Dubai: Huawei’s Mate 20 X will turn heads with its massive 7.2-inch display and battery capacity but it is not only about the size and it is a bigger version of Mate 20 Pro, albeit with some with missing features.
It is a great device for gamers, media lovers and photographers. It is sleek and made of aluminium and glass.
For some, the size will matter as it is difficult to hold and operate the phone with one hand and accessing the fingerprint scanner at the back requires quite a stretch.
The edges of the screen are not curved as in Mate 20 Pro but the edges of the back side are curved for it not to slip from the hands despite its size.
The 7.2-inch OLED and HDR display (2,244x1,080 pixels) with 18.7:9 screen ratio houses 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage capacity. The device supports either two nano SIMs or one nano-SIM and Huawei’s 256GB propriety nano-memory card and runs on Android 9 Pie out of the box with EMUI skin 9.0 on top with plenty of customisation and features.
Its screen resolution is 1,080p, lower than the 1,440p found on its expensive Mate 20 Pro. The Mate 20 X’s screen is 12 per cent larger than the Mate 20 Pro. It weighs 232 grams compared to Mate 20 Pro’s 189 grams.
It has the water-drop notch compared to the usual notch to give more screen real estate with 19.5:9 screen ratio and 87.83 per cent per cent screen-to-body ratio. The screen has 346 pixels per inch density compared to Mate 20 Pro’s 537 pixels per inch density.
It is powered by 2.6GHz Kirin 980 octa-core chipset, same as in Mate 20 Pro, with new CPU, GPU cores and dual NPUs (brain behind AI).
The two super big cores are used for graphics intensive apps, two big cores for social apps and four small cores for voice calls on the octa-core 980 chipset compared to four big and four small cores on octa-core Kirin 970 chipset.
The dual Dolby Atmos-powered speakers, on the bottom and top of the device, are loud enough to fill a room but the flip side is that when you hold the phone in a horizontal position and play games, your hands will cover the grills. So, I used to flip the phone to play games and even then in some positions, it will block the speakers. If you are in the habit of using a headphone, it does not matter and the advantage is that it has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
On Mate 20 pro, the sound comes from inside the USB Type-C port at the bottom and from top of the front screen.
The facial recognition technology on this device is super-fast and opens the device in less than one second but Mate 20 X lacks the same infrared sensor on the Pro that lets it work very well even in lowlight conditions. Apart from that, it has the usual fingerprint sensor, PIN and password options.
Huawei did not incorporate the pressure sensing in-screen fingerprint sensor on Mate 20 Pro onto this device.
It supports a feature to take notes, similar to Samsung’s Note, with the M-Pen but it does not come with the box and has to be purchased separately. I did not get the pen for review. The stylus cannot be stowed inside the phone as in Note series.
It also has the infrared blaster to control your home gadgets as a remote controller but does not have the dust and water resistance as on Mate 20 Pro. Mate 20 X is only splash resistant.
The biggest disadvantage is that it does not have a LED notification and you need to unlock the device to check for notifications.
The Mate 20 series’ triple Leica cameras have the best rating so far and takes the best shots from a smartphone.
It sports a square format similar to Porsche car’s headlight.
The camera is similar to P20 Pro. Next to the flash sits the 40MP wide-angle lens (27mm) with f/1.8 aperture, below the flash sits the 8MP 3 x telephoto lens (80mm) with f/2.4 aperture and OIS, and next to it sits the 20MP ultra-wide angle lens (16nm) with f/2.2 aperture.
Even though the camera has a 40MP sensor, the default is 10MP. The device uses the data captured by both the lenses to create sharp images, balanced colours and details.
The automatic mode uses Artificial Intelligence driven scene recognition modes to recognise the scene in order to optimise settings.
With dual NPUs, it can recognise up to 4,500 images per minute, up 120 per cent compared to Kirin 970 chipset.
Even at pitch dark, the images are captured well with plenty of details visible. The night-time photo magic is achieved by a separate “night” mode feature in the settings by taking multiple and long exposure shots at different ISO values to combine into one final image but it takes four seconds to process the final image.
The best thing is that you don’t need a tripod and this work is done by AI stabilisation.
The AI also uses HDR when necessary and see if you are happy with the shot, otherwise, you can cancel the auto mode in a bid to get the natural colours.
Both the front and rear cameras support RAW format only in pro mode.
With 4D predictive focus, the camera predicts moving objects and focuses on them with efficiency to capture minute details of objects in motion.
The phone’s 3 x telephoto and 5 x hybrid zoom works very well and takes macro shots much cleaner and the camera can take clean shots at less than 3cm. You can zoom up to 10X in total with the device.
With HiVision, a Google Lens-like feature can discover arts, landmark, goods, translation and food.
The wide-angle camera is great and you can capture more landscape in one shot. With aperture mode, the simulated aperture range is between f/0.95 and f/16, you can apply filters such as keep the subject in colour and make the background black and white.
Even though the device does not have a monochrome lens similar to P20 Pro, you can go to the more option to get monochrome, slow motion, panorama, HDR, live filters, AR lens, light painting, time-lapse, underwater mode and scan documents. There is no option for auto HDR and you have to turn on automatically.
In slow motion, you can record 120fps at 1080p, 240fps and 960fps at only 720p and not at Full HD.
It can record 4K videos at 30 fps and no 60fps option. It can save in h. 264 or h. 265 formats. But at 4K video recording, there’s no video image stabilisation so you need to hold the phone without shake. Only at Full HD, you get image stabilisation but that too loses out when the frame rate is upped to 60fps.
The 24MP f/2.0 front-facing camera is same as on P20 Pro. It takes decent selfies in good daylight conditions but it does not have the same lowlight performance as the rear camera. It also has AI beautification and 3D portrait lighting.
The AI HDR is turned on by default in selfie mode which is great and does a decent job to capture the details.
The front camera can record 1080p at 30/60fps and 720p at 960fps.
The Animoji-style feature in the camera app’s AR mode is okay but not as precise as on iPhone XS MAX.
The new Mali-G76 10-core GPU offers better gaming performance without any lag but Huawei’s GPU is not the best when compared to its rivals. Apple’s latest GPU is by far the fastest.
With ‘Performance Mode’, the speed increases and the new user interface supports GPU Turbo 2.0 to run games smoothly and steadily at 60 frames per second at full resolution.
The Mate 20 X does not come with the six games — Asphalt Nitro, Kingdoms, Dragon Mania, Puzzle Pets, Spiderman — Ultimate Power, Lords Mobile and Assassin’s Creed Unity: Arno’s Chronicles — pre-installed in Mate 20 Pro.
But playing these games and the PBUG, the device does not get really warm due to its graphene liquid-cooled cooling system for impressive performance. It uses a vapour chamber and graphene film cooling technology for quickly conducting the heat and enabling the phone to run for a long time without heating.
Regarding connectivity, it has WiFi, PC Data Synchronisation, WiFi hotspot, wireless projection, Huawei Share for sharing files quickly with other Huawei devices without using mobile data, Bluetooth 5, NFC.
The box contains a headphone jack, a transparent silicone case and a supercharge adapter.
The bigger 5,000mAh battery offers more than one day of use easily for heavy users and more than three days for moderate users, which is excellent. It provided close to 22 hours of video playback and close to 6.2 hours of graphic-rich intensive gaming.
The standby time is excellent. There is no support for wireless and reverse charging as in Mate 20 Pro.
The TÜV Rheinland’s safety-certified SuperCharge technology is at 22.5-watt compared to 40W as in Mate 20 Pro. In 30 minutes, it charges up to 49 per cent and from zero to full in one hour and 50 minutes.
The phone comes in midnight blue colour and is priced at Dh2,499. It will be available only on e-commerce stores.
The Mate 20 X is targeted at gamers and media lovers and this massive phone stands out from the crowded smartphone market along with its huge battery capacity, but it is not a well-rounded device as Mate 20 Pro. Mate 20 X sits between Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro in terms of price.
• Gigantic screen
• Excellent fit
• Excellent battery life
• 3.5mm headphone jack
• IR receiver
• Excellent cameras
• AI supports photos and videos
• A gaming device
• Support for stylus
• No wireless charging support
• No reverse charging support
• Proprietary nano-memory card format
• Size not ideal for small hands
• Only splash-resistant
• Fingerprint magnet
• Only Full HD display
• Placement of speakers not ideal
• No LED notification support