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Huawei Mate X camera: This foldable phone captured stunning photos of wintry Paris

We took Huawei's new foldable phone on a long trek through the heart of Paris to see how well its multiple cameras perform.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I've spent a whole day testing out the Huawei's Mate X camera in the beautiful city of Paris, and while its foldable design has certainly won me over, I was also keen to see what sort of images I can shoot with its array of cameras. I hit the streets to find out. The Mate X has three main cameras: a standard 40-megapixel lens, a 16-megapixel ultrawide lens and an 8-megapixel telephoto zoom lens. It's basically the same setup Huawei put on its flagship P30 Pro ($688 at Amazon) -- a phone that I found to take excellent photos. The cameras are all found on a raised ridge on the back of the phone and as it doesn't get covered up when it's folded, you can use them whether it's in phone or tablet mode.

Of course, when I'm out shooting I don't want to be that guy shooting photos on a tablet, so I kept it firmly in phone mode. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I started at the grand Opera House in the heart of Paris, where I immediately found the benefit of the different zoom lengths. The standard lens wasn't quite wide enough to capture the whole building. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

But switching to the super wide mode let me capture the whole building with ease. Exposure looks good, although some of the fine details on the building look a bit mushy, and swapping between zoom modes does seem to shift the white balance. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

To capture those, I switched to the zoom lens, which let me get up close on the intricate golden details on the building with significantly better quality. 

Leaving the beautiful opera house behind, I hit the streets of Paris, phone in hand, to see what else I can photograph to put it to the test.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I came across this stereotypically French bicycle and decided to snag a shot. The phone uses the same AI mode found on the company's other phones that recognizes the subject of a scene and adjusts settings accordingly. In this instance, the phone actually recognized "bicycle" although I have no idea what settings it would select to make this shot better. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Further on I spied this Metro sign, and tried zooming in and using the aperture mode to give a pleasing out-of-focus effect to the background. There's a fourth lens on the back, which captures depth information to create those cool bokeh effects around a subject and it's worked really well here. The sign has been neatly removed from the background, and I think it's a great shot overall.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I used the 5x zoom mode inside this alley to get a shot of these great shop signs, the old-fashioned lights and the Christmas decorations. I like the shot, although the low light inside has meant the image isn't pin-sharp and there's quite a lot of image noise, particularly on the "Bistrot 70" sign in the foreground.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I love the exposure and the contrast in this street scene. It has a lovely filmic quality to it, and there's plenty of detail, too.

I kept snapping away as I roamed further around Paris, swapping between the lenses to try and find some interesting compositions that'd not only test the phone, but also tell a nice story of the long walk we were on. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I then roped in our tour guide to pose as a test subject for the phone's portrait mode. I wasn't impressed at the bokeh effect when I was taking the image, as quite a lot of the details in the background were still in focus and it made the image on screen look messy. What I didn't realise though is that the phone does more background processing after it's shot to neaten things up and the resulting shots are actually extremely impressive. 

Now playing: Watch this: The Mate X's cameras take on Paris
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The cut-out of the subject from the background is pretty much perfect, even around his hair, which is always a tricky thing for a phone camera to do. All of the background is beautifully out of focus giving this the look of a photo taken from a proper DSLR. 

After our stop for some portraits, we carried on to find a food market and had some pretty epic sandwiches made up. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I like the detail and exposure on this shot taken from the standard lens...

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And switching to the super wide mode helped capture more of the action.

And speaking of action, my next stop was a square dominated by local skateboarders -- a perfect opportunity to test out the burst mode. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I found a skater willing to show off his skills for the camera and by pressing and holding the shutter button, I was able to fire off loads of images, selecting the best bit of action afterwards. I like this shot; he's pin-sharp and I've been able to capture him right at the height of the trick. 

As night started to fall we headed towards a good viewpoint over the city, spoiled somewhat by the pretty miserable gray winter weather. As day transitioned firmly into night, I headed back onto the streets to shoot some more. Huawei's previous phones like the P30 Pro and P20 Pro ($430 at Amazon) before it have really impressed with their night skills and the Mate X is no exception.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Night shots are bright, with accurate colors and very little noticeable image noise. 

Even from just a day's hands-on, I'm impressed with the quality of the cameras on the Mate X. I'm confident that this phone isn't a folding gimmick, but it also has the capabilities elsewhere -- especially in its cameras -- to keep pace with today's other flagship phones.