Huawei Mate 20 X review: it takes a little getting used to
It seems that Huawei is carving out some space in another smartphone niche: the top of the range giants! During the presentation of Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, Richard Yu, founder of the company, announced a smartphone monster with which he wants to fill his pockets with money. This is the Mate 20 X, the largest flagship smartphone currently available on the market.
- Design and materials
- Exceptional battery life
- Speaker position
- Size and usability with one hand
For many, but not for all
The Huawei Mate 20 X is only available in selected markets at a list price of 899 euros. In Europe it is only possible to buy it in Germany or Spain and, for the moment, it is not expected to arrive in the UK or the US. It is clearly a price that places it immediately in the high end of the market, which does not surprise us since it is a smartphone with a technical data sheet that demands respect.
Although it has a larger screen and a larger battery, the Pro variant costs 100 euros more, justifying the extra charge with the presence of some additional hardware features (albeit minimal ones).
It's big, but you get used to it
This is not the first time that Huawei has decided to make a smartphone the size of a tablet. Remember the Mate 10 Pro? That device had a 6-inch display, but without the current super-optimized frames, its size was almost comparable to that of two smartphones put together. By limiting the edges of the screen, the Huawei Mate 20 X can now reach a display size of 7.2 inches. But don't worry, this phone has enough power and capacity to justify its size.
The size of the Mate 20 X could be a deterrent, especially for those with small hands. You may have not only problems handling it, but also in reaching the fingerprint scanner, which requires considerable stretching to reach. The only way to find out if you are suitable for this smartphone is to hold it in your hand for at least a whole day. At first glance, anyone would turn it down!
If you can overcome this first obstacle, the Mate 20 X is still an elegant smartphone made of aluminum and glass. The well-rounded edges follow the same style as its two younger brothers and allow them not to slip easily from your hands despite its weight of 232 grams.
Unlike the other two models, this one is available in only two colors; Phantom Silver and Midnight Blue. The stereo speakers have been placed at the top and bottom of the phone, which is great for watching multimedia content, but it is uncomfortable while playing because they are covered by the hands keeping it in a horizontal position.
The rear of the Mate 20 X also follows the style of Huawei's new line. Not only does it look good, but it also has a practical purpose, which is that it does not retain fingerprints as much as its competitors.
On the left side of your smartphone, you will find the cart that can hold two Nano SIM cards, while the volume rocker and the on/off button are on the right side. The latter then has the classic red reflective surface that runs along the top edge of the button. The USB Type-C port, speaker and microphone are located at the bottom, while the second speaker, the 3.5 mm audio jack, a second microphone and an IR module at the top.
Screen space that never seems to end
The front of the Huawei Mate 20 X is surrounded by a huge 7.2-inch OLED display with HDR technology that offers immense space to view your series on Netflix or play your favorite games. The maximum resolution supported is Full HD+ (2244 x 1080 pixels) and the screen reaches 87.83% screen-to-body ratio, making it larger and more resolute than Nintendo Switch, to cite the example proposed by Huawei in the presentation.
In the middle, in the upper part, there is the same dewdrop notch that's on the other two models, but this time the size of the screen is so big that the notch can invade only a very small portion. I certainly appreciated the size of this display for the way it is able to display more information under any circumstances, from incoming mail to web browsing and so on.
Of course, forget that you can use such a large display with one hand, which will not make your life easy during daily use. I have rarely succeeded in this venture, but inevitably you will almost always have to use a second hand to support it.
The representation of the colors is wonderful and I was not disappointed with this OLED. The Mate 20 X takes advantage of the Vivid Colors option by default, which filters out yellows in white backgrounds and amplifies the color spectrum, making app icons, backgrounds, and more glow with deeper blues and greens and brighter reds. However, you can also use the Normal mode, which is not as bright. In my opinion, by adding yellow to the white backgrounds, the colors flatten out.
Of course, both modes allow you to manually adjust color temperatures or use hot or cold filters.
Software that convinces
Like the other two models in the new Mate family, the larger one also runs the latest version of the EMUI based on Android 9 Pie. The new Huawei interface is much faster and easier to use due to the fact that all the settings have been contained in much more simplified menus than in the past.
The Chinese company has also adapted to the choices of its competitors, introducing into the software a whole series of security features, including a password manager and a block for opening apps or your files, accessible by fingerprint or face recognition.
The Mate 20 X has all the features already seen on the other two smaller models, including Huawei Easy Projection, which allows you to connect your smartphone to an external screen (either by cable or wirelessly) and turn the smartphone experience into a desktop one.
All the power you'll ever need
Under the hood, Mate 20 X hides incredible power , thanks to the new Kirin 980 chipset from Huawei combined with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. This configuration allows the device to perform any task without ever hesitating. Navigating through the various interface menus and apps opened in the background, this smartphone almost never disappoints, always offering a fluid experience.
Huawei has also taken steps to further enhance the gaming experience with its SuperCool cooling system, which features graphene technology that, according to the manufacturer, provides up to 20 times better cooling than classic copper. You can see the results and I have to say that, during long gaming sessions, the Huawei Mate 20 X never gets too hot.
In addition, heat management further helps preserve battery life, as well as making the phone more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Huawei offers users the ability to take gaming to the next level, making the Mate 20 X compatible with a particular additional gamepad, available separately. The accessory adds a joystick and some buttons that will improve the gameplay and the overall gaming experience.
Huawei Mate 20 X: comparison with the competition
|Geekbench CPU Single core||Geekbench Multicore CPUs||3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.1||3D Mark Sling Shot Vulkan||3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0||PassMark Memory (RAM)||PassMark Disk
|Huawei Mate 20 X||3328||9798||3585||4180||37330||30672||67361|
|Google Pixel 3 XL||2350||8333||4079||3333||35526||7540||69870|
|Razer Phone 2||2352||7953||4001||2955||63325||12060||70565|
|Galaxy Notes 9||3753||8998||3351||2857||41533||10040||71197|
For all the detailed information on how the Mate 20 X behaves on the performance side, I refer you to the dedicated article in which we performed all of our relevant tests:
A triple camera that does not disappoint
Unlike the smaller of the three models, the Mate 20 X has the same camera configuration as the Mate 20 Pro, which was developed once again in collaboration with Leica. The three different sensors combine to offer three different focal lengths and are composed of:
- Focal length 83 mm, 8MP, aperture f/2.4, OIS
- Focal length 27 mm, 40MP, aperture f/1.8
- Focal length 16 mm, 20MP, aperture f/2.2
The wide-angle sensor offers significantly better shooting solutions than the classic lens. Overall, the quality of the photos convinces without even having to think about it and offers the same kind of experience already seen on the Mate 20 Pro. Here too, it is possible to take exceptional macros, being able to point the lens up to 2.5 cm from the object.
Like many other smartphones on the market, only the main lens is optically stabilized, which can be annoying especially when taking pictures using the optical zoom. All in all, you can always get sharp, detailed photos and the transition between the various focal lengths is done very quickly via a swipe of the finger on the display in the camera app.
The front camera is equipped with a 24MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture. Finally, to get an idea of how this camera behaves in its concreteness, we invite you to visit the gallery of photos taken by my colleague Steffen and his detailed article on the performance of the three photographic sensors.
- Gallery of photos taken with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Enough space for loads of juice
The extra space of the Mate 20 X allowed Huawei to insert a 5,000mAh battery , much larger than its smaller brothers, the Mate 20 (4,000mAh) and the Mate 20 Pro (4,200mAh).
This is really comfortable for longer weekends and can last two days regardless of how you use your smartphone. Setting the automatic brightness and taking advantage of a few hours of play, combined with my usual typical use (five Gmail accounts, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and internet browsing via Chrome) I had no problem to overcome the weekend, starting from Saturday morning with 100% and arriving on Sunday in the late afternoon with 15% charge left.
Despite the huge capacity of 5,000mAh, charging takes place very quickly and, in about an hour and 30 minutes, the battery will reach 100%. Not bad at all!
Huawei Mate 20 X technical specifications
The Huawei Mate 20 X is a great smartphone for those who spend so much time in front of the smartphone to play or see multimedia content, perhaps during their travels by plane or train. With the huge amount of screen available you can enjoy the best of any type of content and, in my opinion, once you get used to its size is a good compromise between smartphone and tablet.
It certainly remains a niche product that will not gain the same attention as the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro, these are definitely much more mainstream. But for those looking for a huge battery, a large display and top performance, there is no other smartphone that can challenge the Mate 20 X.
Everything is great: display (even a bit too) great, great performance, great (extremely) photo clarity, great (pretty) weight, and all this at a price not very ... great!
On the whole, Mate 20 X remains a phone for those who know the true value of a phone.