MateBook E review: Huawei's tablet offers a more portable way to use Windows

Huawei Matebook E review (Image: HUAWEI)

Huawei is trying to take on the might of Apple with the release of its new MateBook E. This all-screen tablet offers most of the features you’ll find on an iPad such as a stunning edge-to-edge display, rear camera and fingerprint sensor but there are some stark differences. Firstly the MateBook E runs on Windows 11 which makes it perfect for those who prefer Microsoft’s operating system rather than Apple’s more restricted iPadOS.

Then there’s the keyboard case as Huawei actually bundles this accessory in with this tablet rather than asking you to head back to a store, get your credit card out and pay more for a laptop-style experience. Right now they are even throwing a digital stylus and wireless earbuds for good measure.

If you’re after a Windows device that offers some serious portability then the MateBook E certainly ticks plenty of boxes but what’s it really like to use and is it worth your hard-earned cash?

Express.co.uk has been putting the Matebook E through its paces and here’s our full review.

Huawei Matebook E review

The Matebook E has a solid design but it is quite boring (Image: HUAWEI)

Huawei MateBook E review

When you first lift the MateBook E out of the box it definitely can’t be described as exciting. Unlike the iPad, there are no shiny colours to choose from or stunning aluminium finish to gaze at.

This device feels like it’s been built for the office rather than having some fun with UK consumers simply getting one pretty boring Nebula Grey option to choose from.

The rear panel is covered in a matt finish which looks nice enough but certainly doesn’t have the wow factor found on tablets such as the new iPad Air – it’s also quite a magnet for fingerprints so be prepared for some serious cleaning.

We might not be sold on the overall design but the MateBook E feels very well built and there’s no question that this device should cope with years of life on the road. It is worth noting, however, that the premium finish does make it quite heavy with it weighing in at over 700g without the keyboard case and over 1KG once you add that accessory.

Huawei Matebook E review

The Matebook E has a glorious OLED screen (Image: HUAWEI)

As a comparison, the slightly smaller iPad Air weighs just over 400g and that extra bulk is definitely noticeable. The design is not going to win Huawei any awards but things really improve once you hit the side-mounted power button.

Huawei has packed an impressive 12.6-inch OLED screen into this device and it dazzles like a set of freshly whitened teeth.

Colours pop from this screen with content that looks bright and packed with glorious detail. Thanks to that OLED technology you’ll also be treated to rich and deep blacks which really does make bingeing on Netflix and viewing endless blockbusters on Disney+ a total joy.

The screen really is excellent although if we had one gripe it would be the 60Hz refresh rate which is nowhere near as smooth as the experience found on devices such as the iPad Pro. Bumping things up to a speedy 120Hz panel would have made a huge difference and it’s a shame Huawei couldn’t manage to include it.

Huawei Matebook E review

Huawei Matebook E review (Image: HUAWEI)

Tucked under the shell of the MateBook E is an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1130G7 Processor which is certainly powerful enough for whizzing around the web, sending emails and bashing out your next PowerPoint.

However, this chip is nowhere near as beefed up as some other brains from Intel and falls way behind the new M1 processor Apple now includes in its latest iPad Air.

If you want a tablet for some serious gaming and heavy workloads such as video or photo editing the MateBook E might not be the best choice and that’s not great considering it does cost almost £1,000.

As we mentioned earlier, one bonus of this device is that it comes with a keyboard case included in the box. That means you can quickly turn this tablet into a fully functioning laptop – there’s even a full set of function keys and a trackpad.

Typing on this keyboard is excellent with plenty of travel in the buttons and enough room for all of your fingers to make sure your emails are accurate and typo-free.

Huawei Matebook E review

Huawei Matebook E review (Image: HUAWEI)

Overall it’s a good accessory although it’s worth noting that using it on your lap isn’t great as it’s not all that sturdy and there are no backlights under the keys which isn’t ideal when the evening sets in.

Other features on the MateBook E include a dual-lens rear camera should you wish to snap shots on your tablet plus there’s an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for those endless video calls we’re all making.

When watching movies you get audio via four speakers which sound decent enough plus there’s a headphone port if you fancy plugging in your cans.

The only other port included on the MateBook E is a USB-C charging socket which is fine but not ideal for those who want a PC that’s compatible with HDMI and USB-A accessories.

Finally, let’s talk about battery life as it’s just about OK. You’ll get around 7 hours of playtime with general usage. However, pump the screen up to full brightness and things drain quite quickly. We settled down for one hour of YouTube content and watched the battery go from 44 percent to just 18 percent in that 60-minute period.

HUAWEI MATEBOOK E VERDICT

There’s no question that the MateBook E is a very capable Windows tablet that can easily be transformed into a mini tablet. The screen is sublime, it’s well built and you get the keyboard case bundled in as part of the price.

There’s also a fast fingerprint scanner, decent speakers, a headphone port and a generous 512GB of storage all for £1,000. To put that price into some perspective, a 512GB iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard case will currently set you back over £1,600.

To make things even more enticing, Huawei is even throwing in its M-Pencil stylus for free which allows you to scribble on the screen without using your finger.

There’s plenty to like but we do have some niggles including that 11th Gen processor which isn’t the fastest, the lack of ports and mediocre battery life.

The design doesn’t excite and it’s pretty heavy when compared to some of its rivals.

If you want a Windows 11 tablet that can be used for work and a little bit of play the MateBook E ticks a bunch of boxes just be aware of some pretty annoying niggles.

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