Here's a close-up look at Huawei's $2,600 folding phone, the Mate X

Huawei Mate X

Reuters

Huawei's 5G folding phone, the Mate X.

  • On Sunday, Huawei unveiled its first foldable smartphone, the Huawei Mate X.
  • It will cost a whopping €2,299 ($2,600) when it arrives sometime in the middle of 2019.
  • We took a close look at the Mate X at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Chinese smartphone giant Huawei has followed rival Samsung and unveiled a foldable phone called the Mate X.

The Mate X is the bigger device of the two and, at a first glance, looks like it's more advanced than Samsung's offering.
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It's a beautiful-looking and impressively sleek device given the technical complications, but it's expensive at €2,299 ($2,600).

Whether anyone actually needs a phone that turns into a tablet, given the prevalence of cheaper, big-screen phones right now, is another question.

We took a close look at the Mate X when it was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday.
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First off, the Huawei Mate X really does fold and it looks pretty amazing.

First off, the Huawei Mate X really does fold and it looks pretty amazing.

It will cost a whopping €2,299 ($2,600), which is pricier than Samsung's €2,000 Galaxy Fold.

It will cost a whopping €2,299 ($2,600), which is pricier than Samsung's €2,000 Galaxy Fold.
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Huawei didn't give us hands-on time with the device at Mobile World Congress, hiding the Mate X behind perspex and security. You can see the scrum here.

Huawei didn't give us hands-on time with the device at Mobile World Congress, hiding the Mate X behind perspex and security. You can see the scrum here.

Samsung hasn't shown the Galaxy Fold to anyone, beyond showing it off onstage at its Unpacked event.

The Mate X has a single, flexible wraparound display that folds outwards to turn it from a smartphone into a tablet.

The Mate X has a single, flexible wraparound display that folds outwards to turn it from a smartphone into a tablet.
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Look at the way the screen bends outwards, seemingly with no visible hint of a seam.

Look at the way the screen bends outwards, seemingly with no visible hint of a seam.

That's a major difference from Samsung's Galaxy Fold, which opens like a book to reveal a new, larger screen.

Samsung's way of unfolding its device means it has a totally separate screen on the outside to act as the display when the Fold is in smartphone mode.

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What's impressive-looking about the Mate X is the way the flexible display wraps seamlessly around the hinge.

What's impressive-looking about the Mate X is the way the flexible display wraps seamlessly around the hinge.

The unfolded screen measures 8 inches, and a massive 6.6 inches even when in smartphone mode. That means it's both a decent-sized tablet and a jumbo phone.

The unfolded screen measures 8 inches, and a massive 6.6 inches even when in smartphone mode. That means it's both a decent-sized tablet and a jumbo phone.

The smaller Galaxy Fold is 4.6 inches when folded up, and 7.3 inches when in tablet mode.

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Here's what it looks like from the back. You can see the hinge running down the back. The camera sensors and a USB charging port are hosted on a slightly chunkier side bar. We couldn't see if there was a headphone jack.

Here's what it looks like from the back. You can see the hinge running down the back. The camera sensors and a USB charging port are hosted on a slightly chunkier side bar. We couldn't see if there was a headphone jack.

Here's a closer look at that sidebar arrangement, with at least 3 camera sensors.

Here's a closer look at that sidebar arrangement, with at least 3 camera sensors.
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Huawei says the phone's software adjusts smoothly between smartphone and tablet mode.

Huawei says the phone's software adjusts smoothly between smartphone and tablet mode.

One concern is how thick the device is when it's folded up. This isn't a phone that's going to fit easily into your pocket.

One concern is how thick the device is when it's folded up. This isn't a phone that's going to fit easily into your pocket.
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Here's a side view of the Mate X in smartphone mode. You can see it's a chunky device.

Here's a side view of the Mate X in smartphone mode. You can see it's a chunky device.

The device does look pretty sleek and slim when unfolded though.

The device does look pretty sleek and slim when unfolded though.
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The Huawei Mate X will work with 5G networks right out of the box. The device will launch in the middle of 2019, around the time the first 5G networks are expected to go live in Europe.

The Huawei Mate X will work with 5G networks right out of the box. The device will launch in the middle of 2019, around the time the first 5G networks are expected to go live in Europe.

The Mate X runs on Huawei's Kirin 980 chip, and comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

The Mate X runs on Huawei's Kirin 980 chip, and comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
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Huawei isn't talking about regional availability but the Mate X is unlikely to be available in the US.

Huawei isn't talking about regional availability but the Mate X is unlikely to be available in the US.

That's because Huawei is effectively barred from the US phone market due to security concerns. Huawei didn't launch its last flagship, the Mate 20 Pro, in the US.