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Mate X foldable phone: Here's what it's really like to use

We went hands-on with Huawei's $2,600 foldable phone.

Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Yes, those are my hands on the Mate X, Huawei's first foldable phone.

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2 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In a tiny meeting room at Huawei's booth at MWC 2019, two CNET colleagues and I got to see the $2,600 foldable phone in action.

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3 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This was an early model that's been handled extensively, so it's possible that some minor design elements could change before the phone arrives this summer, as early as June (likely for China).

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4 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

One thing I was interested in was exactly how it opens and shuts. I also wanted to know how the screen felt to use, and how quickly the screen snapped to a different configuration as you moved it.

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5 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it felt to hold it in one palm.

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It's solid and compact, but felt more premium than you'd expect for a plastic device.

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And the screen felt slick. Not exactly like glass, but not like cheap plastic either.

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A latch secures the sides when you close it, supported by two small magnets.

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To open it, you need to push a button to release the latch. I like that Huawei added just a touch of texture to that hardware nub.

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Here's a closer look.

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I opened and closed it a bunch. It's not exactly stiff, but you do need to be deliberate about what you're doing. 

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12 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Joining the Mate X's two ends takes a little effort, but it isn't difficult. 

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13 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It isn't a flimsy toy, and that's good.

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One unique thing about the Mate X's design is that you can preview yourself when someone takes a photo, or when you take a selfie.

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That's because Huawei has programmed the single wrap-around display to activate certain screen zones when you open the camera. 

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That lets you fix a wayward hair, adjust your posture or get rid of the spinach in your teeth.

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17 of 36 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

We took a bunch more fun photos of our session with the Mate X. Keep clicking through and enjoy.

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