Huawei Mate Xs 2: Huawei’s rival Galaxy Fold proves Samsung is making the folds wrong

Huawei Mate Xs 2: Huawei's rival Galaxy Fold proves Samsung is making the folds wrong

As you might know, Samsung’s 2020 and 2021 Galaxy Fold successors decided to follow a linear upgrade pattern with some obvious changes that should’ve been there from the beginning (Galaxy Z Fold 2), or some appreciated but yet incremental improvements (Galaxy Z Fold 3). And despite being a massive upgrade over the original Galaxy Fold (the bar wasn’t set high), Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 is still facing challenges that troubled the company’s foldables phones from day one.

It was 2019 and Huawei phones could still run Google apps natively. Again, in 2019, the two largest Android phone manufacturers (at the time) launched a revolution that would be talked about for years to come. The Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold were unveiled in February and ultimately made their way to stores, bringing with them an ocean of ambition and a big pool of flaws. They were far from polished goods that should never have been launched, but what I want to highlight is their potential. The Mate X and Galaxy Fold launched the foldable phone competition, and it shows no signs of stopping down!

Highlights

  • Despite the hard times, Huawei’s overachieving, ambition-filled, and innovation-driven corporate culture remained intact, and the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is here to deliver the proof. What’s left is to see if progressive thinking and impressive engineering are enough to convince western audiences that outward-folding phones without Google apps are the way to go. I sat through the 20-minute Mate Xs 2 presentation, delivered by yours truly, Richard Yu (in fluent Mandarin), so you don’t have to. You’re welcome! I’ll take a statue by the East Coast.

  • Meanwhile, although the Chinese foldable contender was visibly shaken by the (ongoing) US trade embargo that cut the company’s stream of Google apps and access to key hardware components, Huawei… persisted. In fact, in the midst of the trade ban, the company from Shenzhen pulled off a tech miracle, becoming the first phone-maker to surpass Samsung and/or Apple and become the world’s biggest phone manufacturer – a lead that Huawei held just for a few months back in 2020.

Huawei’s Mate Xs 2 sets a few foldable phone records that prove the outward foldable form-factor shouldn’t be overlooked by rival companies. As someone who’s spent a good amount of time actively using the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the first thing that stands out to from the Mate’s spec sheet is how much lighter the Mate Xs 2 is compared to Samsung’s foldable or any other inner-folding phone on the market. I’ve done it many times but I won’t get tired of repeating that phone weight matters, and it makes a much more significant difference to the user experience than you might think.

Anyway… What I wanted to try and understand was exactly how Huawei is planning to compete with the likes of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Oppo Find N, Vivo X Fold, and Honor Magic V, or in other words, inner folding phones. And thanks to my Google Pixel 6 Pro, which is somewhat fluent in Chinese because of its ability to translate conversations and text, I think I managed to get the gist of it! Huawei really believes in the outward folding design, and if we look at what the company’s managed to achieve here, it’s hard to argue with the end result. In true Huawei spirit, there were a bunch of Galaxy and iPhone comparisons throughout the presentation, which, of course, aimed at painting Huawei in a positive light.

Let’s not ignore the fact that, as of now, foldables are in the same place where slab phones were about ten years ago – they must get thinner and lighter at all costs. Unlike laptops or large tablets where a difference of 10, 20 or even 50g will likely go unnoticed, for a device that you hold in one hand, even as little as 5g can make a difference. But the Honor Mate Xs 2 has achieved something truly beyond anyone’s expectations here…