A lot of people don’t realise that 5G is available right now but only if you live in certain parts of the country and you can only get it if you have a phone that’s capable of receiving a 5G signal.
I’ve been testing 5G for months now using the Vodafone network and the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G.
It is one of the few phones currently available to buy in Ireland that supports 5G.
It also features one of the biggest displays you’ll find on a smartphone along with a massive 256GB of storage.
This can be further increased via Huawei’s own memory cards called Nano Memory, which retails for less than €40 for 128GB.
Although the 20X 5G isn’t a Galaxy Note alternative as such, you can use Huawei’s optional M-Pen as a drawing or note-taking input device.
It works well and using apps like Artflow it is possible to create some decent drawings.
The downside is that there’s nowhere on the phone to house the pen which is about the size of a standard biro.
5G has been available on the Vodafone network since last year but you need a phone like the Mate 20X 5G.
You’ll also need a 5G plan and currently, you can’t avail of the fifth-generation high-speed network on pre-pay, but I’m sure that will change in time.
Right now, there’s very limited coverage in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway and Dublin Airport.
You’ll need a 5G enabled plan and a 5G phone to connect to the Vodafone 5G network.
All Vodafone RED Complete plans are 5G ready. To get 5G enabled on a Vodafone RED Complete plan, you’ll need to visit them in-store, call on 1907 or go to live chat and request 5G on the Vodafone site.
The Mate 20 X 5G has an astonishing 7.2-inch display and while most will not appreciate the massive size of this phone, I love the extra screen size.
It makes for the ultimate mobile device for watching movies and TV shows on the go, especially if you’re connected to the 5G network.
Although I don’t have small hands, the size can feel unwieldy at times one-handed.
I just love the size for media consumption and everyday tasks like browsing, emails, social feeds and video watching.
Bigger is better for all of these things, but I totally understand why most will not want a phone this big.
It’s not just got a big screen, it’s also on the heavy side weighing in at 233g, yet, despite its size, it looks great with a curved glass back with a ‘hyper optical’ pattern, which adds a little grip, although it’s still slippery and a cover is a must.
Actually, you get one in the box and there’s also a pre-installed screen protector.
Around the back, you’ll find the same triple cameras found on the Mate 20. Beneath that is the fingerprint reader and then a 5G logo, which you can show your friends to let them know you have a 5G phone.
I love that most Huawei phones still come with an IR blaster to control your TV or other devices and the 20 X 5G is no exception.
You don’t get any headphone jack but you do get the USB-C to 3.5mm jack in the box.
The 7.2-inch display is OLED with a teardrop notch for the front-facing camera. It’s a Full HD display with 18.7:9 aspect ratio and HDR-10 support.
This is a really nice display and although you can get better with higher resolution, I’ve been really happy with the sharpness, details in shadows and overall brightness.
Huawei phones are well-known for how good their cameras are and the Mate 20 X 5G sports a 40MP main camera (f/1.8, 27mm lens), an 8MP telephoto (f/2.4, 80mm lens) and a 20MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 16mm 35mm equivalent).
This camera system is incredibly flexible from the 3x optical zoom, which can let you get close to your subject.
The ultra-wide lens is great for capturing large vistas of dramatic cityscapes or landscapes.
In good light, you’ll capture amazing detail with vibrant colours and when the light gets low, Night Mode allows for amazing photos that would not have been possible to capture a few years ago.
Battery life is decent but not as good as the P30 Pro despite having the same size 4,200mAh battery.
I was able to get through a full days use, but on heavy days, there wasn’t much left in the tank by tea time.
There’s no wireless charging but it comes with a whopping 40w super charger in the box.
Overall, I loved using the Mate 20 X 5G, but this isn’t for everyone and 5G is very limited right now.
I was able to get download speeds of over 800mbps, but upload bandwidth seems to be capped for some reason — the best I’ve managed there is only over 80mbps.
If you don’t mind the size and want 5G regardless of the coverage limitations right now, then the Mate 20 X 5G is a fantastic option.
For everyone else, I’d wait for now as there will be lots of 5G phones released this year.