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7 min read 2 comments

Huawei Mate 20 X: performance, gaming and stamina

Just like its brothers, Huawei Mate 20 X also has very good hardware. With this giant smartphone, the company not only intends to attack the high-end market, but also wants to be part of the gaming scene. Could it have convinced us of this last objective? In the meantime, let's see how it's doing on the performance side.

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Our tests

As usual, to test the performance of the Mate 20 X we have used our usual benchmark applications that measure pure computing power, graphical performance and memory speed:

In terms of gaming, we have tested titles such as Asphalt 9, PUBG, Dragon Ball Legends and Dead Trigger 2. Obviously, there will be personal considerations regarding the use of the smartphone in everyday life.

Top level specifications

Unlike the increasingly fierce competition powered by Snapdragon chips, Huawei uses its own SoC Kirin 980, alongside 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory. The all-new HiSilicon processor is based on 7nm technology capable of enclosing 6.9 trillion transistors.

Kirin 980 2
The SoC Kirin 980 is a spectacular processor in every respect. / © Huawei

This results in better energy efficiency and performance compared to SoC based on 10nm and 14nm technology. The chip also includes the integrated graphics component Mali-G76 and two NPU units that manage the Artificial Intelligence department autonomously.

Completely useless performance mode

You can evaluate the performance of the Mate 20 X in two ways: with or without the Performance mode enabled. This mode is turned off by default, but you can turn it on by going to the battery settings. A popup reminds us that this mode optimizes the settings of your smartphone to "offer maximum performance". Of course, this will result in shorter battery life and increased overheating.

What Huawei claims, however, is in no way manifested in the benchmark tests. Comparing the two modes, the tests do not show a drastic difference in performance, showing rather similar scores, especially in the single-core department of GeekBench. There is a better result in the multi-core test, but the difference is not so evident.

huawei mate 20 x benchmark
Tests carried out with the Performance mode active (right) do not show a noticeable increase in performance. / © AndroidPIT

In addition to this benchmark, as always we have also performed our tests on 3D Mark and PassMark to measure the performance of the graphics chip, RAM and internal memory. Again, the Performance mode does not give a significant boost, perhaps an increase of two or three frames at most, so it is absolutely not worth exploiting it, especially as the battery runs out faster for no noticeable gain.

Apart from that, using the Performance mode on the Mate 20 X doesn't make any sense in general! Between the power of the Kirin 980 and the optimization of Huawei's EMUI, this smartphone is already incredibly fast. Every operation is carried out quickly, from searching and installing apps to browsing with Chrome and streaming content.

Huawei Mate 20 X: Comparison test

  Geekbench CPU Single core Geekbench Multicore CPUs 3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.1 3D Mark Sling Shot Vulkan 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0 PassMark Memory (RAM) PassMark Disk
(Storage)
Huawei Mate 20 X 3328 9798 3585 4180 MAX 30672 67361
Google Pixel 3 XL 2350 8333 4079 3333 35526 7540 69870
OnePlus 6T 2396 8981 4702 3861 64753 12364 75065
Razer Phone 2 2352 7953 4001 2955 63325 12060 70565
Galaxy Notes 9 3753 8998 3351 2857 41533 10040 71197
Note: For a better comparison we have decided to perform all tests without using the Performance mode

Spectacular gaming!

As for the gaming industry, this smartphone has absolutely nothing to envy the smartphone revelation of 2018, the so-called "gaming phone". Asphalt 9 Legends worked without a hitch, lag or stitching, even at the maximum resolution allowed for over an hour and a half without interruption. My car drove through the streets with no noticeable delay.

The same goes for the shooter games: Dead Trigger 2 is not a challenge for this smartphone, which always manages to maintain a high and constant frame rate, regardless of the environment or the mission carried out. The same goes for PUBG Mobile, voted the best Android game of 2018 by our readers.

For more hardened players, Huawei offers several accessories for this Mate 20 X, including a gamepad that connects directly to the USB Type-C port on your smartphone. This is to avoid one thing that all smartphone games have in common: the use of touch screen controls. The Huawei gamepad offers a joystick and additional buttons that should make the gameplay much more accurate. It's a shame we didn't have one to try out!

huawei mate 20 x gamepad
The gamepad to connect to the Mate 20 X only covers one side of the smartphone. / © GizmoChina

Compared to other Android smartphones, playing my favorite games on this Mate 20 X has definitely excited me more. This is thanks to the stereo sound (even if the speakers are often covered by my hands) and the excellent 7.2-inch larger display. It's only an FHD+ resolution (2244x1080 pixels), but it still gives a lot of visual space.

Infinite energy

Going back to talk about battery life, on this smartphone Huawei did not care about expenses and the extra space allowed the Chinese company to insert a battery of 5,000mAh, much larger than its younger brothers, the Mate 20 (4,000mAh) and the Mate 20 Pro (4,200mAh).

The capacity of this battery is really useful for long weekends and it is able to withstand two days without needing to be charged. With automatic brightness, a few hours of play and my typical use (five Gmail accounts, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and internet browsing via Chrome) I had no problem getting through the weekend, starting from Saturday morning with 100% and arriving on Sunday in the late afternoon with 15% residual charge. Also, I have to say that, although for most of the weekend I stayed at home, I still switched the connection between Wi-Fi and 4G+ several times to put the smartphone even more to the test.

Of course, one of the things that makes battery life so long is having an AMOLED screen mounted and not an IPS, as on the Mate 20. However, those who use the Mate 20 X moderately will probably have to charge it very rarely, but I doubt that those who decide to buy this smartphone are "casual" users.

As far as recharging the battery is concerned, even this is impressive! I let the smartphone fully drain to determine the speed of charge and... the Mate 20 X reached 50% after not even 30 minutes. Overall, the battery recharges fully in about 1 hour and 25 minutes, really not bad for a capacity of 5,000mAh.

Conclusion

From the point of view of performance, the Mate 20 X does not disappoint at all. It's a snappy smartphone that almost never hesitates and offers almost infinite battery life. Gaming is definitely a point in its favor and it can handle very heavy titles without batting an eyelid. This phone certainly does not need multicolor LEDs or additional fans to compete with the competition.

On the other hand, the 7.2-inch screen makes it great for playing or enjoying your multimedia content, but also quite uncomfortable to use during daily tasks. In addition, a higher resolution than FullHD+ would certainly have brought more space on this huge screen, but obviously at the expense of the battery. You could have solved this problem using an OLED display, which I would certainly have liked, especially in view of the price to pay to take home this device (899 euros, or $888 on Amazon).

Having said that, I was curious to try Huawei Mate 20 X to rediscover that desire to spend some free time in the company of the games that (for a change) I had abandoned out of nowhere and... I have to say, for now, it's succeeded. But we will see how it goes in the coming days: the showdown will be the full review, coming very soon!

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  • Sorin 4 weeks ago Link to comment

    Let's hope things get back to normal for Huawei!


  • storm 4 weeks ago Link to comment

    The looming global legal status of Huawei and its products makes me want to avoid them. They seem likely to be abandoned for support if things collapse for Huawei. Or perhaps actively disabled by carriers and states.