The Huawei Mate X5, like its predecessor, remains one of the thinnest and lightest foldable phones on the market, making it a compelling choice for those looking for sleek, innovative design. But what really makes the Mate X5 stand out is its chip, which has raised eyebrows and stirred controversy on a global scale. In this review, we’ll explore what’s new in this device and its implications for the smartphone industry.
While I won’t be conducting an in-depth review of this phone, I’ll delve into what sets the Mate X5 apart, primarily its new chip, in comparison to its predecessor, the Mate X3. The Mate X5 promises some intriguing updates, notably a larger battery and that mysterious new self-developed chip by Huawei.
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The Controversy Surrounding Huawei’s New Chip:
Before we delve into the hardware and performance of the Mate X5, let’s address the elephant in the room: Huawei’s new chip. The reason it’s generating so much buzz and controversy is due to the restrictions imposed by the US government. These restrictions were put in place to prevent Huawei from accessing cutting-edge semiconductor technology, specifically the advanced processes used by companies like TSMC in Taiwan and Samsung.
To put it into perspective, only a handful of factories worldwide have the capability to manufacture state-of-the-art processors using three-nanometer and five-nanometer technology. TSMC and Samsung Foundry are the two dominant players in this field. As a result, many leading mobile chips, including Apple’s A17 and A16, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, are manufactured by these two giants.
The US government’s actions were designed to prevent Huawei from producing chips with a seven-nanometer or smaller process. However, Huawei’s Kirin 9000 chip, which powers the Mate X5, is built on seven-nanometer technology. While it’s still two generations behind the most advanced chips from Apple and Qualcomm, the fact that Huawei managed to create it has raised eyebrows in the industry and prompted concerns from the US government.
Moreover, Huawei has been remarkably secretive about the Mate X5, especially regarding its chip. If you visit their website, you won’t find much information about it. This secrecy has only fueled the controversy further. It’s clear that the US government is eager to investigate how Huawei was able to produce this chip and whether they can mass-produce it. The Mate X5’s existence implies that they might have cracked the code, which could have significant implications for the future of silicon technology.
Hardware and Design:
Now that we’ve touched on the contentious issue of the chip, let’s take a closer look at the Mate X5’s hardware and design. At first glance, the device shares many similarities with its predecessor, the Mate X3. It features a 6.4-inch outside screen and a larger 7.8-inch inside foldable display. However, what truly sets it apart is its remarkable thinness, measuring just 11.1 millimeters when folded.
The hinge mechanism of the Mate X5 is particularly impressive, allowing the phone to stay in place even when partially unfolded. Furthermore, the device boasts IPX8 water resistance, making it suitable for daily use without concerns about accidental splashes or exposure to light rain.
The Mate X5 comes in various configurations, including a vegan leather back, which, despite being artificial, offers a pleasant tactile experience and grip. It’s worth noting that the phone is available in a purple variant, catering to different tastes. While purple might not be everyone’s cup of tea, some users may appreciate the uniqueness of this color option.
The camera system on the Mate X5 remains unchanged from the Mate X3, which means you can expect impressive photography capabilities. The primary camera is a 50-megapixel sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, while a 12-megapixel Periscope zoom lens provides five times optical zoom with an f/3.4 aperture. Additionally, there’s a 13-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a pair of 8-megapixel front-facing cameras.
The standout feature of the camera system is undoubtedly the five times Periscope zoom lens, which can also achieve a respectable 10 times zoom. This zoom capability allows for capturing detailed shots even from a considerable distance. While the image quality may not match dedicated digital cameras, it’s a significant advancement for a smartphone.
One aspect of the Mate X5 that has raised interest is its ability to run Google Mobile Services. While Huawei has been developing its own app ecosystem, some users prefer the familiarity and convenience of Google’s services. Trinity Electronics, an importer based in Hong Kong, has found a way to install Google Mobile Services on the Mate X5. This includes the Google Play Store and various Google apps.
However, it’s essential to approach this method with caution, as it may not be officially sanctioned by Google or Huawei. Using a secondary Google account, specifically for this purpose, is advisable to ensure data security.
Performance and Connectivity:
In terms of performance, the Mate X5 doesn’t disappoint. Benchmarks reveal impressive multi-core and single-core scores, showcasing its processing prowess. Speed tests demonstrate that the phone can achieve 5G-like speeds, which is noteworthy considering the ongoing tensions between Huawei and the US government regarding access to 5G networks.
In conclusion, the Huawei Mate X5 is a remarkable and controversial addition to the foldable smartphone market. While its hardware largely resembles its predecessor, it’s the new chip that steals the spotlight. The fact that Huawei managed to develop this chip despite US government restrictions is nothing short of astonishing.
The Mate X5’s thin and sleek design, water resistance, and impressive camera system make it a competitive choice in the foldable phone category. Additionally, the ability to run Google Mobile Services, albeit through unofficial means, provides added convenience for users who rely on Google’s ecosystem.
However, it’s important to note that the controversy surrounding Huawei’s chip and its potential implications for the semiconductor industry are ongoing. The mystery of how Huawei achieved this feat remains unsolved, leaving many questions unanswered.
If you’re considering the Mate X5, be prepared for its premium price tag, especially if you’re importing it from sources like Trinity Electronics. While the device offers several compelling features, its availability and pricing may vary depending on your location.
In conclusion, the Huawei Mate X5 is a testament to Huawei’s determination to stay at the forefront of smartphone innovation. Whether it’s the controversial chip or the sleek design, the Mate X5 has certainly sparked conversations and debates in the tech world. Only time will tell how this controversy unfolds and whether Huawei can maintain its position as a tech pioneer.