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Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold: Who Will Win The Fight

The Mate X and Galaxy Fold are here, and the foldable mobile phone wars demonstrate what is good and bad about these two luxury models. The foldable mobile phone war rages on. Months after they first debuted behind glass, Huawei’s Mate X and Samsung’s Galaxy Fold are here, providing an early interpretation of how a foldable mobile phone could change the way we use all these phones.

Foldable phones are pricey, proprietary, and hard to find — you can buy $1,400 or 16,999 Yuan Mate X in China and $1,980 Fold in the US, UK, and South Korea (The $1,500 Motorola Razr goes to pre-order sales starting on Dec 26.)

Hype for foldable mobile phone has been installed for a year, setting up 2019 as the launch of a revolution in mobile phone design. The screen that bends in half looks incredibly futuristic and can also double the screen real estate while keeping the computer half the size you carry around. Yet early bugs in the Galaxy Fold’s display and concerns over the robustness of the phone’s hinge have dampened the excitement for these revolutionary phones.

The ability to break the flexible screen in half is a trademark of these early foldable devices, but comparisons stop there. Their screens are bent in opposite directions. Our cameras are in different locations, too.

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Screen styles: Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold

The most visible difference between the Mate X and Galaxy Fold is the way they fold. Mate X. Huawei 8-inch plastic screen cover around the outside of the phone, where it’s used in three different ways. The Mate X screen changes the shape depending on how you hold it. Now that you’ve got the “home” display, the next minute you’re using it fully open. Turn it, and you’ve got the back screen, too.

Then there’s a Samsung’s 7.3-inch foldable plastic screen that resides inside. You can access it by opening a book like Fold. The plastic inner screen is covered by the outer part of the handset, which has a glass “cover” with a smaller display that can be used when the device closes.

Using Mate X this way will instantly give you more versatility than Fold. Samsung’s mobile phone has a small external screen, which is too cramped to use effectively. It feels more like operating off a laptop that you can easily cover, while Mate X makes you feel like you’re on a large-screen phone that you can open up to a larger screen. With a twist in your hand, you’ll get a lot more accessible screen whichever way you keep it.

One downside: Mate X’s screen is exposed to the world, placing it constantly at risk of scratching, nicks, and destroying pressure. This could be a huge responsibility. We’re just not going to know until we have Mate X long enough to check and study, certainly longer than a full day.

Huawei Mate X screens

  1. 8-inch OLED display
  2. In the closed position, the front screen is 6.6 inches
  3. In the closed position, the rear screen is 6.38 inches
  4. Lit-up screen switches as you turn the phone

Samsung Galaxy Fold screens

  1. 4.6-inch exterior
  2. 7.3-inch interior screen

Crease vs. crease: Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold

When the foldable mobile phone first appeared, the outrage was immediate: what about the crease that runs down the center of the bending screen? Sadly, for foldable devices, the hump where the display becomes slow when the mobile phone is unfolded only comes with the territory— at least for now.

The Galaxy Fold’s crease is visible to the naked eye, and you can feel it with your hand, but it’s less apparent when you’re using your phone because you get sucked into what you’re doing. Surprisingly, the slack screen of Mate X looks and feels less wrinkled.

Display notch vs. wing

The whole point of these foldable mobile phones is to give you a growing, uninterrupted screen to use. Huawei’s far more innovative approach places its cameras and sensors on the back of a line. It’s shaped like a curved “wing” that doubles like a handhold. This grip helps stabilize the Mate X when it’s opened in tablet form, making it easier to keep when you’re typing away or watching a video.

Sadly, Samsung puts a vast, thumb-size notch on its 7.3-inch screen that most certainly interrupts what you’re doing. This eyesore features two front-facing camera lenses and some sensors, but it takes more room than it needs to.

cameras: Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has a total of six cameras: three on the back, two on the front, and one on the cover. Is that confusing or helpful? One on hand, it’s helpful because it means there are cameras available any time you want to take a shot.

On the other hand, half of these cameras are redundant. With the Mate X cameras on its wing-shaped grip, you still have access to all the high-quality cameras you need, and you can use the screen as a selfie viewfinder even when the device is folded up.

Your selfies would probably be even better since you’re using the primary 40-megapixel camera than the Fold’s second 10-megapixel selfie device. (Remember, more megapixels aren’t necessarily better.)

When Huawei first introduced the Mate X, the company said it would “switch on” the fourth time-of-flight sensor, but that wasn’t evident in the test unit that we took with the mobile phone around Paris on our day.

4G and 5G Network: Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold

If you’re purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Fold in the US, it’s a 4G-only phone. It will work for 5G Network right out of the box in the UK and South Korea. Mate X comes in a single 5G configuration.

Does that matter? Not really. The 5G networks in the US are still on their feet, so the 5G mobile phone provides no benefit. Because Mate X doesn’t sell outside of China (where 5G is also slowly rolling out), the debate here is also relatively academic.

Apps: Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold

The Mate X was expected to be released with Android 9 when it was sold in Europe. Prices were initially announced in euros (2,300 of them). But the plans of Huawei have changed. As a result of a US ban, Huawei is cut off from doing business with any US firm, including its standard software and hardware suppliers.

Samsung’s foldable mobile phone runs Android 9 and lets you use any Android app on the outer screen and the big inner display, so you’re lucky there.

It means that Mate X can’t use standard Android or any of its Google Play services or devices. While some workarounds can effectively use the open-source version of Google’s mobile phone OS, you wouldn’t be able to access the regular phone add-on, and that’s a concern for anyone outside of China, where Google’s technology isn’t used anyway.

What is the Future: Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold

The Mate X and Galaxy Fold are never going to be big dealers. They’ve never been meant to be. Samsung and Huawei realize that prices are too high and that architecture and materials are too futuristic for the masses to move from conventional smartphones to these new gadgets.

But they’re supposed to be aspirational and inspiring. Attention. Grabbing. Mind-bogglingly awesome, man. Find them proof-of-concept that you can buy if you want to. Samsung and Huawei must benefit from Fold and Mate X — and rival Motorola Razr — and experiment with new models.

Mate X vs. Galaxy Fold

Huawei Mate XSamsung Galaxy Fold
Display size, resolution6.6-inch (2,480×1,148 pixels); 6.38-inch (2,480×892); 8-inch OLED (2,480×2,200)4.6-inch Super AMOLED; 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED
Mobile softwareNo Android on the Chinese modelAndroid 9.0 with Samsung One UI
Camera40-megapixel main, 16-megapixel ultra-wide, 8-megapixel telephoto12-megapixel main, 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, a 12-megapixel telephoto
Front-facing cameraSame as aboveTwo 10-megapixel, 8-megapixel 3D depth
ProcessorKirin 980 processorOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Expandable storageNoNo
Battery4,500 mAh4,380 mAh
Fingerprint sensorPower buttonPower button
Special featuresFoldable display, fast charging, 5GFoldable display, wireless charging, fast charging, 5G in select countries
Price off-contract (USD)16,999 yuan, converts to $2,400, £1,830 or AU$3,546$1,980, £1,900, converts to AU$2,800


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