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Huawei’s first 5G smartphone sacrifices battery life for super speed

Huawei has officially launched its first ever 5G smartphone: the Mate 20 X 5G. And you’ll be able to get your hands on it next month.

The Mate 20 X 5G is essentially a Mate 20 X that can take advantage of the faster internet speeds 5G networks will offer when they’re switched on later this year (more on this further down the page).

You’ll be able to pre-order the Mate 20 X 5G in a rather alluring Emerald colour scheme at an as-yet-unspecified date in late May, and it will start shipping to buyers in June.

It will be available on EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three, and has a starting price of £999 (the non-5G version costs £799).

huawei mate 20 x 5g

Read more: What is 5G?

Unfortunately, it has a significantly smaller battery than the non-5G version of the phone. That’s a potential problem.

The Mate 20 X 5G comes loaded with a 4200mAh cell instead of the 5000mAh battery that powers the original (which scored 4/5 stars in our review).

Why? While we weren’t blown away by the Mate 20 X’s gaming credentials, we found that one of the best things about it is its incredible battery life. The 4200mAh cell inside the 5G version of the Mate 20 X’s battery isn’t exactly tiny, but it definitely won’t have the same stamina.

And at 7.2-inches, there’s a whole lot of screen to power.

Earlier this month, OnePlus co-founder Pete Lau warned that the first wave of 5G phones will either have to be hefty or sacrifice battery life, due to complications with antenna configuration.

And sure enough, in the case of the Mate 20 X 5G, Huawei has had to reduce the size of the battery in order to free up room for the Balong 5000 5G modem. According to Huawei, the Balong 5000 5G modem will allow for theoretical 5G speeds of 4.5Gbps.

In the past, Huawei has claimed you’ll be able to download a 1GB movie in three seconds. However this will, of course, vary wildly depending on what kind of 5G network you’re on and where. This figure is just theoretical.

EE will activate limited 5G networks in 16 UK cities before the end of 2019, but they won’t cover the entirety of these cities. Instead, the mobile network says it has adopted a “demand-led” strategy, focusing on very specific areas “where the need is greatest”.

Vodafone, meanwhile, will send its 5G network live on July 3, and it will initially be available in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London.

Huawei Mate X folding phones

The Mate X is just around the corner

And you won’t have to wait much longer for the 5G version of the foldable Huawei Mate X. Huawei’s UK MD, Anson Zhang, has revealed that the 5G Mate X will go on sale in the UK in Q3.

It’s a folding phone, which features a 6.6-inch, 2480 x 1148 front display and another 6.38-inch, 2480 x 892 display around the back. When unfurled, these combine to form an 8-inch, 2480 x 2200 screen.

Unsurprisingly, it will be very very expensive. The Mate X will cost a staggering €2299 (~£1995) for the 8GB RAM/512GB storage model. There’s currently no UK or US price, however we do know EE and Vodafone will stock the phone in the UK.

Read more: 5G phones

Earlier this week, Samsung announced that the Galaxy S10 5G will be available from June 7 in the UK, though price details have not yet been revealed.

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