The Huawei P50 Pocket fixes an unsightly flaw of existing clamshell foldable phones — the gap between the two halves when closed. I also found the crease in its screen to be less prominent than earlier foldables like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. However, the usual caveats about Huawei mobile devices post-US trade ban remain. Not to mention that the lustrous, eye-catching gold Premium Edition that I tested, which was created in collaboration with Dutch haute couture designer Iris van Herpen, costs an arm and a leg.
- 6.9-inch OLED main display (2,790 x 1,188 pixels, 120Hz), 1.04-inch OLED cover screen (340 x 340 pixels, 60Hz)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G chip with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage
- 40MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide, and 32MP Ultra Spectrum
- 4,000mAh battery (with 40W fast charging)
Besides the gapless design, the Pocket also looks thinner than the Galaxy Z Flip. Like its Samsung rival, you can open the Pocket halfway such that it stays in a clamshell position. This lets you place the phone on a table to take a selfie using the camera app. The interface splits neatly into two, with the viewfinder on the top half. While the lack of a gap favours the Pocket, Samsung's foldable phone is more resilient. It is IPX8 water resistant, while the Pocket lacks any IP rating. However, I feel that the Pocket, with its distinctive twin circles (camera module and cover display), is a definite head-turner. It makes the Flip look boring in comparison.
Its main 6.9-inch OLED screen is worthy of a flagship phone with its sharp resolution and bright, vibrant colours. Its refresh rate can dynamically switch between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz to optimise battery life. Meanwhile, the circular cover screen on the outside lets you check the time, notifications and weather. You can also control music playback on the phone. But the screen is probably most useful as a viewfinder when taking selfies with the Pocket's rear camera. Interestingly, the cover display also has a sunscreen mirror feature that highlights the presence of sunscreen (and also my spectacles' UV filter). So you can check for uncovered spots when applying sunscreen on your face.
This sunscreen mirror feature is enabled by the Pocket's 32MP Ultra Spectrum camera, which can capture non-visible wavelengths. This unusual camera is also used by the Pocket's Fluorescence mode, which produces photos with funky purplish highlights. This mode works best in low-light conditions. The rear cameras are not quite on the same level as the P50 Pro — there's no telephoto camera, for one. But photos had spot-on colours and plenty of detail. The Pocket takes good night shots. I found them to be decently bright, though colours look warmer than real life. Photos do show a bit more noise than the best phone cameras.
Despite its top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip (4G only), the Huawei P50 Pocket seems to suffer from thermal throttling. Its benchmark figures start dipping with each subsequent run as the phone gets warmer. In real life, I wouldn't be able to tell as games like Asphalt 9: Legends ran smoothly. The Pocket's battery life is around 9hr 40min, which is slightly shorter than the P50 Pro. At S$2,398, the Pocket is almost twice the price of Samsung's Flip phone. Given its lack of Google mobile services, the Pocket is probably a tough sell for most consumers. But if you're taken by its premium, gapless design, it's available on Lazada and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Huawei.
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