The Matebook X Pro unit we tested for this review comes in at a whopping £1,499.99
HUAWEI MATEBOOK X PRO REVIEW – £1,499 (as tested)
- FOR – Gorgeous 3K display • Premium and functional design • Quad-core performance • Sublime audio quality • Masterfully portable
- AGAINST – Battery life could be longer • Trackpad quality is significantly lower than the rest of the device
Huawei has taken the laptop market by storm in recent years; the firm has delivered stylish hardware that is not only incredibly portable, but has also driven the industry forward by radically reducing screen bezels and experimenting with new webcam placement.
The MateBook X Pro represents Huawei’s next effort to prove that its hardware can truly compete with Apple’s hugely-popular MacBook Air and Pro lineup.
Ultimately, the MateBook X Pro not only staunchly rivals the offerings from Huawei’s Cupertino-based rivals, but in some instances it completely outclasses it.
Design and display
The most striking thing about the MateBook X Pro, and the reason you will probably want to pick one up, is its beautiful 13.9-inch display.
Huawei has severely cut bezels on the hardware and should be commended for delivering a product with a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio.
The minute border allows for the most immersive experience on a laptop you can get right now; you cannot help but feel instantly absorbed into anything you do on Huawei’s computer offering.
Plus, the panel used has an incredibly high resolution of 3000×2000 and a maximum brightness of 450nits.
The MateBook X Pro’s screen also has a density of 260 pixels-per-inch.
The figures mentioned above mean the Chinese computer is a cut above Apple’s Macbook Pro and Air offerings when it comes to display quality.
It really cannot be understated just how refined a viewing experience the MateBook X Pro offers thanks to its intricate melding of miniature bezels with a superb-quality panel.
What’s more, the screen used is also touch sensitive, meaning you can reach out and interact with it at will.
Huawei MateBook X Pro is the Chinese tech behemoth’s answer to the MacBook Air
Huawei has manufactured its newest laptop to be ultra-light and thin, meaning the MateBook X Pro is a commendably portable device.
Huawei claims the hardware measures up at 1.46-centimetres thick, a figure that slightly edges out the 1.49-centimetres and 1.56-centimetres offered by the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air respectively.
And while the MateBook weighs slightly more than the MacBook Air, it certainly does not feel unwieldy at 1.33-kilograms.
The hardware feels specifically engineered for anyone looking for an efficient and powerful laptop that is supremely manoeuvrable.
You only have to feast your eyes on the MateBook for a few seconds to see Huawei’s clear inspiration when putting the product together.
The laptop is made from a metal unibody that does not feel quite as premium as something manufactured by Apple Inc, but it does exude a tangible feeling of quality.
Most importantly the entire device feels rugged and designed to last.
Huawei’s newest laptop comes with a headphone jack on the side in addition to a USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and USB-A port.
The MateBook X Pro is a commendably portable device
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is one of the most innovative laptops of 2018
Personally, we adore the inclusion of the old USB type thanks to its support for a manner of vital accessories.
The Chinese tech behemoth has also neatly included a dongle in the box for the MateBook that provides users with access to another USB-A port in addition to HDMI and VGA sockets.
Such a move is not necessary but provides customers with a somewhat essential tool if they want to get the most out of the laptop.
The keyboard on the MateBook X Pro is a perfect middle-ground between a traditional set of keys and Apple’s butterfly mechanism.
Huawei’s hardware offers noticeably less travel distance than most other Windows laptops, but typing still feels incredibly satisfying.
In fact, we did not need an adjustment period to adapt to the new mechanism at all and found ourselves typing quicker overall on the MateBook X Pro.
At the top of the keyboard is a fingerprint reader that allows for instant unlocking.
During our testing we did not encounter a single instance in which the scanner failed to recognise our pattern.
The most striking thing about the MateBook X Pro is its beautiful 13.9-inch display
Although Windows provides a multitude of options for users when it comes to gaining access to a device, we found using the scanner to be the most secure and reliable.
But by far the most experimental feature on the new keyboard is the addition of a webcam button.
Because the MateBook X Pro severely pushes the boundaries of bezels on a laptop, Huawei has placed the hardware’s webcam underneath a key on the device.
Centred in the middle of the F-keys, the webcam is instantly accessed by pressing down on the relevant button.
The camera will then pop out of the hardware in a neat and ambitious manner.
And the fact the camera is housed under the device until it is used means those sceptical of being watched have no need to cover the front of their laptop with duct tape.
The biggest caveat of this design is if you attempt to answer a video call from someone, you have to be prepared to shift either yourself or the laptop.
That is because at a regular usage distance, the webcam only offers a view of the user’s upper chest and chin.
The Huawei MateBook X Pro weighs in at 1.33-kilograms
While the positioning of the front-facing camera appears experimental and futuristic, it ultimately falls flat in regular usage cases.
However, if the flawed placement of the webcam is a necessary trade-off for the incredible display offered, it is certainly one we are happy to deal with.
Audio on the MateBook is quite simply sublime.
The hardware comes with four speakers that support Dolby Atmos and play a vital role in delivering unrivalled immersion when it comes to gaming and consuming video on a laptop.
Not only does sound get incredibly loud, but it manages to stay clear too.
In fact, the speakers are so good that we consistently opted to use them over headphones or an external bluetooth audio device.
The entire device feels rugged and designed to last
While much of the MateBook X Pro oozes a premium and luxury fit and finish, the trackpad stands as one of the few ugly asterisks to be aware of.
Huawei has seemingly designed the trackpad to provide feedback when a light touch is placed for a primary click, and while this is great for those that enjoy having such functionality mapped to the movement, we personally prefer to have our primary click offered when we fully push down on it.
This meant when moving our finger across the pad, things can feel slightly more loose than we would have liked.
The flimsy nature of the navigation tool in our usage was extremely noticeable, especially when the rest of the product is so expertly crafted.
Huawei has placed the hardware’s webcam underneath a key on the device
The MateBook X Pro unit we tested for this review comes with an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor.
The chipset has a base speed of 2.00GHz but can be boosted up to 3.99GHz when under heavy loads.
Huawei’s laptop can also be configured to come with up to 512GB of SSD storage.
When it comes to performance, the MateBook X Pro is incredibly capable when you consider its form-factor.
The hardware absolutely blitzes through tasks on Windows 10 and rarely presented us with any hiccups during our usage.
Using Chrome with a cavalcade of tabs open with multiple applications running in the background was not a problem at all.
Furthermore, the device is also capable of light video editing and lends itself extremely well to photo editing thanks to its vibrant and bright display.
The device even surprised us when it came to gaming; we installed Forza Horizon 3 on our unit and while we had to severely cut down the resolution and graphic settings, the device ultimately presented us with a version of the game that ran at a buttery smooth 30-frames-per-second with only one or two stutters.
We were able to run Fortnite at a smooth 30-frames-per-second on low graphic settings
While it is disappointing in this particular example we were not able to fully take advantage of the hardware’s gorgeous panel to maintain smooth performance, we found ourselves becoming unexpectedly absorbed in the title.
The gaming experience on the MateBook X Pro is heightened further by its superb Dolby Atmos sound system.
We also tested out battle royale titan Fortnite and was able to similarly run the title at a smooth 30-frames-per-second on low graphic settings.
Although the MateBook X Pro is clearly not designed for intense gaming, knowing you can take a break from a harsh workload to unwind when necessary is applaudable.
Using the MateBook X Pro is an intensely quiet affair when performing light tasks such as web browsing or writing Word documents.
However, it is worth noting when testing the gaming capabilities of the hardware the laptop did get much louder and heat up significantly.
However, neither presented us with enough problems to detract from our overall experience with the product.
Memory management is also not an issue whatsoever on the MateBook X Pro; during our testing apps never crashed and the laptop always remembered our position in apps.
Forza Horizon 3 ran at a smooth 30-frames-per-second on low graphics settings
We installed Forza Horizon 3 on our MateBook X Pro unit
Huawei claims users should be able to get around 12 hours of battery life out of the MateBook X Pro on a single charge.
However, during our testing we found the hardware’s life is very dependant on usage cases.
For example, we booted up Forza Horizon 3 with 100 percent charge and found the pack had plummeted to 70 percent after just half an hour of playtime.
But for our regular usage that included running a deluge of Chrome tabs, Slack, a Word document and Spotify, we were able to achieve around eight hours on medium brightness.
That means for us the MateBook X Pro was not a battery champion, but nor did we have to worry about constantly finding a charger for the device.
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is one of the most innovative laptops of 2018
The Matebook X Pro unit we tested for this review comes in at a whopping £1,499.99.
However, a more affordable version of the device is available for £1,299.99 and comes with the same internals as our variant but halves the storage to 256GB.
Huawei is clearly taking aim at the Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with its laptop offering and has priced it between the two.
The MacBook Air starts at £1,199 but only offers dual-core performance and not the quad-core seen on the MateBook.
Moreover, the hardware also comes with a lower-resolution screen and bigger bezels.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro with a 13-inch screen starts at £1,199 and also offers dual-core performance.
In order for Apple fans to get a quad-core machine, they will have to pay for the £1,749 variant that comes with a Touch Bar.
Of course, the biggest decision customers will have to make is whether they are willing to pay more money for Apple’s macOS operating system or if they are happy to spend less cash on rapid Windows 10 performance.
We did not need an adjustment period to adapt to the new keyboard
Although we believe if Huawei had managed to lower the price of its newest laptop by a couple hundred pounds it would have provided a much greater attraction for Windows and macOS fans looking to upgrade, we accept the price point is still justified by the premium build quality, gorgeous display and laudable portability.
While the MateBook X Pro is a better value product than Apple’s Mac laptops, whether Apple fans decide to switch to Huawei’s offering will ultimately come down to how reliant they are on Mac exclusive software such as Final Cut Pro.
It is also worth noting the Surface Laptop 2, another huge rival to Huawei’s hardware, comes at a higher cost when configured to the same specification.
A version of the Surface Laptop 2 with 8GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7 and 256GB of storage has a whopping price tag of £1,529.
At the top of the keyboard is a fingerprint reader that allows for instant unlocking
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is one of the most innovative laptops of 2018.
The hardware offers incredibly thin bezels that offer a commendably immersive viewing experience overall with very little compromises in terms of performance.
Huawei’s laptop has become our first choice for getting work done on the go and the Chinese firm should be applauded to putting together such an industry-leading device.
If you are a Windows 10 fan looking for a laptop upgrade, the MateBook X Pro is one of the best options available right now.
The hardware also has enough ambition and delivers substantial innovations to be incredibly tantalising to macOS users.
But most importantly, Huawei has proven it can not only radically challenge Apple’s latest and greatest in both design and performance, but in many ways it outclasses it completely.