Gaming telephones are struggling one thing of an id disaster.
On the one hand, you could have telephones just like the Asus ROG Cellphone and Nubia Crimson Magic Mars — handsets which have been constructed from the ground-up to look, really feel, and play like a pocket-sized, handheld console.
On the opposite, there’s the standard Android flagship brigade which has slowly begun adopting a handful of gaming-centric options, such because the Samsung Galaxy S10’s Unity optimizations and cooling system.
The excellence between a devoted gaming cellphone and a top-spec cellphone that simply so occurs to be fairly good for gaming is extra imprecise than ever.
Having tentatively dipped its toes into the gaming waters through its sub-brand with the Honor Play, Chinese language large Huawei goes all-in with the Mate 20 X — a 7.2-inch monster phablet Huawei infamously claimed is a greater moveable gaming machine than the Nintendo Change.
However is the most important member of the Mate 20 household a real gaming cellphone or simply one other pretender? Discover out on this Huawei Mate 20 X evaluation!
About this Huawei Mate 20 X evaluation
I wrote this evaluation after spending two weeks with a Huawei Mate 20 X evaluation unit provided by Huawei. The cellphone (mannequin EVR-L29) ran EMUI 9 (construct quantity 9.zero.zero.113) and Android Pie with the October 2018 safety patch. I used it totally on my dwelling Wi-Fi community, in addition to O2’s 4G community within the U.Ok. Technically, the software program on the evaluation unit was non-final, however Huawei stated it’s indicative of the ultimate launch software program.
Huawei just lately introduced that a new variant of the Mate 20 X is on the way in which with 5G assist. Nonetheless the model we’ve reviewed is the unique mannequin launched in late 2018.
Let’s get proper right down to it: the Huawei Mate 20 X is completely huge.
Giant telephones are nothing new, however the Notes, Pluses, XLs, and Max’s don’t have anything on Huawei’s behemoth. At 174.6mm tall and 85.4mm vast, the Mate 20 X engulfs different phablets and larger-sized telephones in side-by-side comparisons.
The Mate 20 X instantly jogged my memory of the super-duper-sized telephones of yesteryear, just like the Sony Xperia Z Extremely, Samsung Galaxy W, and Huawei’s personal MediaPad X2. Essentially the most related fashionable comparability is the Honor Notice 10.
There are sensible points with carrying a “cellular” cellphone that’s this large.
As with the Notice 10, the Mate 20 X advantages from Huawei’s FullView show design, which decreases the quantity of redundant bezel house and maximizes the display screen actual property — and let me inform you, there’s numerous display screen to play with.
It appears a bit redundant to criticize a cellphone whose entire existence is principally outlined by its gargantuan construct, however there are sensible issues when carrying round a “cellular” cellphone that’s this large.
The easy truth is the Mate 20 X is a two-handed smartphone. Should you can wrestle the cellphone into the fitting place, these with bigger arms will nearly sort out sending a fast message or hitting the again button with a single thumb. However, except you’re ET or Freddy Krueger, there’s no method you’re reaching the notification bar with out drafting in one other palm. Huawei has added a One-Handed UI mode to fight this problem, however that does require just a few additional gestures simply to carry out easy actions.
It narrowly handed the pocket take a look at once I was carrying denims, however my coat and bag pockets couldn’t comprise the Mate 20 X’s sheer mass with out exposing the body and a part of the show.
Should you’re pondering of shopping for the Mate 20 X, my recommendation can be to both deal with it first or no less than reduce out a little bit of cardboard with the identical dimensions for a scale. Whereas it nonetheless feels huge to me, I might fairly fortunately use it as my day by day driver with out a lot problem. That’s a distinct case fully for my accomplice who, regardless of often preferring bigger telephones just like the Samsung Galaxy Notice and Pixel XL sequence telephones, fairly actually couldn’t become familiar with it.
Not like different merchandise that clumsily attempt to attraction to gaming followers, there aren’t any pulsing LED strips, gaudy accents, or glowing logos to be discovered. As a substitute, the Mate 20 X is an virtually an identical reproduction of the vanilla Mate 20 solely with inflated dimensions. It has the identical divisive sq. digital camera module, “waterdrop” notch, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and even the identical red-accented, textured energy button.
Associated: Huawei Mate 20 vs Mate 20 Professional: Previous meets future
The cellphone is surprisingly skinny relative to its total dimension at simply over Eight.2mm. Whereas it’s so much heavier than your common flagship cellphone at 232g (for comparability, the Mate 20 weighs 188g), the load distribution is pretty uniform so it received’t tip in your hand.
That is helped by the curved glass and tapered aluminium body, although there’s no escaping it’s an extremely slippery buyer, even regardless of the etched diagonal strains on the rear panel. I had related issues with the Mate 20 Professional, however that very same clean, shiny end paired with the Mate 20 X’s additional dimension and weight is a hazardous mixture.
The Mate 20 X has a dual-SIM slot on the left aspect and an influence button and quantity rocker on the fitting. On the underside is USB Sort-C port and speaker, which is joined by a second speaker on the highest of the cellphone subsequent to an IR blaster and a three.5mm headphone jack.
The unit I’ve been enjoying round with is the Phantom Silver model, which is unique to the Mate 20 X throughout the wider Mate 20 sequence and has a metallic tinge and inexperienced and purple hues. The cellphone can be out there in Metallic Blue.
Keep in mind when tablets with 7-inch shows just like the Google Nexus 7 appeared a lot bigger than our telephones? The Mate 20 X provides an additional zero.2-inches onto that in a a lot smaller total kind issue and hits an intimidating ~87.6 % screen-to-body ratio.
Placing apart the actual fact it may be cumbersome to deal with a cellphone this huge, the precise show is a pleasure to make use of whether or not you’re enjoying a sport, taking a photograph, or simply flicking by means of a thread of huge WhatsApp speech bubbles.
The AMOLED panel delivers suitably deep blacks and wealthy colours, though Huawei oversaturates all the things a bit out-of-the-box. Fortunately, you’ll be able to tweak the colour mode, temperature, and schedule a blue mild filter within the show’s settings menu.
The Mate 20 X outputs at 1,080 x 2,244 as commonplace, however this may be manually dropped to HD+ (720p). You too can ask the cellphone to regulate the decision robotically to avoid wasting energy.
In comparison with the Mate 20, the Mate 20 X upgrades from LCD to AMOLED, though it’s disappointing to see Huawei stick to Full HD+ reasonably than Quad HD just like the Mate 20 Professional. You’ll nonetheless should peek intently to see these pixels, but when 1080p and 381ppi sounds low for a display screen that’s 7.2-inches, that’s as a result of, frankly, it’s.
That is in no way a poor show, nevertheless. It’s brilliant sufficient to play cellular HDR content material and the 18.7:9 side ratio means you received’t at all times be suffering from black borders in panorama mode.
Lastly, if the notch is one thing that’ll trouble you, Huawei has included the choice to black out the notification bar.
It could be surpassed when the rumored Huawei P30 sequence hits the market, however for now the Chinese language large’s strongest silicon continues to be the Kirin 980.
We already know from our intensive exams that the Kirin 980 — paired with a Mali-G76 GPU with a 10 core configuration — is an extremely succesful SoC and that carries over to the Mate 20 X’s efficiency. It additionally doesn’t damage that the most important member of the Mate 20 sequence comes with 6GB RAM as commonplace.
It ought to be famous that the benchmark outcomes that comply with had been obtained with “Efficiency Mode” turned off. Huawei acquired right into a little bit of scorching water final 12 months for enabling the mode as commonplace throughout benchmark exams resulting in overinflated scores. The mode will be toggled on within the Battery menu (for baffling causes solely the EMUI designers will ever know), though I’ve but to see any significant efficiency enchancment or increased battery drain with it turned on.
The Mate 20 X got here out at three,337 within the Geekbench four Single-Core take a look at and 9,813 within the Multi-Core take a look at. For comparability, the Asus ROG Cellphone scored 2,521 and 9,224. The common Mate 20 scored three,371 and 9,891.
The Mate 20 X struggled within the Antutu exams, leading to a rating of 273,720 — effectively under Xiaomi’s Black Shark gaming cellphone (291,zero99) and the ROG Cellphone (288,715). The screenshot on the fitting exhibits the leap when Efficiency Mode is turned on, which is sort of an identical to what we discovered when reviewing the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Professional.
Issues improved barely with 3DMark, however the three,873 Sling Shot Excessive consequence nonetheless falls effectively under even the demonstrably cheaper Pocophone F1 (four,216).
So we all know the Mate 20 X is a powerhouse cellphone with an enviable specs sheet, however what’s Huawei’s new gaming cellphone really wish to play video games on?
Let’s begin with the great things, beginning with that gargantuan show.
It sounds apparent, however enjoying Android video games on a display screen this huge is ridiculously pleasant. Positive, you’ll be able to technically play Android video games on bigger screens with Android TV bins, tablets, Chromebooks, and even PCs through an emulator, however relating to enjoying Play Retailer video games on an Android cellphone, the Mate 20 X has a transparent benefit over the competitors.
15 greatest video games with gamepad assist for Android! (Up to date 2019)
The marketplace for video games with controller assist is rising. Android TV, the Nvidia Protect Console, and different techniques are placing video games with gamepad assist on the forefront and making them extra common. The proliferation of …
Digital buttons and sticks are far simpler to make use of with extra space between them, menu textual content is clearer, and also you’ll doubtless spot tiny design and artwork particulars in your favourite video games that you just’ve by no means observed earlier than.
I discussed earlier that should you squint you’ll be able to see the drop from QHD to FHD+ and whereas it’s noticeable up shut, it’s removed from a deal breaker.
Quite a lot of the graphical blemishes and visible artifacts that get uncovered on the enlarged display screen can’t be blamed fully on Huawei both, as so many video games on the Play Retailer (principally 3D video games and particularly Unity/Unreal ports) are terribly optimized for bigger shows. The perfect visible outcomes come from video games with distinctive, colourful artwork design like Brawl Stars, Alto’s Odyssey, and Agent A.
As for gaming options, the Mate 20 X has a cooling system with a vapour chamber and graphene movie Huawei calls SuperCool. Huawei says that is simpler than different cooling options and I’m inclined to consider it because the cellphone by no means acquired scorching sufficient for me to actually discover regardless of prolonged play periods.
The Mate 20 X’s stereophonic audio system are a bit missing within the bass division however they do lend the cellphone an added immersion issue over different telephones when gaming. Sadly, the audio system’ placement on the highest and backside of the cellphone is much from ultimate. Until you flip the cellphone to relaxation on its proper aspect you’ll cowl each audio system along with your palms and even then it’s very straightforward to muffle them along with your index fingers. With this a lot real-estate to play with it’s a crying disgrace Huawei didn’t go for front-facing audio system.
There’s additionally lots in regards to the Mate 20 X that can attraction to online game followers basically. Watching YouTube and Twitch is a dream. I’ve watched hours of Overwatch League VODs on my Huawei Mate 20 X evaluation unit and also you’re as prone to spot huge mind performs from esports execs on the Mate 20 X’s massive display screen as you’re a PC monitor. The three.5mm headphone jack additionally makes utilizing voice comms apps like Discord far much less awkward.
There’s only one pretty main drawback: the Mate 20 X isn’t actually a gaming cellphone.
Should you weren’t conscious Huawei had marketed the cellphone as a Change-killer, there’s no method you’d guess it has any gaming options in any respect at a look. The truth that gaming is now the fifth subsection of the Mate 20 X’s official retailer web page is telling — it could be a stable cellphone for gaming, however Huawei by no means really designed it particularly for enjoying video games.
All of it begins with the UX, which buries all gaming choices into an internet of sub-menus and doesn’t present any additional apps or software program tweaks you’ll be able to’t additionally discover on any current Huawei/Honor cellphone. Apart from the aforementioned cooling system, it’s the identical story on the hardware entrance too.
We’ve just lately seen telephones hit the market with intuitive sport library apps, set off buttons (each bodily and stress delicate), variable refresh charges, and apps that measure CPU/GPU clock velocity and body fee counters. The Mate 20 X has none of those.
This could virtually be acceptable if the cellphone might tackle the very best gaming telephones within the efficiency stakes, however for gaming the Mate 20 X’s Kirin 980 setup is inferior to just about each Snapdragon 845 cellphone I’ve examined and will likely be massively outmatched by the upcoming wave of Snapdragon 855 handsets. For all Huawei’s bluster, there’s nonetheless a major hole between Mali and Adreno graphics — that is one thing we’ve delved into on a number of events right here at Android Authority.
GPU Turbo has grow to be Huawei’s get out of jail free card.
Whereas it’s removed from a dreadful expertise to play Android video games on the Mate 20 X, there are noticeable body fee drops in graphics-intensive video games like Fortnite, in addition to extra minor points like lagging menus in Pokémon Go. Likewise, whereas GPU-hungry emulators like Dolphin can technically run Gamecube video games on the Mate 20 X, the expertise is sort of at all times too uneven to get any enjoyment out of it.
In fact, this isn’t the case should you play one of many six video games supported by Huawei’s GPU Turbo expertise (now GPU Turbo 2.zero), which boosts energy effectivity and delivers increased body charges.
GPU Turbo has grow to be Huawei and Honor’s get out of jail free card for delivering telephones which are ostensibly gaming telephones just like the Honor Play, however the identical expertise is already out there on a heap of telephones (many cheaper than the Mate 20 X) from each Chinese language manufacturers.
With three MOBAs (Vainglory, Cell Legends: Bang Bang, Area of Valor), two battle royales (PUBG Cell, Guidelines of Survival), and a single sports activities sport (NBA 2K18), there’s additionally a crippling lack of selection within the minuscule variety of video games that take pleasure in GPU Turbo assist.
Learn extra: 10 greatest sport apps for Android
The thousands and thousands of different video games on the Play Retailer are caught with primary Sport Booster optimizations that merely don’t provide tangible enhancements. The Sport Booster choice can be hidden away in EMUI’s maze of menus below AppAssistant, which you’d by no means discover with out having to make use of Settings search. When you do discover it you need to present a ton of (barely questionable) permissions to get it to even run.
It’s even worse for Efficiency Mode which, as beforehand talked about, will get lumped within the Battery part. It’s virtually just like the Mate 20 X’s UI has been reversed engineered to be a gaming cellphone. As a result of it has.
My last gripe is the dearth of shoulder buttons. Very similar to the dearth of front-facing audio system, the Mate 20 X has greater than sufficient bulk to accommodate a pair of triggers that’d make enjoying shooters infinitely extra pleasant.
Huawei’s resolution at launch was an attachable, left-sided controller with a thumbstick, D-Pad, and a single set off button, however the peripheral isn’t included with the cellphone and is nowhere to be discovered by means of Huawei’s official retailer or really helpful retail companions.
Due to a preset in AppAssistant, I discovered the accent is known as the Betop G1 which will be purchased at Amazon within the U.Ok. through a third-party retailer for 37.99 kilos ( ~$50). I haven’t examined it myself, so purchase it at your individual threat.
Huawei has made nice use of the cellphone’s dimension within the battery division by cramming in a mighty 5,000mAh cell. Even with each setting I might presumably consider turned as much as max and put below heavy utilization for video games and video streaming, the Mate 20 X evaluation unit virtually at all times hit 1.5 days earlier than hitting zero.
With a mean screen-on-time of 12-14 hours throughout my exams, should you’re solely utilizing the Mate 20 X for social media and shopping the online there’s an excellent probability you possibly can simply squeeze two or presumably even three full days out of this beast.
Android smartphones with the very best battery life (January 2019)
Some individuals may suppose that an important characteristic in a smartphone is its show dimension. Others consider it comes right down to a cellphone’s processor efficiency, or the quantity of RAM, and even how a lot …
The Mate 20 X helps Huawei’s SuperCharge expertise for quick charging, however reasonably than the 40W model loved by the Mate 20 Professional the Mate 20 X is caught with common 22.5W charger.
It additionally doesn’t assist wi-fi charging or the Mate 20 Professional’s reverse wi-fi charging performance.
On the biometrics entrance, the rear fingerprint sensor could also be a bit arduous to succeed in but it surely’s pretty correct and far sooner than any in-display alternate options at the moment out there. The Mate 20 X additionally helps face unlocking. Nonetheless, with out the flamboyant 3D mapping sensors on the Mate 20 Professional, what you’re getting here’s a much less safe, software-based variant.
The Mate 20 X comes with 128GB inside storage as commonplace, though this may be expanded as much as 256GB by taking over one of many dual-SIM tray slots. Sadly, the Mate 20 X solely helps Huawei’s proprietary nano reminiscence playing cards which value twice the value of an equal commonplace MicroSD card.
Apart from the headphone jack and useful IR blaster, the one different notable hardware characteristic is the IP53 ranking for defense towards mud and splashes of water. In order for you full water resistance you’ll should stump up the additional for the Mate 20 Professional’s IP68 ranking.
Huawei’s software program has come a good distance in recent times, culminating within the Android Pie-based EMUI 9.zero.
There’s lots to love should you favor closely customizable Android skins and neat tweaks that construct on Pie’s stable foundations. These embody wonderful gesture controls, a system-wide darkish mode choice, and Huawei’s personal tackle Google’s Digital Wellbeing known as Digital Stability.
EMUI 9.zero doesn’t characteristic an app dock as commonplace, which implies your homescreen will likely be a bit cluttered should you’ve downloaded a bunch of video games. Fortunately you’ll be able to add a dock in Settings, however as with all the things in EMUI’s cluttered menus, really discovering the choice is an train in frustration (it’s in Settings > Dwelling display screen & wallpaper > Dwelling display screen fashion, in case you get misplaced).
One characteristic it would be best to discover is One-Handed UI, which helps you to quickly shrink the display screen dimension to one thing much more manageable in a single hand. That is accessed by swiping diagonally from the underside nook of the cellphone, or by swiping left or proper on the house button should you’re utilizing three key navigation.
The Mate 20 X additionally has software program assist for Huawei’s M-Pen, however the stylus doesn’t include the cellphone as commonplace.
Having used Huawei telephones previously I knew what I used to be getting myself into with EMUI 9.zero. I additionally knew it wouldn’t be too lengthy earlier than I’d swap to a distinct launcher (on this case Nova) so I might distance myself as a lot as attainable from the illogical menus, duplicate apps, bloatware (who makes use of a Mirror app, critically), and the pointless HiBoard feed.
Huawei is certainly heading in the right direction with EMUI 9.zero, but it surely nonetheless stumbles on the fundamentals.
The Mate 20 X options an an identical square-shaped, triple-lens digital camera module to Huawei’s flagship Mate 20 Professional, so it shouldn’t be a shock that it delivers a stable and extremely versatile pictures expertise.
These three cameras are a major 40MP lens (f/1.Eight aperture), an 8MP telephoto digital camera (f/2.four with OIS), and a 20MP ultra-wide shooter (f/2.2 aperture). The selfie digital camera, in the meantime, is a single 24MP digital camera (f/2.zero).
The setup permits as much as 3x optical zoom and 5x hybrid zoom, detailed bokeh-style portrait pictures, in addition to spectacular extremely vast pictures to get extra surroundings or relations in a single body. That’s numerous choices to work with and the Digicam app permits you to swap between the three lenses with fast faucets or a single swipe.
The Mate 20 X’s 40MP sensor makes use of pixel binning to mix 4 bodily pixels into one massive 2µm pixel for higher mild seize and dynamic vary. The ensuing 10MP pictures are principally unbelievable. Beneath are some pattern pictures and you’ll see the total decision variations right here.
Whereas the digital camera can overexpose pictures sometimes — significantly in decrease mild — the Mate 20 X produces vibrant, colourful photos with out switching from Auto mode. There’s additionally a totally kitted-out Professional mode if you wish to manually tweak white stability, shade temperature, and extra.
The Mate 20 X digital camera additionally has Huawei’s patented twin NPU-powered Grasp AI mode that picks from a bunch of pre-selected capturing modes primarily based on the topic. I haven’t actually seen a lot profit from utilizing it, however when the cellphone tells me my cat is a cat it’s fairly spectacular nonetheless.
The excellent pictures bundle is rounded up by extra superfluous modes like monochrome, AR lens, mild portray, time-lapse, and far more, in addition to magnificence and lighting choices for Portrait mode. It could additionally shoot video at as much as 4K Extremely HD (three,840 x 2,160) high quality.
The one actual downer I’ve on the Mate 20 X’s pictures suite is the selfie digital camera which tends to clean out photos. Turning off the AI HDR mode helps barely but it surely nonetheless lacks element and is nowhere close to the identical commonplace because the rear shooter.
Huawei Mate 20 X
Display7.2-inch curved AMOLED
2,244 x 1,080 decision
18.7:9 side ratio
ProcessorHuawei Kirin 980
Octa-core CPU (2 @ 2.6GHz, 2 @ 1.92GHz, four @ 1.8GHz)
NM (nano reminiscence) card slot for reminiscence growth
22.5W Huawei Supercharge
Major: 40MP sensor, f/1.Eight aperture
Second: 8MP 3x telephoto sensor, OIS, f/2.four aperture
Third: 20MP ultra-wide sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 16mm focal size equal
Entrance: 24MP RGB sensor
SecurityRear fingerprint sensor, face unlock
Dimensions174.6 x 85.four x Eight.2mm
Software program versionAndroid 9.zero Pie with EMUI 9.zero
ColorsPhantom Silver, Midnight Blue
Value and availability
The Huawei Mate 20 X is out there within the U.Ok. priced at 799 kilos (~$1,049) and chosen European nations the place it retails for 899 euros.
Wrap up and competitors
Initially described because the “greatest moveable cellular gaming machine” available on the market by Huawei’s CEO, it’s notable the Chinese language juggernaut progressively softened its gaming-centric advertising for the Mate 20 X over time, as a substitute specializing in the cellphone’s dimension and specs.
This could’ve been the method from the outset, because the Mate 20 X is a bonafide media monster with an eye-popping show, killer digital camera, 1-2 day battery life, and sufficient uncooked energy to deal with virtually something you’ll be able to throw at it.
But, these outlandish launch claims nonetheless linger within the reminiscence and the Mate 20 X doesn’t get anyplace near delivering on Huawei’s initially ridiculous guarantees that it’d crafted the last word gaming machine.
Until you actually, actually love PUBG Cell, there’s a greater variety of video games that can run extra easily on any suitably highly effective Snapdragon 845/855-powered handset. In order for you a cellphone fully designed for gaming on the go, nevertheless, the Asus ROG Cellphone continues to be the very best gaming cellphone cash should buy.
The Mate 20 X is a bonafide media monster.
There’s additionally competitors from inside from the Mate 20 Professional. For an additional 150 euros, the Professional mannequin has a better decision show, improved waterproofing, reverse, wi-fi, and sooner charging, and upgraded biometrics. Likewise, in case you have money to burn, Huawei’s $2,600 Mate X folding cellphone is on the horizon with its even bigger Eight-inch fold-out show.
With all that stated, there’s positively a distinct segment marketplace for the Mate 20 X. It’s the closest a phablet has come to balancing each the usability of a smartphone and a really tablet-like display screen up to now.
I already know I’ll miss that colossal show as quickly as I decide up a regular-sized smartphone, even when my pockets is perhaps rather less unhappy to see it go.
What do you consider our Huawei Mate 20 X evaluation? Tell us your ideas on the large phablet within the feedback.
Affiliate disclosure: We might obtain compensation in connection along with your buy of merchandise through hyperlinks on this web page. The compensation acquired won’t ever affect the content material, matters or posts made on this weblog. See our disclosure coverage for extra particulars.