Huawei’s original plan for 2019 called for its foldable Mate X to become its first 5G phone, but a last-minute delay pushed the $2,600 device into September. Now the embattled Chinese company has confirmed that its more conventional smartphone, the Mate 20 X 5G, will be its first 5G phone, with official launches across multiple countries scattered throughout July.
On the surface, the Mate 20 X 5G looks virtually identical to Huawei’s Mate 20 X, sporting the same 7.2-inch AMOLED screen, 24MP front-facing camera, and three rear-facing cameras ranging from 8 to 40MP. Huawei is offering the 5G version in a distinctive jade or emerald green color with conspicuous 5G branding on the back to externally differentiate the two models.
Internally, while they share the same Huawei-developed 7-nanometer Kirin 980 processor, the 5G version swaps other components in the name of faster network performance and greater storage capacity. The Mate 20 X 5G’s Balong 5000 modem is paired with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 4,200mAh battery, compared with the stock Mate 20 X’s 4G-only modem, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and 5,000mAh battery.
In terms of raw 5G performance, the Mate 20 X 5G should be a solid performer on early Asian and European mid-band 5G networks. Huawei notes that it supports both the earliest 5G non-standalone (NSA) standard and the newer 5G standalone (SA) standard, as well as prior 2G, 3G, and 4G standards. It also has dual-SIM support for 4G and 5G cards.
UAE-based carrier Etisalat says that it will start offering the Mate 20 X 5G in its stores starting on July 12 for 3,523 Dirham ($959), with preorders available now. Italian customers can preorder the Mate 20 X 5G via Amazon for €1,100 ($1,238) with a July 22 release date, while Huawei says it will release the device in China on July 26.
Multiple carriers in other European countries, including Switzerland’s Sunrise and Monaco’s Monaco Telecom, previously announced that they would offer the Mate 20 X 5G to customers, but the device still appears to be on preorder across multiple territories. U.K. carrier Vodafone notably said in May that it planned to carry the device “soon,” but quietly omitted it from last week’s 5G launch amid ongoing questions regarding Huawei’s 5G security and ability to get Android software updates.