First Look: The HUAWEI Mate Xs Foldable Smartphone

The HUAWEI Mate Xs was launched in Barcelona amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be available in Singapore this Saturday (21st March 2020). Thanks to Huawei, I got to spend a few hours with it.

The HUAWEI Mate Xs is not for everyone. The first killer point is the price (RRP: S$3,788). The second point is the durability of the device. Will it last with constant folding? Read on to find out.

Thanks for Huawei to look after our well-being. The event was catered to very small groups of media with staggered timing.

For this first look, there will be a lot of pictures because let’s be truthful, a few hours on a device does not make me an expert or to comment if it is worth the pricing. I will need to try it out for a few weeks for a proper review.

Here is a video of my hands-on (technically, I filmed someone with the hands-on while instructing him what I wanted).

When folded, it looks really gorgeous. If you did not take a closer look, you may mistake it for a normal smartphone.

For the Mate Xs, Huawei is using the traditional speaker to listen to a phone call.

On the back, you can see a row of cameras and a red color mark. Most of the components reside in this thin stripe.

The red mark is the button to release the folded screen. It is spring-loaded and when you press it, the screen will spring up.

Here is a close look at the catch that is holding on to the screen.

If you think a foldable smartphone is thick, Huawei is going to prove you wrong. When folded, it is just 11mm thick.

Here is a bottom view. You can see the speaker grille, the USB-C data/charging port and a few microphones.

Here is a close up of the speaker grille. The speaker is quite loud when we play games or some videos on it.

Here is the top view. You can see the SIM card slot and a microphone.

And here is a picture to show you how thin it is when unfolded.

Here is the view when it is fully unfolded. Notice that there is no front-facing camera? Well, because of its unique design, it can use the main camera for selfies. Check out this video to understand.

Here is the back view.

And here is a picture to show you how thin it is. I actually love that thick part of the phone. It helps to grip the phone properly. You feel secure when grabbing it.

You can place it like this when you want to show off the phone. BTW, those are Huawei macarons behind the Mate Xs.

The HUAWEI Mate Xs has a rocker volume switch and a power button by the side. The power button is also a fingerprint sensor. I like this kind of design.

Here is a closer look at the fingerprint sensor cum power button.

One of the most interesting and important features on the HUAWEI Mate Xs is the hinge. The Huawei Mate Xs is using the Falcon Wing design which is different (better) from the Mate X.

When I fold the phone, I feel that it is very sturdy and solid. It feels well-made and there isn’t a slight feeling of looseness. Of course, these review units are new. So, we will need someone who will own the Mate Xs in the near future to provide a review on the Falcon Wing hinge after a period of usage.

Here is a side view of the hinge.

Strangely, when folded, the hinge seems to be slightly protruding out.

It is the same for the other side.

Another thing to note is that it has a layer on top of the screen. They are not detachable. It is permanently on the screen as shown below. Do not try to remove it.

Some of you might also wonder why it has those cut-outs. One of the reasons is that the sensors are running on the top of the screen and the cut out is to ensure the sensors are able to function without obstructions.

Summary

I love the design of the HUAWEI Mate Xs but not the price. At S$3,788, you can buy a very good laptop. However, if you want to be unique, this phone is for you.

Because it can be unfolded to become a mini tablet (8-inch), I think it is like buying 1 device with two unique functions (phone or a tablet)

No matter how good the manufacturing is, you can still see a faint line across the folding of the screen on a foldable phone. For the Mate Xs, it is almost negligible.

As foldable phones are in an entirely new category in mobile phones, you can easily anticipate better ones in the future. However, at the moment, the HUAWEI Mate Xs is one of the best (if not the best) foldable phone you can get now (if you don’t need Google).

When you purchase the HUAWEI Mate Xs, it comes with this leather pouch which you can store the phone safely.

The phone also comes with a bumper that you can install on it. Yes, you need to install the bumper by sticking it to the phone (almost permanently) so that it can fold without issues. I think if you own this phone, you better use it as it protects (a little) on the delicate edges.

Software-wise, it is running on Android 10 without GMS (Google Mobile Service). Instead, you are getting the HMS (Huawei Mobile Service) which some might not like.

As this is just a first look and I only held it for a few hours, this is all that I can share now. Let me know if you have any questions.