The rumors were true, and Huawei has responded to Samsung’s dominance over the foldable phone market with a Galaxy Z Flip 3 competitor called the P50 Pocket. And once again, as per rumors, Huawei took cost-saving measures to increase the P50 Pocket’s chances of success against its rival. The highest barrier to entry in the foldable market has always been the price, so it looked like Huawei was about to give Samsung a hard time. At least in China, where Huawei remains relevant. But has the OEM succeeded?
Looking past the fact that the Huawei P50 Pocket is a Galaxy Z Flip 3 clone the same way the Huawei Mate X2 was a Galaxy Z Fold 2 copy, no, the P50 Pocket doesn’t seem to have come close to its potential.
First of all, let’s have a quick look at the sacrifices Huawei had to make to release the P50 Pocket in its final form on December 23. Then, we’ll look at the launch price achieved and whether or not it was worth it.
No UTG and a smartwatch-grade cover display
The Huawei P50 Pocket lacks UTG (Ultra-Thin Glass), so the foldable display is more vulnerable to scratches, bumps, damage from fingernails, etc. Foldable panels are not as resilient as regular flat panels, and Samsung’s UTG solution came a long way to mitigate these problems.
In addition, Huawei also appears to have cut some costs in the cover display department. It took the route of style (debatable) over substance. The cover display looks like it was pulled out of a 1.04-inch circular smartwatch and has a resolution of 340 x 340 pixels. In case you forgot, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a more practical 1.9-inch rectangular cover display with a resolution of 512 x 260.
No IP rating, no water resistance
While we’re on the subject of durability, the Huawei P50 Pocket doesn’t have an IP rating, so you may not want to risk using it in heavy rain, let alone dropping it in the pool. Well, you might not want to risk buying it in the first place since it doesn’t work with Google Play services, but that’s beside the point.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the first foldable phone to have an IP(X8) rating, along with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which means that it should survive underwater (1.5 meters) for up to 30 minutes. And while you probably shouldn’t risk going underwater with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, either, you can rest easy knowing that it can at least survive a dip.
The hinge brings about feelings of nostalgia. Too much nostalgia
At some point in the P50 Pocket’s development, Huawei turned its attention towards lowering the phone’s price by using a less expensive yet, as per rumors, durable hinge. We can’t comment on the durability of the hinge, but it sure looks cheap.
I’ll give Huawei this. The hinge looks “flexible” enough that it might allow you to unfold the phone with a flick of the wrist if you’re feeling really nostalgic for the 2000s and you want to put that “durability” claim to the test. But as far as the modern era goes, Huawei’s cheaper hinge doesn’t have any practical features akin to Flex Mode.
Samsung redefined the concept of a clamshell hinge with Flex Mode, and although the Z Flip 3 isn’t friendly to the old flick-of-the-wrist motion some of us grew up with, Flex Mode adds a lot more in exchange. It allows the Galaxy Z Flip series to be kept open at virtually any angle and even turns the phone into its own tripod for taking clear photos or recording Night Hyperlapse videos.
Sometimes you need a device like the Huawei P50 Pocket to shine more light on advancements made by other companies — in this case, Samsung. Failed attempts like the P50 Pocket remind us that the old way isn’t always the best and that new advancements can change how we interact with technology.
Check the videos below for a quick look at Huawei’s cost-effective hinge in action next to the Galaxy Z Flip 3.
How much cheaper is the Huawei P50 Pocket? It’s not!
And here’s the kicker. The Huawei P50 Pocket isn’t cheaper than the Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s more expensive.
The standard 8GB/256GB P50 Pocket costs around $1,410 in China. There’s also a 12GB/512GB variant, but that’s closer to Galaxy Z Fold 3 territory, as it costs a whopping ~$1,720. Meanwhile, you can buy the 8GB/256GB Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G for under $1,000 and get a pair of Galaxy Buds 2 for free.
So, at the end of the day, even though Huawei has cheaped out on critical components like UTG, the cover display, the build quality, water resistance, and the hinge, the P50 Pocket managed to hit the shelves for a considerable higher launch price than the Galaxy Z Flip 3.
The Huawei P50 Pocket might be the definition of a failed clone. And I don’t believe that the faster-charging capabilities or higher-resolution cameras make up for the other missing key features or the higher price.
Are there any redeeming qualities to the Huawei P50 Pocket, in your opinion? Let us know in the comment section.
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