Huawei Mate 20 X Hands-on: This 7.2-Inch Phablet Is Gunning for Note 9

LONDON — Huawei loves to keep some things a secret when it launches new products. And while we heard plenty about the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro prior to those phones’ debut today (Oct. 16), the Mate 20 X emerged without having all its secrets revealed through leaks.

Taking a similar moniker to Huawei’s Huawei MateBook X laptop, the Mate 20 X is a big-screen sibling to the rest of the Mate 20 range. It boasts the same Kirin 980 chipset as the Mate 20 Pro, but its body is a whole lot bigger. This is a definite rival to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Apple iPhone XS Max, thanks to its massive 7.2-inch OLED  screen.

In an unusual turn, Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro flagship has the smallest screen of this new trio of phones at 6.39 inches. The Mate 20 is close by with 6.53-inches of screen space while the Mate 20 X tops the lot with its 7.2-inch display.

We’ve had a chance to hands on with the Mate 20 X at Huawei’s London launch event, and here are some early impressions of this super-sized smartphone.

Huawei Mate 20 X cheat sheet

  • The Huawei Mate 20 X has a huge 7.2-inch screen.
  • Battery life should be decent, thanks to the 5,000 mAh battery inside.
  • Huawei is pushing the gaming elements of the Mate 20 X hard, even offering Nintendo Switch-like accessories.
  • The OLED screen features 1080p resolution.

Price and Availability

The Huawei Mate 20 X is available from October 26 for €899 (or around £790/$1,000). To put that price in context, the just-unveiled Razer Phone 2, which also has a focus on gaming, starts at $799.

Huawei’s new phone will be available in both midnight blue and phantom silver. There’s no word as of yet whether this phone will come to the UK or US or if it’s just destined for the Chinese market.

Screen: Big, like really big

The 7.2-inch screen is as massive in the flesh as you would expect. This is definitely not a one-handed device, although it did feel nice and light when I picked it up.

The Mate 20 X has the same dewdrop notch on its display as the Mate 20. (The Mate 20 Pro’s notch is a more conventional bar across the top of the display.) As it has this teardrop notch, the Mate 20 X doesn’t come with 3D face recognition as the Pro model does. You’ll also find a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, not underneath the display like on the Mate 20 Pro.

Huawei Mate 20 X Specs

Price
€899
Display
7.2 inches AMOLED (2244 x 1080)
OS
Android Pie with EMUI 9.0
CPU
Kirin 980
RAM
6GB
Storage
128GB
Rear Camera
40-MP main (f/1.8), 8-MP telephoto (f/2.4), 20-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2)
Front Camera
24-MP (f/2.0)
Battery
5,000 mAh
Water Resistance
IP53
Size
6.9 x 3.4 x 0.3 inches
Weight
8.2 ounces
Colors
Midnight Blue, Phantom Silver

Stylus and Gaming: A lot of power

Given its large screen, the Mate 20 X cries out for a stylus, and that’s exactly what Huawei has given it with the Huawei M-Pen. Functionality includes 4096 levels of pressure and a pop-up menu as soon as you touch the phone’s screen with the M-Pen. This stylus isn’t part of the phone as such, though; it’s sold separately and doesn’t fit neatly into the chassis like what happens with the Note 9 and its S Pen.

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In addition to stylus functionality, gaming is very much the order of the day with the Mate 20 X. In fact, Huawei compares the Mate 20 X with the Nintendo Switch, reckoning its bigger screen and 1080p screen resolution makes it a better portable games machine. That’s a big claim we’re eager to test out, even if it seems unlikely. But Huawei does contend its Kirin 980 mobile processor will offer smoother frame rates than rival devices.

Huawei even created an add-on gaming joypad, which should bolster the phone’s gaming capabilities once it’s released. It certainly makes the phone come alive as a gaming device when you add the joypad on to the left-hand of the Mate 20 X. I got to play a little bit of Fortnite and the graphics were smooth and the responsiveness of the controls (connected by Bluetooth) were impressive.

That said, pitching the Mate 20 X as a Nintendo Switch replacement is something of a reach. The majority of games you will play on this phone will be designed for mobile and nowhere near console quality. But overall, my first impressions of gaming on the Mate 20 X were impressive.

Camera: A big camera for a big phone

The Mate 20 X’s camera is particularly interesting. This phone may share the Mate 20’s dewdrop screen, but it doesn’t have that system’s lower-spec camera array. Instead it matches the setup on the Mate 20 Pro: a 24-megapixel front camera and three lenses on the back.

That triple-camera array includes a 40-MP (f/1.8) main lens, supported by 8-MP telephoto (f/2.4) and 20-MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) shooters. The lens are arrayed in the same great square layout as the other Mate 20 phones, and using that 7.2-inch screen to capture images is an absolute joy.

All the AI processing found on the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, including AI cinema modes and interesting bokeh effects, makes its way to the Mate 20 X, too.

Battery: On and on

You shouldn’t be hurting for battery life with the Mate 20 X, thanks to the 5,000 mAh power pack on board. What’s more, the battery is apparently backed by a new cooling system — a mix of graphene film and a vapor chamber. This is the first time graphene has been used to cool a smartphone which in itself is pretty cool.

The cooling system should make the Mate 20 X a better gaming device, since it’s designed to keep the CPU and GPU doing what they are doing for longer. Huawei reckons you should get three hours more gaming out of the Mate 20 X than you would with the iPhone XS Max, thanks to that battery.

The battery can also 23 hours of video playback, according to Huawei. That’s 9 hours more than the iPhone XS Max.

Outlook

The Huawei Mate 20 X is a great-looking phablet with a huge screen and the promise of some meaty gaming capabilities. It adopts the better camera array from the Mate 20 Pro but also pairs that with the more subtle dewdrop notch of the Mate 20.

Huawei’s gaming phone big in size and certainly in stature, so it’s not a device that will appeal to everyone. The 7.2-inch screen is just a bit too ridiculous for the Mate 20 X to ever hit the mainstream.

If movie watching and game playing is your main focus when looking for a phone, though, then the Mate 20 X is certainly a consideration. The problem is it may not be getting as big a rollout as its size demands. We’ll have to see just where this big gaming phone lands.

Image Credits: Tom's Guide


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  • msiseng
    Well, looks good. What about the media reports regarding security and all Huawei phones beaconing users' information back to China? Did you take this into consideration when writing this anti-Samsung article? I'd think very carefully before purchasing a Chinese-made Android phablet.
  • shawndugout13
    😆😁😂 You gotta love the fluff headline..🙄
  • msiseng
    Completely agree. I love Tom's Guide and am a huge fan. However, this headline is over the top in my humble opinion.
  • teporawateneartist
    Thankyou for this Tom. So glad I found your webpage,
  • sergiojdutra
    Is it Widevine L1 or L3? A big screen like that deserve Netflix at FHD.
  • sergiojdutra
    Widevine L1 or L3?
  • ixl4
    The global varian Evr-L29 has Widevine L1. I ordered one on ebay with overnight shipping from Hong Kong for $939.

    The Chinese version is L3.