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Huawei P50 Pocket Review - The better clamshell foldable?

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Huawei
Huawei P50 Pocket is officially coming to the Philippines on February 4 and we're sure you're looking for a review about it!
Huawei P50 Pocket Review - The better clamshell foldable?
Meet the Huawei P50 Pocket

The P50 Pocket is the Chinese giant's first clamshell-type foldable smartphone. It features a large 6.9-inch inner display and a 1-inch circular AMOLED secondary display placed on its back. It also boasts a "no gap" folding mechanism made possible by Huawei's patented multi-dimensional hinge design.

Under the hood, it is using the 4G version of the 5nm Snapdragon 888 4G processor. However, it isn't the 5G version due to the restrictions imposed by the US government on Huawei.

Moreover, it packs 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM, 256GB/512GB UFS 3.1 internal storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. This is bigger than the battery of most clamshell foldable smartphones. It is also paired with a USB-C 40W SuperCharge tech.

Are these enough to make it the "better clamshell foldable" phone? Here's our full review of the Huawei P50 Pocket.

Unboxing/Accessories

The accessories
The accessories

The P50 Pocket arrived in the familiar Huawei box with overview details printed on its bottom. 

Inside, we get the following: the unit, SIM ejector tool, USB-A to USB-C cord, and 40W SuperCharge power brick. There are no paper manual and warranty card in the unit that was loaned to us, but we're sure the consumers will have them in the retail version.

There is also no protective case included in the package.

Build Quality/Design

Metal edges, glossy plastic body
Metal edges, glossy plastic body

Huawei P50 Pocket received a smooth, glossy plastic body with a glitzy texture. The cover and inner screens are, of course, made of glass. However, there's no mention of any protection on top, but it has a pre-installed screen protector.

Meanwhile, the hinge and the edges are made of metal with a glossy texture. The Huawei logo sits on the hinge of the phone.

No IP rating, sadly...

It doesn't have an IP rating as well, meaning it doesn't have water and dust resistance. Maybe it can survive a few splashes, but to be sure, avoid it from getting wet.

In terms of design, the Huawei P50 Pocket exudes elegance. We are loaned with the Diamond White, and true to its design name, the smartphone has diamond patterns all over it. These patterns are felt with the fingers. We love how the P50 Pocket looks and feels premium. 

Note: There is also a Huawei P50 Pocket Premium Edition with a different texture behind and higher memory configuration. Our editor-in-chief Peter was able to hold it for a little and he said that its back design is stunning. But, it could be too flashy for some. 

According to Huawei, the Premium Edition was designed in collaboration with Haute Couture designer Iris Van Herpen. It features a style of organically flowing patterns in gold-tone.
Huawei branding at the bottom back
Huawei branding at the bottom back

Of course, the display has a crease on the part where the display folds. It's nice how it's only visible when the light hits that part. And even though we apply some pressure on it, the crease doesn't feel delicate.

At the back, we have two beautiful modules of the same size. One houses the triple camera lenses and the flash, while the other is the Huawei P50 Pocket's cover screen that can be touched and display notifications. 

Standout circular elements at the back!

Given its glossy texture, the P50 Pocket feels slippery. We recommend wearing a case when possible, although we survived without it, but very, very careful. On the good side, even though it gets fingerprint smudges from time to time, in one wipe, it's gone. It's "perfect" for people whose pet peeves are fingerprint smudges on smartphones.
Beautiful circular elements
Beautiful circular elements

The patented hinge made it possible for the Huawei P50 Pocket to shut the device close without any gaps in the middle. 

Seamless folding form!

When unfolded, we see the 6.9-inched flexible OLED screen in front. It has a 120Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling rate, and 1 billion colors.

It also has a punch-hole for a 13MP selfie camera. The bezels on all four sides are almost the same width. Huawei also managed to conceal the earpiece above the punch-hole selfie shooter.
Top, bottom, and hinge
Top, bottom, and hinge

Multiple antenna lines and a microphone can be found on top of the handset. Meanwhile, more antenna lines, grille speakers, and a USB-C port are placed at the bottom. As mentioned earlier, the hinge is clean with only the Huawei logo.

On the left side are also antenna lines with a SIM tray, while on the right we find another set of antenna lines, a volume rocker, and the power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
Left and right
Left and right

In case you're wondering, the volume rocker is made of metal with a satisfyingly solid feel when pressed.

What's missing is the flex mode that will allow the other half of its body to act as a stand. It would have allowed its users to take hands-free selfies or make the phone act like it has a built-in stand for long exposure shots or time-lapses when placed on a flat surface.

Huawei P50 Pocket measures 87.3 x 75.5 x 15.2 mm when folded and 170 x 75.5 x 7.2 mm when unfolded. It weighs 190 grams which is surprisingly light when on the palm.

Multimedia Experience

6.9-inch display
6.9-inch display

The external display looks like a watch face which is familiar to many. It's 1.04-inch small with four functions namely playing music, weather, mirror, and camera. It also shows discrete turn-by-turn directions while navigating. This comes in handy when you're driving and don't want to open your phone on full display.

It also supports the Always-On display and can be double-tapped to wake.

When we have an incoming call, and the P50 Pocket is folded, we can answer the call by swiping right in the cover display, and it will be automatically on speakerphone.
Circular cover screen
Circular cover screen

The cover screen can also take "rear selfies" that look better than those taken with the selfie camera. We'll be talking more about that later on. And whatever we do on the external screen continues on the inner display as soon as we unfold the phone.

Huawei P50 Pocket cover screen functions:

1. Swipe left - music control
2. Swipe right, once - camera
3. Swipe right, twice - weather
4. Swipe down - notifications

From the get-go, the inner display is a 6.9-inch OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and 300Hz touch sampling rate at 328 ppi. Swiping on the screen feels so good, but of course, the crease in the middle can be felt through the swipes.

The crease is lesser compared to other clamshell foldable phones

The display is bright, vibrant, detailed, and crisp. The outdoor visibility is great even if it's half-folded. The 120Hz refresh rate totally complements the display quality. By default, P50 Pocket's screen refresh rate is set on Dynamic.
A look from the side angle of the inner display
A look from the side angle of the inner display

Huawei P50 Pocket screen refresh rate settings:

1. Dynamic - balance smoothness and battery life with a max refresh rate of 120Hz.
2. High - refresh at up to 120Hz for highly smooth visuals, uses more power.
3. Standard - save power by limiting the refresh rate to 60Hz.

Please note that when watching on Netflix, the annoying blocks of black screen on both sides are visible despite going full screen. However, when watching videos on YouTube, we get a real full screen. The aspect ratio of this device is closer to common smartphones, but it is still a bit too tall.
Blocks of "black screen" on the side (Netflix)
Blocks of "black screen" on the side (Netflix)

Before we forget, the calls can be dropped by simply folding the display. But note that the call will continue on the external display if you're using the loudspeaker.

Smooth, immersive display

For audio, the down-firing grille speakers produce clear and loud sounds. It can fill up to a relatively large-sized room.

When turned up to the highest volume level, the distortions are a little noticeable but it's not distracting. It doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack but using wireless earphones makes the listening experience more enjoyable.

You can also use a dongle to listen to wired earphones or small headphones that is more stable when needed.

The microphone gave us clear calls and voice quality. Overall, we had a pleasant listening experience and microphone quality.

Cameras

Triple rear camera set up
Triple rear camera set up

On paper, the triple rear cameras are one of the highlights of the Huawei P50 Pocket. 

It uses a 40MP f/1.8 26mm True-Chroma primary camera + 13MP f/2.2 13mm ultra-wide-angle camera + 32MP f/1.8 30mm Ultra Spectrum (for more details) camera plus LED lash.

Huawei also added the XD Fusion Pro hyperspectral imaging technology to the P50 Pocket. It can provide more details and contrast to the picture, and the imaging capabilities are fully upgraded according to Huawei. It also has Laser AF technology that helps users focus faster. It misses out on OIS, though. The zoom is only up to 10x.

But, this is still the strongest camera setup on a flip foldable smartphone yet.

The stock camera app has the following modes: aperture, night, portrait, photo, video, pro, slow-mo, panorama, monochrome, AR lens, time-lapse, stickers, documents, dual-view, high-res, story creator, snapshot, and fluorescence.

Yes, beauty, filters, and AI features are available. The pro mode allows control for the following settings: ISO (500-409600), Autofocus, Shutter speed (1/4000s to 30 seconds), and White Balance. Huawei P50 Pocket allows users to switch between wide, 1x, 2x, 5x, and 10x zoom in the pro mode.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight wide
Daylight wide
Daylight 1x
Daylight 1x
Daylight 2x
Daylight 2x
Daylight 5x
Daylight 5x
Daylight 50x
Daylight 10x

In daylight, the images produced were more than natural-looking, they look "real." The photos are bright, vibrant, detailed, and have deep contrast and true color reproduction. We're also in awe to receive a similar output even with the 2x and 5x zoom. Of course, the noise and grain are present in the 10x zoom but Huawei seemed to deliberately give us a great output.

Awesome cameras!

We noticed that the colors seem to change on photos taken with the wide lens. In the camera samples provided above, the sky looked bluer than the ones in the 1x to 10x photos. Note that we took these photos with just seconds in-between.
Indoor wide
Indoor wide
Indoor 1x
Indoor 1x
Indoor 2x
Indoor 2x
Indoor 5x
Indoor 5x
Indoor 10x
Indoor 10x
Indoor photo mode
Indoor photo mode
Indoor portrait mode
Indoor portrait mode
Aperture mode
Aperture mode

Indoors, the photos are impressive as well. The brightness, color reproduction, contrast, details, and vibrancy are in full swing. Again, you can digitally zoom in up to 10x, but the images aren't that detailed when maxed out. However, they are still handy in some situations.

As for the photos taken with the portrait mode, the images are awesome. Take a look at the camera samples, carefully examine how impressive the subject to background separation is. It's safe to conclude that portrait mode is one of the rear cameras' strengths.

Impressive bokeh effect!

We also like to note how stunning the aperture mode is. Look at the sample image above, just wow!
Lowlight wide
Lowlight wide
Lowlight 1x
Lowlight 1x
Night mode wide
Night mode wide
Night mode 1x
Night mode 1x
Night mode 5x
Night mode 5x
Night mode 10x
Night mode 10x

In low light, it seemed like we don't even need the night mode. Using the photo mode, we get images that have automatically adjusted brightness and color reproduction. Some could mistake them as taken with a night mode even if they're not.

The colors, brightness, details, and contrast are splendid. It may not be as good as the P50 Pro, but the Huawei P50 Pocket does a very good job here.

Overall, we're happy to report that indeed, the triple rear cameras are one of the Huawei P50 Pocket's highlights.
Center punch-hole selfie camera
Center punch-hole selfie camera

The ultra-wide 10.7MP selfie camera is seated on the center hole of the inner display. 

It carries similar camera modes with the rear except for monochrome, documents, high-res, story creator, snapshot, and fluorescence.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight wide selfie
Daylight wide selfie
Daylight 1x selfie
Daylight 1x selfie
Daylight portrait wide selfie
Daylight portrait wide selfie
Daylight portrait 1x selfie
Daylight portrait 1x selfie

The daylight selfies look so great as expected. Although sometimes Huawei P50 Pocket makes me look pinkish than in real life. We also can't determine the difference between selfies taken with photo and portrait mode. We hope Huawei can fix the "bokeh" effect of portrait mode on selfies through an update.

By default, the selfies are on wide mode and can be adjusted to 1x, which is the normal setting.  Note that the beautification feature is only available with the portrait mode. 

Huawei P50 Pocket Beautification features:

1. Soften - by default, this is set on level 5 but can be adjusted from levels 0 to 10.
2. Contour - by default, it is set on level 3 but can be adjusted from levels 0 to 5.
3. Tone - there is no default setting for this one, but it can be adjusted according to the user's liking. There are nine choices of skin tone from none, dark, fair, light, to pinkish. 
Indoor wide selfie
Indoor wide selfie
Indoor 1x selfie
Indoor 1x selfie
Indoor portrait wide selfie
Indoor portrait wide selfie
Indoor portrait 1x selfie
Indoor portrait 1x selfie

Moving on to the indoor selfies, the images came out better than those taken under daylight. The natural-looking photos are sharp, vibrant, and have nice amounts of brightness and contrast. However, we still can't determine which is a portrait and which is not.
Lowlight selfie wide (photo mode with flash on)
Lowlight selfie wide (photo mode with flash on)
Lowlight selfie 1x (photo mode with flash on)
Lowlight selfie 1x (photo mode with flash on)
Lowlight portrait selfie (no flash)
Lowlight portrait selfie (no flash)
Lowlight portrait selfie (flash on)
Lowlight portrait selfie (flash on)
Night mode selfie
Night mode selfie

In low light, we prefer using the photo mode as it automatically turns on the screen light (flash) as we take the selfie. The lowlight selfies on portrait mode seem beautified since the features on my face are smoothen. 

Meanwhile, low light selfies using night mode are the least of our favorites. Even on selfies, Huawei P50 Pocket proves that you don't need the "night mode."
Daylight rear selfie
Daylight rear selfie
Indoor rear selfie
Indoor rear selfie
Indoor rear selfie 2
Indoor rear selfie 2

Of course, we're not forgetting about the "rear selfies." Personally, it's one of the cute features that I liked. The selfies taken using the rear camera with the help of the cover screen are "professionally-looking" selfies, as expected. The quality is easy to notice apart from the selfies taken with the front camera.

We also noticed that the "rear selfies" are taken using the portrait mode, which is evident in the bokeh effect on the sample images.

Overall, Huawei P50 Pocket's selfie shooter is capable of taking nice selfies under daylight, great indoor selfies, and fine low light images. 

The rear cameras can shoot up to 4K at 30fps with a gyro-EIS feature. The front camera can take videos of up to 4K at 30fps as well. This could be a good vlogging or TikTok companion for mobile creators.

Performance

Performance benchmark results
Performance benchmark results

Under the hood, we have the 2.84GHz 5nm Snapdragon 888 4G octa-core processor, Adreno 660, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB internal memory. Note that the P50 Pocket is using the LTE version of the SoC. 

Unfortunately, Huawei can't use the 5G version of the Snapdragon 888 processor due to the restrictions imposed by the US government on the company.

Huawei P50 Pocket benchmark scores (Not performance mode):

1. AnTuTu - 516,563
2. Geekbench 5 - 720 (Single-Core), 2,345 (Multi-core)
3. 3D Mark - 4,579 (Wild Life), 27.40 (Average frame rate)

In performance mode, you will get stronger benchmark scores. But, for most of the tasks we do, the phone's default setting is more than enough. Heat is lesser and battery life is stronger as well.

Our experience with the Huawei P50 Pocket is splendid. We didn't encounter hiccups and lags throughout the test. Multitasking is a breeze and the apps load quickly. 

Splendid performance

For gaming, we were able to download the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and  Call of Duty: Mobile via the Huawei Gallery App and Petal Search. The Genshin Impact appears on the Petal Search but is not downloadable.

We got ultra graphics and high refresh rate settings on Mobile Legends: Bang Bang by default. Meanwhile, in Call of Duty: Mobile, the default graphic quality is set on very high with a high frame rate. But we're able to push the frame rate to the max with the same graphic quality.
Game settings
Game settings

We're happy to report that playing on the P50 Pocket is amazing. It's smooth and impressive. Although we feel heating on the top side of the device when playing for a long period.

For security, Huawei P50 Pocket can be unlocked via face unlock and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. They're both responsive and easy to set up, we didn't have a hard time reaching for the fingerprint scanner even if the phone is unfolded.

The P50 Pocket packs a 5,000mAh battery paired with 40W SuperCharge support. Just like what we do in all the tests, we ran the PCMark Battery Test on this handset, and below is the result.
Huawei P50 Pocket battery test result
Huawei P50 Pocket battery test result

Although it only scored 10 hours and 33 minutes on the test, in real-life usage, the P50 Pocket easily lasts for a day.

Biggest battery yet for a clamshell foldable smartphone

The handset only requires charging once throughout the day, but with the 40W SuperCharge, we don't mind charging twice or thrice.

Using the in-box power brick, we're able to fill up the P50 Pocket in less than an hour from flat to full. It doesn't have wireless and reverses charging features.
Battery settings
Battery settings

Connectivity-wise, Huawei P50 Pocket has WiFi 6, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.2 BLE, NFC, GPS, and more. As part of the flagship family, it's no surprise that we didn't have connectivity issues. 

Aforementioned, the handset does not have 5G connectivity due to the restrictions imposed by the US government on Huawei.

Harmony OS 2.0 skinned with EMUI 12 are in charge of the software department. The overall design is clean, and the experience is smooth. There are pre-installed apps most of which can be uninstalled. The system-wide dark mode is available, as well as the digital balance, simple mode, visibility enhancements, among others.
EMUI 12
EMUI 12

Huawei Assistant is also available and can be accessed via voice command by simply saying "Hey, Celia." It can recognize voice commands up to 30 m away. It can also be accessed by holding down the power button so long you turned on that feature in the settings.

A variety of data can be displayed on the cover screen, such as navigation prompts (as we mentioned above), QR codes, and other widgets supported by third-party applications. 

Pros - Eye-catching design, seamless hinge, unnoticeable crease, large and immersive display, powerful cameras, functional cover screen, big battery, 40W SuperCharge, loudspeakers
Cons - no IP rating, no 5G connectivity, no Google services

Huawei P50 Pocket Specs

Display: 6.9-inch OLED screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling rate, 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, FHD+ 2790 x 1188 resolution at 439 ppi, 1.04-inch OLED w/ 120Hz touch sampling rate, 360 x 360 resolution at 490 ppi
CPU: 2.84GHz 5nm Snapdragon 888 4G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 660
RAM: 8GB/12GB (Premium Edition)
ROM: 256GB/512GB (Premium Edition)
Rear Camera: 40MP f/1.8 True-Chroma Camera w/ Laser AF + 13MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle + 32MP f/1.8 Ultra Spectrum Camera + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 10.7MP f/2.2 Wide Angle
Battery: 4,000mAh w/ 40W SuperCharge
OS: EMUI 12
Connectivity: WiFi 6, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.2 BLE (SBC, AAC, LDAC), NFC, GPS (L1 + L5), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou (B1I + B1C + B2a), Galileo (E1 + E5a), QZSS (L1 + L5), NavIC, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure, compass, barometer, color spectrum 
Others: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, USB-C, Colors: Diamond White, Premium Gold
Dimensions: 170 x 75.5 x 7.2 mm (unfolded), 87.3 x 75.5 x x 15.2 mm (folded)
Weight: 190 g
Price: PHP 69,999 / PHP 86,999 (Premium Edition)

Verdict

The better clamshell foldable in many aspects
The better clamshell foldable in many aspects

The Huawei P50 Pocket is the better clamshell foldable in many aspects, although it also has fallen short in a few particulars.

Thanks to Huawei's patented drop-shaped hinge technology, the seamless folding form was achieved for the P50 Pocket. Not only that, but the effect is also visible in the smooth display and unnoticeable crease on the screen.

We also loved its powerful cameras that don't just deliver but perform well. It gave us gorgeous images that looked real, and it's from a foldable smartphone.

We can talk all day long about the beautiful things about the P50 Pocket but, of course, we're not leaving its weak sides.

Sure we wish it has 5G connectivity and Google services to make the experience even better, but we enjoyed the experience without those. We also hope it has an IP rating to protect the smartphone from accidental splashes, but for now, we'll be careful with the water touching the P50 Pocket.

Yes, there are cons, but you get a sassy smartphone, tough build, beautiful design, mighty cameras, immersive display, smooth performance, very useful cover screen, big battery, fast charging, and loudspeakers.

It may not have 5G connectivity, Google services, and IP rating, but tell you, we are enjoying our time with it.

Please note that the Huawei P50 Pocket has a Premium Edition with leaf-imbued Premium Gold color. It packs a bigger ram of 12GB and 512GB internal storage. 

Huawei has yet to reveal its official SRP. Likely, it will be close to its China price. We will keep you guys posted.

Do you agree with us?

Build/Design - 4.5
Multimedia Experience - 4.5
Cameras - 4.5
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.44/5
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