Huawei, a Chinese company that has become more popular here in the States thanks to their flagship spec’ed, yet moderately priced cell phones (they even made the last Nexus device for Google: the 6P), has made it clear that they don’t want to just make phones.
Last year they launched their first ever laptop the Huawei Matebook and this year they’ve expanded the Matebook line to the D (their lower-end offering), the E (the successor to the original Matebook 2-in-1) and X (their top of the line model).
Which happens to be the one I have here. So, let’s check out how the phone manufacturer did, shall we? Here’s my Huawei Matebook X review.
The biggest thing about this laptop is the design–it’s beautiful.
It’s made out of aluminum and with these machined edges that look pretty slick, it’s quite the looker.
When closed the laptop is just 12.5mm thick, is smaller than a standard piece of printer paper, and it weights just 2.3 lbs making it not only look nice but also super portable.
Now, let’s quickly talk about the elephant in the room. Yes, it looks very much like Apple’s 12″ Macbook. I mean, it even comes in Gold, Rose Gold, and Space Grey (yes, they even called it Space Grey).
Regardless of where Huawei might have been inspired, this laptop–in the PC world at least–is hard to think of an equal for. The laptop just looks and feels premium. And as I’ve complained about before, Windows needs more laptops that feel like that.
Sitting a cafe with it, you get curious looks for sure.
The screen of the device continues that feel.
It features a 13″ IPS 2K display, which is super bright and has some of the smallest bezels for a laptop this small and light (except maybe the Dell XPS 13″ with it’s Infinity Display).
Along with the nice screen, Huawei worked with Dolby to put a really nice set of speakers in here, too. Set just under the screen, these Dolby Atmos speakers are actually super loud and crisp for such a tiny laptop.
The keyboard is awesome to type on, as well with it’s large chiclet-style keys that have a decent amount of travel to them, are backlit and have that same metallic look as the rest of the device to keep the theme going.
The trackpad is also on point. It, thanksfully, has a Windows Precision Trackpad which is an important distinction whenever you buy a Windows laptop, by the way. Precision trackpads are a standard that allows Windows itself to interpret the touch input vs the trackpad manufacturer essentially, but it allows for a much smoother trackpad, the addition of gestures in Windows (which I use a lot) and will also get better as Windows gets updates instead of having to wait for the manufacturer to update it.
Now, when I first turned on the laptop, the trackpad felt super awkward and the mouse sometimes just wouldn’t move when I wanted it to. I ended up going into the settings and turning the speed all the way up though and that solved it. After that, I have to say this is one of the few Windows laptops I can use comfortably without the need for an external mouse. It responds fine to my scrolling and gestures and is a clickable trackpad which I prefer, as well.
Above the keyboard to the right, we have the power button that also doubles as a fingerprint sensor to log you in to the computer. Since the device doesn’t have the infrared camera to be able to utilize face recognition this is going to be your preferred way to unlock it. And, once you register your finger, it actually ends up being even faster than the facial unlock I’ve used on other Windows machines.
I just wish it could be used for other things like putting in passwords into websites, etc. because I remember my very old laptop a long time ago being able to do that with it’s fingerprint sensor, but maybe that’s just me.
Also similar to the 12″ Macbook, the device is very limited on ports–although technically has twice as many as the Macbook.
There are two USB-C ports, one on the left next to the headphone jack that can be used for power and data and one on the right just used for data and the, thankfully included in some markets, MateDock 2 which is a dongle that has a USB-C port, HDMI and VGA port.
Under the hood we have the option of an Intel i5 processor or an i7 (both the U variety) along with a standard 8GBs of RAM and an Intel HD 620 GPU regardless of the processor you choose. And while that’s not the recipe for a gaming beast (which no one is expecting from a laptop this tiny), it’s not bad at all.
Since we all love benchmarks, here’s how the i7 model I have performed on Geekbench 4 along with some other comparable laptops.
Another thing that helps solidify this laptop as a great ultraportable is the battery life. I managed to sit and work in a cafe all day without needing to plug in and compared to my, albeit much more powerful, Razer Blade, it’s a great feeling knowing I don’t have to rush back to charge. On average for my type of use, I saw at least 6 hours of use which is good in my book, not as good as a Macbook or even some of the other laptops in this price range (i.e. the Dell XPS 13 or Asus Zenbook), but good.
The pricing for the US was just unveiled today and it’s $1099 for the i5/256GB model and $1299 for the i7/512GB model which, while not cheap, is definitely competitive.
To put that into perspective the Dell XPS 13″ with similar specs and the Asus Zenbook you’re looking at close to an extra $300 for either. And, just for the heck of it since no one is actually deciding between a Windows and Mac option (maybe?), the 12″ Macbook would cost another $500 almost.
There isn’t a lot of bad things I can say about this laptop. There’s just something about it that makes you want to use it, touch it, carry it around, whatever.
Basically, if you’re someone who needs an ultra-portable laptop that’s got decent battery life, a great screen and audio, snappy performance for everyday tasks, and you appreciate design and a well built machine, there’s a very short list of laptops that check all those boxes and look this good while doing it and this is one you have to put near the top of that list.
Let me know what you guys think of the new Matebook X and my review below–love to hear from you guys! And don’t forget to follow me on social for more tech news, reviews, and tutorials. As always, thanks for reading!