Huawei’s Matebook X Pro Goes Toe to Toe Against Macbook and Dell XPS [Review]

When you come across the word “ultrabook” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A fantastical textbook that can fly and shoot lasers or a super thin laptop with great battery life and performance?

If it’s the latter, you’re in the right place.

Today we’re reviewing Huawei’s best ultrabook so far, the Matebook X Pro.

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All Metal Build

First things first, Huawei made sure to keep the Matebook X Pro as slim and sleek as possible while still giving users the experience of a full-size laptop. In fact, it compares really well against the likes of Dell’s XPS series and Apple’s MacBook Air with its thin profile.

Once you look at the laptop this way, a lot of things start to make sense.

The whole thing is encased inside a unibody aluminum body and feels a bit heavier than it should. The laptop wasn’t balanced properly, at least our review unit wasn’t. The left side was a bit higher and you could press down on it, it was fairly noticeable while typing something.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Open up the lid and you’re greeted by an ample-sized backlit keyboard that has a decent amount of key-travel (1.2mm) and the keys themselves are fairly large. This owed itself to a fairly pleasant typing experience (not counting the balancing issue I pointed out earlier).

There was one weird quirk with the Fn key on the Matebook though. If you press it and the light on the key turns on, that means it won’t work. If the light is off, then it does work. It’s pretty odd.

The touchpad was also fairly large (akin to MacBooks) and had palm detection so none of your accidental touches would register on the pad. The touchpad was also pretty accurate, accuracy is a sore point for many OEMs and Huawei is doing it right.

Navigating through Windows or browsing is made easier because of that. Add to that the usual gestures like pinch to zoom and three finger swipe to swap between different windows and you’ve got yourself a great trackpad.

I/O Ports and the Dock

Design-wise there was one thing that I didn’t like about the Matebook X Pro, and that was its lack of ports. On the right side, you’ll find the only full-size USB port while on the left side there are two USB-C ports (one of those is Thunderbolt 3, so that’s a plus) and a headphone jack.

There is no SD card slot, HDMI or any other port on the Matebook X Pro.

If you want more ports, you’ll need to get a Huawei dock which connects to one of the USB-C ports on the left side. The dock has a full-size USB port, an HDMI, a VGA, and another USB-C port.

Huawei might be taking Apple’s approach here with the ports, thinking “less is more”. While the opposite is true and other companies selling similar ultrabooks do offer more ports (Dell’s XPS-series being a good example here).

Very Impressive Speakers

The one thing that I didn’t expect this ultrabook to have was good speakers. Naturally, smaller laptops usually don’t have powerful speakers but that wasn’t the case with the Matebook X Pro.

It comes with four different speakers and Dolby Atmos support. They can get extremely loud and the sound itself is quite punchy, though it does not have a lot of bass. The sound was pretty accurate too but distortion sort of creeps in if you push up the volume above 80%.

Touchscreen 3K Display

Other than very good speakers, Huawei Matebook X Pro also boasts one of the best displays in its category. Dell XPS series doesn’t come close and the Macs all have sizeable bezels.

The Matebook houses a 13.9-inch LTPS display with a 91% (!) screen-to-body ratio. The bezels on the top and the sides are just 4mm thick, which not only make the experience immersive, any other laptop you use after this won’t look good enough.

Its resolution goes up to 3K (3000 x 2000) in a 3:2 aspect ratio, same as Microsoft’s Surface tabs and laptops. Although it works well with productivity apps and browsing, it doesn’t work well with regular videos and movies with large black bars appearing on the top and the bottom.

The display is color accurate, covering 100% of the sRGB color gamut. It goes up to 450 nits in terms of brightness, has 178-degree viewing angles on the sides and has an impressive 1500:1 contrast, with deep blacks and punchy colors. Image editing and watching movies will be a blast on this thing.

The 10-point touchscreen works well with media consumption and browsing the web.

Weird Webcam Placement

Making the display virtually bezelless came at a cost. Huawei removed the webcam from the display (where it usually is on laptops) and instead placed it on the keyboard, in between the function keys near the top.

Press the camera button and it pops right out. When not in use, you can press down on it again to hide it. It’s pretty handy if you’re conscious of your privacy.

Even though the quality is pretty good, the angle makes it very awkward to use, especially if you’re typing. It won’t be wrong to call it a “nose cam”.

Hardware and Performance

You can make it as beautiful as you want to but if it doesn’t perform buttery smooth, it’s not a good laptop. Thankfully Huawei took special care in the performance department.

You get the choice of either an 8th Gen Core-i7 or a Core-i5 on the Matebook X Pro, along with 8/16 GB of RAM and 256/512 GB SSD storage. It would’ve been nice to see a 1 TB storage variant as well, as more ultrabooks now have an option with that much storage.

The bootup time was very good. Once you press down on the power button, it takes just 8 seconds to get to the login screen. Having a good processor and SSD combo makes all the difference here as apps and software opened up fast and didn’t lag at all. Don’t try gaming on this as you won’t get very far with no dedicated Nvidia/AMD GPU.

Setting up Windows Hello is also fairly straightforward thanks to the fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button. It’s fast and doesn’t show up with errors often.

Huawei also includes a PC Manager app on the Matebook X Pro, which lets you transfer data directly from your Huawei phone over Wi-Fi. It also keeps the drivers up to date and keeps other things in check.

Battery Life and Fast Charging

The Matebook X Pro has a 57.4 Whr battery and manages 9-10 hours of uptime on a single charge.

In my testing, in which I installed software, listened to music, browsed the web, transferred data and did a lot of word processing, it managed to last around 9.5 hours easily.

I never had to dial down the performance or the brightness to conserve battery.

Other than that, it also comes with a 65W adapter with fast charging enabled. With 30 minutes of charging it can get you 6 hours of use, at least according to Huawei. It can also charge from 0-100% in around 1.5 hours.

Verdict

Overall, Huawei Matebook X Pro is a very compelling piece of machinery and is up there with the best in its category like the MacBook Pro or the Dell XPS/HP Envy ultrabooks.

It does have some quirks and issues but none of them is deal breaking and can be ignored for the most part.

We will definitely recommend this to anyone out looking for a brand new Windows ultrabook.

A techie, Overwatch and Street Fighter enthusiast, and Sub Editor at ProPakistani.



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