Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact. Video and photos..

When a year has passed with more noise than nuts for the Huawei Mate X, the brand has presented a second version of it. A new folding device that retains many features of the previous one, but the most important thing is that we have been able to test this one and we bring you the first impressions of the Huawei Mate Xs.

It is a product designed to exercise as a mobile or tablet as appropriate, so that for one use or another we fold or unfold it. The manufacturer has talked about new materials, an updated hinge and software functions adapted to what is still an eye-catching new form factor. We tell you how about him.

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

Getting more out of a design that sounds familiar

A device that is worth two with a single screen that is worth two or three. The Huawei Mate Xs resembles its predecessor in more than just name, with identical form factor and design.

In fact, according to the information of the brand, the dimensions and weight of the first device have been maintained, integrating a folding screen with the same diagonal and resolution. The idea is still the initial one: to have a large screen, 8 inches diagonal (unfolded), which when folded gives two smaller ones, although as we will see later they are not as functional (at least for now).

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

The idea is still the initial one: to have a large screen, 8 inches diagonal, that when folded gives two smaller ones

It is a device that as a mobile it is quite large and bulky, taking into account that the width is considerable and that the weight actually corresponds to that of an 8-inch tablet. More or less it is like taking two thin phones at the same time, like a tight sandwich, and it does not remind so much of the folded Samsung Galaxy Fold as the halves are much wider.

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

The camera module is still on one side, acting as a grip or gripping surface when we have it in tablet mode (like the side of a camera). The arrangement of the cameras is maintained, with all three (or four, counting the ToF sensor) distributed vertically, but adding a physical button to spring open the terminal.

The back cover is mate, as opposed to the edges finished in gloss. The physical buttons do not change either, including the fingerprint reader as a power / lock button, placing the USB type C at one end of the camera module.

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

The arrangement and location of these physical buttons is adequate, especially considering their folded use. We have not been able to test the efficacy of the fingerprint reader, but “it fell well” at the height of our thumb, and in tablet mode it was well reached with the index finger.

At this first contact it appears to be well built, without giving the impression that it is flimsy. The first glance feeling of the new hinge design is that it has fewer indentations than the previous one, with a kind of cover and not the links that were left in the first Mate X. It will be necessary to see if this works better in the long run, especially in order not to get dust (a clear enemy of these mechanisms), since it is now too early to assure anything at this level.

Yes we can say that it is a hinge that opposes quite a bit of resistance to opening, perhaps because they are new and / or in order to maximize durability. In the demo, some terminals cost more to open than in others and you could hear a sound similar to other folding models such as the Motorola Razr, although this does not have to mean anything beyond what may matter to us on a personal level.

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

A folding device still does not give much confidence a priori (the novelty of these devices and the lack of habit have an influence here) and with this one it has happened to us the same at first, but the truth is that the hinge has always opened and closed properly at all times, without getting crooked or not fitting well. And let’s say we have done a crease test as much as we can humanly.

Creased it is not uncomfortable despite the thickness which is double the edge than in tablet format, since it is a grip that favors the use of one hand as a pointer and the other as a support and the curvatures help make it comfortable. Open is not far from the feeling when holding an 8-inch tablet, and in any case it helps that it does not slip either.

Maybe the button solution avoid that after opening and closing it thousands of times the hinge can give way, but it is not the fastest system to go from one format to another. The location can also make it easier for us to dirty the cameras with our fingers, but what it does seem is that the closure is firm and secure, and being a button without relief and well integrated, it seems quite difficult that it can be pressed by accident while having the device in a purse or pocket.

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

A screen that behaves well and software that still lacks juice to extract

The screen maintains resolution and other parameters With respect to the first one we saw in a folding Huawei and what has been improved according to the brand is the material. This is perhaps what we can least perceive in a contact, especially considering that the terminals were with a protective plastic, so for now we cannot talk about the final touch of this new screen but about other aspects.

The screen manages to defend itself at the level of detail, contrast and colors, both closed and open

We can point out that, although it does not have a competitive resolution with the maximums that we see in current mobiles, it manages to defend itself at the level of detail, contrast and color, both folded and open. Quite factory saturated, we can try to fix it with the screen settings, among which we can choose a color mode and adjust the temperature to our liking.

Despite that protector, touch sensitivity was correct. Of course, with the terminal folded it is quite uncomfortable to type and that the sensitivity of the tap is maintained near the fold, because there is a considerable curvature (it is more or less half a circumference, a more accentuated curve than in terminals like the Huawei P30 Pro ).

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

Speaking of the experience folding and unfolding it, the software is prepared so that this action occurs with the active terminal and detects the passage from one format to another, so that no active tasks are interrupted or accidental touches. What we can’t do is go from one secondary screen to another (when folded), so that the half that is on the side of the camera module will only be active for taking selfies. That, all being said, is the only way to take selfies since there is no front camera inserted in the front screen, hence we do not see a notch, a hole or anything like that with the screen unfolded.

We will have to wait for all the EMUI news for this format to arrive, but for now we have been able to test the floating windows and they work fine. At least for now it is much more limited than what we saw in the Samsung Galaxy Fold, since we can only have a floating task and we cannot even resize the window. What we have been able to do is keep two tasks active, one on top of the other, and work without one closing.

For the rest, the test time was quite limited and since they were not connected we could not test games or perform performance tests, but trying to force the machine as much as possible we have not seen any problem apparent underperformance. Multitasking opens correctly with both navigation buttons and gestures, and the camera app also opens normally.

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

There has been no sudden shutdown despite being trial software and a significant increase in temperature was not perceived eitherSo we’ll have to wait and see how well the games hold up, but he seems to be doing well at this level. It also sounds strong, managing to be heard in a fairly crowded environment without having to turn the volume up to maximum (and with stereo sound).

Conserving also in photography

To test the cameras, by the way, there has been little time, but we can comment on some brushstrokes. The portrait mode is still only for people, having the opening mode to create photos with more bokeh, and as in previous Huawei phones this seemed to give very good results, being easy to use and with the adjustable aperture parameter.

The switch from one camera to another it also happens with normality and fluidity. Indoors and quite contrasting and variable lighting the optical zoom and the hybrid seemed to have good results and the wide angle did not seem to exaggerate the natural curvature of the lens too much, but this will have to be tested in more detail.

The composition of the cameras has remained as is with respect to the Huawei Mate X, with some hardware characteristics that seem close to what we saw in the Huawei P30 Pro, so we may see similar results. What we have seen is correct stabilization performance on the video, smoothly enough to zoom.

What does not seem to be there are ghost touches when taking pictures with the mobile folded, and this is very good sign since in the P30 Pro there were them with its curved screen. Of course, although it is quite pleasant and striking to take photos and record video with the Xs open on its 8-inch screen, it is much more uncomfortable than having it folded.

Another folding that we want to test thoroughly

The Huawei Mate Xs has seemed to us quite a short evolution With respect to the previous, but it gives the feeling that it is a somewhat more finished product and that they have wanted to focus on the structural and design aspects, updating the right hardware so that it is competitive today, in a present with more folding and much more 5G on the market. The fact that the hinges were so hard leaves us more doubtful in terms of durability, whether that resistance will favor stability or will end up taking its toll, but it is impossible to know what will happen after hundreds of thousands of openings for now.

The terminal works well at the level of touch sensitivity and format changes, which is almost what worries the most at first. The processor and RAM seem to be up to par and the screen, although it could have had more resolution, gives a good experience.

That the design has been maintained does not have to be something negative per se: the first Huawei Mate X was not sold globally and perhaps the Xs is the confirmation that for the house this is the best form factor for a folding device. The pity is that has not been used to update cameras, but it may have been a way to contain the price almost like the last model.

Huawei Mate Xs, opinions after first contact.  Video and photos.

The fold to the middle of the main screen It shows as it happened with the Fold with the device open, but beyond the sensation to the touch it does not suppose any interruption in the tasks. What could be improved is the adapted software to be able to increase productivity with respect to a common device, so we will have to see if this changes if we have the opportunity to test it something more mature.