The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is finally leaving China and coming to Europe from June.
We were lucky enough to attend the kick-off event and were able to share some first practical impressions with her.
The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is offered in three colors – black with what Huawei calls cross-hatch leather texture, white with a “natural” leather texture, and violet. The Mate Xs 2 is a marked departure from its Mate Xs predecessor in terms of design, but shares much of its hardware. The camera setup, for example, is very similar in terms of specs, as is the battery.
But the display and the body are very different. The Huawei Mate Xs 2’s display extends to a slightly smaller diagonal of 7.8 inches and retains a usable area of 6.5 inches when folded. The resolution is the same at 2200 x 2480 pixels, but this year’s panel can variably boost up to 120 Hz.
The body is 45g lighter overall and slightly smaller, both of which are immediately noticeable.
The technical data of the Huawei Mate Xs 2 at a glance:
- Body: 156.5 x 139.3 x 5.4mm, 255g; .
- Advertisement: 7.80 inch foldable OLED, 1B color, 120 Hz, resolution 2200 x 2480 pixels, aspect ratio 10.15:9, 424 ppi; Display with folded cover: OLED, 6.5 inch, 1176 x 2480 pixels.
- chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 4G (5nm): Octa-Core (1 x 2.84GHz Kryo 680 & 3 x 2.42GHz Kryo 680 & 4 x 1.80GHz Kryo 680); Adreno 660.
- Storage: 256GB 8GB RAM, 512GB 8GB RAM; UFS; NM (Nano Memory), up to 256 GB (uses shared SIM slot).
- Operating system/software: Harmony OS 2.0.
- Backup camera: wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.8, PDAF, Laser AF; tele: 8 MP, f/2.4, 81mm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom; ultra wide angle: 13MP, f/2.2, 120˚.
- Front camera: 10.7 megapixels, f/2.2 aperture.
- Video recording: backup camera: [email protected], [email protected]/240fps; Front camera: [email protected], [email protected]/240fps.
- Battery: 4600mAh; Fast charge 66W, reverse charge.
- Various: fingerprint reader (side-mounted); NFC; infrared port.
What impressed us the most was the Huawei Mate Xs 2’s screen. It’s an outward-folding design that wraps the display around the body of the phone, rather than tucking it in. When unfolded, you get an almost wrinkle-free experience.
It’s something that’s hard to show in photos, but the Huawei Mate Xs 2’s unfolded panel sits flat and seamlessly. You can’t feel a break in the surface, although it can show up when light hits it at certain angles. But trust us, under normal everyday conditions the crease is barely noticeable and we’re very impressed.
The display is a big leap forward from the Mate Xs. The panel becomes very bright and shows beautiful colors. Huawei calls it a foldable True Chrome display. The screen has an aspect ratio of 8:7.1 when fully extended and 19:9 when folded, offering a very traditional one-handed experience.
Huawei has applied an anti-reflective Nano Optical Layer.
The display is beautiful
The other immediately noticeable improvement over the previous Mate is in the hinge. Outward unfolding is achieved through Huawei’s double-pivoting Falcon Wing Hinge. It’s much stronger than the previous generation and allows you to prop the Mate Xs 2 up in virtually any position you want. This allows for cool use cases like taking a selfie with the main cameras.
Huawei says the hinge uses self-developed, ultra-light steel. The body itself uses lighter materials that help the phone achieve the excellent weight of just 255g (for comparison, the Galaxy Z Fold3 weighs 271g). Huawei has used ultra-light glass fibers for the phone’s backplane, aerospace-grade titanium alloys, and the aforementioned ultra-light steel.
Strong hinge and impressively thin frame
Huawei calls the design of the Mate Xs 2 3D Fiberglass. It uses patterns in the texture of the back panel to create a leather-like finish. The black model we were able to play with feels like leather, even though it’s actually plastic.
The finish also feels good, especially when watching a video or using the phone with two hands. The profile of the Mate Xs 2 when unfolded is just 5.4mm, which sounds thin, but we’re here to tell you it feels thinner! With the thicker splitter on one end of the phone, the Mate Xs 2 feels a bit like the Kindle Oasis.
The profile when open is only 5.4 mm
Since the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is foldable, it comes in handy for taking selfies with its main cameras. Having the right in-display selfie camera is good in a pinch, and we’d still use it by default for video calls. But we’d pick the triple main camera to snap photos of ourselves every time.
Curiously, Huawei insists on giving you a square viewfinder to preview your main camera selfies. The final shots are in the sensor’s native 4:3 aspect ratio, which is fine, but makes framing very difficult. Then there’s the fact that you still can’t take a selfie with the ultrawide camera, just like the Mate Xs, which is just weird.
Photograph yourself with the Mate Xs 2
Huawei has opted for the Snapdragon 888 chipset in the Mate Xs 2, and unlike the Mate Xs and its 5G-capable Kirin 990, it lacks a 5G modem. Buyers outside of China will have to contend with just 8GB of RAM, but storage is already plenty at 512GB.
In terms of software, the Mate Xs 2 starts with HarmonyOS and EMUI 12. It’s a responsive operating system well adapted to using the foldable form factor with options like smart multi-window, split-screen, floating windows, swipe gestures and the option is rotate the screen as you like.
But the Mate Xs 2 is only limited to the apps in Huawei’s App Gallery. And while they’ve grown significantly, the lack of Google apps and full Android app store support will turn off many power users.
Huawei app gallery
Interestingly, the Mate Xs 2 doesn’t hit its top 120Hz refresh rate in all conditions – for example, the native browser and settings were noticeably choppy, perhaps because of the pre-release we had.
Using the screen in both modes
The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is coming to Europe in June, starting at €1,999 for the 8/512GB model. And while it has little chance of breaking sales records, the unique design might lure some buyers. We’ll hopefully get a better idea when the phone arrives at our office for a full review.