Huawei has made several foldable devices including the very first Mate X which has an outward folding screen, the Mate X2 with an inward folding screen and also the P50 Pocket which is a compact flip phone.
The latest Huawei Mate X3 is something else and in terms of design and hardware, I think this looks better than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Not only it is thinner and lighter, it even comes with IPX8-rated water resistance. In theory, this means the Mate X3 can be submerged under still water for up to 1.5 metres and for not more than 30 minutes.
When it’s closed, it looks and feels like a normal candy bar smartphone and there’s no thigh gap when the device is shut close. When folded it is slightly over 11mm thick and when unfolded, the panel is only 5.3mm thick which is crazy thin.
On the cover, the Mate X3 gets a 6.4” 120Hz LTPO OLED panel that pushes a Full HD+ resolution which looks like a normal flagship smartphone. It even gets the super tough Kunlun glass that’s featured on the Huawei P60 Pro.
Once unfolded, you’ll get a larger 7.85” OLED display which also pushes a 120Hz refresh rate. Unlike early-generation foldable devices including the new Honor Magic Vs, the flexible screen on the Mate X3 feels more durable and the crease is hardly noticeable.
Running my fingers crossed, it seems that Huawei has added a new material which is similar to Samsung’s Ultra Thin Glass. But what’s more remarkable is the build quality including the hinge and frame surrounding the screen. I think this feels better, if not the same as the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
In terms of the foldable user interface, the Mate X3 can run two apps side by side either horizontally or vertically. On top of that, you can run two more floating apps, so that’s a total of 4 apps running at the same time. But I must say that multitasking still doesn’t feel as polished as the Galaxy Z Fold series and it has a steeper learning curve to learn how to snap apps side by side. This is where Samsung has the upper hand as it gets a static “desktop-like” dock, which makes multitasking a breeze.
Similar to the P60 Pro, it also runs on last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip which unfortunately only supports up to 4G. It comes with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. If you need more storage, the Mate X3 still supports Huawei’s proprietary Nmcard expansion cards, up to 256GB.
For taking pictures, it gets a rather large camera bump with triple cameras that consists of a 50MP f/1.8 main camera, 13MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle shooter and a 12MP f/3.4 periscope telephoto unit with optical image stabilisation. The device also gets XMAGE technology, which is similar to what you can on the P60 series. There are also 8MP in-display selfie cameras for both the inside and on the cover display.
Unlike the Honor Magic Vs which we tried recently, the Mate X3 also gets Flex Stop which is a similar feature to Samsung’s FLEX Mode. You can unfold the Mate X3 at various angles which is useful to prop it up to take a selfie or group photo or while taking a video call. You can even use the main camera to take a selfie by turning on selfie mode and making the cover display a fully functional viewfinder with a working shutter button that can be triggered via sound or smile.
Despite its ultra-thin profile, the Mate X3 manages to fit a large 4,800mAh battery which is quite remarkable. It even supports 66W wired SuperCharge and also 50W wireless supercharge, which is superior to what Samsung has to offer.
As usual with any new Huawei smartphone, you’ll have to use the Huawei AppGallery to install your apps. There’s still no Google Play Store on this device so this might be an issue for those switching from other Android brands. Huawei is still trying very hard to get more developers to list their apps on its AppGallery and most of the popular apps including local Malaysian banks and eWallets are already on board.
The Huawei Mate X3 is expected to come to Malaysia very soon alongside the Huawei P60 Pro. Like the previous Mate X series devices, don’t expect this device to be cheap. In China, the Huawei Mate X3 with 256GB storage is priced from CNY12,999 (about RM8,355) and it goes all the way to CNY15,999 (about RM10,284) for the 1TB version. As a comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 was launched in Malaysia with a starting price of RM6,799, while the Honor Magic Vs is only going for RM5,999. Both the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Honor Magic Vs are also running on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip but they come with 5G support.