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I took a selfie with the Huawei Mate X and it's a game changer for photos

Huawei Mate X
Image credit: TechRadar

The Huawei Mate X looks like the future of foldable phones and true multi-tasking, but it has mainstream appeal for fun, too, beyond its serious productivity chops.

Case in point, we took one of the first selfies using the foldable phone at MWC 2019, and realized it was a game changer for self-indulgent photo seekers everywhere.

Is the Mate X prohibitively expensive for average consumers? Sure. But it taught me that the foldable phone idea has legs that the general public will love.

This is my hand. This is proof I touched this foldable phone and that you get a selfie preview using the main camera 

This is my hand. This is proof I touched this foldable phone and that you get a selfie preview using the main camera 

1. But first, let's take a selfie – with the main camera

You have a screen on both sides of the folded Huawei Mate X, so you can see a live view of yourself when you snap a selfie from the main camera.

That's important. All of the best tech is inside rear cameras these days, and Huawei figuratively (and somewhat literally) flips this idea on its head with two outer screens.

Huawei hasn't released Mate X camera specs, but we do know it has three lenses in its front grip, and the selfie looked good as we saw them on the 6.4-inch screen side.

The best part was not having to worry about deciding between blindly taking a photo with the main camera without using a screen, and taking an inferior selfie with a screen preview.

When someone else takes a photo of you, you see yourself on the 6.4-inch screen – while they see you on the 6.6-inch screen. Winners, all.

When someone else takes a photo of you, you see yourself on the 6.4-inch screen – while they see you on the 6.6-inch screen. Winners, all.

2. Eliminating 'Oh, can you take that again?'

Truly great technology eliminates bottlenecks of everyday life. Mobile phone calls and texts have helped eliminate "Where are you?" and maps eliminate "Where do I go?" while we're on the go.

Foldable phones can eliminate this common question: "Oh, can you take that again?" It's the needy line everyone uses when they ask a stranger to re-snap a photo of them.

You don't have to wait to get your foldable phone back from a photo-snapping good Samaritan.

In the US, asking for a photo re-take is common. Our UK colleagues tell me it's not something they ask, but the point remains over there: you walk away with an undesirable photo.

You don't have to wait to get your foldable phone back from a photo-snapping good Samaritan with a foldable. You can see a live view of yourself on the 6.4-inch screen side. They have access to the 6.6-inch side. Everyone wins.

Am I framed right? No, my head is cut off. Does my hair need to be..? Yup, that strand it out of place. Is that a flattering angle? Yo, you're giving me a double chin! Can you get that iconic building in the background? That's the point of this shot!

Your photos are going to improve and people are going to hate you less.

Here's the photo instantly blown up on unfurled 8-inch tablet view.

Here's the photo instantly blown up on unfurled 8-inch tablet view.

3. Let's review that photo... on an 8-inch tablet

The biggest sell for foldable phones at MWC has been the ability to see something on the folded 'smartphone' screen and instantly be able to blow it up to tablet view.

That's what we experienced when taking a selfie photo on the Mate X, when it went from a small square of the 6.4-inch screen to the fully unfolded 8-inch display. It was like a zoomed-in picture that was still a 1:1 fit on the screen.

We could see everything on a mini tablet-sized screen, and can only imagine that this will lead to more granular editing and much easier cropping. 

Early adopters will be able to push this mainstream perk among their friends who wait for a mainstream price

Early adopters will be able to push this mainstream perk among their friends who wait for a mainstream price

New camera phone, who's dis?

The Huawei Mate X taught me that foldable phones have a convincing use case that everyday consumers can get behind: better photos and selfie photos.

Portrait photos have been a fine recent advancement, but if they're shot blindly so you can't see them live, they require a lot of re-takes or, more likely, you settle for subpar results. Your photo taker's time is finite.

Having a live view on both sides is an absolute game-changer we see coming from foldable phones. It may be a better mainstream selling point than true multitasking.

Given the price of all foldable phones, it's going to take a while for average phone owners to experience this perk. But know this: your selfie game is going to go up as soon as soon as you fold down.