The Huawei Mate X2 fixes 3 flaws of the Galaxy Z Fold 2

The Mate X2 is finally revealed and this is Huawei’s 3rd attempt at making a foldable smartphone. This time, they have ditched the outward folding design of the Mate X and XS, and they are going for an inward folding approach similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Although it looks like a ripoff of Samsung’s foldable phone, the Chinese smartphone maker has done quite a remarkable job in addressing some of the key shortcomings of the Z Fold 2.

Full view flexible display with no notch or punch-hole

For a more immersive and unobstructed viewing experience, the Huawei Mate X2 features an 8.01″ edge-to-edge OLED display that has no notches or punch-holes. It pushes a resolution of 2480×2200 pixels in a 8:7.1 aspect ratio, a 90Hz refresh rate and a 180Hz touch sampling rate.

If you need to use it as a phone, the cover gets a 6.45″ OLED display that does a resolution of 2700×1160 pixels in a more conventional 21:9 aspect ratio. The front display also pushes a 90Hz refresh rate and features a higher 240Hz touch sampling rate.

The external screen does come with a rather wide punch-hole which houses a single 16MP selfie-camera. Since the foldable display has no cameras on the inside, you’ll need to use either the rear or cover cameras to take a selfie or answering a video call.

As a comparison, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a smaller 7.6″ display that does 2208×1768 pixels resolution and 120Hz display on the inside. Meanwhile, the exterior gets a 6.23″ 2260×816 display in a 24.9:9 aspect ratio.

Slimmer design with no gap

One of the biggest complaints of the Galaxy Fold or Z Fold is the “thigh gap” when you fold the device. This is due to the hinge design and it’s a challenge to fold a display into half. Interestingly, Huawei has overcome the limitation and the Mate X2 can close completely shut without leaving a gap as shown above.

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Another interesting design quirk is that the Mate X2 has a tapered design where one side is only 4.4mm thin. This approach was necessary due to its massive camera bump which houses a sophisticated periscope camera module.

Although it looks weird at first, the Mate X2 is designed to close completely flat with almost perfect symmetry compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. This could solve the rattling issue on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 when it’s lying flat on the table due to its massive camera bump. At this thickest point, the Mate X2’s thickness is 8.2mm when unfolded and 14.7mm when folded.

Reduced creasing of display

The gapless appearance when folded is made possible with Huawei’s multi-dimensional hinge design. When folded, the flexible display actually bends into the body to create a waterdrop-shaped cavity. This approach is somewhat similar to the Motorola Razr.

As a result, Huawei claims that its Mate X2’s flexible display is 40% smoother than its competitors. The crease is still there but it should be less noticeable compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

The patented hinge design features a dual-spire structure that uses a Zirconium-based liquid metal in the central hinge. The central component is said to be 3 times harder than metal.

With a rated tensile strength of 2100MPa, Huawei claims that it’s even harder than the B-pillar of the Volvo XC90 which has a rated tensile strength of 1400MPa. In addition, both sides are supported with carbon fibre panels which helps to reduce weight by 75%.

Hardware Specs

Under the hood, the Huawei Mate X2 runs on their top-of-the-line 5nm Kirin 9000 SoC that’s mated to 8GB of RAM. The foldable device comes with either 256GB or 512GB of storage which doesn’t appear to be expandable. As you would expect from a flagship Huawei smartphone, it supports a wide array of 5G bands as well as 802.11ax WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

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In the camera department, the rear gets a quad-camera setup which features a 50MP f/1.9 main camera with OIS that uses a large 1/1.28″ RYYB image sensor. There’s also a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle Cine Camera and two telephoto shooters that feature OIS.

The telephoto shooters include an 8MP f/4.4 SuperZoom periscope camera that boasts 10X optical zoom and a secondary 12MP f/2.4 telephoto camera that offers 3x optical zoom. When pushed to the maximum, the Huawei Mate X2 is capable of doing 100x digital zoom.

For the first time in the Mate X family, the latest device finally offers a pair of stereo speakers. Similar to its predecessor, you don’t get a 3.5mm headphone jack and if you need to be wired, you can hook up a 3.5mm to USB-C dongle.

Powering the device is a 4,500mAh battery which is the same capacity as the previous model. It supports 55W fast wired charging via USB-C but it doesn’t support wireless charging.

In China, the Mate X2 is priced as follows:

Mate X2 256GB – CNY 17,999 (about RM11,255)
Mate X2 512GB – CNY 18,999 (about RM11,880)

At the moment, it’s only released in China from the 25th February 2021. So far there’s no word yet on its global availability including Malaysia. In case you’re wondering the previous Mate Xs was released in Malaysia with limited quantities for a staggering RM11,111.

At the moment, the Mate X2 runs on EMUI 10.0.1 that’s based on Android 10 and it doesn’t come with Google Mobile Services. Huawei says that the Mate X2 will be among the first to support its Huawei’s upcoming HarmonyOS when it’s released in April this year. For more info, you can check out the official product page.

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Alexander Wong