In the battle of the foldable smartphones, the conventional phone to tablet form factor is still ruled by either Samsung or Huawei. With Samsung, you get the now, slightly outdated Galaxy Fold. In comparison, the Huawei Mate Xs is a big update, and in fact, goes on pre-order today. But which one is the ideal choice for your workflow?
Display and hinge-technology
Both foldables approach the concept in different ways. For the Galaxy Fold, you look at a smaller 4.6-inch Super AMOLED 720 x 1,680 pixel 21:9 cover display, that transforms, when opened into a 7.3-inch form factor, with that Dynamic AMOLED display. On the Huawei Mate Xs, its pretty much one single display, and to be honest, this is how many of you might have imagined foldable screen phones before they started hitting the market. So, the Mate Xs has a primary 6.6-inch 1,148 x 2,480 pixel 19.5:9 AMOLED panel which opens up to an 8-inch foldable OLED display.
Both displays on the Galaxy Fold definitely feel a bit more restricted. The outer is too small for regular usage and you would only use it for quick glances at information. Inside, the panel has a visible crease and is obstructed by the phone’s dual-camera notch. And these things are where the Mate Xs shines. Its folded panel is very much usable on the regular, just like a modern day smartphone. Furthermore, opening it up leads to more screen real estate, without any notch or obstruction. In fact, the crease from its hinge is also less visible. The Mate Xs just seems to have a great pop when watching multimedia. But where the Galaxy Fold shows its worth is with audio. On it, you find stereo speakers which do a far better job that the mono-speaker on the Mate Xs.
Design and form factor
Side by side, the Galaxy Fold is thinner when used front-on but thicker otherwise. Neither phone is too comfortable in the pocket but the Mate Xs has an advantage, resembling a modern-day smartphone as mentioned before. But there is more intuition involved when using the Galaxy Fold.
Because it opens like a book, users will be more accustomed to operate it. Not just that, Samsung in this way has also managed to protect the large display of the Galaxy Fold. In comparison, the Mate Xs’ display is stays exposed as it makes up the phone’s body when folded. Furthermore, the Mate Xs requires you to press a release switch to open up the display, which gets natural with time. When in their open positions, the Mate Xs is much thinner too. Although, it has a grip to its right side allowing users to hold it while in operation. But despite its thin body, you cannot use it one-handed. Its 8-inch form factor is one thing but also at 300g, it is a bit unwieldy. Compare that to the Galaxy Fold, you can technically use it one-handed given its 7.3-inch form factor and 263g weight.
One area where the Mate Xs has the advantage is with extras. Aside from the usual Type-C USB port, power button, volume buttons and microphones, you find an IR blaster on the Mate Xs. Additionally, the side-mounted fingerprint scanner is also embedded onto the power button on the Huawei smartphone. This is more natural compared to the separate power button and side-mounted fingerprint sensor found on the Galaxy Fold.
Software and continuity
For software, there is a big difference. The Fold runs One UI 1.5 on top of Android 9 and while a bit outdated, comes with full Google Play Services. On the other hand, the Mate Xs ships with a more recent Android 10 and EMUI 10.0.1, and Huawei’s Mobile Services. This is definitely a drawback with Huawei’s AppGallery still developing but because it ships with an AOSP build of Android, you can easily get Google Play services up and running on it in no time.
On the overall, both smartphones have their positives and negatives. Just, the Mate Xs seems to have the more seamless experience going from different form factors. Playing cameras especially, this is a novelty seeing the screen transition in front of your eyes. By default, the transition from the big screen to small is not enabled on the Galaxy Fold and you will need to enable that for applications of your choice. In certain stock applications too, it just seems that Huawei’s software is tailor made for the tablet form factor. Whereas in the case of the Galaxy Fold, it just seems like an enlarged version of a phone’s software.
But specifically for the keyboard, the Galaxy Fold has a broken one for a more comfortable typing experience as opposed to the Mate Xs. These are cases of just the smartphones’ software on-board and we can definitely see it improving with continued updates.
All of this smooth software is because the smartphones come with good hardware. We’ve got Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 octa-core chip with 12GB of RAM on the Galaxy Fold versus the new Kirin 990 octa-core on the Mate Xs with 8GB of RAM. Both phones also come with 512GB of storage, expandable on the Mate Xs via proprietary nano-memory. But the in-built storage is of the UFS 2.1 type instead of Samsung’s UFS 3.0. Both smartphones support 5G which is great considering a smartphone like this should come with plenty of future proofing.
As for battery life, the Mate Xs rocks a 4,500mAh cell capable of 55W recharging. This gets you from 0-85 per cent in just 30 minutes. In comparison, the Galaxy Fold has a 4,235mAh cell that supports 15W charging. But in addition, it brings 15W wireless and 9W reverse wireless charging, both of which you do not find on the Mate Xs.
Rather unsurprisingly, each smartphone goes about implementing its cameras in different ways. On the Galaxy Fold, you find up to six cameras. A single 10MP cover camera, a dual-camera 10MP and 8MP setup on the inside and a triple-camera setup borrowed from the Galaxy S10+ on the rear. With this, you are free to use the smartphone in any manner and still will be able to find a camera to use. This is not the case with the Mate Xs, which has a single unit made of a 40MP, 16MP, 8MP and a depth sensor. This is borrowed in part from Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro series so you should expect better performance.
However, with this single setup, you do not get a selfie camera. Instead, you have to rely on the primary setup and flip the smartphone around to take advantage of its 6.38-inch rear display. For quality, this is great but it is a move that you may need to get used to.
Pricing and conclusion
While both different, the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate Xs target a similar market segment. The Galaxy Fold is currently available at Dh7,399. This includes a pair of Galaxy Buds, an Aramid Fiber cover as well as Samsung Care+, which covers accidental damage for one year. On the other hand, the Mate Xs retails for Dh9,999 which comes with a Huawei Watch GT2 46mm, the Huawei Freebuds 3 and 6 months warranty for a one time screen damage replacement.
The choice you make involves a lot of factors. Pricing, performance, design and durability are just some things to consider. Being the relatively newer product with more recent specifications, you may want to invest in the Huawei Mate Xs. But we do not yet know about its durability in the long run, which is something we can vouch for more with the Galaxy Fold, as it has been in the market for longer.