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Huawei Mate Xs 2 hands on review: First impressions of Huawei’s latest foldable

The Mate Xs 2 is set to launch in June, and it might cost less

Huawei has just unveiled its latest foldable smartphone, the Mate Xs 2. The new bendy handset is the successor to 2020’s Mate Xs (and, prior to that, the Mate X which unfortunately never received a UK launch).

I managed to get my hands on the Mate Xs 2 during the brand’s House of Huawei event held in Milan, and there’s a lot to like about Huawei’s newest high-priced foldable, despite a few initial reservations.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 review: Specifications, price and release date

  • Size (HWD): 157 x 76 x 11.1mm (folded), 157 x 139 x 5.4-11.1mm (unfolded)
  • Weight: 225g
  • Black, White and Violet
  • 7.8in, 2,480 x 2,200 OLED display (unfolded)
  • 6.5in, 2,480 x 1,176 OLED display (folded)
  • 4G-only Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor
  • 8GB of RAM, 512GB of expandable storage
  • EMUI 12
  • Rear camera: 50MP (f/1.8), 13MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 8MP (f/2.4) telephoto
  • Front camera: 10.7MP f/2.2
  • 4,600mAh battery
  • 66W SuperCharge
  • Price: €1,999 (UK price TBC)
  • Release date: June 2022 (Europe)

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Huawei Mate Xs 2: Design, key features and first impressions

At first glance, little is new about the Huawei Mate Xs 2’s outward appearance. When unfolded, you’re treated to a large 7.8in 2,480 x 2,200 display, with a 6.5in 2,480 x 1,176 front screen when folded (imperceptibly smaller than the Mate Xs’ 8in/6.6in sizes). A small new design feature you might notice, though, is the phone’s coarse leather-effect back, moving away from the smooth matte design of the Xs.

Huawei’s “Falcon Wing” hinge technology has returned to the Xs 2’s folding design and, fortunately, I had plenty of opportunity to play around with this at the brand’s demo event. It really does live up to its name, gliding smoothly and, for the most part, silently in and out of its folded and unfolded positions. As for the display, the Xs 2 looks lovely, and its split-screen functionality makes multitasking a breeze.

Being in a dimly fluorescent lit warehouse, it wasn’t all that easy to judge how good the camera was beyond its night mode. The Xs 2 has lost the Leica partnership of the previous model, but you’ve still got four cameras in your arsenal: a 50MP main and a 13MP ultrawide camera, plus an 8MP telephoto lens and a 10.7 MP selfie camera. Another neat feature, which was also available on the Xs, is the camera’s “Mirror Shooting” mode. This helpfully allows your photographic subject to see how they look when you’re taking their portrait.

Powered by the Snapdragon 888, the Xs 2 isn’t 5G compatible like the Xs was (with its Kirin 990 CPU). That said, it’s also not as expensive as the original Xs either, even though it’s still set to be one of the priciest handsets on the market. The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is set to launch at a starting price of €1,999.

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Huawei Mate Xs 2 review: Early verdict

Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see how much the Xs 2 costs when it launches in the UK. But if it does end up costing less than its predecessor, then there’s a greater chance that it’ll earn a recommendation.

Of course, the biggest downside plaguing Huawei’s handhelds is the frustratingly restrictive software. The hardware might be second-to-none, but if the user experience isn’t up to scratch like recent Huawei releases, then it might be worth avoiding. Huawei’s own App Gallery is steadily improving, but it’ll have to do a lot more to convince prospective consumers when the Mate Xs 2 releases in Europe in June.

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