Skip to main content

Introduction

While the US-China trade dispute drags on and we all ponder Huawei’s future, Huawei charges right on into the 5G arena with its new Mate 20 X 5G flagship smartphone. In today’s teardown, we’re curious to see what this plus-sized phablet conceals inside, and how independent the hardware might be—even as Huawei faces the possibility of being banned from doing business with US companies.

Don’t miss any news and check us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Newsletter subscription for the email focused folks.

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Huawei Mate 20 X 5G, use our service manual.

  1. Here's the lowdown on this Mate 20 X 5G: 7.2" OLED multitouch display with 1080 × 2244 resolution Octa-core Huawei Kirin 980 chipset, paired with 8 GB RAM
    • Here's the lowdown on this Mate 20 X 5G:

    • 7.2" OLED multitouch display with 1080 × 2244 resolution

    • Octa-core Huawei Kirin 980 chipset, paired with 8 GB RAM

    • 256 GB onboard storage

    • Balong 5000 multi-mode 5G modem

    • 4,200 mAh battery with 40 W SuperCharge 2.0 support

    • Triple rear cameras: 40 MP ƒ/1.8, 20 MP ƒ/2.2, and 8 MP ƒ/2.4 lens with 5x optical zoom

    • The front-facing camera resides in a "waterdrop" notch, and the rear protective cover comes with a neat reminder which we will dutifully ignore.

  2. On the bottom we recognize the usual suspects: a USB-C port, two microphone holes and a speaker grille. Along the top edge, we find another microphone hole, the infrared blaster, and the barest sliver of a grille for the earpiece speaker. Compared to the already-large Mate 20 Pro, the X 5G looks colossal. On its backside, we note the 5G branding, and the fingerprint sensor underneath its array of cameras.
    • On the bottom we recognize the usual suspects: a USB-C port, two microphone holes and a speaker grille.

    • Along the top edge, we find another microphone hole, the infrared blaster, and the barest sliver of a grille for the earpiece speaker.

    • Compared to the already-large Mate 20 Pro, the X 5G looks colossal. On its backside, we note the 5G branding, and the fingerprint sensor underneath its array of cameras.

    • Though this Mate is only rated IP53, the SIM card tray is equipped with a rubber gasket—something we usually see on "waterproof" smartphones these days.

    • Slot 1 of this SIM tray is reserved for 5G cards, whereas slot 2 only accepts up to 4G cards.

    • To our surprise, we get the glued-down back cover off lickety-split—no heat required! A suction handle and a halberd spudger separates everything nicely.

    • Adhesives can harden with age, so maybe next time won't be so easy—but our fresh-from-the-factory unit was very cooperative.

    • A generously proportioned fingerprint flex cable keeps the back cover tethered for now, but it's such a long leash that we don't mind. On to the next layer.

  3. A flock of screws hold the NFC coil, antenna, and graphite heat conductor pad in place. One hides behind a tamper-proof sticker, and another one lurks under the camera flash module—a strange place for a screw. With those bits  out of the way, we can finally disconnect the fingerprint sensor and get our first good look inside this phone. With those bits  out of the way, we can finally disconnect the fingerprint sensor and get our first good look inside this phone.
    • A flock of screws hold the NFC coil, antenna, and graphite heat conductor pad in place. One hides behind a tamper-proof sticker, and another one lurks under the camera flash module—a strange place for a screw.

    • With those bits out of the way, we can finally disconnect the fingerprint sensor and get our first good look inside this phone.

  4. The 24 MP, ƒ/2.0 front-facing peeper comes out with a simple pry. We'll never grow tired of these repair-friendly press-fit connectors. The motherboard also comes out easily, allowing us to unplug the three-eyed rear camera block from the back. This triclops carries the same tech as the Mate 20 Pro from October 2018—a 40 MP ƒ/1.8 wide angle,  a 20 MP ƒ/2.2 ultra wide angle, and an 8 MP ƒ/2.4 telephoto lens.
    • The 24 MP, ƒ/2.0 front-facing peeper comes out with a simple pry. We'll never grow tired of these repair-friendly press-fit connectors.

    • The motherboard also comes out easily, allowing us to unplug the three-eyed rear camera block from the back.

    • This triclops carries the same tech as the Mate 20 Pro from October 2018—a 40 MP ƒ/1.8 wide angle, a 20 MP ƒ/2.2 ultra wide angle, and an 8 MP ƒ/2.4 telephoto lens.

  5. iPhone X Fix Kits

    Warranty up? No worries, we’ve got the fix.

    Shop Now

    iPhone X Fix Kits

    Warranty up? No worries, we’ve got the fix.

    Shop Now
  6. Finally, we get to the nitty-gritty of this Mate's iteration—the motherboard: Micron D9WGR (MT53D1G64D8NZ-046 WT:E) 8 GB LPDDR4 with Kirin 980 SoC layered underneath Toshiba THGAF8T1T83BAIR 256 GB NAND flash
    • Finally, we get to the nitty-gritty of this Mate's iteration—the motherboard:

    • Micron D9WGR (MT53D1G64D8NZ-046 WT:E) 8 GB LPDDR4 with Kirin 980 SoC layered underneath

    • Toshiba THGAF8T1T83BAIR 256 GB NAND flash

    • Samsung K4UHE3D4AA-CGCJ 3 GB LPDDR4X—more on that later

    • Skyworks 78191-11 low-band front-end module for WCDMA/LTE

    • HiSilicon Hi6526 PMU

    • NXP 80T37 (likely NFC controller)

    • For comparison, the smaller board on the lower left belongs to the Mate 20 Pro.

  7. … more on the other side of the board: Qorvo 77031 4T8R mid/high-band module HiSilicon Hi63650
    • … more on the other side of the board:

    • Qorvo 77031 4T8R mid/high-band module

    • HiSilicon Hi63650

    • HiSilicon Hi6421 power management IC

    • HiSilicon Hi1103 Wi-Fi module

    • HiSilicon Hi6D03

    • And again the smaller Mate 20 Pro motherboard for comparison.

    • Notably absent from our initial chip findings is the Balong 5000, HiSilicon's multi-mode networking chipset that is supposed to be the powerhouse of this 5G cell.

    • On a hunch, we coarsely chisel off the extra Samsung LPDDR4X chip to find …

    • HiSilicon Hi9500 GFCV101! This is most likely the Balong 5000 we're looking for.

    • Just to be sure, we pry up the Micron memory chip as well. Sure enough, underneath slumbers the HiSilicon Hi3680 GFCV150, also known as Kirin 980.

    • Our hot air station had the day off. Deal with it.

    • It looks like the 5G modem comes bundled with its own block of dedicated LPDDR4X memory—a whopping 3 GB of it, if we've decoded those Samsung package markings correctly. Is that a giant data buffer? This is the first 5G modem we've seen in the wild, so sound off in the comments if you know more than we do.

  8. To get unobstructed access to the battery, we remove the board interconnect cable. While we're at it, we also pry up the glued-in loudspeaker ... … and the tiny daughterboard with the USB-C port soldered onto it.
    • To get unobstructed access to the battery, we remove the board interconnect cable.

    • While we're at it, we also pry up the glued-in loudspeaker ...

    • … and the tiny daughterboard with the USB-C port soldered onto it.

  9. We're always happy to see built-in battery removal instructions, and follow them step-by-step. It's as easy as 1-2-3! Though we didn't need heat this time around, we are   still rewarded with a clean battery extraction. This is the exact same battery used in the Mate 20 Pro, weighing in at 16.04 Wh (4,200 mAh @ 3.82 V).
    • We're always happy to see built-in battery removal instructions, and follow them step-by-step. It's as easy as 1-2-3!

    • Though we didn't need heat this time around, we are still rewarded with a clean battery extraction.

    • This is the exact same battery used in the Mate 20 Pro, weighing in at 16.04 Wh (4,200 mAh @ 3.82 V).

    • That's well short of the whopping 19.1 Wh (5,000 mAh) battery in the standard Mate 20 X—but it's still a monster compared to the iPhone XS Max's dual-cell, 12.08 Wh (3,179 mAh) powerplant.

    • The display adhesive holds on a bit tighter than the back cover adhesive, but gives way after some heat and skilled halberd slicing.

    • This Mate doesn't have any fancy under-display fingerprint sensor. There's just a blank OLED screen and the aluminum frame.

    • This 7.2 inch OLED panel is manufactured by Samsung.

    • Much like in the standard Mate 20 X, there's a big vapor chamber hiding on the aluminum frame behind the graphite foil.

  10. With all the parts more or less gently removed, we have an overview of Huawei’s foray into the mobile 5G sector.
    • With all the parts more or less gently removed, we have an overview of Huawei’s foray into the mobile 5G sector.

    • Except for three "US"-manufactured chips (Micron, Skyworks and Qorvo) and a dutch NXP module, the motherboard's major sockets are dominated by Huawei's in-house brand HiSilicon and other Asian manufacturers (Toshiba, Samsung).

    • Want to see future smartphone guts from Huawei? Subscribe to our newsletter and stay in the loop.

  11. Final Thoughts
    • Many components are modular and can be replaced independently.
    • The battery is accessible after removing the rear cover and midframe, and is equipped with pull tabs.
    • Standard Phillips screws are used along with an average amount of adhesive.
    • The midframe covers the battery and fingerprint sensor connectors, and is itself obstructed by the camera sensors and flash.
    • Glued-down front and back glass means greater risk of breakage, while making all repairs difficult to start.
    • Screen repairs will require near-complete disassembly.
    Repairability Score
    4
    Repairability 4 out of 10
    (10 is easiest to repair)

3 Comments

OOO first comment! By the way, Are Mate 20 X and Mate 20 X 5G screens cross compatible? They both have the same dimensions so I am intrested

Dinan Blueje - Reply

By the looks and the make of both phones the displays should be compatible. We haven’t checked yet since we don’t have a Mate 20 X at hand. Check a users teardown of the Mate 20 X here.

Tobias Isakeit -

What are the 5G rf chain components?

nevod_m - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 0

Past 7 Days: 838

Past 30 Days: 16,102

All Time: 16,148