Huawei MateBook 13 evaluation: Arms-on
Huawei’s MateBook X and MateBook X Professional are a few of the finest wanting laptops in the marketplace, however they every got here with a number of compromises – and hefty worth tags. That’s all of the extra purpose to to be excited concerning the MateBook 13, which guarantees to convey the identical type at a friendlier worth.
Introduced at CES 2019, the MateBook 13 seems to be an terrible lot just like the X and X Professional – with a number of compromises, to be honest – however shaves a number of hundred off the worth, turning it right into a aggressive rival to the likes of the MacBook Air or the brand new Dell XPS 13 and doubtlessly probably the greatest laptops of 2019.
Value and availability
The MateBook 13 is due out within the US from 29 January, and can price $999 for the bottom mannequin – which features a Core i5 processor and 256GB storage – or $1,299 for a premium model with an i7, 512GB storage, and discrete graphics within the type of Nvidia’s MX150.
Contemplating that the MacBook Air begins from £1,199/$1,199 for a mannequin with much less storage than Huawei’s, whereas the XPS 13 begins from £999/$899 for an i3 processor, that pricing is already very aggressive.
Huawei hasn’t but introduced pricing or launch dates for the UK and different areas, however we’d be shocked the UK has to attend for much longer than the US to get our palms on it.
Design and construct: Apple-ish
For those who’ve seen any of Huawei’s current laptops then the MateBook 13 will seem instantly acquainted. There’s the identical selection of gray or silver finishes, with minimal bezels, an expansive touchpad, and all-metal development.
It’ll most likely additionally seem acquainted if you happen to’ve seen Apple’s newest MacBook and MacBook Air, and it’d be arduous to not admit that Huawei’s designers owe a debt to Apple’s. That’s partly what is going to gas the inevitable comparisons to the brand new Air, and the MateBook comes out surprisingly effectively.
The 13in, 2160 x 1440 touchscreen show is in the identical three:2 facet ratio Huawei’s favoured for a number of years. It’s a squarer, boxier format than you may be used to, which leads to plenty of letter-boxing once you watch films or TV, however leaves you with loads of vertical display screen actual property once you’re working or searching the online. That makes it best as a piece system, if much less optimum for curling up in mattress with Netflix.
At 1.3kg it’s not tremendous light-weight, and that is clearly the place the corners had been minimize to maintain that worth down. That makes it the identical weight because the bigger MateBook X Professional – which has a 13.9in show and an even bigger battery to justify the dimensions – although in equity it’s nonetheless solely fractionally heavier than its Apple rival.
That slim construct does include the standard price although: ports are restricted, with simply two USB-C ports (one for charging) together with a headphone jack. Count on to want dongles aplenty if you happen to hope to attach the rest as much as it.
Specs and options: Undercutting the competitors
Specs are surprisingly spectacular for the worth, and that is the place the MateBook 13 actually pulls away from its Apple and Dell equivalents. The truth that the bottom $999 mannequin packs an i5, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is undeniably aggressive.
The $1,299 premium mannequin is arguably even higher worth – not solely does that get you the i7 and double the storage, however the leap to an MX150 graphics card makes this some of the reasonably priced methods to get a discrete graphics card in an ultrabook on the market. The one actual draw back right here is the RAM – 8GB isn’t dangerous, but it surely lags behind the remainder of the specs, and will delay anybody hoping to make use of it for correct video or photograph enhancing on the go.
The webcam can also be a little bit of a letdown. Megapixels aren’t all the things, however a 1MP digicam is, effectively, not good. That’s the form of compromise I’d be completely glad to make, however for anybody frequently utilizing their laptop computer for video calls it’s prone to really feel like an actual limitation.
Battery life can also be a little bit of a priority. I take advantage of the unique MateBook X as my every day laptop computer, and there are plenty of issues I like about it, however battery life ain’t one among them. The MateBook 13 has an identical capability, and whereas Huawei claims it may assist 10 hours of video playback, I received’t imagine it till we are able to check it out for ourselves.
It might sound cliché to match the MateBook 13 to the MacBook Air, but it surely’s arduous to not. With such comparable designs there’s little to inform the laptops aside on aesthetics, and as quickly as you have a look at the internals Huawei’s laptop computer pulls sharply forward.
The bottom mannequin gives double the storage of Apple’s for $200 much less, whereas the dearer one manages to a quicker processor, double the storage, and a discrete GPU and nonetheless comes out $100 cheaper than Apple’s $1,399 SKU.
The one actual compromises are on webcam image high quality and doubtlessly battery life, although the latter could possibly be a dealbreaker for anybody critically contemplating switching from San Cupertino.