Huawei Mate X2: Huawei's new folding phone is full of surprises
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Huawei Mate X2: Huawei's new folding phone is full of surprises

Dominik Bärlocher
Zurich, on 22.02.2021
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
Huawei just unveiled the Huawei Mate X2 a few minutes ago, completely out of the blue. The new model can not only be folded, it also has top specs. No dates have yet been announced for the start of sales in Switzerland.

The pre-recorded speech by Huawei CEO Richard Yu was not pre-announced. Shortly after noon on February 22, 2021, the crisis-ridden company from China showed off the new Huawei Mate X2. According to Richard Yu, the new foldable flagship is simply better than the competition. And the specs appear to go in line with that.

With a Kirin 9000 and an exterior design that strongly resembles the Huawei P40 Pro, the Mate X2 makes quite an impression.

No more folds thanks to an inner recess

Unlike last year's Mate Xs, the Mate X2 no longer has its foldable screen on the outside, but on the inside, like the competition. This way you can open the foldable screen like a book. You still have a screen on the outside: 90 Hertz Amoled, 6.45 inches across, but with a narrow aspect ratio of 21:9.

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Inside, the Mate X2 reveals what matters to Huawei. 8.01 inches across with an aspect ratio of 8:7.1, a screen resolution of 2480 × 2200 pixels and animations made especially for foldables that show up when you open the phone.

Huawei has paid special attention to the fold in the centre. In it, the Chinese company shows not only courage, but also creativity. Since foldables are generally quite chunky and physically quite unattractive when the screen is off, recreating the «rectangle with rounded corners» shape without a gap in the middle was one of the priorities during construction.

The result is a hinge that frees up space when folded. In it, the display bends in the shape of a raindrop. Thus, the display is exposed to little stress, and the creases that are still visible on the Xs when you don't look straight at the display are said to have disappeared, according to Richard Yu.

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In addition, the Mate X2 isn't flat either. When unfolded with the main camera in your right hand, it leans slightly to the right and tapers towards the left. At its thinnest point, the device is 4.4 millimetres thick.

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This means that it does look a bit crooked when folded, but it does this seamlessly.

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Huawei has made sure that the Mate X2 has its centre of gravity on the right. Thus, it fits better in one hand than its predecessors and – Richard Yu, always provoking – the competition. You can think of it as similar to Amazon's Kindle Oasis. The device is also very side-heavy, but wider.

Enough room to zoom

With this weight distribution, Huawei suddenly has space on the right side of the phone. The company uses this to install a camera setup that you know from flagships. The official specs haven't been confirmed yet and Richard Yu's presentation is, unlike usual, in Chinese. But from the looks of it, we can expect the following camera details: 10x optical zoom, 100x digital. Add to that improved macro capabilities and, since the phone has a decent screen on the outside, a main camera setup that can be used as a selfie cam.

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Fact is: Leica developed the camera, which sounds very promising. Even if Huawei still can't install Google Services, the camera's performance will remain number one in the field. This seems to be the case regarding general system performance. The Kirin 9000 system-on-a-chip (SoC) is one of the fastest 5G platforms on the market.

Speaking of Google: HarmonyOS as of April

Besides some accessories, including stands for the Mate X2, Richard Yu additionally announced a launch date for Huawei's own operating system, which could possibly be an Android clone, called HarmonyOS: April.

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The Mate X2 as well as other flagships from the group should then be ready for the update.

As good as all this sounds, nothing is known about a launch in Switzerland yet. Or about the price, except that it will most likely be expensive. In China, the 256 GB Mate X2 will go for 17,999 yuan, which is the equivalent of about 2500 francs, and 18,999 yuan for the 512 GB variant, which is about 2600 francs.

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Dominik Bärlocher
Dominik Bärlocher
Senior Editor, Zurich
Journalist. Author. Hacker. A storyteller searching for boundaries, secrets and taboos – putting the world to paper. Not because I can but because I can’t not.

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