Arriving a few months after the rest of the Mate 20 series phones, but considered by many as the best phone in the family, the Mate 20 X is finally stepping in by offering all the screen real estate you could possibly want in a phone.
Better late than never, as the old saying goes. The Mate 20 X was among the most interesting Mate 20 phones, but it never really saw the light of day outside of a few Southeast Asian countries. Not until recently, that is.
The 20 X is indeed the most memorable device of the Mate quartet – it has the largest of screens, the best of cameras, the fastest of processors, and the beefiest of batteries. It supports a Huwaei’s M-Pen stylus and the gigantic OLED screen has the smallest of them notches.
The Full HD resolution isn’t what we’d call exactly ‘best’, but it is the one to have if you are a gamer. And among other things, the Mate 20 X was indeed praised for its potential gaming prowess. You can even opt for a special hardware controller for a more immersive gaming experience.
We were eager to get this beast of a phone for a spin since its announcement, and here it is – finally in our hands. But before we dig into its productivity, gaming and photography skills, let’s take a closer look at its specs.
Huawei Mate 20 X specs
- Body: dual-glass with metal frame; IP53-rated for dust and splash resistance
- Screen: 7.2″ HDR OLED, 1080 x 2244 px resolution (346ppi); waterdrop notch
- Chipset: Kirin 980 chipset, octa-core processor (2xA76 @2.6GHz + 2xA76 @1.92GHz +4xA55 @1.8GHz), Mali-G76 MP10 GPU
- Memory: 6GB RAM, 128GB storage (expandable via Nano Memory – hybrid slot)
- OS: Android 9 Pie with EMUI 9;
- Camera: 40MP f/1.8 + 8MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto (80mm) + 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (16mm); 4K video capture, 720@960fps slow-mo, Leica branding
- Camera features: 1/1.7″ 40MP sensor, up to ISO 102,400, 5x optical zoom, OIS + EIS, Variable Aperture, Portrait Mode, can shoot long-exposure without a tripod
- Selfie cam: 24MP, f/2.0 Leica lens, Portrait Mode with live bokeh effects
- Battery: 5,000mAh; Super Charge 22.5W
- Security: Fingerprint reader (rear-mounted)
- Connectivity: Dual SIM, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5 + LE, NFC, USB Type-C
- Misc: IR blaster, stereo speakers, M-Pen support
What a specs sheet – but that goes without saying as it’s shaering the Mate 20 Pro’s DNA through and through! The Huawei Mate 20 X enjoys a large AMOLED, larger than the Huawei Mate 20 Pro but has a more game-friendly resolution and notch size. Then, it also has the same Kirin chipset, the same triple-camera with 3x optical zoom, and a massive 5,000 mAh battery with Super Charge. What’s not to like, right?
Well, the lack of water-proofing might be an issue, but the Mate 20 X does have proper stereo speakers and an audio jack.
But before we dig into any of that, let’s do some unboxing.
Unboxing the Huawei Mate 20 X
The Mate 20 X, just like the star of the series – the Mate 20 Pro – comes packed within a black paper box. Inside you’d find the 22.5W charging brick, the special USB Type-C cable you’d need to fast charge the X, and a pair of earbuds.
The box also contains a transparent rubber case in some regions outside the EU, but we didn’t get one along with ours. There was a factory preapplied screen protector, though.
We have never been keen on Huawei‘s flagship fragmentation and it’s getting worse with each new series. While we could get behind the release of a normal and Pro model for the P series, the Mate versions never really made sense. And the Mate 20 lineup is not an exception, on the contrary.
The Mate 20 Pro is the model intended for the global market, but the mere presence of this Pro moniker hints for other options. And if a customer wants to see them, well, they are not available to him. This just doesn’t make sense, at all.
Mate 20 X between the Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20
But it is what it is, and the Mate 20 X is finally available for purchase outside China. It took four months for Huawei to begin selling this in Europe, and it’s only official in a couple of markets, but that’s a huge step in the right direction. On top of that, various online retailers are shipping the Mate 20 X across the world, so pretty much anybody can get it now.
The Mate 20 X was shaping as the best Mate 20 phone owing to its massive screen, gaming skills, class-leading camera, S-Pen-like stylus, and huge battery, but Huawei never really meant to push its sales. While it could have been the Pro model, the maker instead considered it more of a limited fan edition, rather than a full-fledged package.
The Mate 20 X has the largest screen in a smartphone so far, flagship camera, chipset and all, and this is quite enough to leave it without competition.
The only phone to come close to Huawei‘s behemoth is the Xiaomi’s Mi Max 3 with a 6.9″ 1080p LCD screen. The Mi Max 3 is a mid-ranger with a Snapdragon 636 chipset, but other than that, it offers one very good 12MP camera with large pixels, a massive 5,500 mAh battery, and is super cheap at about €250.
Speaking of Xiaomi, its most current large phone is the flagship Mi Mix 3 slider, which has a notch-less 6.4″ 1080 AMOLED, Snapdragon 845 chip and great all-round camera experience. It’s cheaper than the Mate 20 X, but you’d be losing the extra camera skills.
The Galaxy Note9 with its 6.4″ QHD AMOLED screen is Samsung’s offer if you want a phablet, and it ships with an S-Pen and a dedicated slot for it within the Note’s body. It’s equally powerful, the screen doesn’t have a notch, and is now cheaper than the X, too.
Vivo’s NEX S has a 6.6″ AMOLED screen, notch-free as well, flagship-grade Snapdragon 845 chip, and a good-enough camera. It’s as limited as the Mate 20 X, if not more, but it might be cheaper where officially available. If you are after a smartphone with a large screen, you should check this one out. The pop-up selfie camera might not be your thing, though, so you have been warned.
Finally, Apple has the iPhone XS Max with a 6.5″ 1242p AMOLED screen and is probably best equipped to compete with the Mate 20 X despite the different operating system. The iPhone’s screen has an eyesore of a notch, sure, but is one of the largest screens around. Then Apple’s A12 Bionic chip is currently the fastest chipset in a smartphone. The XS Max is fully water-proofed, but while its camera is quite capable, it is not as versatile as the Mate’s and lacks Night Mode. The XS Max is a bit more expensive than the Mate 20 X.
Xiaomi Mi Max 3 • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 • Samsung Galaxy Note9 • vivo NEX S • Apple iPhone XS Max
The Huawei Mate 20 X is not everyone’s cup of tea because of that giant 7.2″ screen. While it is a joy for gamers, it might be a nightmare as a daily driver because of that size. Then again, the Mate 20 X is about 15-17mm taller than the most recent bunch of phablets – the Galaxy Note9, iPhone XS Max, Mi Mix 3 – so its footprint might be not so tough to stomach after all
And if size is what you are after, the rest is as flagship-grade as it can get right now. The Kirin 980 chipset is one of the best, the triple-camera on the back might be the most-skilled setups to date, and the battery life is pretty awesome. There are also some nice touches like the true stereo speakers, the audio jack, and the stylus support if you need one.
Overall, the Huawei Mate 20 X is one of the best flagships right now, even four months after its premiere. No other modern phone can match its screen size, and this alone could have won Huawei the whole phablet category. If only Huawei has thought this through last fall…
- Excellent 7.2″ AMOLED screen, game-friendly resolution
- Long-lasting battery, fast charging available
- Class-leading chipset and performance
- One of the best camera setups money can buy in a smartphone
- True stereo speakers, loud at that with flagship-worthy output
- M-Pen support, if that’s your thing
- Audio port, IR blaster
- Is not water-tight, just splash resistant
- No wireless charging, no LED notification light
- Proprietary memory cards with limited availability