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How Porsche Design’s Unwavering Passion Shaped The Mate RS Phone
- May 14, 2018 -

It’s very easy to dismiss the $1,880-plus Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS as an expensive smartphone with flashy branding; but that would do it considerable injustice. To understand why, you’ll need to understand Porsche Design’s philosophy: For it to be anything less than 100 percent involved in a project would be unthinkable. We spent some time at the company’s headquarters in Zell am See, Austria, to find out just how deep Porsche Design’s DNA runs in the Mate RS, a sister device to the Huawei P20 Pro.


Huawei chose to partner with Porsche Design because it understands that while it can design phones itself, there are other companies out there that can do it even better. Huawei chose to work with Porsche Design for the third time in its history. In a conversation with Digital Trends, Porsche Design’s Design Director, Christian Schwamkrug, called this project “the most intense,” as they had discussions on every little detail, right down to the amount of mirroring on the rear panel.

NO NOTCH

One thing was very clear from the start. Porsche Design is not a company that does things by half measures, and it isn’t going to put its name to a product without having considerable say in how it looks and performs. That doesn’t mean the partnership was tense. Quite the opposite.

“From the very beginning onwards, we were on one level, with one design approach, and this is why the end result is so perfect,” Schwamkrug said.

One of the most striking visual differences between the Mate RS and the P20 Pro is the screen design. The P20’s screen notch is missing on the Mate RS, as the latter opted for a 6-inch OLED screen that’s curved at the edges, but conventionally flat along the top and bottom. A major smartphone trend at the moment, the notch didn’t win support at Porsche Design.

Schwamkrug made his feelings very clear.

“When I saw the notch for the first time, I nearly couldn’t believe it. It’s disturbing, from a design philosophy,” he said. “A picture is either rectangular or square, with a border line, and a clear frame format. I like symmetry. We didn’t want to have the notch, we think it’s a compromise.”