Huawei has dabbled in foldable phones before, but the company has just announced another one. This time, the Chinese smartphone powerhouse is launching a clamshell-style folding phone called the P50. Apart from folding neatly into a clamshell, the P50 distinguishes itself with a circular 1-inch screen when the phone is snapped shut.
We saw this phone earlier in a tease by Huawei when it appeared in the Harper’s Bazaar China magazine. The photoshoot featured the Pocket Premium Edition designed in collaboration with the Dutch designer Iris van Harpen. It is designed to appeal to the fashion-conscious crowd, hence its feather-like finish. The model is available in silver or gold with patterns resembling leaves or feathers.
On the inside, the P50 has a 6.9 inches screen in a 21:9 ratio, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The device is slim and light, being only 7.2 mm thick and weighing 190 g. in comparison, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is 7.65 mm thick and weighs 238 g, points Huawei made during the presentation.
Internally, the P50 is every bit a flagship, with a Snapdragon 880 4G chip and 4,000 mAh battery.
Due to the restriction placed on Huawei by the US government, the P50 cannot use the Android operating system. Instead, it runs on the company’s Harmony OS 2. This means the P50 won’t have access to the numerous apps in the Google Play Store.
For the same reason, the P50 will be sold in China, where the Android app store was never available, with no plans yet for its sales anywhere else.
Camera-wise, the P50 is loaded. The primary camera system consists of a 40 megapixel that is main lens, a 13 megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 32 megapixel that can capture a broader color range than the competitors.
There is a camera concealed under the black cut-out on the screen for video calls, etc. However, Huawei feels you should use the main camera for taking selfies, using the circular external screen as a viewfinder. You will get better pictures, and it is more convenient.
The external screen, however, can do much more than taking selfies. In fact, Huawei is focusing its marketing on its capabilities. The cover screen can display notifications or the local date and time. It can also display widgets that can control other apps. For example, you can use it to move to the next track when playing music on the phone. Also, when navigating with the map, you can follow the directions displayed on the cover screen. This direction is turn-by-turn, meaning you don’t have to open up the phone to use the large display.
You can read your messages and email on the cover screen. Huawei shows other possibilities in application in its ad for the phone.
Huawei is able to eliminate any gap when the P50 is closed, thanks to its new sophisticated hinge. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a slight gap when closed, despite being several iterations of the original phone. Again, Huawei mentioned this in its presentation.
Face-unlock works both the main screen and cover screen. A fingerprint sensor enhances this security feature on the side. This is important as masks (thanks, Covid) could get in the way of face-unlocking.
While you might never be able to buy the Huawei P50, it starts from about $1,400 for a version with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB ROM. The premium edition is slightly beefier, with 12 GB RAM and 512 GB ROM. However, it costs about $1,700. The vanilla version comes in black or white, while the more glamorous version is available in gold or silver.