At a launch event yesterday, purveyor of Android phones Huawei announced several new products for different phone preferences in their flagship line, the Mate series. The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are fairly standard phones in terms of feature set, but Huawei’s Mate 20 X is a gaming-focused phone that intends to muddy the line between phones and dedicated handhelds. While the mind immediately leaps to the Switch as competition, the company made it clear: the Switch is their competition and they want you to know the 20 X is better.

The presentation was given by Huawei’s technology and mobile experience executive, Richard Yu. When revealing the 20 X, Yu outright showed slides of the Switch, with a large captions that compared details like battery life and resolution, outright using the words “Better Portable Game Machine.”

Yu emphasized that mobile controls were now a solved problem by the Mate 20 X’s gamepad add-on, a shell/dock for the phone that resembles a large, square joycon or, perhaps more accurately, the 3DS’s much-maligned Circle Pad Pro attachment

One interesting thing to note is that Huawei did not emphasize the graphical capability of the phone when comparing it, though there could be a number of different reasons why. While phones might have no problem keeping up with the Switch graphically, heat and battery concerns would likely override any need to do so. It also makes sense that the future of phone gaming, at least as an emulation of the console experience, might be in things like Microsoft’s xCloud and Google’s Project Stream rather than onboard graphics.

Regardless, it is interesting to see Huawei take such direct aim at Nintendo, currently the only player in the non-mobile handheld market, rather than compare itself to other phones. As the Switch grows in popularity, perhaps this will be something that more companies feel appropriate to do.

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