With the Huawei Mate X2's launch just announced for February 22, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 may finally have a worthy opponent.
Although Huawei doesn't sell its phones in the U.S., and is blocked from accessing popular Google apps, its hardware is always outstanding. That's why it's worth paying attention to the Mate X2 launch, as we're expecting something brand new from the company, unlike its previous foldables.
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That reveal date comes straight from the Huawei Weibo page (opens in new tab). The main announcement only mentions an impending debut, but a reply from Huawei to one of the comments names February 22 as the big day.
The Huawei Mate X was the Chinese company's first foldable, which launched back in 2018, but neither in the U.S. or U.K. The Mate XS, a slightly revised version, appeared in 2020, and is sold in the U.K., with an original price even higher than the Z Fold 2 at £2,299. That's 27% more than what Samsung charged for its foldable phone.
This original model used an unusual "falcon-wing" folding design, where the display wraps around the outside of the hinge. But rumors have suggested that Huawei would ditch that for its next foldable, instead adopting the book-style folding form factor used by the Galaxy Z Fold 2. The teaser image on Weibo seems to suggest this too based on the angle of the portion of display on view.
The other distinctive part of the original Mate X's design was its single bank of cameras, which were mounted onto the edge of the folding display somewhat like a handle. This position meant users could take normal and selfie photos depending on which way round they held the display. It was a unique idea, and even if Huawei switches up the direction of the fold, there's theoretically no reason why this part of the old design couldn't be kept.
Samsung is in desperate need of some competition for its foldables. It offers both the flip-phone style Galaxy Z Flip and the larger Z Fold 2, and the pair are both the best in their respective classes. Plus rumors point to the company launching a new Galaxy Z Fold Lite this year, bringing foldable tech to a more reasonable price.
Of course Huawei isn't on a level playing field. Due to the U.S. government alleging the Chinese company poses a national security risk, Huawei is unable to use Google apps. Huawei has adapted to this, offering users a few ways to get apps without the Google Play Store to hand, but using it is an alien experience compared to normal Android phones. We'll have to see at the announcement what Huawei has in store to counteract this, if anything.