Review: How the HUAWEI P50 Pocket keeps a grip on photography in a clamshell

Review: How the HUAWEI P50 Pocket keeps a grip on photography in a clamshell

First impressions of HUAWEI’s latest foldable smartphone, the HUAWEI P50 Pocket.

The last year has been a huge one for foldable smartphones, with HUAWEI and Samsung pushing new releases, as well as Xiaomi and LG joining the fray with solid offerings of their own. HUAWEI’s latest in the foldable department is the HUAWEI P50 Pocket, which — unlike its first three large, book-like foldables — takes on a clamshell-style form, meaning it is a considerably ‘normal-sized’ phone with a horizontal point in the centre that folds into a small, square-shaped device.

When I received the HUAWEI P50 Pocket to review, I was truthfully excited. For millennials such as myself, the current wave of foldable smartphones evokes a touch of nostalgia to the days of flip phones past — the thrill and dramatic flair of snapping my phone shut after a call is always difficult to resist.

One of the selling points of the HUAWEI P50 Pocket is its innovative double-ring design on its front, with one ring housing the camera module and the other the smart Cover Screen. With its Ultra Spectrum Camera Matrix, the HUAWEI P50 Pocket is able to capture more details and produce clearer images during both day and night, making it a photographic expert of light and shadows. The HUAWEI P50 Pocket comes in three colours: white, black, as well as a special premium edition gold trim — which is what I’ve chosen to review.

Is the HUAWEI P50 Pocket worth its weight in gold? Here are my thoughts after spending two weeks with HUAWEI’s latest foldable smartphone.

Right off the bat, the beautifully patterned design of the HUAWEI P50 Pocket caught my eye. I received the Premium Edition of the foldable smartphone, and first noticed its outer cover embellished with organically flowing patterns in a stunning gold tone, giving it a sleek and luxe feel. Designed together with Haute Couture designer, Iris van Herpen, the Premium Gold colour is inspired by the concept of “symbiosis”.

Despite its elaborately decorated form, I was surprised to find it very lightweight. At its ‘full’ form it is 6.9 inches with a 21:9 display, but when folded, the phone fits snugly in the palm of the hand.

The screen also looks great when unfolded, and doesn’t really produce a crease in its folding point — something that seems to be a common factor in most foldable smartphones. Plus, there’s almost no gap at all when you fold it closed. With a small water drop-shaped cavity inside the hinge, the crease is barely noticeable at all and makes for a smooth screen display.

One slight ‘nit-picky’ thing that I’ve noticed is that the phone does make a tiny grinding sound when you fold it closed. Besides that, do be reminded that an IPX rating is not provided, and thus you should take good care of your phone with the right protective accessories that would help keep the phone lasting for a long time.

Review: How the HUAWEI P50 Pocket keeps a grip on photography in a clamshell

Setting up the HUAWEI P50 Pocket is a breeze. Once you’ve connected to a WiFi network, all you need to do is log in with your existing HUAWEI ID, sync all your files and necessary contacts over — and you’re good to go!

With a wide 21:9 aspect ratio, the device is made for cinematic content — perfect for watching your favourite shows on Netflix and playing games. The 1440Hz PWM dimming support of the phone also ensures that your eyes are always protected when using the phone. Overall, the HUAWEI P50 Pocket is easy on the eyes and is good for long-term use.

Of course, knowing what I had already known about the device’s camera quality, I did not hesitate to try it out before checking out anything else. Everyone knows that the quality of the rear-facing camera of any phone is far better than the front-facing camera.

I took my first selfie with the phone and was very pleased with how it turned out. Thanks to the foldable form factor and the unique Cover Screen feature of the device, you can now take your selfies with the ‘main’ rear-facing camera. This means great nighttime selfies, too — so, if it’s any reassurance at all, the HUAWEI P50 Pocket certainly does not compromise on quality when it comes to selfies.

The P50 Pocket also boasts a True-Chroma shot experience, embodying the saying, “Life imitates art.” The feature lets you easily capture colours exactly as they are in real life with just one touch. Say goodbye to colour distortion! Now, what you see is exactly what you’re going to get, as the Ultra Spectrum camera manages to capture true-to-life colour visual images — a prominent feature of the P50 series by HUAWEI, also present in the P50 Pro.

Besides that, you can be rest assured that no picture is too big or too small for the Ultra Spectrum Camera. With a 120-degree wide field of view, the device’s 13MP Ultra Wide Angle Lens is great for capturing the most expansive vistas as well as the smallest objects ranging from flowers to insects.

Ultimately, what sets the HUAWEI P50 Pocket apart from its foldable smartphone peers is its Cover Screen feature. It’s a unique, handy feature that acts the way a smartwatch’s face would, giving an easy at–a-glance access to the most important information I need such as my notifications, daily schedule, calendar, music, weather, and of course, the camera. Making up one half of the iconic double-ring design when the device is folded closed, the Cover Screen also interacts with the Main Screen, giving it a seamless flow so that when I unfold the phone, it takes me directly to the app displayed on the Cover Screen.

Another nifty feature of the Cover Screen is its personalisation. Since the Cover Screen is my first interaction with the phone, I appreciate that the HUAWEI P50 Pocket provides a range of smart themes to choose from to give it a more personal touch. I can change the theme according to my mood that day, from “Authentic Nature”, “Cartoon” and “Fun” — with each offering different interactions. There’s also the option to play an animation on the Cover Screen when I tap on it while the phone is folded.

What’s just as impressive as the HUAWEI P50 Pocket’s photography feature and Cover Screen is its battery life. I was really impressed with just how long the battery can last and how quickly it recovers, taking only an hour to fully charge. The smartphone truly packs a punch with its 4,000mAh battery, and supports 40W HUAWEI SuperCharge for effortless, high-speed top-up. In my two weeks of familiarising with the HUAWEI P50 Pocket, I only ever charged it for a total of three times.

Retailing at RM5,999 for the HUAWEI P50 Pocket and RM7,999 for the Premium Edition, the device is worth the investment. It’s clear that this latest addition to HUAWEI’s foldable department is paving the way for a more innovative future of foldable smartphones. While there is certainly room for continued development, the HUAWEI P50 Pocket delivers pretty much exactly what it sets out to do. It is complete in terms of functionality, excels in photography and provides convenience where necessary.

The HUAWEI P50 Pocket and HUAWEI P50 Pocket Premium Edition will be made available on HUAWEI Official Website, HUAWEI Experience Stores, authorised platforms and retail stores starting from 22 February 2022.

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George Washington

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