Huawei Mate X vs Samsung Galaxy Fold – Should I Get a Foldable Smartphone?
So the dust has settled after MWC 2019 and we are getting not just one shockingly expensive foldable smartphone, we are getting two.
A couple of days before the convention, Samsung finally revealed their device following months of speculation, rumours, leaks and a dimly lit demo that many suspected was to hide the flaws of the early prototype. So while the Samsung reveal was no surprise to anyone who has been keeping an eye on them, Huawei blindsided some by introducing their own foldable device.
So which one is “better”?
A familiar feature with modern day tech
The Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X at first glance already look different. Huawei has the sleeker looking device while Samsung claims to have the better device in terms of practicality and design. In recent interviews, Samsung’s head of R&D, Eui-Suk Chung, claims the Galaxy Fold has the “better more natural hinge system” which allows you to open the device like a book which feels organic and natural as compared to the Mate X’s outfolding hinge which makes it more prone to damage. However, in that same interview, he acknowledged that the Galaxy doesn’t “fold perfectly” and this is intended so that the inner screen is protected.
Huawei’s device, however, managed to eliminate any ugly notches or thick bezels which honestly surprised me considering how Samsung has paid such close attention to form factor and screen to body ratio in recent devices such as the Galaxy S9 and Note 9. Huawei, however, does lack a selfie camera on the tablet which to me is a completely acceptable trade-off.
The way both devices open is different. Both start as a large, tall phablet. Samsung’s device has a smaller screen on the “outside” and you can open the device like a book to reveal a larger screen. I have to say that the outer screen for Samsung’s device has an awful screen to body ratio and almost seems like an afterthought. It seems that they are aware of this and in most videos and presentations, the focus and vast majority of the video focuses on the device in tablet form.
Huawei’s device has a “wing” that also acts as a grip and the outside screen has a massive screen to body ratio with the device opening outwards to combine another screen with the outside screen to create one large screen (I apologize for using the word “Screen” so many times).
Now, what specs do they have? Both manufacturers are a little tight-lipped and this is not a full spec list, only what we know so far.
GALAXY FOLD VS. MATE X
|Samsung Galaxy Fold||Huawei Mate X|
|Display size and resolution||4.6-inch Super AMOLED; 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED||6.6-inch (2,480×1,148 pixels); 6.38-inch (2,480×892); 8-inch OLED (2,480×2,200)|
|Operating System||Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI||Not known yet|
|Camera||16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)||4 rear cameras|
|Front-facing camera||Two 10-megapixel, 8-megapixel 3D depth||One camera|
|Processor||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Kirin 980 processor|
|Battery||4,380 mAh||4,500 mAh|
|Fingerprint sensor||Power button||Power button|
|Wireless charging||Foldable display, wireless charging, fast charging||Foldable display, fast charging|
|Price without contract (USD)||$1,980||$2,600|
As you can see from the spec list, Huawei has a much bigger device. Both have similar battery sizes, powerful processors and they obviously fold. The only similarity after that is their eye-watering price tag.
Should you get one?
It is honestly quite a hard sell for all but the most hardcore (and wealthiest) enthusiasts. There was a lot of push back against Apple’s ludicrous pricing for their latest lineup and even Samsung raised some eyebrows with the thousand dollar Note 9. So there should be no surprise that people are already dismissing them as absurdly overpriced offerings.
But are they really?
Samsung claims to offer superior multi-tasking with 3 app multi-tasking. Huawei claims to offer the most refined and sleek device, Samsung claims to offer the better thought out and more practical device. Huawei seemingly has more fans on its side with a recent poll on Android Authority found that 39% prefer the Mate X, 28% prefer the Galaxy Fold and 30% say they don’t care for either.
While that is obviously not going to be representative of the entire world obviously, it gives some good insight into the fact that people do care about aesthetics and Huawei has come up with a very clever method of combining two screens into one large screen which allows for a great experience whether or not you open the device compared to Samsung’s tiny screen in “phone” mode.
I suspect that the value proposition of this being a device to replace your current smartphone and tablet is actually a good one for people who absolutely live on their phone and tablets and not keen on using laptops.
Oh man, that price tag.
Both phones are at least $2,000 USD and Huawei has acknowledged that their phone is very expensive. But if you already have a phone and tablet that you have configured, are used to and familiar with, Swapping all that even for the convenience of a single device to replace both can be a tough sell. Especially with how expensive it is.
Unless you have a large amount of disposable income, wait and see. I suspect that these two devices are the calm before the storm before other companies come up with their own. And it is already happening. These aren’t even the first foldable smart devices in the world. That title goes to the Royole FlexPai with an actual flexi-screen that straightens out. Kinda weird to me but they are the first to market and it is available now.
Other companies such as Motorola, Honor, Nubia Alpha, Xiaomi and TCL have already thrown their hats into the ring and announced they are making their own device.
In fact, Xiaomi has already annoucned their own version and it ALSO opens differently with TWO hinges instead of the Huaiwei “wing” or the Galaxy Fold “Book”.
Someone stop this madness from unfolding please.
If you’re thinking to get either one, check out Senheng when these foldable smartphones hit the stores.
*Featured Image Credit: Huawei & Samsung
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