Nintendo dominated the portable gaming market for many, many years. Time and time again, companies have tried to come out with products that rival Nintendo’s handheld devices. While some competing products have succeeded (Sony PSP, for instance), none have been able to knock Nintendo off its throne. Chinese telecommunications company Huawei thinks it has a Nintendo Switch kingslayer in the Huawei Mate 20 X, a gaming phone that was revealed during a Huawei event.
During the surprise reveal, Huawei’s president made a rather bold proclamation, calling the Mate 20 X “the best portable gaming machine.” He proceeded to show the Mate 20 X and the Switch side by side to explain. You can watch the reveal event here (go to the 1 hour, 53 minute, 20 second mark to see and hear the comparison).
The Mate 20 X has a 7.2 inch OLED screen with 1080p resolution. That is better than the 6.2-inch 720p LCD screen the Switch boasts. The phone also has 6.67 hours of battery life. Huawei claimed the Switch only had 3.03 hours of battery life, which is mostly true for intensive games, but the Switch can get in the five-to-six-hour range when playing less elaborate games. The Mate 20 X also has an attachable gamepad (sold separately) that has a thumbstick and D-pad but no face buttons.
Based on the specs listed on Huawei’s site, the Mate 20 X is indeed more powerful than the average smartphone. Additionally, from a surface-level comparison, it has better specs than the Switch.
There are obvious downsides to the Mate 20 X though. First, its astronomical cost. It will go for just north of $1,000, which means it’s more than 300 percent more expensive than the $300 Switch. Of course, you also have to pay your monthly bill for text, calls, and data usage with the Mate 20 X.
Smartphones are inherently more expensive than dedicated gaming devices like the Switch. That’s a given, really. The real question here is the software. The Mate 20 X is an Android device, which means Android gaming. While there is no denying mobile games have evolved over the years to feature some truly great experiences, the potential library simply doesn’t compare to the first- and third-party options available on Switch.
Huawei’s strong statement about having the “best portable gaming machine” is naturally a marketing tactic, but the Switch should be safe here. Still, it will be interesting to see how the Mate 20 X performs. Smartphones specifically tailored toward gamers could become an actual threat down the line, provided that software support improves and prices drop.