Huawei's zeal to keep reporters out of his new foldable Mate X has slipped a bit today, and I had to hold it and fold it for myself. The practical experience of this device has confirmed and deepened all the feelings I had about this device: it is a refined and refined physical design that brings us closer to the ideal of a foldable with a minimum of compromise. There are still huge questions about the nature of the UX software, the durability and durability of this long-term wraparound display, and the battery life if you use this 5G tablet to the fullest. I can not answer it today, but I can tell you what I know about the Huawei Mate X so far.
How does the screen feel?
The OLED screen of Mate X is plastic and not glass, unlike most smartphones today. This is an unavoidable feature for all foldable appliances because glass does not like to bend. Nothing about the plastic surface, however, was a problem for me. It has the same friction and responsiveness as a glass-covered phone, and the only problem is the risk of extra scratches due to the softness of the plastic.
View angles, contrast, color saturation, vibrancy and consistency are as beautiful as what you will find in most smartphones today. I find that the plastic screen is a little less reflective than its glass counterparts, which I like and prefer.
As for the very important question of whether I can see or feel the spine in the middle of the screen where the folding occurs, the answer is "no". My time with Mate X has not been long enough to do it. a categorical statement, but it's definitely the flatter fold I've ever come across.
How does the device feel?
Substantial. I was a little surprised by the weight of the Mate X when I got my hands on it because it is heavier than its ultra-thin look suggests. It's a good thing: I would not want a gadget of 2 299 € that is too light and discreet, and the Mate X feels dense and solid in the hand. It contains a big battery of 4,500mAh, which probably represents the essential of this weight.
In terms of basic ergonomics, the open tablet is extremely easy to handle with one hand and its 8: 7.1 aspect ratio allows it to maintain landscape and portrait orientations, even if it's just that. I find it particularly useful for tasks such as web browsing and the least compatible with YouTube or any other type of widescreen content.
The shape of the Mate X when it is semi-open is ideal for laying it on a surface. You can use the thinnest back part of the screen as a crutch. I like that. I also like the fact that, when folded, the Mate X works the same way as one would expect from a reasonably bulky phone. When you flip the phone when it is folded, it goes from the back of the screen to 6.4 inches to the main screen of 6.6 inches with speed and accuracy.
How does the hinge feel?
It's the least impressive part of Mate X for me. The hinge seems almost gritty in its operation. There is no tactile finesse itself, just open it. I guess Huawei has favored durability with this design because the hinge offers great strength and feels like it can withstand many openings and closures. I guess that's part of the reason why Huawei is reluctant to let too many people touch the device. The hinge will not break, but it could break your dreamy trance when you use this tablet phone of the future.
Huawei has locked the grip section of the Mate X, which keeps the tablet folded in the closed position. I doubt that locking is strictly necessary, because there is already a lot of friction in the hinge, but it is a little more reassuring. The Mate X closes with a click when the latch engages. A button allows you to open it right next to the latch.
I am sure that someone will ask, "Does it give you the trouble to receive 2,299 euros?" I should therefore address this point directly. The Mate X is not a linear extension of an existing device nor a design trend. It's a whole new form factor, even though it's based on existing smartphone and tablet technologies. As such, Mate X, as well as Samsung's Galaxy Fold, must now create their own market – as well as recovering significant research and development costs. Today's price of early users reflects all of these factors, and it would not be fair to judge this hybrid device against existing standards for smartphones and the prices of existing smartphones.
The only thing I will say about the Mate X's rating against our very strict smartphone standards is that it's the closest to the foldable devices that meet those expectations. At least in terms of material design. We still have a long way to go before we reach the ideal destination for a foldable phone, but Huawei's Mate X accelerates faster than anyone else.