Huawei unveils the Mate X2, a dual-screen device with a $2,800 price tag

What just happened? A worldwide chip shortage and US sanctions haven’t prevented Huawei from unveiling an interesting new smartphone with an eye-watering price tag. The Mate X2 is its latest foldable handset, and it starts at almost $2,800.

Huawei’s Mate X was one of the first foldable devices when it arrived in 2019. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, the original device puts the main display on the outside and uses an out-folding design. With the Mate X2, Huawei has gone down the same route as its rival by placing the foldable screen on the inside, allowing it to close inwards like a book. It also has a full-sized OLED display on the outside, so it can be used as a traditional handset while shut.

When open, the Mate X2 boasts an 8-inch, 2,480 x 2,200 display (413ppi) with a 180Hz refresh rate and an 8:7.1 aspect ratio. But that’s not its only screen. On the outside sits a 6.45-inch OLED (21:9). It’s a similar design to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but Huawei’s external display is said to be closer to a standard smartphone—it even has dual cut-out cameras.

Huawei says both displays feature a wide color gamut and come with a ‘nano-optical’ layer that offers better reflectance levels than Apple’s Pro Display XDR. There’s also a ‘multi-dimensional hinge’ that creates a water drop-shaped cavity for the fold when the phone is closed, meaning there’s virtually no gap when it’s shut. The company says the dual-spiral structure is made from high-intensity steel that “eliminates the problem of display creasing,” while allowing a 40 percent flatter panel design.

When it comes to the cameras, there’s an Ultra Vision Leica Quad setup consisting of a 50MP wide-angle lens, 16MP ultra-wide lens, 12MP telephoto lens (3x optical zoom), and 8MP “SuperZoom” camera (10x optical zoom).

Internally, the Mate X2 uses Huawei’s own Kirin 9000 5G chip paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB storage. There’s also a 4,400mAh battery with 55W fast-charging. It arrives in China on February 25 for RMB 17,999 ($2,784) or 18,999 ($2,939), depending on the storage option. With no Google apps or services, don’t expect a US release.

With US sanctions on Huawei taking their toll, the company has told suppliers it only expects to sell 70 – 80 million smartphones this year, though that figure could be as low as 50 million. In response, it’s turning to more traditional industries such as pig farming.