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Huawei MateBook X Pro Review: Creative masterpiece

The Good

  • Impressive portability
  • Bright, crisp display
  • Dedicated graphics
  • Strong battery life

The Bad

  • Expensive
5

Huawei has crafted a serious Windows-based Macbook Pro rival in the MateBook X Pro. This premium portable boasts strong specs, dedicated graphics and a gorgeous display, not to mention some design work that’s rather reminiscent of Apple’s laptops. Here’s our full Huawei MateBook X Pro review, so you know whether it’s worthy of a place in your lap.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Design

With a quick glance, most people would probably be fooled into thinking Huawei’s laptop is actually an Apple. The MateBook Pro X sports a similar sleek silver chassis to the Macbook, inside and out. Replace that glowing Apple logo with a bit of Huawei branding and you’re pretty much there.

Oh, and you can pick up the laptop in either Mystic Silver, or – wait for it – Space Grey. Hmm.

But frankly speaking, this cheeky bit of design inspiration is no bad thing. This device looks and feels perfectly premium, as you’d expect given that sizeable asking price. And that doesn’t mean it’s delicate or fragile, either. You can throw the MateBook loose into a backpack and bang it around all day long and you shouldn’t see any scratches or scuffs.

Portability is definitely one of the MateBook’s main strengths. This machine weighs just 1.33kg, so you’ll barely even notice that it’s in your bag. And it’s crazy slender too; at its thickest point, the laptop still doesn’t hit the 15mm mark. So if you want a laptop to take on the road every day, you certainly shouldn’t be disappointed.

Connectivity is understandably limited given that compact and super-slim chassis. Somehow Huawei has managed to squeeze a full-sized USB 3.0 port onto the right edge, which only barely fits – an impressive feat indeed. You also get two Type-C ports on the opposite side (one of which supports Thunderbolt 3). However, that’s your lot, with no memory card slots or other connections to speak of.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Keyboard and touchpad

The MateBook’s chiclet keyboard is fully backlit and features two different levels of brightness, to suit any conditions. It’s a great board for touch typing too, even for really long sessions. Although the travel is quite shallow, I comfortably worked on it for hours at a time. The only ballache is that Enter key, which has been crushed down into a single row. I found myself constantly hitting the slash key above it by accident, which was more than a little irritating.

Still, as far as first world problems go it’s not a dreadful one. And that otherwise impressive usability extends to the brilliantly spacious touchpad, which stretches the full width of the palm rest. This is perfectly responsive, complete with clicky corners and multi-touch gesture support.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Screen and media

When you need to, you can actually forget about the touchpad and get all touchy feely with the MateBook’s 13.9-inch LTPS display instead. That screen practically fills the entire lid, with next to no bezel action at all, helping to keep the laptop nice and compact. Like the touchpad, this display is responsive to all of your swipes, pokes and pinches, performing just as you’d expect.

Not only is it powerfully bright on the maximum setting, but visuals are really crisp and colourful. The mighty 3000×2000 pixel resolution is ideal for everything from editing photos to kicking back with a bit of Netflix. And accurate colour reproduction will also appeal to any creative professionals out there.

The MateBook X Pro sports dual speakers just like the new Macbooks, housed either side of the keyboard. These are quite powerful when you bump up the volume, so you can happily watch your favourite show while working in a noisy kitchen or some other raucous environment. However, audio quality is a bit of a mess on top volume too, so I stuck with my headphones when streaming music.

A generous 512GB of storage is on board for your software and media, although you can also pick up the MateBook with half of that space. Of course, a chunk of that is already used up by the OS and other bits – so you’ll end up with around 460GB to play with. Enough to satisfy even the busiest of video editors.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Features

Built into the dinky power button is a fingerprint sensor, so you can secure the MateBook and still quickly unlock it. This is both accurate and responsive, and also easy to find in the dark thanks to the indented surface.

You also get a front-facing camera for video chats and the like, although you won’t find it in the standard place above the MateBook’s screen – after all, there’s no bloody space up there. Instead, it’s rather cunningly tucked away in the keyboard; just push the button and up it pops. Genius for sure, although if the laptop is sat – well, on your lap – you’ll likely find that your head is unfortunately cut out of any Skype sessions.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Performance and battery life

Despite its slender finish, the MateBook X Pro boasts some really strong specs. Our review model came with Intel’s Core i7-8550U chipset, backed by 16GB of RAM. In other words, it’s a bit of a speed demon. You can expect a wonderfully smooth everyday experience, no matter what you’re up to.

You also get dedicated graphics support, in the form of the Nvidia GeForce MX150. Creative tasks such as photo and video editing pose no problem, while even some of the latest games run with a solid frame rate.

Battery life is just as impressive. While juggling several tasks at once (working in the Chrome browser while streaming music via Spotify and occasionally messaging), I saw a consistent drain of 16 percent per hour. That means you get just over six hours of use on a full charge, almost enough to last a full working day. Again, considering the size of the device, that’s a solid return.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Verdict

If you’re looking for a Macbook-style device that runs a bit of Windows instead, then the MateBook X Pro is about as good as it gets. The superior portability, brilliant touchscreen display, impressive usability and excellent performance make for a truly stunning laptop.

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