You can call foldable phones gimmicks, a waste of money, or just for showing off if you want, but I like them. There’s something so exciting about a flagship phone whose design goes against the norm. So far, I’ve used both older and newer versions of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Fold, and the Huawei P50 Pocket.
So far, I’ve only seen two foldable phones: ones that fold outwards into a clamshell shape (like the Z Flip and P50 Pocket) and those that fold inwards into a normal phone shape. The latter are by far my favorites. And now I’m holding the Huawei Mate Xs 2, and it’s gorgeous.
Getting noticed by folding outwards
The initial thing that stands out to me is how it folds outwards so that the big screen covers both the front and back of the phone. Huawei has used this technology before. The Huawei Mate X came out in 2019 and was the first foldable phone to use it. Since then, Huawei has used it in several other foldable phones.
The Mate Xs 2 is the brand’s thinnest, lightest, and, according to them, most reliable outward-folding phone. The first time I held it, I was surprised by how sleek it looked when folded. At 11.1mm, it’s a bit thicker than a regular flagship phone.
(Left) When folded, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is about the same thickness as an iPhone 12 Pro with a case (right). When you open it up, the screen is only 5.4mm thick and easy to hold. The back has a plaid leather mouthfeel (that feels a little plasticky but works in favor of keeping the phone light at 255g).
In short, it’s nowhere near as big as the Z Fold3, the last large foldable I used. Because the Mate Xs 2 folds outward give you a standard cover display, which I like much better than the Z Fold3’s narrow cover display. To open the Mate Xs 2, you must first press a button under the camera housing that lets go of the screen’s latch.
And I’m not going to lie, the new-generation double-rotating Falcon Wing Hinges are firm and smooth, but it is a rather clunky experience, especially when folding it. I have to touch the screen more than I’d like, and every time I use the phone, I end up with a bunch of fingerprints.
A casing that seems more useless than important
Most people are worried about how durable, foldable phones are, but Huawei says that the Mate Xs 2 is 2.5x drop resistant, 2.8x impact resistant, and 1.4x crush resistant. This is just a bunch of numbers to me and you, but Huawei says that these numbers are what keep the phone working even after it’s been dropped or hit.
Even if I were a user, I would still worry about the beautiful screen getting scratched up by normal use. Huawei sells phone cases made just for the Mate Xs 2 that offer extra protection but make the unfolding process even more difficult.
You’d have to open the left side of the case, click the unlatching button, move the case’s flap out of the way, and then open the phone. These steps don’t exactly scream efficiency or smoothness. When the Mate Xs 2 is folded, the case can also be used as a stand for the phone, so you can watch videos without holding it.
Fantastic display that is a treat for the eyes
Speaking of videos, it’s important to know that many apps still aren’t optimized for their unfolded screen dimensions (2,480 x 2,200), so you’ll probably see black bars on the top and bottom of your screen. I haven’t had any problems like this when playing games yet, but I only play Genshin Impact, which works well with the standard and unfolded aspect ratios.
The display on the Mate Xs 2 is, of course, beautiful. It has an energetic refresh rate of up to 120Hz, a pixel density of 424 PPI, and a vivid color display. It should also work well for gaming, especially first-person shooters since it has a touch sampling rate of 240Hz (FPS). On Genshin Impact, I thought it was very responsive and had a great feeling all around.
Multi-window support for doing more than one thing at once
Huawei has made it almost impossible to see the screen crease on the Mate Xs 2 when it is open, just like they did with the P50 Pocket. The seamless look makes you feel like you’re using a mini tablet, and I’ve loved gaming on larger screens since I used the original Z Fold.
You can use Huawei’s Smart Multi-window feature, which lets you split your screen or open a floating window on the screen. Both features work whether or not the phone is folded or open, but the screen is better when the phone is open.
The split-screen feature is useful if you want to take notes while reading or watching a video or if you want to quickly copy and paste a part of an online article into a message for someone, for example. I think that for the Mate Xs 2 to be as productive as possible, it might need a stylus, which it doesn’t have right now.
What’s new about great cameras?
Since you probably already know that Huawei’s camera hardware and software are usually top-notch, I’ll keep this part short and let the pictures talk. If I had to say anything about the camera, it would be that the image processing software may sometimes make your pictures look too good. There are also some fun things you can try out with the camera.
For example, Dual-View turns on both the front and back cameras for vlogging, and Story Creator seems to be software that automatically makes something like an Instagram Story for you. Because the Mate Xs 2 can be folded, the screen can be used as a “mirror” to make it easy to take a selfie with the back camera. But having the phone case on might make this feature less useful.
I like the Mate Xs 2 because its design is newer and sleeker than other foldable I’ve looked at in the past. Overall, it’s an enjoyable phone to utilize, and I think its pros and cons in design balance each other well. You have to get used to it. Google Mobile Services (GMS) is still not available on this phone.
You can still download games and apps through APKs, but they don’t always work how they’re supposed to, and anything that needs GMS will not work. If you don’t need GMS for your personal or professional phone use, you’ll have no trouble using the Mate Xs 2 to its fullest.