Rather than following trends when it comes to folding phones, Huawei wants to be the one setting them. The Mate Xs 2 is its latest flagship effort, and one of the few with an outward-folding display.
The successor to last year’s Mate Xs, the Mate Xs 2 is an improvement in all the right places, with an uprated screen, sleeker design and added stylus support. It’s slightly shorter and narrower when unfolded compared to the old model, and significantly lighter at 255g, versus the Mate Xs’ 300g. It now uses vegan leather on the rear, in a choice of black, white and purple colours.
A tweaked double rotating hinge mechanism promises to be more durable than before. More importantly, it should leave no visible crease when the OLED display is unfolded to its full 7.8in. That could be enough to give it the edge over the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and its inward-folding screen. The display itself has been upgraded with a sharper 2480×2200 resolution and faster 120Hz refresh rate. When folded, you’re essentially getting a 6.5in handset running at 2480×1176.
The housing for the three-lens rear camera setup continues to double up as a grip for when the phone is unfolded. It’s packing a 50MP main snapper, 13MP ultrawide that doubles as a macro shooter, and an 8MP telephoto good for 3x optical zoom. You can use the rear cameras for selfies by using the other half of the screen as a viewfinder, but there’s now also a hole punch front-facer. We reckon that might be handy for making video calls without unfolding the phone.
The Mate Xs 2 isn’t an open and shut case
Power comes from a Snapdragon 888 CPU, rather than the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. That means 4G connectivity rather than 5G, which might come as a disappointment given the phone’s premium appeal. There’s between 8GB and 12GB of memory and between 256GB and 512GB of storage depending on specification. The top-end model gets a 4880mAh battery, while the standard version makes do with 4600mAh. Both support 66W wired charging, but there’s no wireless charging support.
The phone runs Huawei’s own Harmony OS software, with no Google app support. You also get a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 5.2 support and a card slot for Huawei’s bespoke NM expandable storage.
The Mate Xs 2 is available to order in China right away. Prices start at ¥9999 (around £1200) for an 8GB/256GB model, reaching ¥12,999 (£1560) for the top-end 12GB/512GB version. There’s currently no word on when, or even if, the Mate Xs 2 will be launching in other countries.