Huawei Mate V leak reveals a new Galaxy Z Flip killer

(Image credit: Ben Geskin)

We and other phone fanatics are eager to see what Samsung is up to with the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. However, Huawei might soon challenge Samsung with a new foldable phone series that's just been leaked.

Ben Geskin released the images you see here on Twitter, claiming that they're for a new Huawei phone called the Mate V. The design seems to take heavily after Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip, including the clamshell form factor, the blocky hinge and presumably its size too, although there's no scale mentioned within these renders.

(Image credit: Ben Geskin)

On the back/outside of the phone, we can see a large camera block running down the phone's left side — a Huawei design trademark. We can't make out how many sensors there are, but there looks to be a time-of-flight or other depth sensor module off to the side too, which would hopefully give the Mate V some excellent photography abilities like the Huawei P40 Pro.

The camera bump seems to extend downwards into a mini exterior display, much like the Z Flip has. It's presumably not meant to be an alternative for the main screen like the outside display of a Galaxy Fold-style foldable can be, but rather a handy window for notifications or use as a camera viewfinder if you want to take a selfie with the main cameras.

On the inside, we see something we've not seen on a foldable before now — an iPhone 11-like internal notch. Geskin says that this notch is there for 3D Face recognition. We've seen this before on the Huawei Mate 30 and Huawei P40, and it works just as well as Apple or Google's equivalents.

Within the Mate V, we would likely see a Kirin 990 chip, or whatever the latest version of this line of chipsets is when it releases. This is a 5G-compatible chip that offers comparable performance to the Snapdragon 865, although it does lose out in benchmark comparisons.

This isn't Huawei's first try at a foldable, although you likely haven't seen it. The Mate X, a book-style foldable with its display wrapped around the outside, was revealed in 2019, but was never sold in the US or UK. Earlier this year Huawei revealed an updated edition, the Mate Xs, which quietly launched in the UK in May. At £2,000, it's just as expensive as a Samsung Galaxy Fold, but without the cachet of the Samsung name, or the basic Google apps.

That's why you probably shouldn't get too excited about the Mate V straight away. It looks like a great design for a foldable, but unfortunately it's a Huawei foldable. That means no Google-made apps whatsoever, and also no access to the Google Play Store, because of the US government's ruling that Huawei is a dangerous company. Huawei is getting back on its feet though, introducing more localized content to its App Gallery app store, and recently Petal Search, an app that allows you to download the APK files for Android apps from reliable sources.

But even with its improving adaptations to life without Google and excellent-sounding hardware, Huawei has a big task on its hands if it wants to dethrone the Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung's clamshell-style foldable is our favorite folding phone thanks to its strong design, well-implemented features and reasonable price. And it's about to get an even better version with the Z Flip 5G.

There have been rumors of a 5G version of the Z Flip for some time, with many now believing Samsung will show off this new foldable next month at its big Galaxy Unpacked event on August 5. While using the same chassis, Samsung is giving the Z Flip a 5G-compatible Snapdragon 865 chipset (hence the new name). There may also be a smaller battery, which hopefully Samsung has optimized around to avoid a shorter battery life.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.