A huge 7.2 inch phone with next-gen connectivity and an awesome camera
Is this the best phone for watching videos on a plane/bus/train? At 7.2 inches, the screen on the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is massive indeed. However, it’s got two other things going for it apart from that monster size; 5G connectivity and an impressive ‘quad’ camera.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G: design
This Android-based smartphone is way too big for most people to hold in one hand. The screen is 7.2 inches on the diagonal, which is about 174 mm tall. It weighs 233 g. This is a big phone. On the back is a mottled ‘hyper optical’ pattern, which at least gives users a fighting chance of gripping it properly and safely. Available only in deep emerald green, on the reverse of this huge phone is a quad-camera array; made up of wide, telephoto and ultrawide lenses, as well as a camera for sending depth (to create ‘bokeh’, Japanese for background blur in photos). If all that’s great for travelers, so is this device’s IP53 dust- and splash-protection as well as the screen’s tough Gorilla Glass.
However, note that the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G doesn’t have a headphone jack. So you’ll need to use wireless Bluetooth headphones, which is not ideal on long journeys because the batteries on those kinds of headphones tend to run out quickly.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G: performance
Phones are phones. They’re now virtually all the same … apart from the cameras. That’s what TravGear is normally only interested in when it comes to reviewing the best smartphones for travel. However, it’s impossible to resist this phone’s incredible screen. A class-leading 7.2 inch AMOLED display with full HD resolution and support for HDR 10, colors truly pop when watching video. It’s also a superb smartphone for playing games on and for reading ebooks. In short, your inflight entertainment will never be the same again.
We couldn’t test its 5G capabilities because, well, 5G networks barely exist, but we did extract a massive amount of value from its quad-camera array. In particular its ultrawide mode, which makes it possible to take photos of buildings and statues right in front of you, often in their entirety. In small spaces, it’s tremendous. Ditto cathedrals and dark, gloomy places where it excels in finding light, though there is often some picture noise if you take photos in really low light (such as after sunset). It’s got a 40MP primary camera (f/1.8, 27mm lens), an 8MP telephoto camera (f/2.4, 80mm lens) with a handy – though hardly top-of-the-range, these days – 3x zoom – and a 20MP ultrawide camera (f/2.2, 16mm equivalent), and it mostly uses them well. However, it’s all slightly let down by the Mate 20 X 5G’s 4,200mAh battery, which is a step-down on Huawei’s 5G-less Mate 20 X.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G: conclusion
Do travelers need a 5G phone? Probably not, and yet there’s no denying that a future-proof phone does add some peace of mind. However, where it really succeeds is with its brilliant cameras and as the ideal device for enjoying video, gaming, and ebooks while on long journeys. If only it had a proper headphones jack … and a slightly larger battery.
Price as reviewed: UK£999/US$1,200