REVIEW: Huawei Mate 20 X (5G)
With the beginning of 2019, 5G really started to get momentum as mobile giants started to manufacture and release launch dates for their new 5G devices. Fast forward to November though and only a few 5G smartphones have been introduced. There might be a few reasons around this, setting up a brand new cellular data infrastructure is time consuming and costly for mobile operators so the rollout of 5G coverage as been slow.
Couple this with the costs of adding sophisticated 5G modems to smartphones, which is also costly for manufacturers, it’s been a bit slower taking off than expected. That hasn’t stopped Huawei though who’ve launched their massive Huawei Mate 20 X handset with 5G capabilities and it’s now available as one of the first 5G handsets in the country.
This is the largest ever handset Huawei have ever made, a giant device with a 7.2-inch display. Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is similar to the Mate 20 X smartphone that was announced back in 2018 but with a few obvious and not so obvious differences. The screen has the same 1080p resolution and comes in at 85mm wide and 175 mm tall, which means, this is one massive device.
As huge as the Mate 20 X (5G) is, it really shines when using it as a media consumption device. Watching Netflix, playing Call of Duty Mobile and scrolling Instagram all look fantastic on the 7.2″ full HD OLED display. Unsurprisingly, the device is also one of the heaviest we’ve used and you might find yourself laying it down on flat services to use for prolonged periods of time.
As you’d imagine though, as unwieldy as it may seem, the Mate 20 X (5G) feels very well built. The fingerprint sensor is still on the rear of the device, like the non 5G model, and this can also be used to perform swiping tasks, for example when scrolling through images in your picture gallery. You don’t need to worry about fingerprint smudges quite as much either, as the glass on the back of the device has been coated in an anti-fingerprint solution.
The Mate 20 X 5G is the first 5G modem we have tested with Huawei’s 500 5G modems. Huawei’s also added their Kirin 980 chip to the Mate 20 X (5G) so things are kept ticking along nicely in the background with 8GB RAM. Admittedly, we would have liked to have seen their new 990 chip but the 980 still gets the job done.
We tested the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G on Vodafone Ireland’s newly launched 5G network using one of their 5G enabled SIMs at different places in Dublin with the main 5G location being around Dublin’s docklands and Sir John Rodgerson’s Quay area.
Doing a fast.com testing at Samuel Beckett Bridge, we were hitting around 630MBps but, when we moved up towards the Sean O’Casey Bridge by the CHQ Building, we were able to get download speeds of 1Gbps which is insane an a mobile network. That’s the same speeds the likes of Sky Ireland are promising in their fibre to the home campaigns but this is on a cellular network.
We also tested the speeds in an apartment in the Grand Canal Dock/Ringsend Road area and while we were still able to get 5G connectivity, the fact we were inside a building, the speeds reduced to around 550mbps which is still incredibly fast.
Vodafone customers can also use the new 5G network in 4 other cities in Ireland including Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, and they’ve confirmed that they will continue expanding the new network throughout the country in the coming months.
Unfortunately, in the upgrade to its 5G capabilities, the Huawei Mate 20 X had its battery size reduced and has gone from 5,000mAh to 4,200mAh and this decision certainly has a significant effect in battery life with such a large display to run along with the more power intensive 5G modem.
The rest of the performance of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, as we mentioned earlier, is quite the same as the non-5G model. You still have a large 7.2-in Full HD display, except with a small top-front facing camera notch. The 407cd/m2 brightness is good and contrast is effective since there’s a nice AMOLED display up front. Color rendering is also exceptional.
The Huawei Mate 20 X also has the same triple-lens system as its 5G-less sibling. It offers an ultra-wide f/2.2 20MP camera, a wide-angle f/1.8 40MP camera and a 3x zoom telephoto f/2.4 8MP camera. It is important to highlight that while the primary 40-megapixel camera produces an outstanding image quality, it doesn’t provide optical stabilization and the camera can’t shoot 4K at 60fps.
Photos captured with the 3 various focal lengths are similar to last year’s Mate 20 Pro given how the optics are all pretty much identical so you can check out our full review of that device and its camera here.
If selfies are your thing, there’s a more than capable 24MP selfie shooter with a wide-angle-lens, as well as beauty mode and portrait mode, just like the smaller Mate 20 Pro as well.
Right now, you can purchase the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G on Vodafone Ireland starting at €40/month with an upfront fee of €599.99 for the handset. You can also jump up to their RED Max package for €80/month and the handset will only come in at €199.99.
The Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is THE smartphone for those of you looking for one of the biggest smartphone displays out there. Pair this with a substantial battery, beefy processor and nose-bleedingly fast 5G speeds and the has pretty much everything going for it. Now, the only thing you need to make sure is that you live in an area where you can really utilise the 5G capabilities of the phone because, otherwise, it may be overkill for most users. We also hope Google and Huawei get back on speaking terms so you can ensure to get regular security updates into the future.