Huawei Matebook X review: watch out Apple, Huawei is coming for you

The Huawei Matebook X is a triumphant entry into the ultra-portable laptop segment

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Reasons to buy

  • +

    Amazing design and screen

  • +

    Great sound

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    Fingerprint sensor

Reasons to avoid

  • -

    Slightly odd USB-C setup

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    You may never be able to buy it

Huawei is the world's third largest smartphone manufacturer, and now the Chinese company has turned its attention to making laptops. Its first attempt, the Matebook X is rather excellent, although, like with everything Huawei makes, its influences are clear - Apple's Macbook better start sleeping with one eye open.

Despite it's initial appearance, the Matebook is actually a pretty innovative device, with the company using its knowledge and experience in the smartphone industry to influence its laptop design. The result is an ultra-portable device with some brilliant user focused features which make it a pleasure to use.

But let's start with the way its looks. Cover up the logos and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and Apple's Macbook. That's no bad thing because the Macbook is arguable the most attractive laptop you can buy, but it would have been nice to see Huawei do something a little different with the design, like Microsoft did with the Surface Laptop.

We're not too fussed, however, because the Macbook is a stunning laptop, and so to is the Matebook X. It's great news for people who love Apple's industrial design, but prefer Windows 10 over macOS.

Open it up and you'll find a pleasingly clicky keyboard with a decent amount of travel, and a large glass touchpad, which is a pleasure to use. The hinge gives a good amount of resistance, and feels secure while open.

We reviewed the Gold model, but Huawei are also selling the Matebook X in Space Grey, Rose, and Silver.

When open you'll find the most distinctive feature which sets the Matebook X apart from the Macbook. It's the stunning, 2160 x 1440 pixels, 13-inch screen, complete with shrunken bezels. That's one inch larger than the Macbook's 12-inch display, making this the worlds smallest 13-inch laptop. That's an impressive claim, and the sharp, comparatively large display is a major selling point of this device.

There's no touch, however. That didn't really bother us, coming from a Macbook.

The display has a 3:2 aspect ratio, so it's a little more square than most laptops. This is great for working and surfing the internet, but not so great for watching videos.

Despite that, Huawei is pitching the Matebook X as a media device, especially as the laptop features some pretty impressive Dolby Atmos speakers.

Now, obviously this isn't going to start pumping out 24 channel surround sound, but the Matebook X does sound very good, especially for a laptop of its size. There isn't huge amounts of bass, which can be expected, but there's plenty of volume and a wide sound stage.

Huawei has also taken some innovation from its smartphone devision, placing a lightning fast fingerprint sensor inside the power button. This is an incredibly secure and quick way to unlock the device, and saves you having to type a password every time you go to unlock it.

The keyboard is also splash resistant, so you needn't worry if a careless coworker knocks a drink on it.

Just like Apple, the only ports you get here are two USB-C, and a headphone jack. Although, slightly annoyingly, the left USB-C is only for power, while the right USB-C can be used for everything else. They're not interchangeable like the ones of Apple devices.

Generously, Huawei will include a USB-C adapter in the box, which features an HDMI port, USB3, Display Port and an extra USB-C.

Specs

Dimensions: 286 x 211 x 12.5 mm (at it's thickest)
Weight: 1.05 kg
Storage: 256 GB / 512 GB SSD
Screen: 13-inch IPS,  2160 x 1440 pixels, sRGB 100% colour gamut, 350 nits
CPU: 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7200U or Core i7-7500U processor
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
Memory: 4GB / 8GB LPDDR3
Battery: 41.4 Wh (5449 mAh@7.6 V) claimed 10 hour battery life
OS: Windows 10 64-bit Home
Audio: Dolby Atmos

As you can see from the spec sheet, it's certainly no slouch, although, admittedly, it's also not going to be used for gaming.

The battery life is claimed to be around 10 hours. We'd say this is a slight overestimate, and generally got around 8 hours, which we're still pretty happy with.

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Now, we've covered the premium design and the powerful specs. All that's left is the price... and this will probably make you wince.

i5/8GB/256GB - €1399 (around £1225)

i5/8GB/512GB SSD - €1599 (around £1400)

i7/8GB/512GB SSD - €1699 (around £1485)

Gone are the days of Huawei being a budget brand. 

You've probably also noticed all of those prices are in Euros, and that's because we haven't been given any UK specific pricing or release dates yet, despite being launched all the way back in May.

Verdict

The Huawei Matebook X has it all, a stunning premium design, powerful specs, and useful, user-centric features. 

If you're after an ultra portable laptop, love Apple's industrial design, but prefer Window 10, this really is the perfect machine.

Of course, that is if you can afford it, and, if you have the patience to wait for Huawei to release it in the UK.

If you can't wait, it's also worth checking out the rather brilliant Dell XPS 13, or Microsoft's new Surface Laptop.

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