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Huawei Mate Xs 2 Review Philippines: Folding Supremacy?

by John Nieves  June 30, 2022

Review verdict: The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is a great foldable to use as a daily driver in the Philippines, but the high cost of ownership and app compatibility might be a non-starter for some folks.

Pros

  • Beautiful screen
  • Thinner and handier than the competition
  • Excellent camera
  • Works like a regular smartphone when folded

Cons

  • The folding screen is exposed to the elements
  • Expensive
  • No 5G

Huawei Mate XS 2 Specs Philippines

  • Snapdragon 888 processor
  • 8GB/12GB RAM
  • 256GB/512GB internal storage
  • 7.8-inch foldable display, 120hz refresh rate, 2200 x 2480 resolution, 10-bit color
  • Triple rear cameras: 50-megapixel f/1.8 main camera with PDAF; 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and OIS; 13-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera; LED Flash
  • 10.7-megapixel f/2/2 selfie camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, 4G, LTE
  • WiFi 6, Bluetooth
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, M-Pen 2s stylus
  • 4600mAh battery
  • 66w wired charging
  • Android 11 with EMUI 12

We were pleasantly surprised when Huawei announced that they’d be making their flagship foldable, the Mate Xs 2, available in the Philippines. The new foldable has a lot of things going for it, though software quirks and hardware restrictions prevent it from achieving its full potential in the west.

Design

Huawei’s approach to a full-size foldable has run counter to what we’ve seen its main rival, Samsung does. Instead of a screen that folds in, Huawei has gone with an outward folding display.

This design approach has a lot of advantages, the main one being you’ll be using the same display no matter if the phone is folded or unfolded. Its main rival, the Galaxy Z Fold3, uses an external display in addition to the folding screen on the inside when the phone is folded, adding complexity, cost and thickness to the design. The external screen was also smaller than a typical smartphone of similar size.

Those problems aren’t present on the Huawei Mate Xs 2. The Mate Xs 2 isn’t unreasonably thick, and when the display is closed, it works more or less like a phone with a 6.5-inch curved screen.

Huawei has also worked to improve the hinge on the Mate Xs 2, and the new double-rotating Falcon Wing hinge allows the phone’s display to line up completely flat, and offers “perfect alignment between the display and hinge”.

The folding mechanism feels solid enough, and the other half of the display locks firmly on the back when not in use. You press the button on the back to unfold the display, and overall the hinge feels solid and allows the phone to sit half-opened, which comes in handy when you’re watching a video.

Because of its folding nature, the physical controls and ports are all on the right side, including the power button (that works as a fingerprint reader), volume rocker, and USB Type-C port. The triple camera module is located on the same thick strip of plastic where the controls and USB Type-C port lie.

Overall the phone feels really well built, though it does not have one feature that’s present in its foldable rival: IP protection. You better not drop this thing in water, else you end up with a very expensive brick.

Display

A foldable is only as good as its display and using that metric, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is a very good foldable. The display measures at 7.8-inches big when fully unfolded has an 89.8% screen-to-body ratio and has a maximum resolution of 2200 x 2480.

The display has 120Hz refresh rate thanks to its OLED panel and looks absolutely gorgeous. Blacks are very deep, colors pop and the display is generally pleasant to look at.

Just like the P50 Pocket (and any recent foldable really) the Huawei Mate Xs 2 still has a crease in its display. The difference here is that the crease is barely noticeable, at least at the beginning. After almost a month of use, I can see a crease forming near the hinge, but that crease isn’t because of the display – it’s the screen protector’s fault.

Like most other phones today, the Mate Xs 2 ships with a plastic screen protector already pre-applied out of the box. Because of the outside screen orientation of the display, the screen protector has taken a bunch of dings and folds from daily use. And while technically the screen is still crease-free, the plastic screen protector on top of it gives the illusion of a crease when you open it, which isn’t ideal.

Huawei is offering a one-time replacement for the plastic protector if it really annoys you, but it’s just something you learn to live with. To be fair to Huawei I’ve been using the phone to close to a month without babying it at all, and the phone’s display seems to be holding up just fine.

Cameras

Huawei didn’t skimp on the optics of the Mate Xs 2, as the foldable comes with a 50-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 aperture lens, armed with all the same goodies that are on the P40 Pro, including their XD Fusion Engine, as well as Huawei XD Optics.

Images shot on the phone’s camera look very good, with excellent dynamic range, bang-on exposure as well as almost perfect color reproduction. The phone also has a 13-megapixel ultra-wide snapper with an f/2.2 lens, as well as an 8-megapixel 3x optical zoom lens that has an f/2.4 aperture.

As for the selfie camera, Huawei has gone with a more traditional 10.7-megapixel selfie camera housed in a halo cut-out notch instead of an under-display model that’s present on its competitor product.

Since Huawei uses an “outie” arrangement for its folding phone, you can very easily use the main camera as a selfie cam.

Processor, software, battery

The Huawei Mate Xs 2’s weakest point is arguably its processor. While the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset isn’t slow, it’s a generation behind what’s available in the flagships of other brands. Huawei has tried to soften this blow by adding 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM in the phone we reviewed though.

Another possible point of concern for prospective buyers of the Mate Xs 2 is the lack of 5G capability, at least in the west, thanks to Huawei’s continuing problems with the US government.

And much like its other flagship phones released since its tiff with the US government, Huawei’s phones still don’t have access to Google or to the Play Store, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise by now. Huawei’s AppGallery has grown immensely in the interim, and you can always use Petal Search to find the app you need that’s not present in AppGallery anyway.

The phone runs on EMUI 12, which has had a few tweaks to accommodate the folding display. The home screen automatically adapts to the extra space when you unfold the phone, as do most of the other apps that you install on it. Switching to and from the folded and unfolded form factor of the phone is seamless thanks to how smooth the UI transitions from either form factor.

There are also swipe gestures for floating windows, which made using the bigger unfolded form factor better since you have all this extra real estate now.

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 has a 4600mAh battery (4880mAh on the highest 12GB/512GB version), as well as 66W fast charging capabilities. PCMark’s battery benchmark puts the phone’s endurance at 9 hours and 27 minutes while folded, which is a respectable number considering the phone’s chipset, screen size, and size of the battery.

Wrap-up and verdict

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 is a pretty good folding phone, at least for us in our experience with it in our review of the device for the Philippines. Its outie design gives it dimensions much closer to that of a regular phone while still retaining the flexibility and cool factor of a folding flagship.

But that doesn’t hide the fact that the Mate Xs 2 is considerably more expensive than its closest rival while being saddled with the same issues that Huawei’s other flagships have to contend with. It’s better than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold 3 in some respects, but it’s worse too in others.

At the end of the day, you’ll really have to think long and hard if the Mate Xs 2 – or really, any folding phone – is worth the money they’re asking for. If you’re willing to ignore some of the niggles we mentioned about the Mate Xs 2, then it’s a pretty good folding phone to be sure.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 Review Philippines Price

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 has a price of Php 99,999 in the Philippines. It comes with a free Huawei Watch 3, as well as free app benefits worth up to Php 1,195. The phone also comes with the following as far as service and support go:

  • 1 year warranty
  • Product comes with screen protector film
  • Free one-time screen protector film within warranty period
  • One-stop Support
  • 1 to 1 VIP Hotline Service
  • Free pick-up and delivery
  • Free repair under warranty

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