Foldable phones dominate as Mobile World Congress opens

Kelley Robertson
February 26, 2019

Mate X's outward-folding design also leaves the device always at risk of getting scratches.

The value tag for Huawei's foldable 5G-enabled phone, the Mate X, is downright astronomical.

The phone features a flexible OLED panel and a falcon wing mechanical hinge. The main display is 6.6-inches when folded with a more traditional 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 2480 x 1148 resolution, which trumps the Galaxy Fold's 4.6-inch front-facing display.

The Mate X measures 6.6 inches (front panel) when folded and 8 inches when unfolded. There is also a bump or a handle on the side where we see the company logo and the camera setup in a vertical fashion. When looked at directly with a bright image on display, the screens look flawless, but at an angle, with light hitting the display you can clearly observe weird refractions that could compromise usability, but that remains to be seen.

He said Huawei hoped to be able to reduce the price of the Mate X over time and that it was his dream for everyone to have access to it.

Huawei is pulling out all the stops in other areas, too. The was made explicit with the launch of the Mate X foldable phone yesterday. For 5G connectivity, it has Huawei's own Balong 5000 5G modem which offers dual-SIM connectivity as well.

"Our engineers worked on this screen for over three years", he said at an event to present the new phone in Barcelona ahead of the start of the four-day Mobile World Congress trade fair in the Spanish city on Monday. It uses a Quad 5G antenna to connect to the 5G networks coming online this year.

Huawei's own demonstrations of the device aren't helping.

Besides the larger displays, the Mate X also sports a "grip bar". Huawei has sped up charging, with a 55w fast charger that will get you to 85-percent power after just 30 minutes. Not only does the Mate X support 5G technology, as opposed to Samsung's 4G, the screen on the Mate X is also larger (8 centimeters) and thinner (11 millimeters) than the Samsung model. You really just get a smartphone- like experience when the phone is closed, plus a wider tablet-like experience once opened.

There's a lag of a few seconds where the device is figuring out that it needs to change the screen orientation. When folded, the rear screen can be used for selfies and showing others what they look like when you're photographing them, which is kinda neat.

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