Huawei’s Mate 20 X is a gaming and media tablet masquerading as a massive smartphone, and it does a pretty good job of it.
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 Mate 20 X has now launched in a few European markets and while the chances are that the P30 is already around the corner, the Mate 20 X has niche of its own.
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.
What a specs sheet - but that goes without saying as it's sharing 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.
The Mate 20 X 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 pre applied screen protector, though.
The Mate 20 X is almost all screen with a screen-to-body ratio of 87-percent, and it’s a beauty.
The body is comfortable to hold, with the same well-designed curved edges as the Mate 20 Pro, and although it is holdable in a way that such a vast screen size shouldn’t be, this is still a whopping phone. In our comparison picture, the Mate 20 X is alongside an iPhone XS Max, and manages to make Apple’s biggest phone look rather small. No, your thumb is not going to stretch to the other side of the screen, but if you hold it with two hands, it’s acceptable.
Who is Huawei trying to attract with the Mate 20 X? Outside of one-upping Samsung by having a screen this large on a device with stylus support — it works with Huawei’s M Pen — it’s also targeting the current trend of mobile gaming. It’s not just the Razer Phone 2 or the Asus ROG phone that needs to watch out, it’s Nintendo’s Switch. Huawei has made a gamepad-style accessory that slides over one end of the phone, providing physical gaming controls. It works really well too. There’s more grip, the analogue d-pad was responsive, and in landscape orientation the screen looks superb — full of color and life.
The Mate 20 X has the Kirin 980 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage space, a massive 5,000mAh battery, and a new cooling system that uses vapor and graphene to keep temperatures under control. We were in a queue of people testing the Mate 20 X with the gamepad attachment, and the phone wasn’t even warm to the touch when our turn came, despite constant, power-intensive use. There’s no 3D face unlock though, and the fingerprint sensor is on the back, and it was a little bit of a stretch to reach.