Huawei P50 Pocket first review: so shiny!


(Pocket Ribbon) – In the foldable smartphone market, most manufacturers started with the book style approach. This meant a large screen – almost tablet size – that you can fold to fit in your pocket. That also applies to Huawei, with its Mate X series of phones.

Of all the big names, it was Samsung that really championed the idea of ​​a 21st century flip phone: a phone that took a screen the size of a smartphone and let you fold it in half. The result was an incredibly compact, portable phone. It’s a very attractive form factor, so it’s no surprise that other manufacturers are jumping on this emerging style. It’s also no surprise to see Huawei being one of the first to try its own approach.

The P50 Pocket takes that basic flip phone idea and tweaks it with a few design and feature tweaks.

Design

170 x 75.5 x 7.2 mm unfolded 87.3 x 75.5 x 15.2 mm folded Weighs 190 g – glass and aluminum design

If there’s one standout feature of the P50 Pocket, it’s its design. Especially when you look at the Premium Edition designed in collaboration with Iris Van Herpen.

Not only is this model all gold, but it also features a striking fan design across the entire surface of the front and back glass. And it’s not a simple 2D pattern either. Each ‘blade’ of the fan is recessed into the outer glass, so it has texture as well. That means it looks and feels like no other phone on the market right now.

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Like the P50 Pro, Huawei has made the camera system a big part of the whole aesthetic, by making it completely round and sticking it next to an identically sized round screen. Like the fan pattern glass, it certainly adds to the phone’s standout appeal. And by linking those two circles together, it makes the round camera unit not only look clunky.

Apart from that, the design and styling is very reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. However, there are some notable differences. When folded, for example, it’s slimmer because Huawei’s method of bending the screen into the hinge has allowed the two halves of the phone to lie almost completely flat. There is no easily visible gap.

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The method of bending the screen into the hinge also means you won’t get that prominent single fold along the screen. More importantly, it means you’re not applying pressure to a single point, meaning the panel should last more folds.

What we did notice was that the hinge feels a bit looser and ‘more bouncy’ than Samsung’s approach, so it doesn’t seem to want to stay as stiff at fixed angles. Sometimes, if we tried to quickly set it down at a 90-degree angle, it would just pull itself right back up. So while the aluminum frame and hinge cover appear strong and durable, we think that hinge design could be a little sturdier.

However, the phone is also noticeably wider and taller than the Samsung model, allowing Huawei to fit a larger screen inside (more on that later).

There’s no official water or dust resistance, but the phone does have the buttons you’d expect to find. There’s a physical fingerprint sensor on the side – which doubles as a wake/sleep button – plus the volume rocker switch. Both built into an aluminum frame that is very shiny.

Displays

6.9-inch foldable OLED main display 1188 x 2790 resolution – 21:9 – 120 Hz refresh Circular 1.04-inch – 340 x 340 OLED cover display

By any calculation, a 6.9-inch screen on a smartphone is a large screen. And that’s what you get in the P50 Pocket. At nearly 7-inches, you get an expansive, cinematic OLED panel with a 21:9 ratio with all the right specs.

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At almost 450 pixels per inch, it’s a sharp screen and all text and fine details look sharp. It is also capable of displaying 1 billion colors, giving it a really wide color gamut. In addition, with 120 Hz refresh rates, it can also be incredibly smooth and fluid.

We’ll need more time to properly review it, but our first impressions are of a screen that’s bright, with vibrant colors, but without that oversaturated feeling you often get from OLED screens. It seems well adjusted. Plus, it has very finely tuned brightness levels, so it won’t just jump between bright and dim when the brightness is automatically adjusted. It gradually shifts, making it less jarring.

Then there’s the small screen on the outside which is – in every way – the same kind of screen you’d get on a smartwatch, just smaller. It is a completely round touch-sensitive OLED panel.

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You can’t do a lot with it, but it’s useful. It can be used to display a clock – with a background theme that matches that on your main screen – as well as display notifications, a weather widget and as a camera monitor for when you want to use the main cameras to take selfies.

Hardware and software

Snapdragon 888 Processor8GB/256GB and 12GB/512GB RAM/Storage4000mAh Battery – 40W Wired ChargingEMUI 12 – No Google Play Services

In terms of hardware and specs, the P50 Pocket has everything you could want from a flagship phone. That comes with a minor caveat, of course, as long as you’re happy with the 2021 flagship processor. The Snapdragon 888 in the P50 Pocket has since been replaced by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is what you’ll find in pretty much every other flagship Android in 2022. phone you will see.

That’s in addition to a generous amount of RAM and storage. There are two variants here; one with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage and one with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage. This premium model comes with the latter combination, and therefore costs more than the lower memory variants.

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For a flip phone, it also has a relatively solid battery. At 4000 mAh, it has 700 mAh more than the Samsung alternative and also charges faster thanks to support for Huawei’s 40 W SuperCharge technology. Unfortunately, there is no wireless charging.

In Europe, the phone will use EMUI 12, Huawei’s skin built on top of Android. As with every Huawei phone launched in recent years, it doesn’t come with Google Play services, so you should make sure your needs are met by Huawei’s App Gallery and Petal Search before buying.

Cameras

40MP primary camera13MP ultrawide32MP ultra spectrum camera

Huawei has never really been afraid to try new things with its camera systems. It was one of the first to adopt night mode photography, AI scene processing, the periscope zoom camera, and a few other technologies. With the P50 Pocket, he tries something unconventional.

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In addition to the usual main and ultra-wide camera duo, there is an ultra spectrum camera. This can – according to Huawei – capture wavelengths invisible to the human eye, and has enabled a new ‘Fluorescence’ function. When shooting at night or in low light, this mode gives objects a bright, neon-like appearance.



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It’s probably too early to call it a gimmick, and it would allow for some creativity previously unavailable on smartphones, but we’ll have to test it further to see how effective it is.

First impression

From a design perspective, the P50 Pocket is very different in approach from what we’ve seen so far – especially when compared to Samsung’s Z Flip 3. The round screen on the case and the textured, patterned finish makes it look very unique.

But what we cannot ignore is the price. Where Samsung has been able to bring its flip phone to a palatable price – not unlike most flagship phones – the Huawei P50 Pocket is still incredibly expensive. And for those of us in western markets, the lack of Google Play Services means it might not be all that practical for most people.

Written by Cam Bunton.

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