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Huawei Mate Xs 2 Unboxing, First Impressions, Camera Samples

OPPO
Huawei
After 2 years, tech giant Huawei launched the follow-up to the Mate Xs flagship in 2020. Unsurprisingly, it is called the Mate Xs 2.
Meet Mate Xs 2

In a sea of foldable smartphones with inward folding designs, the Mate Xs 2 continued the outward folding style of its predecessor. But according to Huawei, its mechanism is now much better and more durable than ever.

The device also has several upgrades in specs and cameras at a more affordable price tag of PHP 99,999. Yes, PHP 99,999 is still a lot of money, but it is considered more affordable than the PHP 139,999 original SRP of the Mate Xs.

Anyway, without any further ado, let's check it out.

Unboxing/Accessories

Unboxed
Unboxed

The Mate Xs 2 arrived in a slightly bigger box and it is a familiar Mate box design. What we noticed here is it has no Leica branding anymore since the partnership between the two companies has ended already.

Likely, what we have is not yet the official retail package as it has no paper documentation inside.

Anyway, what's included inside the box are the smartphone itself, a FREE case, SIM ejector tool, USB-A to USB-C data/charging cable, and the 66W power brick.

Build Quality/Design

The back design
The back design

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is a stunning piece of machinery. It looks like a regular smartphone when folded and a tablet when unfolded.

Lightweight and durable-looking!

Huawei said that it has a 3D Fiberglass Design in Black and White colorways. There is also a Violet variant, but it is not available in the Philippines.

It also has a nice textured finish that is leather-like when unfolded making it very grippy and comfortable in the hands at the same time.

According to the company, it is using a durable body using lightweight materials. It also has the brand's Composite Screen structure designed to absorb and mitigate the force of impact. It feels like glass and is not that soft compared to other folding screens.

The hinge is even using advanced MIM steel. The body even has aerospace-grade titanium alloys.
The camera bar
The camera bar

To make the folding mechanism possible, it uses the double-rotating Falcon Wing Hinge to allow a nearly flat screen with nearly no noticeable crease.
Folding screen!
Folding screen!

Huawei claims that due to its innovation in its build and design, the foldable smartphone has 2.5x better drop, 2.8x improved resistance, and 1.4x stronger crush resistance versus the previous generation Mate Xs.

Where is the crease?

Also, thanks to that, the handset only weighs 255 grams. It is 45 grams lighter than the Mate Xs and 16 grams lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G.

We think that what Huawei claims is correct as I accidentally dropped the device on my wooden keyboard rest. My keyboard rest received a dent while the Mate Xs 2 remained scratch-free. #PrayersForMyKeyboardRest

It is also very light for a foldable making it not that tiring to hold when binge-watching Netflix shows.
Just like a normal phone when folded
Just like a normal phone when folded

When folded, the handset measures 155.65 x 75.5 x 11.1 mm. This is just slightly thicker than most modern smartphones. As mentioned earlier, it is just like you are holding a regular smartphone.

Just like a normal phone when folded!

At the back, you see the camera bar for its triple-camera setup and dual-tone LED flash. There is no Leica branding and the company is now using its own HUAWEI IMAGE tech for high-end smartphones like this one.

To unfold the device, all you need to do is press the button with a red strike in the middle that serves as a lock. It measures 155.65 x 139.3 x 5.4 to 11.1 mm.

Gorgeous display

The display is 6.5-inch big when folded and 7.8-inch large when folded. It is 0.2-inch smaller than the previous generation Mate Xs.

The panel it is using is OLED and it goes with a 
120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, and 2480 x 2200 resolution at 425 ppi.

This is one of the better-looking and most immersive screens that we have tried on a foldable phone yet. Of course, the bezels are quite slim.

The big difference here is it now has an oblong-shaped punch-hole to house its selfie camera.

On top, you will see the microphone and the first speaker. Below, you will see the second speaker, another microphone, and the second speaker to compete for the stereo sound experience.

On the right, you will find the power key/fingerprint scanner and the volume rocker.
Flagship-worthy camera hardware
Flagship-worthy camera hardware

For cameras, it is using a 50MP True-Chroma camera, 13MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and an 8MP telephoto camera with up to 30x digital zoom at the back. For selfies, it is using a 10.7MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle selfie shooter.

First Camera Samples

Daylight ultra-wide
Daylight ultra-wide
Daylight close-up
Daylight close-up
Indoor 1x
Indoor 1x
Indoor ultra-wide
Indoor ultra-wide
Low light shot
Low light shot
Low light w/ Night mode
Low light w/ Night mode
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie

As expected from a premium device, the Mate Xs 2 takes superb images in nearly all lighting conditions. Most are highly detailed and vibrant for a smartphone. Even regular point and shoot shots could show impressive results.

We like that the natural background blur it produced using the main cam is really creamy-looking, the indoor shots are great, and low light shots are not grainy with bright exposure even if you don't use the Night mode.

As a matter of fact, the Night mode will even make the scene a bit darker to correct the exposure as it might be too bright looking for a low light shot at times.

A few weak points we noticed are it can't zoom as much as other high-end phones with periscope lenses, the ultra-wide camera is not that great in the dark, and the shutter speed is not that fast for selfies.

Other than that, this is better than other foldable phones with weaker cameras from memory.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 Specs

Display: 7.8-inch OLED screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, 2480 x 2200 resolution at 425 ppi (unfolded), 6.5-inch OLED screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, 2480 x 1176 resolution at 422 ppi (folded)
CPU: 2.84GHz 5nm Snapdragon 888 4G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 660
RAM: 8GB
ROM: 512GB expandable via NM card slot up to 256GB
Rear Camera: 50MP f/1.8 True-Chroma Color Camera w/ True-Focus Fast Capture (Phase + Contrast focus) + 13MP f/2.2 81mm ultra-wide-angle + 8MP f/2.4 3x telephoto w/ AF, OIS + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 10.7MP f/2.2
Battery: 4,600mAh w/ 66W SuperCharge
OS: EMUI 12
Connectivity: WiFi 6 2x2 MIMO, 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
Others: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, stereo speakers, USB-C, Colors: White, Black, Violet
Dimensions: 155.65 x 139.3 x 5.4 to 11.1 mm (unfolded), 155.65 x 75.5 x 11.1 mm (folded)
Weight: 255 g
Price: PHP 99,999


As of the moment

Impressive for multitasking!
Impressive for multitasking!

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is solid out of the box and has a beautiful design with a durable build. 

It is also super-fast out of the box with improved software that made it easier to do split screens and other multitasking tricks. Plus, even without the Leica branding, the cameras turned out to be GREAT, especially for a folding smartphone.

We can even use the back cameras of the device for taking selfies and selfie videos by making the folded screen a secondary screen and this is nice!
The AnTuTu benchmark score
The AnTuTu benchmark score

However, at PHP 99,999, while it is more affordable than the previous Mate Xs, it has several shortcomings.

First, it has no Google out of the box which could still be an issue for some even if Huawei shared tons of ways to mitigate this.

Second, while it is still reliable and fast, this one is using a 2021 flagship chip, the Snapdragon 888. Moreover, it is the 4G version of the chip, not the 5G one due to the China-US trade war. For me, any phone priced this high should be packed with the latest and greatest processor.

Other than those gripes, I am personally enjoying my time with the phone so far. In terms of build and design, it's arguably on top.

I will be using this one as my main phone for the next few weeks to fully check its capabilities.

See you in our full review.
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