Huawei Mate Xs 5G review: Is new foldable phone worth $3499 price?

Finally, I managed to get my hands on one of the most breathtaking phones on the market – the Huawei Mate Xs 5G.
Why did it take so long? Well, this phone currently retails for a whopping $3499! The price, however, becomes less shocking when you experience the wonder of this foldable device. It has the ability to transform from a phone form factor into a tablet. I can’t help but marvel at it.
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This design is in fact Huawei’s unique ‘Falcon Wing’ design, which unlike other folding smartphones (of which there aren’t many) that close up like a book, it actually opens up.
The incredible folding display wraps seamlessly around the outside of the device. Meaning, when closed, it can be used as a regular phone with a 6.6” front screen (and even a 6.38” back screen). Press the ‘eject’ button, however, and the device pops partially open which you can then bend into place to become its 8” tablet form.
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I’m still amazed that there are foldable OLED screens like this with such high resolution (the Mate Xs is 2480 x 2200 when unfolded). For a screen that wraps around a device, there is barely a noticeable crease at its folding point.
The device is surprisingly thin, yet powerful and with Huawei’s Kirin 990 processor, 8GB ram and 512GB of storage it has the specs you’d expect of a flagship phone at such a high price. The battery is also a large 4500 mAh which means it can easily keep up with you until the day is done.
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Typing on this is quite the luxury. In fact, the keys are practically full-size which makes emails, text messages, web browsing and note-taking a pleasure. Productivity aside, gaming on this thing is awesome and having the option to play on a larger screen means I’ll be reaching for my tablet for mobile gaming a lot less.
The cameras on this device are fascinating because it lacks a selfie camera – OK, not quite!
See, it’s not needed as all of the in-built cameras double as either front or back cameras because of the folding form factor.
There’s a 40 MP Wide Angle Lens with a f/1.8 aperture, 16 MP Ultra Wide Angle Lens with a f/2.2 aperture, 8 MP Telephoto, f/2.4 aperture lens and HUAWEI Time-of-Flight (TOF) Camera. I love that you can use the high quality, traditionally, back cameras for selfies.
The Mate Xs is an entirely new mobile experience for me, not just the form factor, the operating software is also different to other devices. Although android, it’s running HMS (Huawei Mobile System) rather than GMS (Google Mobile System).
A major difference is that Huawei devices run their own software and Google apps and some other big-name apps that you’re used to seeing pre-installed won’t necessarily be native to the devices. However, Huawei’s library of apps is still growing as they continue to expand their ecosystem.
For now, you’ll need to use a couple of workarounds to access particular apps, in some cases downloading APKs and installing them yourself, which Huawei has done their best to streamline.
Overall, this phone has been a pleasure to test out. Although the $3499 price tag is exorbitant and I’d love to see a lower price, I think its innovations and ability to double as a tablet make it understandable.
You can try a Huawei Mate Xs for yourself at a Huawei Experience store or purchase the device on Huawei’s website.
Elly Awesome is an Aussie tech and lifestyle vlogger | @ellyawwesome | YouTube