Hot on the heels of rival Samsung, Huawei have shown off their own foldable smartphone ahead of this year's Mobile World Congress.
Branded the Huawei Mate X, the device is set to be both Huawei's first foldable smartphone and their first 5G smartphone.
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei CBG, says that “the Huawei Mate X’s revolutionary form factor is achieved
by Huawei’s relentless effort in R&D. It represents a voyage into the uncharted. As a new breed of
smartphones, HUAWEI Mate X combines 5G, foldable screen, AI and an all-new mode of interfacing
to provide consumers with an unprecedented user experience."
Though comparisons to Samsung's Galaxy Fold are inevitable, the Mate X takes the idea of the foldable phone in a very different direction.
Rather than utilise a primary screen on the outside and a larger screen on the inside, the Mate X is built around a unique hinge and an 8-inch flexible screen that can be bent and used into multiple display modes as needed.
By default, the Mate X is an 8-inch tablet. When folded, it can be used as either a 6.3-inch or 6.6-inch smartphone. Under the hood, it's powered by Huawei's Kirin 980 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage (expandable via Huawei's NanoMemory cards).
The Huawei Mate X also features a 4500mAh dual-battery system that supports fast charging of up to 55W. There's also a fingerprint sensor built into the power button of the device.
As for the 5G connectivity, the Huawei Mate X comes equipped with Huawei's own 7nm 5G chipset: the Balong 5000. This 5G connectivity alone is a big point of difference between Huawei's effort and the Galaxy Fold.
The final piece of the picture here is the triple-lens Leica camera on the device, which is build into the Mate X's hinge. It's not clear whether this three-camera system is the same as the one found in the Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro but expect Huawei to leveraging their Leica-built photography hardware as a point of difference over rival foldables in the future.
There's no word yet on how much the Huawei Mate X will cost if and when it comes to Australia. However, based on the sheer look of this thing alone, we already can't wait to get our hands it. Still, in Europe, the Huawei Mate X will be priced at €2299 and be available from the middle of 2019.
What does this mean to consumers? It means that the Samsung Galaxy Note isn't going to be the only premium foldable smartphone competing for your attention (and wallets) in 2019.
Disclosure - PC World Australia's coverage of this year's MWC in Barcelona was sponsored by Oppo who covered the costs of our flights and accommodation.