The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) follows on from the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) – Huawei is now well into the groove when it comes to pushing out yearly updates for this premium Windows 10 laptop, and as you would expect, this is the best edition yet.
This is very much part of Huawei's wider 1+8+N strategy: a whole ecosystem of devices that covers phones (the "1"), a bunch of other devices including wearables and laptops (the "8"), and an expansion into areas like video streaming and gaming (the "N").
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Linking all of these products together is the same Huawei Share protocol, plus high-speed 4G and 5G connectivity. Ultimate, Huawei wants you to be able to invest in its ecosystem as easily as the ecosystems from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon and others.
And that brings us back to this year's edition of the Huawei MateBook X Pro. We've seen in previous years that this is a serious contender at the top-end of the market (think the Microsoft Surface Laptop and the Dell XPS 13), and this model looks to continue that trend.
Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: screen and design
There's no doubt that this year's Huawei MateBook X Pro is a fine-looking laptop – the 13.9-inch, 3000 x 2000 pixel LTPS LCD screen looks great, with very little in the way of bezels. Colours are bright, details are sharp, and it's a fantastic laptop for watching movies. The 3:2 aspect ratio isn't ideal for widescreen content of course, but we'd rather have it for the extra vertical space it gives to websites and documents.
It's a touchscreen too, should you need it, and overall it's a really light and compact device, as we've come to expect from this laptop series: you'll barely notice it when you're carrying it or when it's on your lap. We're pleased to see a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, which makes logging in a breeze, but we're less happy about the webcam built into the top row of keys – it's not an ideal position.
Speaking of the keys, typing on the Huawei MateBook X Pro is a pleasure, and the trackpad is sharp and responsive. We had no problems using the laptop as our day-to-day device, and even though the laptop is a compact size, the keys feel well spaced and well proportioned. Around the sides you get two USB-C ports, one USB-A port (with USB 3.0 support) and a 3.5 mm audio port.
Your colour choices are Space Grey, Mystic Silver and the Emerald Green that we tried. They all look eye-catching, but we prefer the Emerald Green version that we had. While the design hasn't changed much from the MateBook X Pro we saw in 2019, Huawei had no real need to change it, and it's one of the best-looking laptops that you'll find at this size. Next year, we hope that Huawei finds a way to put the webcam in the (very thin) top bezel.
Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: performance and features
Our review unit came with a quad-core Intel Core i7-10510U 1.8GHz CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage, plus an entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. The only other option has an i5 processor and 512GB of storage, and sticks with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 620. if you want to save yourself some cash and don't mind the resulting performance hit (which shouldn't be all that noticeable). We can definitely say the configuration we used offered plenty of power for everyday tasks.
Neither the Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU or the integrated graphics are never going to give you a top-tier gaming experience of course, or make your 4K video rendering tasks fly by, but when it comes to having dozens of browser tabs open at once or editing high-resolution images, we didn't find the MateBook X Pro lacking at all – no doubt thanks to that i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. You'll be able to get by with some light 2D gaming if you need it.
We found the laptop stayed mostly quiet and cool in operation, although the fans do tend to kick in fairly regularly while the computer is connected to mains power; thankfully, they're not too loud. Meanwhile, if you've got a Huawei phone, through the magic of NFC you can instantly connect it to the laptop just by tapping your phone on a specific point at the top of the keyboard. It's evidence of that Huawei Share functionality we mentioned earlier, and it'd be nice to see it available on other handsets too – though for now it seems to be being marketed as a Huawei exclusive.
As for battery life, Huawei claims you'll get 15 hours of "regular work" from the MateBook X Pro. That seems a little ambitious based on our experience, though it will certainly last you a whole working day, and outperform most laptops in battery life. In our regular test of an hour's worth of video streaming at maximum brightness (something you could dial down if needed), the laptop dropped from 100 percent battery to 87 percent, so you should get between 7-8 hours of non-stop Netflix.
Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: price and verdict
Huawei has put out another hugely impressive laptop with the MateBook X Pro for 2020, and it's difficult to find any faults with it at all. The screen isn't a 4K one, and the webcam is in a strange place, and the (quiet-ish) fans whir quite a lot when the laptop is plugged in, but apart from those minor annoyances it ticks a lot of the boxes that it needs to tick. Battery life and performance isn't outstanding, but it's above where you might expect a laptop of this size and weight to be.
What might put most people off the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) is the rather high price – starting at around £1,400 for the cheapest configuration (check the widgets on this page for the latest prices on the web). It's not a question of whether the laptop is worth the price (we think it is), it's a question of whether you can get a perfectly fine and functional Windows laptop for a lot less than this (you almost certainly can).
If you do want the very best 13-to-14-inch Windows laptop in the business, and you're willing to pay for it, then the MateBook X Pro should definitely be somewhere on your shortlist – especially if you like the Emerald Green colour as much as we do. It'll cope very well with everyday computing, it's a pleasure to use in terms of the keyboard and trackpad, and it comes with an excellent screen.
In other words, the Huawei MateBook X Pro for 2020 succeeds in all the key areas where you want a Windows laptop to succeed. There's a very strong field at the moment when it comes to lightweight laptops running Microsoft's operating system, across all screen sizes, but we'd encourage you to give this one more than a passing look.