Huawei Mate Xs 2 review: Lab tests – display, battery life, charging

Slightly smaller, twice as fast

Same but different, the foldable display on the Mate Xs 2 has shrunk a little bit. So this year you’re getting a 7.8-inch panel compared to the 8 inches of the Xs and when you factor in rounding errors the reduction in area amounts to just over 9sq. cm – less than 5%. Admittedly, you’d be losing a handful of pixels to the camera cutout too, but that’s even less impactful. With a native resolution of 2200x2480px in a squarish 10.1:9 aspect ratio, the pixel density works out to 424ppi – plenty sharp.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 review

The panel does have something to show for the marginal concession in viewable area – it’s now 120Hz capable, where the Xs from 2020 had a standard 60Hz refresh rate and the in-folding Mate X2 peaked at 90Hz. Huawei specifies a 240Hz maximum touch sampling rate and 1440Hz PWM dimming frequency.

In the folded state, the Mate Xs 2 uses around 53% of that new panel – 1176px of the available width. The ‘normal’ smartphone view has a 6.5-inch diagonal in a 19:9 aspect ratio.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 review

In our brightness testing, with the Mate Xs 2 unfolded, we measured 506 nits at the far right end of the brightness slider. That’s close to 100nits more than what we got on the Mate Xs, more or less the same as the Oppo Find N or the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and perfectly reasonable brightness even for outdoor tablet use. That said, the Find N does get an extra 100nits with auto brightness enabled, while the Galaxy can push upwards of 900nits under bright ambient light, while the unfolded Mate Xs 2 doesn’t do that.

Display test 100% brightness Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio Huawei Mate Xs 2 (Unfolded) 0 506 Huawei Mate Xs (Unfolded) 0 413 ∞ Huawei Mate X2 0 469 ∞ Huawei Mate X2 (Max Auto) 0 542 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G 0 489 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G (Max Auto) 0 922 ∞ Oppo Find N 0 490 ∞ Oppo Find N (Max Auto) 0 582 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G 0 503 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G (Max Auto) 0 935 ∞ Huawei P50 Pocket 0 521 ∞ Huawei P50 Pocket (Max Auto) 0 803 ∞

Things are a little different if you’re only using the Mate folded – as a ‘standard’ smartphone. In this case we did measure an appreciable brightness increase, all the way up to 725nits. That’s still not as bright as the best conventional phones, or the outer displays on competing ‘large’ foldables, but is a welcome sight in particularly sunny environments.

Display test 100% brightness Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio Huawei Mate Xs 2 (Max Auto) 0 725 Huawei Mate Xs 2 0 514 Oppo Find N Cover 0 505 ∞ Oppo Find N Cover (Max Auto) 0 785 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G (cover display) 0 479 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G (cover display, Max Auto) 0 1001 ∞ Huawei Mate X2 (cover display) 0 472 ∞ Huawei Mate X2 (cover display, Max Auto) 0 601 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G 0 503 ∞ Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G (Max Auto) 0 935 ∞ Huawei P50 Pocket 0 521 ∞ Huawei P50 Pocket (Max Auto) 0 803 ∞ Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 0 494 ∞ Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Extra brightness) 0 829 ∞ Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Max Auto) 0 1266 ∞ Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 0 852 ∞ Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (Max Auto) 0 1050 ∞ Huawei P50 Pro 0 609 ∞ Huawei P50 Pro (Max Auto) 0 754 ∞ Xiaomi 12 Pro 0 506 ∞ Xiaomi 12 Pro (Max Auto) 0 1050 ∞ Xiaomi 12S Ultra 0 512 ∞ Xiaomi 12S Ultra (Max Auto) 0 1065 ∞ Sony Xperia 1 IV 0 602 ∞ Oppo Find X5 Pro 0 475 ∞ Oppo Find X5 Pro (Max Auto) 0 762 ∞

The Mate Xs 2 has two main color modes – default, warm, and cool variations of each of them, plus a color temperature wheel if you’d prefer to fine-tune the output.

Normal mode is enabled by default and the menu says it should be able to choose between DCI-P3 and sRGB color spaces depending on content. It recognized our testing software as sRGB only, irrespective of what settings we had in there. We got fairly accurate, but not exactly spot-on results, with the grayscale having a pink tint. Opting for the Warm preset improved the average result slightly, and also got the white point closer to target, though it did push it into yellow territory in the process.

We did get to see wider color gamut in Vivid mode, though it wasn’t particularly accurate for our DCI-P3 test swatches – not that it claimed it would be. The white point was shifted towards blue in this case, and more heavily so, but the Warm preset did make things a lot better.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 review

HDR on the Mate Xs 2 is somewhat of a complex topic. The HDR Checker app says it supports HDR10+, and DRM Info says it’s good for Widevine L1. Netflix says L3, however, and limits things to SD resolution and no HDR. The YouTube app doesn’t run without Google Play Services, which the Mate doesn’t have, and YouTube in a browser does not support HDR. Amazon Prime Video did allow 1080p resolution, but it still wouldn’t give us HDR.

The refresh rate menu gives you three options – Dynamic, High and Standard. Standard is straightforward and it locks things at 60Hz all the time. Dynamic and High both say in different ways that they’ll go up to 120Hz, but both will adjust to lower values depending on content and activity – it’s just that High implies a heavier bias towards the 120Hz refresh rate.

The two modes do behave differently. For example, the in-house browser would go as high as 120Hz and maintain that in High mode, while it would only reach 90Hz in Dynamic mode.

With our in-house application giving unreliable results on the Mate and the phone lacking the native Android tool for keeping track of refresh rate, we couldn’t get into more detail than that. We will say that in both Dynamic and High mode the phone felt fluid and responsive, with smooth animations and transitions. The Standard mode is perfectly okay too, though if you’re used to HRR, you might need a few days of getting used to it.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 battery life

The Mate Xs 2 is powered by a 4,600mAh battery, a marginal increase over the Mate Xs’ 4,500mAhcapacity. The display is slightly smaller, which should help the new model’s case when comparing against the predecessor, but it is a 120Hz panel. Then there’s the newer chipset which rarely helps with endurance.

Indeed, we got some pretty disappointing results for battery life out of the Mate Xs 2, and that includes its folded state too. If using it as a normal phone, we got just over 7 hours of web browsing and 9 hours of video playback – that’s low. The 16-hour voice call result and the rather poor standby performance also contributed to an outright bad overall Endurance rating of 54 hours.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 review

Naturally, things got worse in the tablet-like unfolded state, where we clocked less than 6 hours of web browsing and just over 8 hours of video playback. Mind you, the video playback in our test in this mode was with the picture stretched to cover the full display, as opposed to the usual 16:9 ratio (which we couldn’t force), so it’s a worst case scenario, in a way.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display’s highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage – check out our all-time battery test results chart.

Charging speed

The silver lining in the Mate Xs 2’s case is charging speed – it’s the fastest charging foldable we’ve seen, and it improves on the predecessor’s already solid results. The Oppo Find N and especially the Galaxy Z Fold3 are slower, as are the bulk of conventional smartphones.

Huawei Mate Xs 2 review

The caveat is that the Mate does that using a proprietary standard, Huawei’s Super Charge. Then again, you do get the 66W adapter bundled, and it’s not a huge brick so you could carry it around with you for mid-day top-ups. In practice, the power being delivered peaked at around 52W so, that 66W adapter may be a little overspecced.

Charging the Mate over USB Power Delivery is considerably slower. We only got to 31% from flat in 30 minutes using a good third-party PD adapter, with the power maxing out at around 14W.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (120W) 100%
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro 91%
  • vivo X80 Pro 88%
  • Huawei Mate Xs 2 85%
  • Huawei Mate X2 80%
  • Huawei Mate Xs 80%
  • Huawei P50 Pro 73%
  • Xiaomi 12S Ultra 73%
  • Huawei P50 Pocket 70%
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (25W) 61%
  • Oppo Find N 57%
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV 47%
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (20W Apple) 42%
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G 40%
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G 33%

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

  • Xiaomi 12 Pro (120W) 0:21h
  • vivo X80 Pro 0:39h
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro 0:40h
  • Huawei Mate Xs 2 0:43h
  • Huawei P50 Pro 0:50h
  • Xiaomi 12S Ultra 0:50h
  • Huawei P50 Pocket 0:54h
  • Huawei Mate Xs 0:57h
  • Huawei Mate X2 0:58h
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (25W) 1:04h
  • Oppo Find N 1:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G 1:30h
  • Sony Xperia 1 IV 1:42h
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G 1:46h
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (20W Apple) 1:46h

What the Mate is missing and the Find and the Galaxy do have is wireless charging. Perhaps induction doesn’t work through OLED display panels? Or it only works once?

Speaker test

The Mate Xs 2 has a stereo speaker setup with a driver on each end of the device. The top one is in the right half of the phone when unfolded, or the front one when folded, and fires both up and forward to double as an earpiece. The bottom speaker ends up in the left half when unfolded.

The phone does switch the channels in software to match its orientation when held in landscape mode, be it folded or unfolded. Holding it vertically assigns the left channel to the top speaker. We almost thought that with the ‘diagonal’ arrangement of the speakers Huawei could have made the top speaker the right channel when the phone is unfolded, but that’s a whole new level of nitpicking even for us.

Bottom speaker - Huawei Mate Xs 2 review Top speaker • Bottom speaker

The Mate Xs 2 is a well sounding foldable too – it packs some low-end punch but also delivers clear vocals and crisp highs. The previous generation lacks the bass of the new one, while the X2 is a bit bassier than the Xs 2, but is more muffled higher up the frequency range. The Galaxy Fold3 is a bit more mid-forward but is lacking in the low region, and the Find N isn’t particularly likable in this crowd.

The latest Mate is also among the louder foldable options. It earned a ‘Very good’ rating in our test, on par with the Galaxy and a notch higher than the Mate Xs and X2.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal “0db” flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.