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Huawei P50 Pocket vs Galaxy Z Flip 3: Delusions of grandeur vs reality

Opinion
By 

Last updated: January 27th, 2022 at 00:54 UTC+01:00

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is by far the most successful foldable phone on the market as of this writing, Samsung or otherwise. It was only a matter of time before other OEMs began to borrow the formula and try recreating its success, and it looks like Huawei took that responsibility upon itself.

Huawei unveiled its P50 Pocket clamshell foldable device in December. This week, the company released it on pre-order terms in several regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. So, should Samsung fear Huawei’s latest foldable phone? And should you consider buying it over the Galaxy Z Flip 3?

The shortest answer to both those questions is a resounding “no.” You could argue that these types of choices often boil down to subjective preferences, and you’d be right in most other cases. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.

But the truth of the matter is that, no matter how you look at the Huawei P50 Pocket, it’s objectively a poor Galaxy Z Flip 3 alternative. It has a few good things going for itself, such as the higher-resolution camera and more built-in storage as standard, but it’s lacking in way too many other areas to be considered a worthy Galaxy Z Flip 3 rival, and indeed, a worthy purchase given the exorbitant price. More on that later.

As far as lacking features go, the Huawei P50 Pocket doesn’t have UTG (Ultra-Thin Glass) protection for the foldable display, but its OLED panel supports 120Hz. The cover screen is very small, and the circular form factor robs the already-limited usable screen area. Not to mention that its location means you’ll almost always leave handprints on the camera lens whenever you try using the cover screen one-handed.

Albeit interesting at first glance, the circular display is not a practical choice or a good fit for this type of device. It’s nothing more than a design decision without much consideration to practicality and day-to-day usability.

A higher price with nothing to show for it

Huawei’s clamshell phone features a higher resolution camera system, more storage for the base model, and a larger battery with 40W charging compared to the Galaxy Z Flip 3. That’s pretty much all there is to it when placed next to Samsung’s finest, and if you think that’s enough, better think again.

No matter what your stance on the Samsung and Huawei brands might be, paying hundreds of euros extra in exchange for some nebulous fast charging improvements on a device that already has a relatively small battery just isn’t ideal. And none of us that have used Flex Mode in the real world would trade this truly useful feature in exchange for a higher-resolution camera.

In addition, the Huawei P50 Pocket doesn’t have UTG, which means the foldable screen is more susceptible to scratches. It doesn’t have stereo speakers or water resistance, either, and with no Google Play services on-board, you’ll have a hard time getting your favorite apps up and running.

And even though it has the Snapdragon 888 chipset, the Huawei P50 Pro lacks 5G connectivity, so that’s another reason why it feels like an antiquated device wrapped up in a clamshell body. It simply tries to dazzle the eyes too much with a higher resolution camera and faster charging, but in practice, these so-called upgrades don’t even come close to justifying the Huawei P50 Pocket’s obscene price.

So, how much does Huawei’s clamshell phone cost in Europe? Well, it depends on the country, retailer, carrier, and so on, but you can be certain that you’ll pay more for the Pocket than you will for the Galaxy Z Flip 3. In Bulgaria, for example, the Huawei P50 Pocket can set you back as much as 1,431 Euro, which is an obscene amount of cash for a device of this type — a device with no proper Google services support, no water or display resistance, no stereo speakers, no UTG, no 5G, and the list goes on.

If you want to spend hundreds of euros extra for 40W charging and bragging rights in the useless megapixel wars, the Huawei P50 Pocket could be your device. But in all seriousness, if you want to experience the best foldable display technology in a device that actually makes sense beyond the pixel wars, and if you don’t want to worry about firmware support, look no further than the Galaxy Z Flip 3. You can buy it for a much lower price and get a lot more enjoyment out of it.

You can now buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G in the USA for $999 and receive a pair of Galaxy Buds 2 earbuds (worth $149) for free.

Galaxy Z Flip 3 review

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