Huawei hosted a small group of media at their offices in Sandton, in which it formally announced that the Huawei Mate X would be heading to South Africa in the near future.
While there were no specific dates provided, the team confirmed that South Africa would be part of the first wave of releases around the world, with the device currently still in the final R&D phase.
In addition to this announcement, Huawei also showcased the folding smartphone and gave everyone a chance at a brief hands-on experience.
Under the Hood
The Huawei Mate X set new records at this year’s MWC, taking home a massive 31 awards. And while the device hasn’t yet been made official, the full specifications have not been made public. However, there are some details Huawei were willing to share.
The most significant of these specs is its support for 5G. In fact, Huawei has claimed that when the unit launches later this year, it will be the fastest 5G smartphone on the market. There aren’t that many to begin with, so this isn’t a far-fetched statement to make. In addition, the Mate X will feature Dual SIM capabilities, with the first offering 5G support and the second up to 4G.
The most important specification of the smartphone is its foldable screen. When folded and used in the standard smartphone mode, the screen measures 6.6″ diagonally, with uninterrupted viewing, which means no notches or cutouts.
Turning the device to the rear, the unit will feature a 6.38″ screen. The rear also houses the triple camera, which also doubles as a selfie-camera with the reverse screen. The biggest highlight, however, comes when the device is unfolded. The screen folds out to measure 8″ in tablet mode.
The triple camera is powered by Leica, as with many of Huawei’s other flagship devices. Huawei has also created a few new camera enhancements to fully utilise the screen’s potential. One of these is the dual screen photography, which allows users to view the portrait photo being taken of them, for example.
Huawei is known for their fast-charging technology of late, with great features on the likes of the Mate 20 Pro and P20 smartphones. With the Mate X, Huawei is set to package it alongside the world’s first 55W supercharging unit, which is said to charge the unit up to 85% in just 30 minutes. The unit will feature a dual, non-removable, Li-Po battery under the hood, which together makes up a 4500mAh battery.
It may seem a simple issue of adding a hinge to a folding screen, but the design is far more complicated than that. In fact, Huawei claims that there are more than 100 components within the device’s hinge for the outward folding screen. To fold and unfold the device, there is a clip release to snap the screen between the various modes. Once the unit snaps into position it won’t change its state without using the release clip to reposition. This gives peace of mind that the screen won’t suffer any major issues as a result of the folding technology.
Already mentioned numerous times previously, the Mate X’s screen folds outward, unlike a few of its competitors. There are a few advantages to this. Firstly, this means you won’t have the dreaded gap on the inside of the fold, which means it can keep its thickness down to a minimum.
When folded, the device measures a reasonable 11m, which is much thinner than alternative builds. When opened, the unit also measures only 5.4mm. Huawei achieves this by moving all of the innards to a single strip on the side, which doubles as a grip. This means that it’s only the screen and battery on the main panel in order to reduce its overall size.
The remaining specs have not officially been confirmed, but there are good indications of what they might be when released. This includes 512GB internal storage, 8GB RAM and a 2200x2480pxj resolution display at 414ppi density.
The biggest drawback, currently, with the folding technology is that not many of the other technologies have caught up. For starters, while the panel is fully foldable, there isn’t a notable screen protection technology that exists alongside. Major players such as Corning with their Gorilla Glass, the leading screen protection firm for smartphones, has indicated that their product may only be ready in 2020 for commercial use on foldable devices. In addition, there aren’t a lot of protective cases on the market either, with Huawei offering just one for the Mate X themselves. This could make the Mate X’s foldable screen prone to the odd scratch.
As mentioned previously, South Africa will be among the first countries in the world to offer the Mate X to consumers. While there is no official date for the release, it’s expected to land on shelves between June and July 2019. The unit will be available in one colour, Interstellar Blue, which is great to look as is. The team were mum on whether additional colours would be available at the time of release.
With a US price of $2,600 and a European price of 2300EUR to base estimates on, there are quite a few variables to consider. These include the exchange rate, the import taxes, VAT and the likes. With this is mind, South African pricing is expected to be in the region of R50,000+ all things considered. Needless to say, then, the Mate X wouldn’t be a very wide-spread device, but only for a niche group of technophiles.