Mp, f/2.4, 3x, OIS tele + 8Mp, f/4.4, 10x, OIS periscope
  • 16Mp f/2.2 entrance digicam + color temperature sensor
  • Aspect fixed fingerprint scanner
  • 11az dual-band Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • 5G/4G LTE
  • USB-C
  • 4500mAh non-removable battery
  • 55W stressed out charging
  • Spread out: 161.8 x 145.8 x 4.4-8.2mm
  • Folded: 161.8 x 74.6 x 13.6-14.7mm
  • 295g