Huawei P50 pocket fold phone review: Beautiful symmetry of technology and art

ADVANTAGES:

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Crease-free hinge folds the phone flat
  • Impressive camera performance and output

THE INCONVENIENTS:

  • No official IP rating for dust and resistance

EDITORIAL QUOTE:

The Huawei P50 Pocket masterfully embodies the symphony of art and technology in a design that perfectly blends form and function.

Beauty and power that literally fit in the palm of your hand.

Smartphones are essentially computing devices, but thanks to advances in technology, manufacturing, and design, manufacturers are free to go beyond utilitarian purposes. These gadgets have, in fact, become so ingrained in our lives that they are now almost an extension of ourselves. They have become an expression of our personality and our uniqueness, reflecting our tastes, our passions, our aspirations and our perception. We are now in a time where smartphone design is becoming more than just a marketing point, but an essential part of a buyer’s decision-making process. Sometimes the things people want are opposites: big screen but user-friendly, luxurious but affordable, powerful but simple. It’s a delicate balance that very few smartphone makers have managed to achieve but the Huawei P50 Pocket manages with the grace of royalty.

Designate: Huawei and Iris van Herpen

Aesthetic

We’ve seen our fair share of luxury phones, especially from companies whose business is to cover ordinary smartphones with outlandish parts and designs. To say that these often look flashy and almost garish wouldn’t be an understatement. The Huawei P50 Pocket, the brand’s first foldable phone in case form, is thankfully none of these, exuding an aura that’s almost ethereal but also sublime in its beauty.

The secret to the Huawei P50 Pocket is the symmetry that pervades its design, both in concept and in execution. As a phone, it folds horizontally in exactly half, resulting in an almost perfect square device that you can easily slide in and out of your pocket or bag. Each half of the phone is also symmetrical, apart from the presence of buttons, and the two circles of its shell form a perfectly balanced square.

You can both feel and see the balance throughout the phone’s design and shape, especially with the Premium Gold Edition. Gold is not something you would easily find in nature, often used as a product of mechanical and man-made processes. It is often a symbol of wealth and the power of technology, such as the technology used to engrave 3D micro-patterns on glass. Yet at the same time, the delicate and flowing patterns on the back of the phone resemble the leaves and irregularity of life. Designed in collaboration with renowned haute couture designer Iris van Herpen, this pattern represents a symbiosis, balance and symmetry, between two seemingly opposing ideas, the power of advanced technology and the artistic beauty of nature.

Even when the surface of the P50 Pocket’s surface is broken by two circles, there is still an unmistakable element of harmony and symphony. These two circles are a nod to the groundbreaking Huawei P9 that raised the company’s profile in mobile photography. The two circles are perfectly identical in size but also clearly contrasted. One rests against the back of the phone, displaying vibrant colors and vibrant images. The other is mostly black and unchanging, but rises from the surface to come into focus, both literally and figuratively, as it houses the phone’s powerful cameras.

The Huawei P50 Pocket is truly a work of art, but its elegance is neither loud nor overbearing. It transmits its presence in harmony and symmetry, both in shapes and in themes, drawing opposites to dance on its surface in a delightful play of form and light, the latter thanks to the innovative design of micro- Huawei’s 3D sculpture that creates a double-3D design on the sides. And just as importantly, it also brings that balance that smartphone users crave, offering powerful and sleek technology, especially when they fold it up and slip it into their pocket in style.

Ergonomics

A well-designed smartphone should not only be a beauty to behold but also to hold. As a tool you’ll be using day in and day out, folding and unfolding many times a day, a foldable phone like this should be comfortable to use and inspire confidence in its longevity. In other words, ergonomics also play a vital role and thankfully the Huawei P50 Pocket doesn’t disappoint here either.

The whole point of a foldable phone, especially a flip phone, is to improve the portability of the device without sacrificing its utility. Thanks to the slim profile and foldable design of the P50 Pocket, it does just that whether it’s open or closed. When unfolded, its light and slender body won’t weigh your hand down, although some prefer to hold it with two hands, like any phablet these days. When folded up, the P50 Pocket is a glamorous pocket device that you can still use, thanks to that cover screen under the camera island.

Opening and closing the phone is something you’ll naturally do several times a day, and there’s no reason to worry about the hinge breaking, which we’ll get to in a bit. Suffice it to say, the hinge is solid and feels satisfying every time you fold and unfold the phone. While it’s certainly possible to do these actions using one hand, some people might find it difficult or a little worrying. To open the phone one-handed, you’ll have to wedge your finger in that tight gap between the two halves, and some might worry about accidentally damaging the foldable screen. To fold the phone closed, you may have to adjust your hand a bit to lower the top half, which could lead to some unfortunate accidents.

Fortunately, the phone isn’t as flimsy as its luxurious appearance might suggest and is made from durable materials all around. It doesn’t have an official IP rating for dust and water resistance, but that doesn’t mean it will die on its first encounter with water. Huawei took steps to protect the phone from leaks and might have decided that the expensive certification wasn’t worth the cost. Its glass back may make it slippery for some people, but its narrow frame also makes it easier to grip. Huawei also provides a transparent case to provide additional protection without hiding the eye-catching face of the P50 Pocket.

Performance

Of course, the Huawei P50 Pocket isn’t just a fashion accessory. It is a smartphone that should meet the needs of people for web browsing, communication, social media and even gaming. Huawei provides this foldable beauty with all the power to deliver that and more. Considering how light and thin it is, it’s almost unbelievable that it manages to cram a 4,000mAh battery inside. Don’t let the numbers fool you, it’s enough to get you through a day of use. And when you need to reach for that charger, 40W fast charging technology will minimize downtime so you can be up and running ASAP.

While the phone’s intricate patterns and luxurious finish give it its personality on the back, it’s the foldable screen that gives it its distinctive feature on the front. After all, what would a foldable phone be without a foldable display. As one of the pioneers in this field, Huawei has advanced flexible panel technology and design ahead of the competition. The result is an equally beautiful big screen that brings pleasure and comfort to the eyes, whether you’re flipping through social media, watching your favorite shows, or simply reminiscing about your last “revenge trip” experience. Best of all, this flexible display shows virtually no creases that tend to plague others of its kind.

This feat was made possible by Huawei’s all-new Multi-Dimensional Hinge which creates that famous teardrop-shaped cavity when the screen is folded. This is also the reason why, unlike other foldable cases, the P50 Pocket is able to fold completely flat without any gaps. At the same time, a new multi-dimensional link lift design is responsible for raising this part of the screen and laying flat without increasing the weight of the phone with unnecessary components. Watching the screen go up and down is almost mesmerizing, and you don’t have to worry about doing it over and over thanks to the use of zirconium-based liquid metal and 2100 MPa ultra-high-strength steel to construct the hinge, providing both durability and reliability to the mechanism.

The hinge offers just enough strength to avoid making it flimsy, but it won’t get in the way when using the phone. However, it doesn’t support variable angles and either folds up or lays completely flat unless you leave it open at a right angle. This position is best for taking selfies or multitasking with video, and there’s unlikely to be much use for leaving the phone open at odd angles anyway.

Assess

It’s hard to fully compare the Huawei P50 Pocket with other foldable phones, because although they share the same basic form and function, Huawei’s piece goes beyond just being a gadget that fits in your pocket. At a time when smartphones are starting to look alike and becoming extensions of our own personalities, the P50 Pocket is both a statement and a testament to what these devices can and should be. It is, like its overall design, a symphony of art and technology, which you can proudly display, then fold up and hide in your pocket.

It’s not cheap, mind you, and there are other considerations beyond the scope of this review that can make or break people’s decisions. It is a fairly heavy investment, fortunately made to last a very long time. When it comes to design, it’s definitely worth its weight in gold, even if you take the equally sleek white edition with its sparkling diamond-inspired design.

Verdict

It’s hard to fully compare the Huawei P50 Pocket with other foldable phones, because although they share the same basic form and function, Huawei’s piece goes beyond just being a gadget that fits in your pocket. At a time when smartphones are starting to look alike and becoming extensions of our own personalities, the P50 Pocket is both a statement and a testament to what these devices can and should be. It is, like its overall design, a symphony of art and technology, which you can proudly display, then fold up and hide in your pocket.

It’s not cheap, mind you, and there are other considerations beyond the scope of this review that can make or break people’s decisions. It is a fairly heavy investment, fortunately made to last a very long time. When it comes to design, it’s definitely worth its weight in gold, even if you take the equally sleek white edition with its sparkling diamond-inspired design.

About Oscar L. Smith

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