Foldables. It’s only been a few months since Samsung released the Galaxy Z Fold3 and the Galaxy Z Flip3 and we’re seeing a lot of new foldable devices. And this is the Huawei P50 Pocket – a device that folds like the Galaxy Z Flip3. It’s obvious why Huawei decided to release this phone in the Malaysian market since the Galaxy Z Flip3 is selling like hotcakes.
So in today’s review, I’m not even going to talk about the specs, cameras, battery life, or anything like that. We’re just going to focus on the user experience of this foldable device.
The Huawei P50 Pocket is a rather unexpected phone, honestly. They’ve been using the Mate X series for like 3 years now and suddenly WHAM! A clamshell folding phone.
I have to say, the design of the Huawei P50 Pocket is actually great. It’s a lot thinner than the Galaxy Z Flip3 when comparing the thinnest points, and the P50 Pocket folds completely flat too. That is thanks to how the hinge bends the foldable display into a teardrop shape – but we’ll get into that later.
The texture of the P50 Pocket is something that I don’t have any comments about. The white color has a texture that is best described by a friend who said that “it has a waffle texture”. The gold color P50 Pocket has… a leaf vein 3D texture???
Either way, they both have the dual circle design that is reminiscent of the P50 Pro that we reviewed earlier. One of those circles is a 1.04-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 340×340 pixels and it works pretty similarly like how a smartband would.
In terms of features accessible via this circular screen, it’s not much. We can see the time, read some notifications, control music, see the calendar, all of that stuff and that’s about it. Personally, I prefer the cover display on the Galaxy Z Flip3 a lot more since it has much more utility like accessing Samsung Pay and also voice recorder, while having less wasted space.
Opening up the phone reveals a 6.9-inch 2790×1188 pixels OLED screen with up to 120Hz refresh rate. I was immediately impressed by the P50 Pocket when I unboxed. The crease depth is nearly nonexistent thanks to the aforementioned teardrop hinge mechanism. I mean, I can still brush my fingers past it and feel the crease but it’s much better than the Galaxy Z Fold3 that I’m using.
But of course, when reflections are caught by the crease, we can see a bunch of valleys at the center.
Another thing I immediately felt was that the P50 Pocket doesn’t seem to open completely flat. Each time I opened the P50 Pocket entirely, the screen just doesn’t seem flat like the Galaxy Z Fold3 when it’s unfolded for example. I thought I was crazy until I passed it to Mr John and he said the same thing. I’m not sure if this can be fixed but it is something distracting enough to make me realize and I can immediately identify it.
The hinge is also very floppy. There is no camshaft mechanism to hold the hinge at an angle like the Galaxy Z Fold2 or the Galaxy Z Fold from the year 2020. That is a big deal for me since it acts as a built-in tripod for the phone so I can take some long exposure shots or even just watch a video or attend online meetings without holding the phone or carrying a phone stand with me.
With that said, the software of the Huawei P50 Pocket is also rather lacking. Since the hinge is floppy and doesn’t lock at certain angles, there is no feature like Samsung’s Flex Mode. However, we can use apps in split-screen mode since it is a feature built into stock Android but let me show you the issue.
But the split doesn’t match the hinge’s turning point. The software doesn’t let me adjust to match up the turning point, and that is just triggering me.
Oh before I forget – heading into the settings menu, we have another option to configure the cover display’s watch face. They’re fairly limited now. We can’t put our own image as the background for the watch face but we have an assortment of cartoon animals instead. Why, Huawei?
We can also add or rearrange the widgets here but once again, they’re very limited. Only 4 widgets and that’s it.
Granted, the Huawei P50 Pocket that we have here is still using EMUI 12.0.1, so the software side might change in the future when this phone gets updated to Harmony OS.
Should you buy the Huawei P50 Pocket?
As of now, it just feels like Huawei focused all on the hardware and didn’t take advantage of this form factor from the software side. Remember – these are unrelated to Huawei’s lack of Google Mobile Services too.
So, should you go out and buy the Huawei P50 Pocket? Eh, definitely not. At the starting price of RM5,999, I really don’t know why you want to buy this instead of the Galaxy Z Flip3 that costs 1/3 lower than the P50 Pocket, has Google Mobile Services, and comes with a proper set of features to elevate the user experience, and the Z Flip3 is also IPX8-rated.
Still, it’s interesting to see how Huawei made their foldable clamshell phone.