HUAWEI announced the latest Mate Xs 2 foldable device last week, and it replaces the previous Mate Xs that was released back in 2020. The new HUAWEI Mate Xs 2 brings a slightly new design, and several key improvements to the folding mechanism, display, and a spec bump.
Before we talk about the changes, let’s discuss the specifications to get the big picture. The HUAWEI Mate Xs 2 has a 7.8-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2,480 x 2,200 and 120Hz refresh rate. It still has the outward folding mechanism, and it’s a manageable 6.5-inches (2,480 x 1,176) when folded (via GSMArena). The phone also packs a 10MP hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera on the top right corner, and the phone weighs 255 grams, and it's about 45 grams lighter than the previous generation.
The device packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G chipset, and it has 8/12GB RAM configuration options and up to 512GB of storage. It has a 50MP primary sensor on the back, alongside a 13MP ultrawide, and an 8MP telephoto sensor with 3x optical zoom and OIS.
The Mate Xs 2 also packs a 4,880 mAh battery, and it supports 66W fast charging, which means it’s one of the fastest charging foldables on the market. As expected, it supports 4G bands only, and it runs HarmonyOS 2. The device is available in black, white, and purple colors, and it starts at CNY 9,999 ($1,512) for the 8GB RAM and 256GB model. The phone will be available in China-only, from May 6.
Outward folding doesn’t make sense
At a time when inward folding designs are more common, it’s surprising to see that HUAWEI went ahead and developed a successor Mate Xs 2, and finally released it in 2022. The inward folding Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, OPPO Find N, and even HUAWEI’s own HUAWEI Mate X2 make far more sense than the current design.
Outward folding on a phone, and having a display on the back that can unfold to extend the display makes some sense, but it requires even more attention and cautiousness. The inward folding mechanism already involves a lot of guarding as the phone is more fragile than standard smartphones, and it's also heavier and bulkier. Having a display on the back, on the outside, is just calling for unnecessary trouble.
The display crease is gone
Now, credit’s due where it’s due, and HUAWEI managed to develop a redefined folding mechanism that virtually leaves little or no crease on display. The device's durability is much better than the last generation, and the double rotor hinge mechanism is more effective than others on the market. That being said, the phone is still not water or dust resistant, and it remains to be seen how well it will hold up to either of those over time.
The device, on the other hand, still has a USB-C port at a weird location, on the far right side, in a bump. It sticks out, and it makes holding the phone a little awkward. It might add a better grip when the phone is unfolded, but it doesn’t seem comfortable compared to the centered port location that can be found on most other foldables.
Made in China, stays in China
The availability of the device raises another question. Is there enough demand for such a device that will only be sold in China? The answer is, we don’t know. The HUAWEI Mate Xs was sold in the UK and other parts of Europe, but a lot has changed since 2020. It’s still far-fetched to think that it’ll ever see the light of day in the US, and given the restrictions, we wouldn’t hold our breath to see it outside of China and potentially a few other Asian and European countries in the near future.
While the HUAWEI Mate Xs 2 has great overall specifications, but it has no chance to compete with any other devices that the competition has to offer. It has an outdated Snapdragon 888 chipset that only supports 4G, it lacks IP resistance, it uses a proprietary Nano Memory card slot, like most HUAWEI devices, and it doesn’t really support any cases to protect the rear display from scratches. As a Galaxy Z Fold 3 user, I love innovation, and I like what HUAWEI did by removing the display crease with the new folding mechanism, but it’s not a device that I would consider purchasing.