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Huawei’s latest folding phone could have been a great Galaxy Fold competitor

Huawei’s latest folding phone could have been a great Galaxy Fold competitor


The Mate X3 has been announced for the Chinese market alongside the new P60 series, but sanctions mean there’s no chance of an international release with Google’s apps and services.

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The Mate X3 folded and unfolded.
The Mate X3 folded and unfolded.
Image: Huawei

Huawei’s Mate X3 is its latest foldable phone, and it has a set of specs that, in an alternate universe, would give Samsung’s Z Fold 4 a run for its money. It pairs a 6.4-inch external display with a 7.85-inch internal foldable screen in a device that’s 5.3mm thick while unfolded and that weighs 239 grams. That’s theoretically thinner and lighter than Samsung’s latest foldable, which is 6.3mm thick and weighs 263 grams and matches its IPX8 rating for dust and water resistance.

Huawei has announced the foldable alongside a series of more traditional smartphones including the P60, P60 Pro, and P60 Art.

I say “in an alternate universe” because ongoing sanctions mean that the Mate X3 will struggle to compete with other foldable handsets if it gets a release outside of China. Huawei is unable to ship phones with Google’s apps and services (including the Google Play Store), which are all but essential for Western users. There’s also no sign of 5G connectivity, which is a hard sell for a device starting at ¥12,999 yuan (around $1,903).

Huawei Mate X3 knee-deep in water.
The Mate X3 matches the Z Fold 4’s IPX8 rating for dust and water resistance.
Image: Huawei

Still, the rest of the Mate X3’s specs are respectable. There’s a trio of rear cameras (including a 50-megapixel main, a 13-megapixel ultrawide that can also handle macro photography, and a 12-megapixel telephoto with a 5x optical zoom) and up to a 5,060mAh battery that can be charged at 66W with a cable or 50W wirelessly. It’s powered by a 4G version of Snapdragon’s 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset and comes with satellite connectivity that Huawei advertises can both send and receive messages.

Huawei’s site also mentions that the Mate X3 features a redesigned hinge mechanism that can hold itself open at a variety of different angles if you want to prop it up for selfies or video calls. But there’s no obvious indication of how many folding cycles its hinge is rated to survive. (For context, Samsung’s Z Fold 4 is rated for 200,000 folds.)

Huawei P60 Art from the back.
The P60 Art and its asymmetrical camera bump.
Image: Huawei

The Mate X3 was announced alongside the latest entries in Huawei’s P-series lineup, which include the P60, P60 Pro, and P60 Art. They feature the same two-way satellite communications feature, fast charging that extends up to 88W, and an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. The P60 Art is notable for its asymmetrical camera bump, which contains a 48-megapixel main, 40-megapixel ultrawide, and 48-megapixel telephoto camera. 

Today’s launch is just for the Chinese market, but Huawei has an international launch planned for May 9th in Munich. It’s currently unclear which of these devices will make it to the West, and whether any are destined to remain exclusive to China.

Update March 23rd, 1:18PM ET: Updated to note international launch scheduled for May 9th.