Since the beginning of its smartphone adventure, Huawei has been excited to compete with Apple’s quality in all respects. With the launch in Europe of the fourth -generation folding smartphone, the Mate Xs 2, the Chinese giant also wants to face Korean giant Samsung, king of the genre with Folds and Flips.
Lighter, with more usable screen area, more power, no effect of screen crease, and so on. Almost all of Huawei’s comparisons are aimed at Samsung’s flagship.
Already launched in China, the Mate Xs 2 is a gem of a hardware – we have it in our hands and the finishing level is very good. Its new hinge promises to be super resistant, the fold is never visible, and the display surface is very comfortable.
The screen is intentionally larger (7.8 ” versus 7.6 ”), clearer (2480 x 2200 versus 2208 x 1768 pixels) and denser in pixels (424 dpi versus 374 dpi) than the Galaxy Z Fold 3. All the while less heavy, with 255g against 271g for the Samsung device. Huawei further stressed that its terminal is the same weight as an iPhone 13 Pro Max with its shell, for double the screen size.
Huawei’s presentation highlighted materials such as advanced fiberglass, complexity and durability (reinforced hinge, multi-layer screen protection). They allowed Huawei to claim some impressive comparison numbers. Compared to Mate Xs (2and Huawei’s folding generation), the Mate Xs 2 is 2.5 times more resistant to falls, 2.8 times more resistant to impacts and 1.4 times more resistant to pressure. A very important consolidation job for a phone with such a mechanism.
In terms of technical specifications, the screen is clearly available at 120 Hz, and the Snapdragon 888 that powers it is supported by 8 GB of RAM and has 512 GB of storage.
The photo score consists of a classic triptych: the ultra wide-angle (eq. 13 mm f/2.2, 13 Mpix) and the wide-angle (eq. 23 mm f/1.8, 50 Mpix used at 12.5 Mpix) at P50 Pro and an evolution of the small telephoto lens of the P40 Pro+, an 85mm f/2.4 equivalent of 8 Mpix (elongated compared to the original 80mm).
A trio of modules have benefited from Huawei’s knowledge of image processing (XD Optics for reducing optical defects, etc.). But we feel that Huawei is no longer at its highest. If we can’t blame the loss of 8K, the 4K video limit at 30p (instead of 60 fps) is to blame and below the competition.
The front camera features a new 10.7 Mpix sensor, the size of which is unknown, featuring ultra-wide-angle optics that open at f / 2.2 (with no additional accuracy for focal length).
During our hands-on, the camera quickly focused despite extreme lighting conditions, but still stayed behind Apple-that’s always been the case with Huawei’s AF.
Limited to 4G, and still not Google
Let Huawei be king of hardware, seems to have no brain. If the Chinese giant succeeds in becoming number one in the world, it is no coincidence. The Chinese company was once – and still is – a reference point in terms of quality, manufacturing and technology, especially in imaging.
But since this golden age, Donald Trump and his administration have been there, and the Mate Xs 2 has suffered this American war. Deprived of Android and Google services (Google Mobile Services), he had to be content in Europe with his fork in Android EMUI 12, and his app store AppGallery.
If Petal Search and the system load the application (” sideloading ”APK files) is a crutch, the user experience of Europeans and Westerners who focus heavily on Google apps and services is far from the equivalent of the convenience of Android, where there is no need to hacking.
Despite the heavy investment in Harmony OS, Huawei, through its representatives, whom we spoke to, seems very keen to get the license. But it depends less on Alphabet/Google than the US government.
Same story in terms of hardware and communications: world champion of 5G equipment and 5G SoCs (Huawei was the first to integrate 5G modems into high-end chips), the Chinese firm was denied production of its chips … at 5g. The U.S. government has agreed to allow Qualcomm to sell older-generation chips (Snapdragon 888), but only if the 5G modem is disabled.
Also watch the video:
Also watch the video:
So the Mate Xs 2 offers the ultimate terminal performance in 2021. And the world’s largest 5G patent holder is stuck with 4G. If it’s not serious in everyday life, this limitation is contrary to the marketing discourse Huawei has developed in recent years to promote its awareness.
The Mate Xs 2 should arrive in France from June at 1,999 euros.