First Look

Huawei Mate X first look: Answering the burning questions

From software to durability

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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.

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.

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.

First Look

God of War Ragnarok Early Impressions

Familiar and new at the same time

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God of War Ragnarok

Sony PlayStation has graciously provided GadgetMatch with a review code of God of War Ragnarok. This article, however, isn’t a review yet. This is only our early impressions after spending roughly around 10 hours with the game. 

So, no, there will be no spoilers whatsoever here. In fact, there’s a lot we’re not allowed to discuss – for good reason. But here’s what we can tell you: 

Playing the first game is encouraged… 

God of War Ragnarok

Playing the initial installment (God of War 2018) is encouraged but not required. There’s a brief story recap option on the menu and it covers the more important plot points. There’s also several recap videos on YouTube that serve this purpose. 

But PlayStation has made the 2018 game available in so many different ways that, if you can get your hands on it, we suggest you do so first before diving into Ragnarok. You still have three (3) weekends to do so as of writing.

It’s not overwhelming

God of War Ragnarok

That said, if you’d rather jump into this game right off the bat, that should be fine too. The game does a good job of easing you into all the weapons, skills, and whatnots that you’ll encounter. 

The first game ended with Kratos having more than one weapon. Ragnarok throws you into action but staggers the weapons available in a way that makes sense for the story. 

New traversal and puzzle-solving

A lot of the early platform puzzles feel the same but there are a few additional moves that help keep things interesting. Specifically, these involve the Blades of Chaos. 

Some of it has been shown in the trailers. Kratos can use the Blades to Hook and Grapple himself towards higher areas. The Blades can also be used to yank off certain obstacles. 

Combat is fun and challenging

Easily one of the best things about the new God of War is its combat. Ragnarok retains everything you know and love about combat. But it keeps things interesting by mixing in a new blocking mechanic as well as introducing new enemy types early on. 

You will feel the weight of every axe swing, every blade cut, and every weapon clash. Fighting as Kratos feels as good as ever and is easily one of the most satisfying battle experiences in any video game ever made.

The story is engaging

Perhaps even more so than the first game, Ragnarok, even in its early hours, will have you hooked on the narrative. The story picks-up three years after the events of the first game, with Atreus looking to find out more about himself. Atreus’ curiosity and how Kratos reacts to it is at the heart of everything that will transpire. 

The presentation is stunning

God of War Ragnarok is still a one-shot like the first game. That means no loading screens whatsoever. And it looks as visually stunning as it ever did. If you can, do yourself a favor and play this on a 4K TV with support for at least 60fps. 

The visual presentation is jaw-dropping. Everything from the environments, the animations, the character models, and how they interact and show emotion during key moments. 

The dialogue is also top-notch. It gets cheeky and on the nose at times, humorously referencing events from the first game. 

Lastly, the music and overall sound is divine. Nothing ever feels out of place. And each scene is enhanced and elevated by the absolute masterpiece that is the score in this game. 

Should you pre-order? 

God of War Ragnarok

We’re only 10 hours in and we’re absolutely elated with how things are going so far. As early as now, we can say with absolute certainty that this is easily one of the best games you will play in your lifetime. Stop dilly-dallying and pre-order it now.

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First Look

Google Pixel 7, 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch First Look

Finally after many months of teasers

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After Michael Josh sipped his much-needed caffeine, he met some TechTuber friends before he finally went back for the new Pixel devices.

Teased as early as May 2022, the Pixel 7, 7 Pro, and the much-awaited Pixel Watch should be a surprise to most of you.

But surprisingly, they offer more than what was announced.

Wanna know more about ’em?

Take a look at our First Look of the Google Pixel 7, 7 Pro, and the Pixel Watch!

 

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24 Hours Series

First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Battery & Camera Champ?

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Just in time with the newest iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series, our First 24 hours series is back on track!

Aside from the usual one day usage, it’s also a great time to see the streets of New York, at least virtually.

With the new cameras of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (including a 48MP sensor),

is it suffice to say it’s worth upgrading to this year’s iPhone?

Here’s Michael Josh’s first 24 hours with the new iPhone 14 Pro Max for you to find out more.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 14 First 24 Hours

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