No smartphone development has been hotter than foldables this year. Sure, 5G connectivity and hole-punch cameras may be the buzz words of 2019, but folding displays are the future tech we have now.
While the Galaxy Fold is expected to launch sooner, no one except Samsung’s executives and developers have used the device. It’s a stark contrast to the Mate X, which has not only been handled by media during the last Mobile World Congress, but also made its way to Southeast Asia already.
I was fortunate enough to spend some hands-on time with the Mate X; not enough to present a comprehensive experience, but good enough to address some questions our readers have asked since the foldable was first announced.
Is there enough heft to it?
The funny thing is, the Mate X feels heavy in its smartphone state, but almost too light when in tablet mode. That’s because there’s a lot of screen (8 inches when opened up) and battery capacity (4600mAh split into two units) for a handset, while being remarkably thin for a slate.
— Marvin Velasco (@labacnotan) March 11, 2019
There’s a sort of handle to the side that’s helpful for holding the device when opened up, yet prevents it from lying down flat when unfolded. When folded, however, the smartphone-like thinness and curves on the sides make the Mate X such a joy to grasp — well, based on my early usage at least.
How durable are the display and hinge?
This is one question that’s crossed everyone’s mind. Although the idea of a folding display gives the impression of poor quality, Huawei’s implementation is anything but. Huawei is said to have worked for three years on the Mate X’s sturdy hinge, and though it’s too early to judge the plastic display’s durability, it feels like it can take constant, everyday folding.
— Marvin Velasco (@labacnotan) March 11, 2019
I can’t attest to the display’s scratch resistance, but it does get quite smudgy with dirty fingers. It’s especially apparent with the sheer size of the panel. It’s even more obvious because of how reflective the screen is under bright lights. Again, these are things that’ll take time before we can come to a conclusion.
Are the cameras any good?
There are pros and cons to the Mate X’s camera system. The good: Since it has three cameras on the back for everything, there’s no need for a notch, and they’re as good as the Mate 20 Pro’s chart-topping shooters. The bad: Because of the placement, you can’t take advantage of the 8-inch screen for video calls.
Still, it’s a fine compromise and doesn’t get in the way of the phone’s usability. What’s especially great is that you can use the rear display like a mirror during smartphone mode so that the subject can see his or herself for better compositions. It’s a lot like what the Vivo NEX Dual Display offers.
Is the software optimized for foldables?
The lingering question after the Mate X’s launch was: Will the software — and its developers by extension — adjust to this new form factor? From the few apps I got to try out, the experience was surprisingly smooth, allowing me to fold and unfold the device at any time without noticeable lag or glitches.
That’s saying a lot for a device which isn’t even in the consumer market yet and has no apps with its unusual aspect ratios in mind. The possibilities here are endless if game developers are willing to adjust their titles to this; imagine switching from one viewing mode to another with a simple fold.
What else is there to know?
A minor gripe I had with the Mate X during my short time with it was the single loudspeaker. Considering how gorgeous the display is, I was hoping for more power and bass out of the lone audio source. However, I’m sure anyone who can afford a Mate X already has excellent wireless or USB-C headphones on hand.
I didn’t get to test the security features, but I did like the placement of the fingerprint scanner on the side-mounted power button. It felt natural and well within reach. There’s no under-display scanner, unfortunately, and I can’t say for certain if unlocking this phone with the rear cameras is a practical option.
Is this a glimpse into the future or a niche product?
This is what I got asked most once my friends found out I tried out the world’s first outward-folding smartphone, and it’s definitely the most difficult question to answer. With the pricing Huawei and Samsung have chosen for their first-generation products, they’re certainly reserved for those who can afford it, and not those who simply desire it (like myself).
Unless prices go down in the next year or two, foldables will never be as practical as a smartphone-tablet combo, or even a handset paired with a reliable laptop. It’ll take a while before folding phones go mainstream, but for now, the Mate X is fun as hell to use, and I can’t wait to play around with an actual retail unit.
The new $399 Apple iPhone SE
iPhone 8 body, iPhone 11 internals
After several rumors, Apple has finally unveiled the iPhone SE 2 — or simply called the iPhone SE.
Just like its 2016 predecessor, it’s an old iPhone with newer internals. You get the same display, design, security system, and even the single rear camera setup. What’s exciting about it? It has Apple’s latest tech including the A13 Bionic Chipset which promises blazing-fast performance.
Best of all? You can get these features at a much cheaper price of USD 399.
Know more about the new iPhone SE here.
Alienware Concept UFO First Look
A powerful gaming PC on the go
A lot of gamers still resort to either buying or building even more powerful desktop rigs as they’re more powerful.
Well, Alienware might just have the ultimate solution with the Concept UFO.
Know more by playing the video above or simply click the link here.
OnePlus Concept One First Look
It’s been a year since OnePlus and McLaren announced their partnership. Although it’s nothing new to OnePlus fans, the Concept One is something fresh to everyone’s eyes.
All thanks to electrochromic glass, this concept phone features “disappearing” rear cameras. The special glass technology can be found on the McLaren 720s’ sunroof, as well as as Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s windows.
You can watch the video to learn more. Click on this link if you can’t view it above.
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