Since the beginning of their smartphone adventure, Huawei has been keen to compete with Apple quality on all fronts. With the European launch of its fourth generation folding smartphone, the Mate Xs 2, the Chinese giant also wants to tackle the Korean giant Samsung, the king of the genre with its Folds and Flips.
Lighter, with more usable screen area, stronger, no curling effect on the screen, etc. Almost all Huawei’s comparisons were aimed at Samsung’s flagship.
Already launched in China, the Mate Xs 2 is a jewel of hardware – We had it in our hands and the finish level is excellent. Its new hinge promises to be super resistant, the folding is really invisible and the surface of the display is very comfortable.
The screen is deliberately larger (7.8 ” vs. 7.6 ”), more defined (2480 x 2200 versus 2208 x 1768 pixels) and denser in pixels (424 dpi vs. 374 dpi) than the Galaxy Z Fold 3. All smaller heavy, with 255g versus 271g for the Samsung device. Huawei even highlights that its terminal weighs about the same as an iPhone 13 Pro Max with its shell, for a dual screen surface.
Huawei’s presentation emphasized materials such as advanced fiberglass, complexity and solidity (reinforced hinge, multilayer screen protection). They allow Huawei to claim some pretty impressive comparative figures. Compared to Mate Xs (2and fold generation at Huawei), the Mate Xs 2 is 2.5 times more resistant to falls, 2.8 times more resistant to shocks and 1.4 times more resistant to pressure. A very important reinforcement work for a phone with such a mechanism.
In terms of technical specifications, the screen is of course at 120 Hz, and the Snapdragon 888 that drives it is supported by 8 GB of RAM and has 512 GB of storage space.
The photo score consists of a classic triptych: ultra wide angle (eq. 13 mm f / 2.2, 13 Mpix) and wide angle (eq. 23 mm f / 1.8, 50 Mpix used in 12.5 Mpix) on the P50 Pro and a development of the small telephoto lens in the P40 Pro +, an 85 mm f / 2.4 corresponding to 8 Mpix (extended compared to the original 80 mm).
A trio of modules that benefit from Huawei’s know-how in imaging (XD Optics to reduce optical defects, etc.). But we feel that Huawei is no longer at its maximum. If we can not blame the absence of 8K, the limit for 4K video at 30p (instead of 60 fps) is regrettable and below the competition.
The front camera consists of a new 10.7 Mpix sensor, the size of which is unknown, topped with ultra-wide-angle optics that open at f / 2.2 (without further precision of the focal length).
During our hands-on, the camera was quick to focus despite the harsh lighting conditions, but still lagged behind Apple’s – this has always been the case for Huawei’s AF.
Limited to 4G, and still without Google
Let Huawei be a king of hardware, it sounds like a bit of a no-brainer. If the Chinese giant had managed to become number one in the world, it would not have been a coincidence. The Chinese company was – and still is – a reference in terms of quality, manufacturing and technologies, especially in the field of imaging.
But since this golden age, Donald Trump and his administration have been there, and Mate Xs 2 is suffering during this American war. Deprived of Android and Google services (Google Mobile Services), he must be satisfied in Europe with his fork of Android EMUI 12 and his app store AppGallery.
If Petal Search and the application loading system (” side load APK files) is a crutch, the user experience for Europeans and Westerners who are very focused on Google apps and services is far from the comfort of Android, where there is no need for hacking.
Despite the large investment in Harmony OS, Huawei, through its representatives with whom we have spoken, seems very keen to get the license back. But it depends less on Alphabet / Google than on the US government.
Same story on the hardware and communications side: world champion in 5G equipment and 5G SoCs (Huawei was the first to integrate a 5G modem into an advanced chip), the Chinese company is deprived of the production of its chips … and therefore of 5G. The US government has agreed to let Qualcomm sell the older generation of chips (Snapdragon 888), but with the 5G modem disabled.
See also video:
See also video:
Mate Xs 2 therefore offers the top performance of the terminals in 2021. And the largest 5G patent holder in the world is stuck on 4G. If this is not serious in everyday life, this limit goes against the very marketing discourse that Huawei has held in recent years to highlight its know-how.
The Mate Xs 2 is scheduled to arrive in France from June for 1,999 euros.