Huawei has a new $2,700 foldable phone that’s almost identical to its predecessor

Huawei is giving foldable smartphones another go after debuting its first one, the Mate X, last year.

The Chinese tech giant will sell it in Europe for 2,499 euros ($2,700), making it even more expensive than the original.

The company’s latest folding device, aptly named the Mate Xs, feels more like an update to the previous version as it looks almost identical, but it feels like a much sturdier device thanks to a more robust hinge.

The Mate Xs has a new hinge design which comes packed with more materials than its predecessor, and this shows when folding it out into a flat tablet-like screen.

You have to tap a button on the back to fold it outward, and I could hear — and feel — an audible crunching noise when opening the device out in full.

Huawei says this isn’t something to be worried about as it’s simply the hinge working as it’s been designed to. But it’s not the easiest folding action and I wasn’t confident enough to open it up without using both hands.

Like the first model, Huawei’s Mate Xs has a plastic display that folds backward, meaning the screen is always exposed. When closed, you’re holding a standard-sized 6.6-inch smartphone with an additional slightly smaller 6.38-inch screen on the back. But open it up and you get a massive 8-inch panel on par with that of a tablet.

There’s not a whole lot that separates the Mate Xs from the Mate X. The hardware seems mostly unchanged apart from the inclusion of Huawei’s flagship 5G Kirin 990 chipset, itself an update to the Kirin 980 which powered the original Mate X. And its predecessor also came with 5G support anyway. It does run very smoothly though, and that performance is helped in part by a redesigned cooling system.

The Shenzhen, China-based firm had originally planned to unveil the new phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, but switched to a pre-recorded broadcast after the event was cancelled due to fears over the new coronavirus.

Huawei only sold its Mate X phone in China, at a steep price of 16,999 yuan ($2,420). At $2,700, the Mate Xs is even pricier than its original, and that may be a hard sell with some consumers.