Mate 20 X 5G review: Huawei gets a head start


The age of 5G is upon us, and for it to gain popularity, we need not only mobile networks and data plans, but also the devices. With the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, the second 5G smartphone makes its market debut. Here are our impressions.

How much is the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G?

First things first, you’ll have to be willing to lay down 999 EUR or 999 GBP for the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G. This is less than Samsung is asking for the Galaxy S10 5G, but also more expensive than the Mate 20 X without the 5G capabilities, which makes obvious sense. However, for both Huawei and Samsung, the prices of the devices don’t matter too much because they are sold alongside the first 5G tariffs, making them payable over time. Sales of the Mate 20 X 5G start in July in the UK.

Too big for one hand

Before we go into things, it’s important to note that, in large part, the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G corresponds to the version without 5G, which was released in November and has already been extensively tested by us. Therefore, in the relevant areas of this review, I refer to the findings of my colleague Simone’s review. The same goes for the subtleties of the design of the Huawei Mate 20 X, which you can read here.

For me, the first 5G smartphone from Huawei is huge with its 7.2-inch display, heavy at 233 grams, and also not particularly thin.
aspectquote> It is still nice to hold, thanks to the rounded edges. However, the 85.4 millimeter width in particular makes one-hand operation impossible. The build quality is flawless, as I have come to expect from Huawei.

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5G: it says it right on the tin. / © AndroidPIT

A display without end

With a diagonal of 7.2 inches, the display of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is
larger than many a tablet
. However, it makes up for this with its thin edges – and by the good performance of the screen. With 2,244 x 1,080 pixels, the Mate 20 X 5G only achieves a pixel density of 345 ppi, but that’s loosely enough for most things. Especially for people who like to watch videos on the go, play games on the smartphone or even work, such an XXL display is really practical.

Simone’s review also tells you more about the display.

5G almost nobody else can offer yet

The special feature of the Mate 20 X 5G is the support of the 5G standard.
With Huawei’s Balong-5000 modem and the corresponding antennas, the smartphone will zoom faster than any other – at least if the corresponding network and a 5G tariff are available. Of course, this is hardly the case so far, so it will take some time until you can use the Mate 20 X 5G or any other 5G smartphone to its full extent.

As a dual SIM smartphone, the Mate 20 X 5G offers the option of using two SIM cards in parallel. Only the first SIM, however, also uses the 5G network. But that’s not bad, after all, you still need LTE and Co. to make phone calls even with a 5G smartphone.

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Huawei manager William Tian explains the benefits of 5G to me. / © AndroidPIT

By the way, 5G is not simply 5G, the new standard consists of several components. The Huawei modem only supports frequencies below 6 GHz, which are referred to as Sub6. The faster mmWave, which is primarily intended to service urban areas, doesn’t work with the Balong 5000. That’s not so bad, since the mmWave will be expanded later, but still a little flaw.

Will the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G still get Android updates?

On the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, Android 9 Pie runs with the Huawei interface, EMUI 9.1.1.
In view of the still not quite solved problems with the USA, the question about the upcoming updates remains unanswered, but Huawei is hopeful. Other aspects of the software side of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G are covered in Simone’s review here.

More than enough power

Compared to the model without 5G, the new Huawei smartphone has
the edge in
terms of memory: 8 instead of 6 GB RAM and 256 instead of 128 GB, which is a noticeable advantage. If you need even more memory, you can insert an NM card from Huawei. The performance of the Kirin 980 is proven, the Mate 20 X 5G has in the test more than enough power for all situations. You want to know more? Then have a look at the benchmarks and further tests.

Three cameras for a lot of fun

The Mate 20 X 5G has a triple camera on the back that was developed in
collaboration with Leica
. It consists of these three modules:

  • 83 mm, 8 megapixels, f/2.4 aperture, OIS
  • 27 mm, 40 megapixels, f/1.8 aperture
  • 16 mm, 20 megapixels, f/2.2 aperture

You can find out what this camera can do – and it’s quite a lot – here.

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The triple camera was developed jointly with Leica / © AndroidPIT

Battery capacity shrank significantly

As a tribute to the many 5G antennas and the additional modem, Huawei had to reduce the battery size in the smartphone.
Only 4,200 mAh of the lush 5,000 mAh remained.
This is still a good capacity, but not too much given the huge display and the power-guzzling antennas. The battery life of the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is an exciting mystery, which we will find out about in our final review. The battery is charged quickly at 40 watts. The model without 5G has very convincing battery life. 

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G technical specifications

Dimensions: 174.6 x 85.4 x 8.38 mm
Weight: 233 g
Battery size: 4200 mAh
Screen size: 7.2 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 2244 x 1080 pixels (345 ppi)
Front camera: 24 megapixels
Rear camera: 40 megapixels
Flashlight: LED
Android version: 9 – Pie
User interface: Emotion UI
Internal storage: 256 GB
Removable storage: NM Card
Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 980
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.6 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Unnecessarily expensive

As one of the first 5G smartphones ever, the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is of course a rarity. When you buy this smartphone, you get a device that nobody else has, but for a good reason. It will be a long time before you can really enjoy 5G and make full use of the smartphone’s capabilities. Therefore you should consider carefully whether you really want to buy a 5G mobile phone now, especially one which doesn’t work with mmWave. My advice: You’d better go for the normal Mate 20 X, it’s only half the price.

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