Hands-On

Huawei Nova 5T: Flagship-like midranger

Stylish and powerful

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What happens when you put flagship-level processor and cameras in an expressive-looking package — you get the Huawei Nova 5T.

From the moment of its launch, the Nova 5T knew what it wants to be. It’s a smartphone that can more than get the job done and look good while doing it.

Flagship phone in a midranger’s body

The Huawei Nova 5T looks extremely good on paper. Powering the device is the Kirin 980 processor. It’s the same processor found on Huawei’s early 2019 flagship — the P30 Pro. That alone says a lot but it doesn’t end there.

You also get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. These are insane numbers for a flagship smartphone, let alone one that’s priced in the midrange category (PhP 18,990).

Not just good on paper

Putting the phone through the paces, we quickly realized that it’s more than just the numbers. The Huawei Nova 5T flat out delivers a smooth performance you might forget you didn’t pay an extraordinary amount to get it.

We used the P30 Pro for a while and there’s little to no difference in performance. Whether you’re using your phone to answer a pile of emails or by scrutinizing every single one of your crush’s social media posts, the Nova 5T is up for the task.

You probably enjoy a fair amount of Netflix and YouTube sessions. The 6.3-inch IPS LCD display provides you with a good enough screen to enjoy your favorite shows whether you’re watching at home or outdoors.

Naturally, this phone can game. It’s more than enough to get you that MVP on Mobile Legends and can easily power you through PUBG mobile for that chicken dinner. And with a 3750mAh battery, you have more than enough juice to get you through a busy day.

Cameras that let you shine

The phone is equipped with four cameras: a 48MP wide angle shooter, 16MP ultra wide angle, 2MP dedicated macro camera, and 2MP depth sensor.

Huawei has made a name for itself in the mobile photography segment. The Nova 5T also delivers in this category. We’re fans of the ultra wide angle, it’s just too bad we haven’t had the chance to use it on a more scenic view prior to this hands-on.

The triple cameras are great for providing different perspectives. And the depth sensor does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

 

 

In front, situated at the top left area of the display is the punch hole, 32MP front-facing camera. You also get an adjustable beauty mode and portrait levels to help take your selfies to the next level.

The camera also has some other fun features you might enjoy playing with like Light Painting, Time-lapse, and Slow-mo. Here are other samples:

A flashy design

The Nova 5T is also all about expressing yourself. We’ve covered the idea behind the branding, and whether it’s your cup of tea or not, you can’t deny that this look is truly Huawei.

It mirrors the self-identity approach that it believes is paramount to its intended market. It looks great but does more than enough heavy lifting to power your day.

Adding the fingerprint scanner to the power button instead of putting it under the display is also an underrated touch. The fingerprint scanner is fast, accurate, and is at a comfortable position whether the phone is facing up or down on a table.

We’re excited to get EMUI 10

EMUI 9 already has a lot going for it. The extra things it provides are quite thoughtful. For instance, despite it still being based on Android 9 Pie, EMUI 9 implements fullscreen gestures that’s close to Android 10. Of course, this wouldn’t matter much to you if you’re the navigation bar type of person.

There’s also other helpful little quirks like swiping down with three fingers or knocking on the display to capture a screenshot.

Which is why we’re excited for the phone to get EMUI 10. It’s a faster, cleaner, and smoother version of EMUI and should help enhance the experience of using the Nova 5T.

Moving over to the phone is also quite easy thanks to Huawei’s Clone Phone app. It’s perhaps one of the most convenient ways to move from one phone to another.

Is the Huawei Nova 5T your GadgetMatch?

When we think about smartphones that offer the “best bang for your buck,” they usually don’t look like this. And probably don’t perform as well as the Nova 5T does.

In a way, the Huawei Nova 5T breaks expectations on so many fronts. That’s what sets it apart from other phones in this category.

To be able to harness this much power, at a reasonable price, and with an expressive look — we’re not sure how Huawei pulled it off, but we’re very glad that they did.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 Hands-on: What’s New?

Any differences from last year’s Galaxy Z Fold3?

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Samsung paved the way for foldable smartphones that transform into tablets.

That engineering marvel made the Galaxy Fold possible.

After three years, the Galaxy Z Fold continues to evolve.

The Galaxy Z Fold4, while it may look almost the same as the Z Fold3, offers upgrades that one should consider.

What are those changes?

You should definitely watch our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 hands-on for you to find out.


Pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold4: howl.me/1782498420013699516

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Hands-on: Flip That!

Watch Before You Buy

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Of all the foldables that have been around for the last few 3-4 years, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has been the most fun.

Today, Samsung unveiled the new Galaxy Z Flip4.

While it looks exactly like last year’s Galaxy Z Flip3, it comes with some nifty improvements.

But should you rush out and pre-order though?

Head over to our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 hands-on video to know more.


Pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip4: howl.me/1782498419600267258

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The marriage of engineering, technology, and design

The Mate Xs 2 reminded us of what we used to love about Huawei

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Thin. Light. Flat.

These words got me ecstatic, knowing that it’s been years since the first foldable devices came out and these aren’t the words we used to describe them.

Huawei certainly has come a long way, fighting head-to-head with Samsung back in 2019 in bringing a taste of the future.

The company, pressing on after the US-Google-Huawei fiasco, strives to refine its portfolio of foldable smartphones.

Now, in case you’re confused, the first foldable — the Huawei Mate X — was launched in 2019. Huawei introduced the Mate Xs in 2020, and then the Mate X2 in 2021. Later that year, Huawei also brought the P50 Pocket, the direct rival of the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

In 2022, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 undoubtedly succeeds the Mate Xs, continuing its prominent outward-folding design. Let’s take a look at the world’s thinnest and lightest foldable yet.

Elegantly refined in a design that’s imperfectly perfect

One thing I like about Huawei’s smartphones is how they all look classy and elegant. The formula they’ve used to win many hearts over — as seen on the Huawei P and Mate line from a few years ago — is carried vehemently to its foldable lineup.

Up front, when folded, the Mate Xs 2 looks like your regular slate. Tall, boxy yet somehow curvy, and looks and feels sturdy. It has a 6.5-inch OLED display, much like the same slab you see today.

Behind that sleek glass is the folded, extended screen. It makes the device look thick when you check its bottom. But somehow, the cuts and edges fit perfectly, housing the speaker grilles, the SIM Card slot, and the USB-C port.

Flipping the device, you’ll find the extension of the screen. It snugs tightly, locking beside the camera strip together with a button that unfolds the Mate Xs 2.

When you press the button, it releases the lock and the screen rises.

Releasing the lock allows the device to stay in the same position. Yes, it’s still up to you to force it to get that large, square-like screen you expect out of a foldable device.

But let’s forget about that for a moment. Underneath, you can find a diagonal plaid pattern in a leather-like texture. While I loved anything and everything white, Huawei refined the way black smartphones should be. J’adore!

This one has more personality, looks sophisticated, and — beyond the marvelous appearance — has a sense of functionality, too. The texture aids the phone in keeping it durable and scratch-resistant.

A friendly reminder that style without substance is nothing. Don’t be fooled by grand showcases if it only exhibits lavishness without addressing the more important stuff.

Thin but not like ice

Upclose to its back, you can find the hinge gluing the screen together. Huawei attributes its precise and fluid movement to its new-generation Double-rotating Falcon Wing Hinge design.

With this proprietary technology, I’m still gobsmacked by how Huawei packed all the components tightly. This feels like the ASUS Zenfone 8 which shrank its components to achieve a compact form factor, but with a trickier and more intensive process.

Nevertheless, this fusion of engineering and design allowed Huawei to create the thinnest, flattest, and lightest foldable — with no visible crease.

Regardless of the angle and lighting condition, the Mate Xs 2 really doesn’t exhibit any crease on its display.

It makes the smartphone usage pleasant to the eyes — and even your fingers, simply because the crease is barely felt. And frankly, you’re more likely to swipe and scroll on the right side of the phone instead of the part where the hinge is.

While the Mate Xs 2 is pretty thin, weighing only 255g with a thickness of 5.4mm when unfolded, it’s easy to carry and hold.

Even when folded, which comes with a thickness of 11.1mm, the Mate XS 2 is easily gripped and fits your spaces like any slab smartphone.

Gorgeous, “sturdy” display

Besides the huge leap in engineering and design, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is emblazoned with top-of-the-line display technology.

With already a creaseless screen, the unfolded device sports a 7.8-inch high-resolution OLED display. It reportedly packs a billion colors and supports P3 wide color gamut.

With an artistic rendition of Weathering With You through a 4K wallpaper, the Mate Xs 2 exhibited rich and vibrant colors.

Watching a show is quite different though, especially with its strange aspect ratio. It doesn’t provide a full-screen experience even if you rotate the screen.

But fold the phone back… and you can enjoy an immersive viewing experience. It was delightful to watch Encanto and sing along with Isabela and Mirabel Madrigal.

Aside from the beauty and grandeur of the Mate Xs 2’s display, Huawei made sure it’s durable. The Mate Xs 2 adopted a bulletproof Composite Structure screen with a protective film, support layer, and rotating shaft.

I haven’t had a chance to test its resistance to drops, crushing, or impact. I still believe foldables are fragile, even with their claims of being ‘sturdy’ and ‘reliable.’

What I worry about is the folded part of the screen, since, without a case, the surface directly touches the folded rear. While Huawei assures us with an aluminum alloy protective frame around the screen that keeps it scratch-resistant, I can’t help but feel anxious whenever I place it on any rough, hard surface.

Is there power under the hood?

Okay, let’s talk specs. Huawei, for most of its flagship devices, pushes the limits of its hardware. It runs on EMUI 12, comes with an 8GB RAM and 512GB of ROM, a 4600mAh battery capacity capable of 66W SuperCharge, and a 120Hz refresh rate.

The only drawback that got me taken aback is its processor. Sadly, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 houses a Snapdragon 888 4G. While we have the thank the US government for that, the processor is somewhat limiting especially in terms of future-proofing.

Don’t get me wrong, Snapdragon 888 is still powerful. But plenty of chipsets are going above and beyond, and this flagship foldable getting left behind.

As for the user experience and the lack of Google Mobile Services (GMS), this has been addressed multiple times — from ways to augment your experience to the improvements Huawei made, especially for HarmonyOS. But that’s a story for another time because there are plenty of features to talk about.

Are the cameras still flagship-grade?

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 houses a 50-megapixel True Chroma camera system, including a 13-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. Upfront, it has a 10.7-megapixel selfie camera.

A few tests here and there made me think that the photos are color-accurate, detailed, and flagship-worthy. But that wouldn’t be fair to be this subjective when I hardly have any photos to showcase. Hang tight! As of this writing, we’re brewing something cool about its cameras.

Anyhoo, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 — like its previous iterations — comes with a Mirror Shooting mode where the photographer can take a photo while the subject can see how they look on the rear screen.

This is similar to most foldables nowadays. Frankly, it’s a handy feature that might come in handy when you travel or want to capture an iconic moment.

Remembering the love for Huawei

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 reminds me of everything we’ve loved about Huawei. Elegantly-designed smartphones. Sleek and vibrant display technology. Impressive hardware. Huge leaps in engineering and design. Actual innovation.

The only barriers that propel it from taking back its crown are the people who can’t adapt to a new user experience, and the geopolitical issues surrounding the company. Nevertheless, the Mate Xs 2 is Huawei’s proof that they can still be a trailblazer, and they’ll probably keep on doing so.

Price and availability

The Huawei Mate Xs 2 retails for PhP 99,999. It will be available in Shopee, Lazada, or the Huawei Store. Learn more about the flagship foldable on Huawei’s website.


Editor’s Note: The article has been updated with new information. Previously, the story indicated pre-order details.

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