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A new foldable smartphone from Chinese giant Huawei could be arriving soon, with speculation rife that the company is already hard at work on the next generation of its Mate X line of big-screen, book-style foldables.
Here’s all we know so far about the Huawei Mate X3.
There’s no official word from Huawei about the release date for the Mate X3, but there have been plenty of rumours, including from sites like Huawei Central, that it may appear in December 2022 or very early in 2023.
This seems quite reasonable, as the previous Huawei Mate X2 made its debut in early 2021, but the February launch was only in China and the phone never made its way to other regions.
This was remedied somewhat by the semi-sequel Huawei Mate Xs 2 which launched internationally in May 2022, although it didn’t actually make it to the UK until September. That does muddy the waters, as it’s unclear whether Huawei would want to launch another foldable so close to the arrival of that model – though since the Xs 2 folds in the opposite direction, the two models do serve slightly different purposes in the market.
The winter slot was the one chosen for the initial introduction of the range too, as the first Huawei Mate X was launched in China back in November 2019, so there is form in this area.
As with all Huawei devices, we don’t expect to see it being made available in the US, but it’s far from certain if we’ll even get it in Europe, as proven with previous releases. In fact, a recent article in Politico reported that the company could be about to give up on international markets entirely and focus on Aisan territories. We haven’t seen this in Huawei’s behaviour just yet, as the company maintains a European office and online presence, so it could be that the Chinese manufacturer is being selective in the models it provides to the West.
We don’t have any specific price details at the time of writing, so we’ll need to consider how Huawei priced its previous foldables to give us a clue. Here’s the list:
As you can see, foldables are still the most expensive phones you can buy (unless you completely trick out an iPhone 14 Pro Max or Samsung S22 Ultra), although some rival efforts have begun to lower their asking prices. Here are some of the direct competitors:
Whether Huawei can cut the cost of its new device to something more around the £1,000/€1,000 remains unlikely, especially with spiralling costs due to the many factors affecting the world economy at the moment. We think you’ll still be spending quite a bit of money if you want to pick up the Huawei Mate X3.
There is some hope though, as one of our favourite Chinese tipsters (mainly because of his name), @The Factory Manager is Classmate Guan, posted on Weibo that Huawei is hoping to release the new phone at a much more affordable price.
As with the price and release date, we don’t have any confirmation from Huawei on what we can expect to see in the Mate X3. For that, we need to turn to the rumours that have begun appearing online.
Several outlets are reporting that the Mate X3 will come equipped with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is fairly certain for a flagship appearing in early 2023. The main difference is that, due to Huawei’s ongoing dispute with the US government, the phone will only have 4G capabilities, like all its other new devices.
The design will reportedly be along the lines of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Mate X2 in that it will have a large screen that folds in like a book. If Huawei carries over the design from the Mate X2, then the folding screen will be around 8in. Whereas the Mate X2 featured a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz, these days it’s more normal for flagships to come with 120Hz instead for buttery smooth scrolling. We haven’t had this confirmed, but think it’s very possible.
We’ll most likely also see the return of the 6.45in OLED panel on the outside of the device, allowing users to access information and use the Mate X3 as a standard sized phone when necessary. Cameras could also see the resurrection of the quad-array on the Mate X2, albeit with updated sensors and the addition of the recently announced Huawei XMAGE imaging technology that uses software to enhance images.
As a rough guide to what the technical specifications might be on the Mate X3, here’s how the Mate X2 was configured:
As you can see, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the Huawei Mate X3, but we’ll be updating this article with more news as it emerges. Until then, you can look at the best smartphones we currently recommend, as well as the best new phones coming in 2023.
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.
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