Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Windows 10 fans finally have a MacBook Air rival

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Windows 10 fans finally have a MacBook Air rival

- in Technology

The Matebook X Pro unit we tested for this review comes in at a whopping £1,499.99 (Image: Express Newspapers)

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 review

Huawei MateBook X Pro is the Chinese tech behemoth’s answer to the MacBook Air (Image: Express Newspapers)

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.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review

The MateBook X Pro is a commendably portable device (Image: Express Newspapers)

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.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review

The most striking thing about the MateBook X Pro is its beautiful 13.9-inch display (Image: Express Newspapers)

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.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review

The Huawei MateBook X Pro weighs in at 1.33-kilograms (Image: Express Newspapers)

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.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review

The entire device feels rugged and designed to last (Image: Express Newspapers)

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 MateBook X Pro review

Huawei has placed the hardware’s webcam underneath a key on the device (Image: Express Newspapers)