Huawei Mate 20 X – Software
Huawei’s software is best described as “Marmite”. The custom Emotion UI (EMUI) skin has come on leaps and bounds since Huawei first debuted it, but it isn’t as clean as I’d like.
The app tray is still missing by default, and the Settings menu is completely different to Android 9’s native interpretation. There are also duplicate apps for pretty much every feature, from contacts and calendar to music and video players. This makes the UI feel cluttered when compared to the likes of the Razer Phone 2, which uses Nova Launcher, while the Galaxy Note 9 uses Samsung’s Experience skin.
In addition, there aren’t many gaming-focused software additions. Unlike the ROG Phon,e there aren’t any CPU/GPU clock-speed readers or frame-rate counters, which again makes the Mate 20 X feel like a “gaming phone” in name only.
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Huawei Mate 20 X – Performance
The lack of gaming-focused software makes gauging how effective the Mate 20 X’s GPU Turbo 2.0 technology is tricky. The tech is designed to intelligently “optimise” the Mate 20 X’s hardware to improve performance and power efficiency while gaming. The trouble is, without a way to check clock speed, TDP and FPS, knowing if it’s turned on or working is nigh-on impossible. There’s also the matter of compatibility, with the feature only tuned to enhance specific games.
The Mate 20 X is a solid performer regardless, so this isn’t too serious an issue. It’s powered by Huawei’s Kirin 980 CPU, ARM Mali-G76 MP10 GPU and a generous 6GB of RAM. The combo is more than powerful enough to blitz through pretty much any game on Android with zero issue. Playing everything from PUBG to Asphalt and Banner Saga 2, I didn’t suffer any performance issues using the Mate 20 X.
The phone’s custom cooling system also performed admirably. The Mate 20 X’s vapour chamber cooler has a graphene film that, according to Huawei, helps it dissipate heat much more effectively. The system worked a treat during testing and meant the phone never noticeably heated up, or suffered from CPU throttling – even during prolonged gaming sessions.
The Huawei Mate 20 X’s benchmark scores mirrored my real-world experience. You can see how it stacks up to the competition in the table below. The only anomaly was on the base Sling Shot test, which was bizarrely lower than expected.