Huawei Mate X2 Review: The Foldable Future is Here

Huawei Mate X2 Review
The Mate X2's foldable display is eye-catching, and the new hinge design makes it more robust. Josh Smith

The Huawei Mate X2 is an exciting, foldable smartphone with excellent cameras, beautiful displays and super fast charging.

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Folding phones are still relatively new, and the Mate X2 showcases one of the best designs I've used so far. The large outer screen is big and bright enough to use as a primary display while on the go, and the massive inner display transforms the device into a tablet when you want to watch, read, work or play on a bigger screen.

Huawei's Mate X2 is the best folding phone hardware that I've used, making the most of the technology folded and unfolded.

The Mate X2 isn't available for sale in the United States, but it sets a new mark for what foldable phones should bring to the table. The 256GB version of the Mate X2 retails for 17,999 yuan, which is $2,746 at the time of publishing.

Huawei Mate X2 Displays and Design

Huawei Mate X2 Review
The exterior display is large enough to use like a standard smartphone. Josh Smith

The Huawei Mate X2 features two displays: a 6.45-inch outer display and an 8-inch folding display. The outer display features a 2700 x 1160 resolution, and the interior screen's resolution is 2480 x 2200.

Unlike many folding phones, the outer screen on the Mate X2 looks and feels like a standard smartphone screen. The size is familiar, and the 90 Hz refresh rate keeps it in line with many flagship single-display phones. I found this incredibly important for quickly checking something while on the move.

The real magic is the inner folding display. With the fold on the inside, I felt less concerned about damage while carrying the phone than while handling phones with exterior folds. There are still many warnings about keeping the display safe, including avoiding closing objects in the display and avoiding contact with water.

Huawei Mate X2 Review
Apps automatically enlarge to fill the screen. Josh Smith

This massive interior display is perfect for watching videos, reading or working. The fold is awe-inspiring when people see it the first time. The stock wallpaper on the inner display animates as you open and close the phone. The screen is bright, and the colors are vibrant. This inner display also features a 90 Hz refresh rate.

Huawei does a great job of handling the fold's crease on the Mate X2. Part of the special hinge system supports the display when fully open. Looking at the phone, it's nearly impossible to see the crease when the display is on. While swiping across the screen, I could still feel the crease, but it didn't get in the way of using the phone.

The software includes multiwindow support to split the larger screen in two for multitasking across multiple apps. The software also allows you to float additional windows on top, which is handy for checking an email or sending a message.

Overall, the Mate X2 is thicker than most smartphones. This is common with foldable phones. The right side of the phone is slightly thicker than the left when unfolded. This is to accommodate the various cameras. It's most noticeable if you set the phone down on a flat surface while open, but in my hands, this difference wasn't an issue.

Huawei includes a case with the Mate X2 that attaches to the thicker side. I like that it adds a little grip, protection and a kickstand.

Huawei Mate X2 Cameras

Huawei Mate X2 Review cameras
There are four main cameras on the Mate X2. Josh Smith

Huawei includes six cameras on the Mate X2. There are two in a traditional selfie configuration and four on the rear of the device.

The cameras are Leica branded. The main camera lens is 50 megapixels, with a 16 megapixel ultrawide lens, a 12 megapixel lens with 3x optical zoom and an 8 megapixel lens with 10x optical zoom. The selfie cameras are a 16 megapixel ultrawide and an 8 megapixel main camera.

Huawei Mate X2 Camera samples
With the phone unfolded, it's easy to take a selfie with the rear cameras. Josh Smith

It's handy to have a traditional selfie camera for when you don't want to unfold the display. When I wanted to take a better-looking selfie, I opened the Mate X2 up to use the front display and the main cameras for a selfie.

I was impressed with the overall quality of the cameras on the Mate X2, and I enjoyed the benefit of being able to use the main cameras to take selfies. The portrait mode allows you to take a photo in which the background blurs behind the main subject, and the professional mode lets you choose from a wide range of options.

Huawei Mate X2 Camera samples
The Mate X2 camera does a good job of capturing colors and details. Josh Smith

Huawei Mate X2 Features

The Huawei Mate X2 includes a 5G-ready Kirin 9000 processor that kept the device humming along smoothly during my testing. The phone supports a high-speed 55W wired charger that quickly tops off the phone.

One catch to the Mate X2 is that it doesn't support Google Play Services, so you can't open up Google Play to install apps. There are a variety of other places to find Android apps, as well as the ability to sideload apps.

The Mate X2 currently runs EMUI 11 on the Android operating system. Huawei is working on a new HarmonyOS operating system that should arrive on the Mate X2.

Is the Huawei Mate X2 Worth Buying?

Huawei Mate X2 Review
The Huawei Mate X2's internal display offers a huge screen for work and play. Josh Smith

Shoppers looking for the cutting edge of smartphone technology should consider the Huawei Mate X2. The folding design is an improvement over previous models, and the internal display offers a huge screen for work and play. The outer display is large enough to function as a standard smartphone screen when you don't need the bigger screen.

An inner fold is more functional for a folding smartphone, and the hinge design Huawei uses helps avoid a noticeable crease on the screen. There's still a different feel to the screen when swiping across the crease, but it doesn't take away from the benefits of a pocketable 8-inch screen.

If you're looking for a foldable smartphone with great cameras and are in a country where the Mate X2 is sold, this is a stellar option.

The Huawei Mate X2 is available from Huawei.

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