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    Huawei Mate X3 review

    Huawei’s third foldable phone is a book-style gadget that is thinner and lighter than prior models. Because this is a Huawei phone, it lacks native support for Google services. This is a huge disappointment because the Chinese tech firm has once again built a hardware slam-dunk that outperforms competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Google Pixel Fold. So Here’s my mixed feelings on the Huawei Mate X3.

    Design & build

    • The thinnest and lightest book-style foldable right now
    • IPX8 rating
    • Two color options

    Huawei’s designs have always been impressive, and this phone is no exception. It looks fantastic and is quite functional.

    The Huawei Mate X3 is incredibly thin for a book-style foldable, measuring 11.08mm folded and 5.3mm unfolded – 3mm thinner than the previous generation phone, the Mate X2. This is a significant engineering effort for a gadget with two whole screens.

    The weight is also amazing, at only 239g. As of this writing, it is one of the slimmest and lightest book-style foldable devices on the market. In reality, it’s not much thicker than a conventional smartphone, so unlike other bigger or broader folding phones, it won’t bulge in your pocket.

    Huawei Mate X3

    The huge round back camera bump stands out. When put on a surface, the phone does not rest totally flat, but the center location distributes the weight evenly, preventing it from tilting to one side.

    The Mate X3 I tested has a dark green vegan leather finish, although it is also available in black glass. I like the leather finish since it doesn’t pick up fingerprints and remains put on surfaces.

    From a hardware standpoint, the Huawei Mate X3 cannot be beaten by other book-style foldables

    When closed, the phone has one long display on the exterior, and when opened, it has an inside bigger display with a fold down the center.

    Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the phone closes entirely flat, so it doesn’t collect up any dust or dirt from the outside. The USB-C connector is located on the phone’s bottom, while dual speakers are located on either end. It, like other high-end gadgets, lacks a headphone jack.

    Huawei has finally incorporated waterproofing to its Mate X range, with this phone sporting an IPX8 rating, allowing it to withstand a brief dunking.

    You get two SIM card slots as well as Huawei’s proprietary nano-memory card for extra capacity. There is a fingerprint sensor on the side that works properly. Face recognition occasionally fails me, especially in low-light situations or when I’m wearing spectacles.

    This phone’s haptics are clipped and provide a fair amount of feedback. The Microsoft SwiftKey keyboard settings provide a sliding scale for adjusting the strength. Setting it to approximately 50% is the sweet spot; 100% is far too strong.

    Huawei Mate X3

    Screen & speakers

    • Dual OLED screens
    • 120Hz refresh rates
    • Crease is noticable

    On the Mate X3, there are two displays to examine, both of which are excellent.

    The exterior display measures 6.4in in size and has a 20.9:9 aspect ratio. That’s somewhat smaller than a conventional phone, but webpages and applications still work properly, with no squashing or compression of text or photos – I frequently forgot I was using a foldable device, utilizing this screen as I would a normal phone.

    The interior foldable screen measures 7.85in and has a resolution of 2224 x 2496, which is greater than the cover screen’s resolution of 1080 x 2504. Both screens use OLED panels with 120Hz refresh rates.

    In practice, both screens are bright and colorful, with little glare when used in direct sunshine. The larger display provides the greatest experience, but if you only want to use it on the run, the exterior display is still pleasing to the eye.

    There is, without a doubt, a wrinkle in the internal display when you first open it. However, it is most evident when viewed from a side angle rather than straight on. When opposed to the Z Fold 3, the dent does not seem or feel as significant. It also has a substantial and strong feel to it, rather than being spongey like some other flexible displays.

    There’s also a relatively thick bezel around the outside edge, which is standard for a phone of this size.

    The outer screen is covered by Huawei’s proprietary Kunlun reinforced glass, and the external display is said to be four times more impact resistant than the Huawei Mate X2 – however I recommend avoiding any knocks or drops when using it.

    Both the internal and external screens have a selfie camera. While this may not result in a fully clean panel inside, it does provide versatility and allows you to have video calls on a larger display. Furthermore, the punch hole design is nicely hidden away in the corner, making it unobtrusive.

    Not all apps are entirely compatible with the internal display. When seen in full, images on Instagram are somewhat cropped, and Twitch works best without maximising the video – if you do, the entire program spins and the chat screen is crushed to the side, rather than neatly tucked below. Because Disney+ films and series have letterboxing, they can’t take full use of that gorgeous picture.

    The dual speakers deliver powerful, punchy sounds. While music lacks the depth and color of a device with further processing, the audio is adequate for podcasts and video streaming.

    Specs & performance

    • Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor
    • 12GB RAM/512GB storage in the UK

    The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 CPU powers the Huawei Mate X3. This is combined with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, which is the sole combination available in the UK. In China, it is available with 12GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage.

    The 8+ Gen 1 is the same processor found in the flagship Huawei P60 Pro, but it isn’t the most recent Qualcomm chipset on the market; that honor belongs to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 found in the Samsung S23 series.

    Nonetheless, this is a strong smartphone capable of handling heavy multitasking, gaming, and demanding apps. In our official Geekbench 5 test, it also outperforms the Galaxy Z Fold 4. See more scores in our benchmarking below:

    Simply said, you shouldn’t be concerned about performance with this phone; there are no stuttering or lag concerns. I was able to play the challenging game Genshin Impact on medium graphics settings with barely minor popping – however the phone did become rather warm.

    Because to Huawei’s difficult ties with the US trade industry, you’ll have to settle with 4G rather than 5G, which isn’t ideal given the expensive price tag.

    Huawei Mate X3

    Cameras & video

    • 50Mp main lens
    • Up to 5x optical zoom
    • Dual 8Mp selfie cameras.

    The Huawei Mate X3 offers an excellent set of cameras for a book-style foldable. The primary 50MP lens features an aperture of f/1.8 and optical image stabilisation (OIS). A 12MP telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom, an f/3.4 aperture, and OIS rounds out the package, as does a 13MP wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture.

    While it doesn’t have the same wow impact as the P60 Pro’s snapper, these shots aren’t to be overlooked. Textures and details are precise, colors are vibrant but true-to-life, and the camera works well in a range of lighting conditions.

    The 5x optical zoom is powerful enough to capture details in buildings from a long distance. In the first place, Huawei put a periscope telephoto lens in a foldable phone.

    You may digitally zoom in even further, up to 50x. Above 10x zoom, however, the pictures get more blurrier and noisier. It’s worth noting that this is a tiny step down from the Mate X2, which has 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom.

    The bokeh effect is stunning, with the camera detecting fine hair and boosting the colors of the primary subject in all the correct places. With the super-macro setting, you can get some spectacular close-up photographs of items like plants with no effort.

    I used night mode for low-light shooting. There is a noticeable change in images when this is enabled, with details and colors being considerably clearer and elevated. Without it, the camera suffers from glare and has difficulty focusing.

    Huawei Mate X3

    The wide-angle camera performs less well. While it offers a wide field of view, colors aren’t as vibrant, and fine lines are lost. The perspective is similarly off here, with a little fish-eyed finish.

    Both panels contain selfie cameras with 8Mp resolution and f/2.4 apertures. They aren’t very innovative, but they will suffice for video chats. If you want a high-quality selfie, launch the camera app on the outside display, unfold the phone, and flip it around – this way, you can use the primary snapper to capture your mug in high resolution.

    The Mate X3 can capture video in 4K at 60fps and has gyro-EIS to keep recordings stable. The front cameras record in 4K at 30 frames per second.

    Battery & charging

    • Around a day’s use on average
    • 85% charge in 30 minutes
    • Wireless and reverse wireless charging supported

    The Mate X3 features a 4800mAh battery, which is comparable to other foldables of its type.

    In normal use, the phone lasts around a day after viewing videos, taking photographs, making calls, and so on. It’s on par with what I’d expect from a typical flagship phone, which is impressive given that the battery powers two screens.

    The phone performed poorly in our PCMark10 battery test, lasting only seven hours and eight minutes. However, this was done on a regular basis with the primary display. In practice, I switch between the outer and inner displays. It also corresponds to the majority of results obtained by other book-style foldables in our tests.

    There is 66W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and 7.5 reverse wireless charging available. A typical charge will charge the phone from 0% to 85% in 30 minutes, but to obtain the best rates, make sure ‘turbo charging’ is activated when you plug it in.

    Huawei Mate X3

    Software & updates

    • No native Google support
    • EMUI 13.1 based on Android 12

    The Huawei Mate X3 runs EMUI 13.1, which is based on Android 12, rather than the most recent Android 13. It kills me to say it, but the software prevents me from recommending this phone to anyone who relies on Google applications and services. There is also no Google Play Store.

    This includes not just Drive, Photos, and Docs, but also Uber and Citymapper, as they take data from Google Maps. Other popular apps, including as WhatsApp, Facebook, Netflix, and PayPal, are all unavailable for download via the Huawei AppGallery app store.

    Some of these programs can be sideloaded, but the procedure is cumbersome – and not all apps will download from the first APK site you discover. Sandboxing allows you to get Google to function. If you don’t understand what any of this implies, don’t buy this phone!

    Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, and Disney+ are all operational. TikTok and Snapchat are also included in the AppGallery.

    You might also utilize Huawei’s own applications. Petal Maps, for example, is a clone of Google Maps. While this is accurate in anticipating public transportation in London, the search mechanism is odd and does not always give every result that Google’s counterpart would.

    Huawei Mate X3

    Aside from the elephant in the room, EMUI navigation is similar to Xiaomi’s MIUI OS. Swiping down from the top-left brings up your notifications, whilst swiping down from the top-right brings up the control panel. This phone also has Xiaomi’s bothersome bloatware habit.

    Huawei allows you to use split screen mode. While this is convenient, some apps (like as Instagram) are not supported, and the number of gestures and controls isn’t as extensive as what Samsung provides.

    We’re still waiting to hear how many years of software and security upgrades the Mate X3 comes with. For comparison, the P60 Pro is promised two years of Android platform upgrades up to Android 15, as well as three years of security updates till 2026.

    If the Mate X3 is similar, it will not receive as much long-term support as Samsung models, which receive four years of upgrades and five years of security fixes.

    …the software stops this phone from being recommendable to anyone who relies on Google apps and services

    Price & availability

    The Huawei Mate X3 costs £1,999/€2,199 and, like previous Huawei phones, is not available in the United States. British readers may get it straight from Huawei or through Amazon.

    Verdict

    Other book-style foldables cannot compete with the Huawei Mate X3 in terms of hardware. The back body and OLED screens are both eye-catching, and the light and slender body is genuinely astonishing. When closed, it performs similarly to a standard smartphone.

    Unfortunately, without Google-supported applications, it is quite difficult to utilize. Side-loading only gets you so far, and Huawei’s own applications aren’t as user-friendly and tidy. The battery life is also unimpressive.

    It would very probably be one of the greatest foldables available right now if it didn’t have these software flaws. If Huawei is able to re-enter the Google game, it may be able to compete in the future.

    Specs

    • Android 12 with EMUI 13.1
    • Interior: 7.85in foldable 120Hz OLED display (2224 x 2496)
    • Exterior: 6.4in 120Hz OLED (1080 x 2504)
    • Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
    • 12GB RAM
    • 256GB/512GB/1TB storage
    • 50Mp, f/1.8, RYYB OIS rear camera + 13Mp, f/2.2 ultra-wide + 12Mp, f/3.4, 5x optical zoom, OIS tele
    • 8Mp f/2.4 front camera (external display) + 8Mp f/2.4 front camera (internal display)
    • Side mounted fingerprint scanner
    • 11az dual-band Wi-Fi 6
    • Bluetooth 5.2
    • GPS
    • NFC
    • 4G LTE
    • USB-C
    • 4500mAh non-removable battery
    • 66W wired charging
    • Unfolded: 156.9 x 141.5 x 5.3mm
    • Folded: 156.9 x 72.4 x 11.8mm
    • 239g

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