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The Huawei Mate X3 is the slimmest folding phone yet

The Huawei Mate X3 is both slimmer and lighter than any other folding phone we’ve seen to date, but it’s also the most expensive

As more and more brands dip their toes into the murky waters of the folding phone market, we see the return of an old hand with the Huawei Mate X3. This phone has already been out in China for a few weeks now but it has now been officially launched internationally.

Alongside an eye-watering price tag of £2,000, the Huawei Mate X3 is notable for being the slimmest folding phone on the market to date. Folded, it measures 11.08mm in thickness, while unfolded it’s just 5.3mm. It’s also impressively light for a folding phone, weighing a mere 239g. Huawei was keen to mention that the Mate X3 is both slimmer unfolded and lighter overall than the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max.

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Huawei Mate X3 preview: Specifications, price and release date

  • Outer display: 6.4in, 120Hz, 1,080 x 2,504, LTPO OLED
  • Inner display: 7.85in, 120Hz, 2,224 x 2,496, OLED
  • Octa-core 3.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
  • 512GB of storage
  • Rear cameras: 50MP (f/1.8), 12MP (f/3.4) periscope telephoto, 13MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
  • Selfie camera: 8MP
  • 4,800mAh battery
  • 66W fast charging
  • 50W wireless charging
  • Dimensions (folded): 157 x 72 x 11.8mm
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 157 x 142 x 5.3mm
  • Weight: 239g
  • UK release date: 22 May 2023
  • Price: £2,000

Huawei Mate X3 preview: Design and key features

An inward folding device – ie, the main screen is on the inside when folded – the Huawei Mate X3 uses a new “multidimensional” hinge, allowing it to hold open between 45˚ and 100˚ angles. The phone is also IPX8 rated, meaning it hasn’t been tested as dust resistant but it can survive being submerged in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes.

The outer display is a 6.4in OLED panel and covered with the same protective Kunlun glass as the new Huawei P60 Pro. Like Gorilla Glass, Kunlun is a protective layer designed to protect the display from accidental drops and scratches. The resolution is 2,504 x 1,080, and newly added LTPO technology allows the refresh rate to dynamically adjust between 1Hz and 120Hz, based on the needs of what’s on the screen.

Flipping the phone open reveals a 7.85in OLED panel with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz and a resolution of 2,496 x 2,224, which delivers a pixel density of 426ppi – the highest on any foldable phone, according to Huawei. This panel isn’t LTPO, though; you can only get the battery-saving benefits of a dynamically adjusting refresh rate when using the outer display.

In terms of hardware, the Huawei Mate X3 uses the same 4G octa-core Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset as the P60 Pro, with a maximum clock speed of 3.2GHz. This isn’t the latest version of the chipset – Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has already been used by the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 this year – but it’s only a year old. It’s backed up by 12GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage, with a microSD slot allowing you to boost that space by another 256GB.

The battery is a 4,800mAh unit, which is bigger than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4’s battery and, once depleted, it can be juiced back up via 66W fast-charging, which Huawei says can bring it to 100% in 37 minutes. There’s also 50W wireless charging and 7.5W reverse charging, if you need to power up other devices.

As we’ve come to expect from Huawei devices over the years, especially given the Google apps ban, a big focus is placed on the cameras. The standout here is the 12MP periscope telephoto camera, which can achieve a 5x optical zoom and also includes optical image stabilisation. Alongside it, there’s a 50MP main camera module (which oddly doesn’t have OIS) and a 13MP ultrawide lens, as well as a dedicated focus sensor designed to improve shutter speeds.

Just like the P60 Pro, the Mate X3 will ship with the latest EMUI 13.1 OS. Due to various international trade bans, Huawei phones don’t currently offer 5G in the UK, nor are they equipped with any Google apps, including the Play Store. Instead, you get apps via Huawei’s own AppGallery, which definitely isn’t as good but has, admittedly, improved over the years. Heavy hitters Facebook, Instagram and Netflix are still absent but you can get the likes of TikTok and Snapchat, as well as useful apps such as Just Eat and Trainline.

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Huawei Mate X3 preview: Early verdict

There are certainly a lot of impressive “industry first” labels attached to the Huawei Mate X3, and being the slimmest and lightest on the market is sure to make it an attractive proposition to some. Unfortunately, it also comes with the undesirable achievement of being the most expensive foldable phone we’ve ever seen. For a phone that doesn’t use the latest CPU technology and doesn’t offer 5G or Google apps, £2,000 is a particularly tall order.

The Huawei Mate X3 will be available to buy in the UK from 22 May on the Huawei website, with select other retailers to follow on 26 May. We’ll have a better idea of just whether or not it proves to be worth this much when it comes to the full review but, for now, we think it unlikely.

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