Instead of following the trends when it comes to folding phones, Huawei wants to be the one to set them. The Mate Xs 2 is its latest flagship effort, and one of the few to have an external folding display.
The successor to last year’s Mate Xs, the Mate Xs 2 is an improvement in all the right places, with an upgraded screen, sleek design, and added stylus support. It’s a bit smaller and narrower when unfolded than the older model, and is noticeably lighter at 255g than the Mate Xs’ 300g. It now uses vegan leather on the back, 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 shouldn’t leave any visible creases when the OLED display is unfolded at its full 7.8in. This could be enough to give it an edge over the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and its inward-folding screen. The display has been upgraded with a sharp 2480×2200 resolution and a 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 doubles as a grip when the phone is unfolded. It’s packing a 50MP main snapper, a 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 using the other half of the screen as a viewfinder, but now there’s a hole punch front-facing as well. We think it can be easier to make video calls without opening the phone.
The Mate Xs 2 isn’t an open and closed affair
Power comes from the Snapdragon 888 CPU, not the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This means 4G connectivity instead of 5G, which may come as a disappointment considering the premium appeal of the phone. There is between 8GB and 12GB of memory and between 256GB and 512GB of storage, depending on the specification. The top-end model gets a 4880mAh battery, while the standard variant gets a 4600mAh battery. Both support 66W wired charging, but there is 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 currently available to order in China. Prices start at 9999 (about £1200) for the 8GB/256GB model, all the way up to 12,999 (£1560) for the top-end 12GB/512GB version. There is currently no information about when the Mate Xs 2 will be launched in other countries.