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Huawei Mate X: the world's first foldable 5G camera phone

After tantalising our taste buds by teasing the device at the beginning of the year, Huawei has officially unveiled the world's fastest foldable 5G camera phone, the Huawei Mate X. 

Hot on the heels of revealing the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G (opens in new tab), which will be the company's first consumer 5G phone, Huawei stepped up its arms race with Samsung by showing off the jaw dropping – and, as yet, completely unbroken – folding camera phone.

• What is 5G? And what does it mean for photographers? (opens in new tab)

It's not just the fact that it isn't (yet) broken that separates the Huawei Mate X from the Samsung Galaxy Fold, though. The Mate X boasts a more impressive camera array than its South Korean rival, with a lust worthy Leica Quad Camera setup that's sure to make this one of the very best camera phones (opens in new tab) around upon release.

When folded, the Huawei Mate X effectively has a "mirror" screen to show the subject exactly what the photo looks like

When folded, the Huawei Mate X effectively has a "mirror" screen to show the subject exactly what the photo looks like

Its chief camera boasts a 40MP sensor with a wide-angle, f/1.8 lens. The second camera is a 16MP affair with an ultra wide-angle lens and an f/2.2 aperture. Thirdly there's an 8MP sensor with a telephoto f/2.4 lens, which boasts optical image stabilization. 

The final ingredient in the four-way lens array is a Huawei Time-of-Flight Camera. And if you're asking "what is a time-of-flight camera (opens in new tab)?", check out our in-depth feature to explain what it is and how it works. 

If the magic of time-of-flight isn't enough for you, the Mate X' imaging system also supports all manner of hi-tech assists, such as three kinds of autofocus (laser focus, phase focus and contrast focus) as well as Huawei's AI Image Stabilization. 

In terms of specs, the Mate X packs a monster 8-inch screen when unfolded, with a 6.6-inch front panel (compared to the Galaxy Fold's comparatively modest 4.6 inches) and a 6.38-inch back panel when the device is doubled over. 

When unfolded, the Huawei Mate X becomes a formidable 8-inch tablet

When unfolded, the Huawei Mate X becomes a formidable 8-inch tablet

Powering the camera phone is a lightning fast tag team: a Kirin 980 processor paired with a Balong 5000 5G modem. For an idea of just how fast that is, it can download a a 1GB movie in just 3 seconds.

This requires a lot of juice, so it's good to know that the phone has another tag team – duo batteries that combine for 4,500mAh, capable of charging to 85% in 30 minutes thanks to Huawei's new 55W SuperCharge capability.

The Huawei Mate X is due to be released in the second half of 2019 and will cost an eye-watering €2,299 ( £2,008 / $2,569) – though at least you'll be able to fold out that giant screen to catch your tears. 

Read more: 

The Huawei Mate 20 X 5G (opens in new tab) launches in the UK in June
What is 5G (opens in new tab)? And what does it mean for photographers?
What is the best camera phone (opens in new tab) in 2019?

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.