The Huawei Mate series line-up is considered to be one of the best foldable smartphones on the market for its unique design, performance, and camera capability. We got a chance to try the new Huawei Mate X3 and here are our thoughts about the device.
The Huawei Mate X3 is the third iteration of the Mate foldable series line-up that comes with an improved design chassis. The Mate X3 is the thinnest foldable smartphone available in the market at the time of writing. In its folded state, the device is 11.8mm thick. And in its unfolded state, the Mate X3 is only 5.3mm thick. The smartphone also weighs only 241g and features an aluminum frame. The outer front-facing cover display comes with a 6.4-inch OLED panel that can handle a 120Hz refresh rate. The resolution of the screen is 1080 x 2504, and the texts and images appear crisp and clear.
The company also mentions that the cover display comes protected with durable Kunlun Glass and the smartphone is IPX8 certified to be splash and water resistant up to 1.5m for half an hour. When in its unfolded state, the main foldable screen comes with a 7.85-inch OLED panel. The main display also receives the 120Hz refresh rate speed and screen resolution bumps to 2224 x 2496 pixels, along with 426ppi density.
The color temperatures of whites appear to be well-balanced and the blacks are brilliant, thanks to the OLED panel. Huawei also took an effort to make the screen grease of the foldable panel as low as possible. During my usage, I barely noticed the crease and you can only notice the lines when viewing the display from a very particular angle. It’s much better than the ones offered by Samsung currently at the time of writing.
I also noticed that opening the foldable display is so smooth and easy as compared to the Samsung Galaxy Fold4 that I reviewed months ago. There is no resistance whenever I had opened and closed the foldable display and this adds to the total user experience. Additionally, the cracking sounds that occur when opening and closing the main screen is very much less audible.
I can’t tell enough about how thin the Mate X3 looks when compared to other competing devices like the Fold4. There is also no gap between the screens when the main display is folded. On the bottom, there is the USB-C port, mic hole, and a speaker grill. On the top side, there is another speaker grill and another mic hole. On the left side, there is the side-mounted fingerprint scanner and the volume rocker as a part of the second half of the folded display.
It may differ for others but, I wish the placement of the fingerprint scanner and volume rocker was a little bit further toward the middle portion rather than on the upper edge of the screen. This would have been easier for my thumbs to reach the scanner and buttons. The smartphone also comes with a premium leather back and a massive camera island also receives a premium-looking circular bump that houses a trio of camera sensors.
While the Huawei Mate X3 also comes with versions that feature a glass panel, we would recommend going for the eco-leather models that not only look good but also adds to the holding comfort of the device. I wouldn’t need to worry about those smudges and dirt that can happen with glass panels.
In the box, you will receive the Mate X3, one charger along with a USB Type-C cable, a clear case, a quick start guide, a SIM eject tool, precautions card, and an Outer Screen Protective Film which already comes attached to the device.
When it comes to performance, the Mate X3 packs one of the fastest mobile hardware currently available. And its the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G chipset, a 4nmm SoC that features an octa-core configuration. The core configuration includes one Cortex X2 core clocked at 3.19 GHz speeds, three Cortex-A710 cores clocked at 2.75 GHz, and four Cortex-A510 cores running at 2 GHz speeds. The SoC also joins 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal UFS storage with EMUI 13.1 OS (sans the Google Play Services). The integrated GPU is the Adreno 730 for high-performance gaming. You can also expand the internal storage with Huawei’s Nano Memory card with the shared SIM slot.
Apart from the fact that the device does not run with Google apps out of the box, the smartphone’s performance for both normal and power users is impressive. The user interface runs smoothly without any noticeable lags while surfing the web, making calls, or using multiple applications. And in case you want Google apps, users will be able to install them with APK files. We ran some benchmarks such as Antutu, Geekbench 6 CPU/GPU, 3DMark Wildlife, WildLife Extreme, and Slingshot GPU tests. Take a look at the scores below.
Other features include Bluetooth 5.2, WiFi 6, and NFC. It’s unfortunate that due to the US sanctions, the SoC used here only supports 4G internet speeds and won’t be able to use 5G connectivity. The device also houses a large 4800 mAh battery that comes with support for 66W fast wired charging, 50W fast wireless charging and a modest 7.5W reverse wireless charging capability. We ran the PCMark Work 3.0 battery test in both folded and unfolded modes.
When running the battery test in its folded state, the Mate X3 lasted for about 14 hours and 20 minutes until the battery hit below 19% capacity. We repeated the test with the device’s unfolded state and the battery lasted for 7 hours straight. During our real-time usage, the smartphone was capable of lasting easily throughout the day, and the fast charge helps to easily recharge the battery in less time. I should also mention that it’s an amazing feat by Huawei for managing to cramp a large 4800 mAh battery in a thin chassis.
The Mate X3 also excels in the camera department where there are three smartphone sensors mounted on the rear side. The main shooter features a 50MP Ultra Vision sensor with F1.8 as its aperture. The second camera is a 13MP snapper with F2.2 as its aperture for ultra-wide angle photography and the third camera packs a 12MP periscope telephoto sensor with F3.4 as its aperture. Users will be able to take advantage of the device’s capability to record 4K videos up to 60fps, along with support for OIS.
The front-facing selfie camera packs an 8MP image sensor with F2.4 as its aperture. Unlike the main cameras, the front-facing camera can record only up to 4K at 30fps. We took some image samples of the rear cameras for both day and night time. Our daytime samples came with vibrant colors and sharp clarity. However, while zooming in, the details do slightly degrade. Night shots also are impressive and with less noise. Check out the image samples below.
If you are looking for one of the best premium foldable smartphones in the market, and don’t mind the lack of Google services out of the box, then the new Huawei Mate X3 is an excellent choice to consider. The smartphone features a premium aluminum design with a leather back, and it’s one of the thinnest foldable devices available. The outer cover display comes with a 6.4-inch OLED screen with 1080 x 2504 as the screen resolution, and the main display features a 7.85-inch OLED screen with 2224 x 2496 as the resolution. The refresh rate also is capable of 120Hz refresh rate.
The smartphone comes powered with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G chipset, along with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage with NM card expansion. While the EMUI 13.1 OS may not have Google services built-in, you will still be able to install Google applications. The smartphone also comes with a triple-camera setup on the rear side with 50MP as the main sensor. The battery also holds a capacity of 4800 mAh and has support for 66W wired, 50W wireless, and 7.5W reverse wireless charging capability.