Huawei Mate X3 proves shameless design copying is Samsung’s only chance to make the perfect foldable
Despite falling victim to a trade war that changed the entire course of smartphone history, Huawei simply doesn’t want to give up on trying to show Samsung and the world how innovative new tech can be…
The company held a massive event just yesterday, introducing a whole range of brand new Huawei products:
- Huawei P60 series – the P60 Pro is the only phone on the market with a true variable aperture camera (global availability to be announced May 9)
- Huawei Watch Ultimate – the first modern non-Apple smartwatch with a 100m submersion rating, a variable refresh rate display, and Qi wireless charging (global availability to be announced May 9)
- FreeBuds 5 TWS earbuds, which take a completely different direction in design, allowing easier operation thanks to a massive touch-sensitive stem (global availability to be announced May 9)
- Freebuds Pro 2+ – they bring “the industry’s first infrared and green light dual type heart rate monitoring”, which should enable high-precision heart rate and temperature tracking (global availability to be announced May 9)
And while one could argue that these deserve a story of their own, the most expensive, premium, and technically impressive thing on stage in Beijing must’ve been the brand new Huawei Mate X3 – the company’s latest foldable phone-tablet.The thing is… When seeing the Mate X3 I simply couldn’t help but think about Samsung and their current and upcoming Galaxy Z Fold lineup. Why? Well, because drawing analogies is sort of my job (you get used to it), but also because… I never (and I mean never) stopped thinking about how the smartphone world was robbed back in 2019 when politics got mixed up with tech.
Anyway! Yes, this is another “look what you’re missing out on” story, but also one which Samsung might want to look into. As you’re about to see, copying Huawei’s new Mate X3 might be Samsung’s best decision ever – at least if bringing meaningful, innovative upgrades to Samsung users is the goal. But is it?
Much lighter and thinner than Galaxy Z Fold 4, new Huawei Mate X3 breaks several records; brings a more advanced camera and a bigger battery than Samsung’s foldable
Although the western phone market has taken a noticeable innovation hit since the 2019 Huawei trade embargo, phone-makers in China never stopped competing!
In China, the race in the “normal” phone market is as heated as ever with Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo constantly competing to one-up each other in breakthrough AI, camera, battery, and charging tech (and succeeding).
But China is also home to the biggest and most innovative foldable phone market. “The best foldable phone” title is usually never held by one company for too long, and after Oppo’s excellent Find N2, it’s now Huawei’s turn to shine with the Huawei Mate X3.
Sure, we can judge the new Huawei Mate X3 in isolation but that wouldn’t give us much insight about what Huawei’s been able to achieve and how special the Mate X3 might be. Hence, let’s see how the Mate X3 improves on the most popular folding phone-tablet, the Galaxy Z Fold 4:
- Huawei Mate X3 is now IPX8 water-resistant – just like the Fold 4
- Huawei Mate X3 is 24g lighter than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4
- Huawei Mate X3 boasts larger displays – 7.85-inch inner and 6.4-inch outer screens (versus 7.6-inch and 6.2-inch)
- Huawei Mate X3 offers a NM card slot for expanding your storage
- Huawei Mate X3 offers a 5x optical zoom thanks to a new 12MP periscope camera
- Huawei Mate X3 has a larger battery (4,800-5,060 mAh depending on the version) versus 4,400 mAh on the Fold 4
- Huawei Mate X3 comes with faster wired, wireless, and reverse-wireless charging – 66W, 50W, and 7.5W versus 25W, 15W, and 5W on Samsung’s foldable
Specs comparisons aside (and this one’s rather telling), what stands out here is that the specs also make the Huawei Mate X3 the most practical big foldable we’ve seen to date. It’s not all marketing – the Mate X3 is almost as slim as an iPhone 14 Pro Max!
At just 11.2mm, the Mate X3 is 1g lighter than an iPhone 14 Pro Max, and not much thicker (if at all) than big slab phones in a case! If you’re wondering how that compares to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung’s foldable (263g) is noticeably heavier (weight makes a big difference in small gadgets) and 15.8mm thick at its thickest point, which is a massive difference. That’s because the Fold 4 doesn’t close shut – another thing that Huawei’s been doing for a while now that Samsung hasn’t.
In fact, the Huawei Mate X3 is the first foldable phone on the market that’s able to (at the same time):
- Close shut
- Have IPX8 water-resistance
- Be lighter or not much heavier than a “normal” phone
- Eliminate the inner display crease (or at least for the most part – it certainly looks better than the Galaxy Z Fold 4)
- Support a multi-angle hinge, which means (just like the Galaxy Z Fold 4), the Mate X3 can be used as its own tripod for taking photos
Galaxy Z Fold 5: Samsung must copy (almost) everything about the Huawei Mate X3 but instead decides to copy Apple’s lucrative iPhone strategy
Now, sure, the Huawei Mate X3 is a very expensive phone, starting at roughly $2,000, and of course, it doesn’t run Google apps, which… it is what it is. But that doesn’t change the fact that Huawei is trying to raise the bar for what foldable phones can do and look like in 2023, which given the circumstances is… admirable.
Just take a look at the photos above – the generational leap from the Huawei Mate X2 (2021) to the Mate X3 is sort of… incredible! Perhaps Samsung should try a biannual release for the Fold series?
That being said, some rumors say the Galaxy Z Fold 5 might finally be able to close shut and have a less prominent display crease, which would be brilliant. But is that enough? Instead of competing with other foldable phones, it appears that Samsung wants to take after Apple’s iPhone plan of “slow innovation”, and live in its own bubble. Ironic, but comfortable and lucrative!
Ironically, in the past 4-5 years both the iPhone and the Galaxy Z Fold have seen minor tweaks and improvements. In fact, Samsung’s foldable lineup might be behind the iPhone in that regard.
With the Oppo Find N2 and upcoming Google Pixel Fold available on the global market, there’s hope at the end of the tunnel. But is Samsung even riding in that same folding phone tunnel, or is it on its own path to blissful ignorance – you know, like Apple? I guess we’ll keep finding out…