Huawei was one of the pioneering brands when the race for folding phones began in 2019. Today, in a very different scenario, it returns to the fray with a new proposal for the clamshell-type folding mobiles segment. We analyze the Huawei P50 Pocket and give you our opinion.
Looking back, during the last decade the monolithic format of mobiles has not evolved much. 2022 seems to be the great year of folding phones that come to revolutionize the format.
The Huawei P50 Pocket marks the beginning of a new line of clamshell-type folding smartphones that expands the offer of an ambitious leap in Huawei’s Premium mobiles and, specifically, the model we have in hand looks more like a haute couture design than a cool tech device.
As in haute couture fashion, innovation and the latest trends come at a price that can be prohibitive for many. The one with a starting price of 2,351 dollars, very much in the line of folding like the Oppo Find N or its most direct rival by format, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
|Screen||Interior: 6.9-inch OLED foldable | Full HD+ resolution (2,790 x 1,188 pixels) | 442 dpi density | 120Hz Refresh | 85.1% of the front is screen | Exterior: 1.04-inch OLED | 340 x 340 pixel resolution | 60Hz refresh rate | 328 dpi|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G | adreno 660|
|RAM and Storage||12GB of RAM | 512 GB of internal storage | Expandable up to 256 GB with NM Card|
|main chambers||40 Mpx True-Chroma main with f / 1.8 aperture and OIS | Ultra wide angle of 13 Mpx with aperture f/2.2 and 120º | 32 Mpx ultraspectral with f / 1.8 aperture|
|Frontal camera||10.7 Mpx with opening f / 2.2|
|Battery||4,000mAh | 40W SuperCharge charging | Charger included | 50W wireless charging | Reverse wireless charging|
|Operating system||Android 11 + EMUI 12|
|Dimensions and weight||Unfolded: 170 x 75.5 x 7.2mm | Folded: 87.3 x 75.5 x 15.2mm | 190 grams|
|connectivity||Wi-Fi 6 | Bluetooth 5.2 | NFC | USB-C 2.0 | gps|
- Foldable elegance and exclusivity, although limited to 4G
- 21:9 folding format that meets the canons of the high end
- Snapdragon 888 silk dress that is overshadowed by the lack of MSG
- Without Leica’s hand, cameras are only correct for a high-end
- 4,000 mAh that give for a day of use and a limited fast charge
- Haute couture design applied to a mobile, but Huawei has neglected functionality
Foldable elegance and exclusivity, although limited to 4G
We begin this review by talking about the most differential point of this Huawei P50 Pocket : its exquisite design is closer to a piece of Parisian haute couture than to the aesthetics that we are used to seeing in telephony.
The result is a clamshell foldable smartphone that feels premium even before you take it out of the box. The exterior finish has a gold finish with textures inspired by the feathers of a bird that the Dutch designer uses in her designs.
When the smartphone is folded it has dimensions of 87.3 x 75.5 x 15.2 mm, while unfolded it shows a 21:9 format with dimensions of 170 x 75.5 x 7.2 mm and a weight of 190 grams.
The experience in the hand is quite high-end, with a touch of glass that reveals the texture of the design. The hinge is a direct legacy of the folding Huawei Mate Xs with a book format, and comes in a matching gold color that joins the metal chassis.
A highlight of the design of this hinge is that it leaves no gap between the sides of the smartphone when it is folded, reducing the final thickness of the mobile to make it even more compact when folded and enhancing that compact or cigarette case appearance.
When folded, the hinge leaves space to display the brand logo, which is hidden when unfolded. The finish of the hinge leaves no spaces or gaps, which contributes to conveying the feeling of being in front of a very Premium product, but it does not offer resistance to water or dust like its main rival.
The other differential point that is serving as a hallmark of the 2022 P50 range is the two large circles on the rear.
In the case of the Huawei P50 Pro that we analyzed a few days ago, this space is occupied by the two camera modules, in the P50 Pocket it is occupied by a camera module and a circular OLED touch screen integrated under the armored glass cover on the back..
On the right side of the P50 Pocket we find a fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button. Above it is the perfectly integrated volume button with a finish in the same color as the chassis.
On the opposite side is the hybrid tray shared by the nanoSIM card with 4G connectivity and the NM Card memory card that allows you to expand the capacity of the smartphone by up to an additional 256 GB. At the bottom, the stereo speaker and USB Type-C connector are located.
Connectivity is completed with support for WiFi 6 networks, Bluetooth 5.2 and mobile payments with NFC but, for legal reasons, Huawei cannot support 5G networks, which leaves it at a clear disadvantage compared to its rivals.
The back is made of glass, so the fingerprints are marked, although the gold finish helps to hide them. Despite being a mobile with such a long format, its thickness and weight make it comfortable to use, although sometimes you have to use both hands to press the icons or links that are located at the top of the screen.
The movement of opening and closing the hinge offers a certain magnetic (or perhaps mechanical resistance induced by the hinge) that keeps the smartphone closed or open. However, it does not offer enough resistance to hold the smartphone at medium angles and slowly gives way to weight.
This is a function that Huawei has not managed to implement and that, on the other hand, We found very useful in the analysis in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 that allowed the half-folded smartphone to be used as a support in video calls or to write as if it were a laptop.
21:9 folding format that meets the canons of the high end
The unfolded P50 Pocket reveals a huge ultra-wide screen with a 21:9 format, while the external screen, due to its format, could well come directly from any of the new Watch GT 3 smart watches that we have already analyzed.
We are talking about a 6.9-inch OLED folding screen with Full HD + resolution (2,790 x 1,188 pixels) that leaves a density of 442 dpi, while the external screen is a 1.04-inch circular OLED with a resolution of 340 x 340 pixels and a density of 328 dpi.
The internal screen frames are very well used. Only the top frame is slightly wider than the rest. The front camera is inserted into the screen, but it does so with a fairly contained hole.
We have to say that both offer very good sharpness based on a good level of brightness, an essential condition especially for the internal screen that, being covered by a plastic material, does not manage brightness as do mobiles protected by glass.
We have measured an average brightness of 845 luxes with peaks of up to 1,133 luxes that guarantee correct visibility in all light scenarios and allow HDR content to be reproduced without any problem.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to fully exploit the potential of this screen by watching YouTube videos because the limitations with Google prevent it from being displayed beyond a 720p resolution.
The fluidity is covered with a refresh rate of 120 Hz which, together with its ultra-panoramic format, is the perfect combination for browsing the internet and reviewing social networks with a vertical timeline.
Huawei has well solved the problem of the crease in the screen that goes unnoticed when looking at the screen perpendicularly and to the touch it gives a greater sensation of resistance than we tested in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
The only time you can see the screen folding in half is when you look at it obliquely or when you run your finger along the crease area where a slight indentation is visible to the touch.
The external screen is also touchscreen and has been tremendously useful for us to review notifications without opening the smartphone, control music playback or to discreetly take selfies with the main cameras avoiding the WoW effect when taking the mobile out of the pocket and unfolding it to make a picture.
The quality of this small screen is good and by means of touch gestures you can switch between the different widgets that show information, enable a small mirror, and even change the camera focus or switch to video mode.
In the audio section we do not find a headphone jack and the stereo speakers offer good audio quality, but they are not too powerful.
In this section, it is supported by the improvements offered by Huawei Histen, but these are only activated when a Bluetooth headset is connected.
Snapdragon 888 silk dress that is overshadowed by the lack of MSG
Given the display of style and elegance that overflows on the outside, it’s time to check if the Huawei P50 Pocket is just a pretty face. Inside we find a Snapdragon 888 processor with the peculiarity of having the 5G modem disabled.
Except for 5G connectivity, we can expect the brutal performance offered by the most powerful Snapdragons so far. Therefore, the P50 Pocket looks head to head in performance to the top high-end phones.
The synthetic tests verify this, yielding scores equivalent to those obtained by the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 or the Huawei P50 Pro.
Gaming performance has been as expected, and the Adreno 660 GPU hasn’t faltered when running Asphalt 9 or Genshin Impact without a hitch.
|Huawei P50 Pocket||Samsung Galaxy ZFlip 3||Huawei P50 Pro|
|Processor||Snapdragon 888 4G||Snapdragon 888 5G||Snapdragon 888 4G|
|Geekbench 4 Single||–||5,006||–|
|Geekbench 4 Multi||–||12,640||–|
|Geekbench 5 Single||1,081||861||1,121|
|Geekbench 5 Multi||3,156||3,264||3,389|
|3D Mark Wild Life||4,754 | 28.50fps||4,003 | 24fps||5,709 | 34.20fps|
The Huawei P50 Pocket Premium Edition that we are testing comes with 12 GB of RAM that provides a smooth user experience in all scenarios, but does not prevent the smartphone from experiencing the temperature increase generated by the Snapdragon 888 when the nuts are tightened..
It becomes evident when playing games or recording videos, being especially noticeable next to the cameras and extending to the frame and the upper half of the smartphone.
The internal storage of this Premium edition of the P50 Pocket comes with 512 GB and the possibility of expanding it by up to an additional 2565 GB using a Huawei NM memory card.
As is often the case in Huawei mobiles, the implemented memory is one of the fastest, contributing to a more fluid general use experience.
|Huawei P50 Pocket||Samsung Galaxy ZFlip 3||Huawei P50 Pro|
|memory copy speed||11.15GB/s||10.30GB/s||11.92GB/s|
Software is the big elephant in the room when it comes to a Huawei smartphone.
Huawei has implemented EMIU 12.0.1 running on Android 11 but the absence of Google Mobile Services (GMS) means that the installation of applications depends on the AppGallery and not on Google Play, showing a clear disadvantage in the number of available apps.
I have tried different mobiles and tablets since Huawei started the problems with Google services and I have been able to see for myself the enormous effort of Huawei to offer as many apps as possible in its application store.
Specifically, it uses various strategies so that you can install Instagram, Spotify, Twitter or the apps of the most important banking entities either from the App Gallery or by using its Petal Search browser to download the installation APKs directly from the app’s servers.
It also uses Quickapps, which consists of opening applications such as YouTube directly in the browser instead of an app installed on the system, but this method may have some limitations.
For everything else, Huawei relies on third-party apk repositories. Despite being able to install the apps from one of these repositories, some of them, especially the games, can use Google Play to download updates or link the player’s accounts with Play Games.
These are important day-to-day inconveniences for a user accustomed to using the services associated with Android, but for a user who does not have a close relationship with Google apps in his day-to-day life, he can opt for Huawei alternatives.
We consider the tricky section of the apps settled and we move on to the biometric security formed by a facial recognition system and a fingerprint reader on the power button.
The behavior of both is simply impeccable. The response of the fingerprint sensor is immediate. We have used it more than the recognition one due to the masks but, without them, its response is just as effective.
Without Leica’s hand, cameras are only correct for a high-end
The Huawei P series has been characterized by two immovable pillars since the first Huawei P series: a set of lenses signed by Leica and the best photographic performance of Huawei.
Unlike the Huawei P50 Pro, the P50 Pocket does not have any of these pillars and we do not have the Leica signature next to the cameras , nor is it the rival to beat in the photographic field as the previous mobiles and P were. fact, as is the Huawei P50 Pro.
In its place we have a correct camera configuration for a high-end, but far from shining as a photographic mobile. It is not something that has only happened to Huawei, in the review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 we already told you that the sensations are similar to those transmitted by the P50 Pocket cameras.
The Camera app is similar to the one found on other Huawei smartphones, with the function icons varying depending on their availability with each camera.
In the carousel of shooting modes we find interesting options such as Aperture mode, Night mode or Portrait mode , along with the usual automatic Photo and Video modes, as well as the Professional mode that allows manual shooting. The rest of the creative modes are concentrated in the More drawer.
Here are some of the brand’s usual creative shooting modes, such as Two View mode, Monochrome or fast and slow motion modes.
One of the novelties is the Fluorescence mode that activates a flash of black light (ultraviolet) that reveals details that are not seen with the naked eye but that, personally, I have not found of great interest.
|Cameras||Opening and stabilization|
|Rear||40MP True-Chroma Camera | Laser AF||f/1.8 | OIS + EIS|
|Ultra Spectrum: 32MP | 1/3.14” sensor | 0.7μm pixels||f/1.8|
|Ultra wide angle: 120º | 13MP||f/2.2|
|Frontal||10.7MP | 0.8μm||f/2.2 | HIA | fixed focus|
The main camera of the Huawei P50 Pro is the one that has given us the most joy, offering photos with very good colors, but staying true to reality.
Perhaps this has to do with the incorporation of the 32 Mpx Ultraspectral lens that acts as a support to obtain additional information for the rest of the cameras, but is not accessible to the user. For this reason, only Wide Angle (GA) and 1x shooting options appear in many modes.
Huawei states that this camera provides information to the True-Chroma image engine with which more color information and better representation is achieved in the skins of the portraits.
The wide angle that the Huawei P50 Pocket mounts leaves a color processing very similar to that of the main camera, but it has little to do with sharpness, accusing a severe distortion in the corners and a null correction of the vertical lines that lie down inevitably towards the center of the image.
The good resolution of the main sensor allows you to apply a crop to obtain a 5x digital zoom directly from the Camera app and go up to 10x. The truth is that we do not recommend going from that 5x maximum and staying at 2x to obtain acceptable results in terms of quality.
Huawei was also a pioneer in night shooting modes, and the truth is that the results obtained in the previous P series mobiles have been spectacular. However, in the case of the P50 Pocket, the results have not been more than correct.
Night mode has managed to balance highlights and darker areas while keeping noise low, but it has done so at the expense of sharpness and photos shot with this mode don’t add much detail and show a clear tendency to watercolors.
The white balance is well achieved with the main camera, but the lower opening of the wide-angle camera forces the exposure to be forced and leaves worse results.
Portrait mode delivers different results depending on which camera is being shot. Since the P50 Pocket integrates an external screen, it is possible to take selfies and portraits with both the “front” camera and the main camera, controlling the framing and shooting from the small screen.
The photos with the front camera (the one inserted in the internal screen) present some problems with the focus and the eyes appear out of focus in a large number of shots, forcing them to be repeated.
The blur is natural, so to get more aggressive blurs you will have to opt for the Aperture mode. The best option is to use the external screen next to the main camera to get the best results for selfies in bright sunlight, as well as night or group selfies using the wide angle.
Despite mounting the Snapdragon 888, the Huawei P50 Pocket only allows you to record in 4K at 60 fps which, although it does not apply any stabilization, does achieve very good quality shots with very good sharpness.
To obtain more stabilized videos, apply a cut in the resolution limiting it to 1080p and 30 fps. In this scenario, sharpness and color processing are maintained, and other functions such as focus tracking of moving objects can be added.
4,000 mAh that give for a day of use and a limited fast charge
The peculiar folding format of the Huawei P50 Pocket, with the hinge splitting the body of the smartphone in two, makes it difficult to install a larger battery without thereby putting the delicate balance with its dimensions at risk.
We are talking about a 4,000 mAh battery, a capacity that seems almost anecdotal for a high-end smartphone in 2022, but which places it ahead of its direct rivals such as the Galaxy Z Flip 3, which mounts a 3,300 mAh battery.
With this capacity and similar screen diagonal we have obtained between 4 hours and a half and 5 hours of use. This will be a very short time for the most intensive users of social networks, but with moderate use the end of the day is reached.
To recover the charge, the Huawei P50 Pocket includes a 40 W SuperCharge charger with which it recovers 50% of its autonomy in 24 minutes and 100% in 1 hour. Wireless charging is left in the inkwell.
Haute couture design applied to a mobile, but Huawei has neglected functionality
The design of the Huawei P50 Pocket is simply impressive and this has been recognized by those who have seen it these days in my hands. It looks straight out of a Paris haute couture atelier and oozes glamor on all four sides.
Inside we find the top hardware for a smartphone that was presented in 2021 and optimized so that the operating system slides like butter on hot toast.
But for a smartphone, apps are everything and staying out of an ecosystem as powerful as Google’s means paying a high toll for the user.
With the P50 Pocket, Huawei has been able to stay on the wave of future trends just as it did in its day, being pioneers with the Huawei Mate X foldables, but the P50 Pocket moves in price ranges in which the user does not support the slightest inconvenience.