Huawei MateBook 14 2020 AMD evaluation
Huawei’s smartphone struggles are effectively publicised, however the firm’s super success within the laptop computer house typically goes unnoticed.
Ever for the reason that first MateBooks arrived with robust specs and a gorgeous – if acquainted – aesthetic, Huawei has been steadily refining the design and build up a variety of laptops which can be aggressive at nearly each worth level. So we come to the 2020 MateBook 14, which seems very like final 12 months’s mannequin however packs in additional energy, jumps from Intel to AMD, and improves Huawei Share assist.
Oh, and in case you had been frightened: sure, the MateBook 14 runs Home windows 10, and you’ll entry Google simply high-quality.
Design and construct
Huawei has caught to its tried and examined design language with the 2020 MateBook 14, which is principally a gorgeous, conservative design that also seems faintly like a MacBook.
The chassis is basically unchanged from the 2019 mannequin, although that’s no unhealthy factor. It means you get a reasonably slim, petite machine regardless of the 14in show, at simply 15.9mm thick and a weight of round 1.5kg.
It’s not as slender or mild as the corporate’s flagship MateBook X or X Professional, however it’s additionally considerably cheaper than both, and packs in additional ports too. It does really feel a bit of heavy although, particularly in comparison with rival units from Acer and Asus – doubtless due to Huawei’s selection of supplies.
The majority of the physique is made out of an aluminium alloy (although the hinge and port covers are plastic), and it’s completed in a darkish House Gray (although some international locations get a lighter Mystic Silver choice), for an finish outcome that isn’t precisely eye catching, however seems smooth and fashionable. It’s restrained sufficient to appear skilled however slick sufficient that you just’ll nonetheless wish to present it off a bit.
Let’s discuss in regards to the panel. It’s a 14in touchscreen IPS show – so no OLED – at a decision of 2160×1440.
If that decision sounds a bit of odd, it’s as a result of this display screen is within the three:2 facet ratio, slightly than the extra acquainted 16:9. It’s a taller, boxier show that provides you additional vertical actual property – a selected boon for productiveness, which is admittedly the place the MateBook 14 feels focussed.
In case you principally need a laptop computer to look at Netflix the display screen could frustrate, as you’ll at all times have black bars above and beneath no matter you watch, however should you spend your days on e mail and Excel – or much more demanding inventive or technical software program – the additional scrolling house will rapidly turn out to be your favorite factor about this laptop computer.
The show itself is vivid, with good distinction and color vary, although like Huawei’s different laptops it suffers from an particularly reflective end. That signifies that regardless of good peak brightness it nonetheless struggles in direct daylight, as there’s not a lot you are able to do to keep away from intense glare.
It helps that with slim bezels the display screen nearly at all times seems the half. There’s a 90% screen-to-body ratio, with significantly slim borders across the prime and sides – although there’s a chunkier backside bezel the place the Huawei emblem sits.
Keyboard and trackpad
Huawei’s keyboards don’t fairly attain the lofty highs of the very best available on the market – that’s the Dell XPS 13, for my cash – however they’ve been quietly wonderful for a while now, and the MateBook 14 isn’t any exception.
The complete-size keyboard reaches nearly from edge to edge, and appears as smooth and easy as the remainder of the design. Key journey is comparatively quick, however it’s snug, quiet, and satisfyingly tactile.
It additionally boasts what’s turn out to be a Huawei trademark: a hidden webcam. Huawei installs its webcam beneath a faux operate key, which pops up whenever you press on it. Just a few years in the past this felt like a sensible approach to save house on the show bezels and guarantee privateness, hiding away a hardly ever used characteristic.
Issues have modified although. For one, different producers have shrunk webcams down to suit above screens with out compromising the design; extra importantly nearly all of us now spend rather more time on digicam than we used to, and an upwards-facing webcam that will get blocked by your fingers whenever you kind has gone from minor annoyance to real grievance.
The trackpad at the least is an unmitigated pleasure, with an expansive floor space and multi-touch assist. Huawei has additionally managed to maneuver the Huawei Share tag beneath the trackpad, which saves you from an ugly sticker and feels extra streamlined. Extra on what that really does down beneath.
Ports and connectivity
Ports are one other robust swimsuit. You’ll discover two USB-A three.2 ports, one USB-C (used for charging), an HDMI port, and a three.5mm headphone/microphone jack. It’s a disgrace there’s no microSD card slot, however in any other case you’re getting nearly all the things you possibly can hope for in a laptop computer this measurement.
As for different connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi after all, however no assist but for the brand new Wi-Fi 6 normal. Bluetooth can be on the marginally older Bluetooth 5.zero normal, however that doesn’t matter a lot.
A fingerprint sensor is embedded within the energy button, and it could possibly scan your print when you flip the machine on – in order that theoretically, pushing the button as soon as ought to each boot the PC and unlock it. This principally works, although sometimes I did must re-scan my finger to log into Home windows.
As is pretty widespread in laptops, the audio system are positioned on the underside of the physique. On a desk that’s high-quality, however should you’re utilizing the MateBook 14 in your lap or in mattress, audio high quality noticeably suffers.
Specs and efficiency
Below the hood is the place issues get extra attention-grabbing. Within the UK Huawei is just releasing an AMD-powered model of the 2020 MateBook 14, which is what I have been testing, although elsewhere in Europe you may need an Intel choice.
In case you’re choosing AMD, the selection is between the highly effective H-series Ryzen 5 4600H or the Ryzen 7 4800H CPU, whereas Intel customers get to select between an i5-10210U and an i7-10510U. The AMD CPUs are undeniably stronger performers, however there’s a tradeoff: should you go for Intel you’ll get an Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPU too, whereas the AMD choices are restricted to built-in graphics solely.
Both means, RAM is both 8GB or 16GB, although AMD fashions use DDR4 whereas the Intel fashions nonetheless use the slower DDR3 normal. Each fashions rise up to 512GB of SSD storage.
I’ve been reviewing the top-spec UK mannequin, with a Ryzen 7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB storage. The underside line is that efficiency is implausible, particularly contemplating the worth, and the MateBook 14 will comfortably deal with most belongings you throw at it.
AMD’s built-in graphics tech stays surprisingly strong, and so the MateBook even holds its personal on the 3DMark graphics benchmark, however the limitations are clear – it was really outperformed by final 12 months’s mannequin, with a Core i7 and MX250, regardless of comfortably beating that mannequin on the PCMark computing take a look at.
Huawei has additionally used the AMD chips as an excuse to revamp the MateBook 14’s cooling setup, and with spectacular outcomes. Even at full whack it runs quiet and funky, that means there’s not a lot trigger for concern round efficiency throttling – or round utilizing it in your lap.
In the end, should you’re searching for a tool for graphically intensive duties – be that gaming, video enhancing, or advanced 3D modelling – it’s best to in all probability look elsewhere. However for absolutely anything else, you received’t discover rather more energy than this in a laptop computer, and positively not in a single this compact.
Battery and charging
The 56Wh battery within the MateBook 14, mixed with the ability effectivity of the AMD chips, principally makes it an all-day system. I’ve comfortably used it for a full day’s work with out stressing in regards to the energy cable – although keep in mind that I might count on battery life on the Intel variations to be a bit of decrease.
As for charging, the included 65W charger topped the battery again up by 45% in half an hour – so it will in all probability take an hour or so for a full day’s cost. Helpfully it is a compact charger, no bigger than most cellphone ones, and because it’s USB-C it is going to handily additionally cost most telephones, saving you carrying round separate plugs.
As I stated above, Huawei’s laptop computer line is at present unaffected by the continued US commerce ban, due to a particular exemption for Microsoft. Meaning the MateBook 14 ships with Home windows 10 and it runs identical to every other Home windows laptop computer, with all the identical software program, safety, and entry to Google providers.
You additionally get a bit of additional should you use different Huawei units, as the corporate works arduous to construct up its and software program ecosystem, principally by Huawei Share.
As I discussed above, this tech has now been moved underneath the trackpad. That signifies that should you personal a suitable Huawei or Honor cellphone now you can maintain it over the trackpad briefly to attach it to the laptop computer.
At that time you may drag and drop recordsdata between the 2 units, work on cellphone recordsdata from the laptop computer, and mirror your cellphone’s show to the laptop computer display screen so to really use it like an app inside Home windows, utilizing your mouse to click on and your keyboard to kind WhatsApp messages.
It’s a handy contact, however after all solely helpful should you already use a Huawei or Honor cellphone. And since their newest handsets don’t assist Google software program, sadly the chances are that you just don’t.
Value and availability
The 2020 MateBook 14 is offered for both £749 or £949 within the UK, and you should buy it direct from Huawei, or from Amazon, Very, AO, or Littlewoods.
£749 will get you a Ryzen 5 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage, whereas £949 will get you the quicker Ryzen 7 with double the RAM and storage – that is the mannequin I’ve been testing. In case you can afford it, you’ll positively see a noticeable efficiency bump from the pricier model, however each provide spectacular worth for cash.
In case you order by 20 October the corporate may even throw in a free MatePad 10.four pill for good measure.
At this worth, truthfully the principle competitors is from Huawei itself. The MateBook D14 (observe the ‘D’) is offered from simply £549. It sports activities a barely slower U-series Ryzen processor, and the design and show are positively much less premium, however for a lot of the D14 will suffice.
I believe the design enhancements and additional efficiency right here justify the improve for individuals who can afford it although, particularly anybody with critical productiveness in thoughts – the combo of the H-series Ryzen chips and that three:2 show are arduous to beat.
For extra choices, take a look at our ranked information to the very best laptops we have reviewed.
Huawei has as soon as once more delivered super bang to your buck within the 2020 MateBook 14, particularly within the UK’s overhauled AMD fashions.
The H-series Ryzen chips ship the very best efficiency yow will discover in a laptop computer in the intervening time, and can outpace the silicon in some laptops at double the worth.
The design is slick, fashionable, and unfussed, bolstered by a wonderful show and a superb array of ports, and it’s pretty skinny – if a bit of heavy for a laptop computer its measurement.
The one actual downsides are that unlucky webcam placement, the dearth of a GPU choice within the AMD fashions, and the truth that its coolest software program characteristic – Huawei Share – is inevitably of restricted use because you’re in all probability unlikely to pair it with a brand new Huawei cellphone.
Huawei MateBook 14 (2020): Specs
- Home windows 10 Residence
- 14in 2160×1440 IPS (non-obligatory touchscreen), three:2, 185ppi
- AMD Ryzen 5 4600H or Ryzen 7 4800H
- eight/16GB RAM
- 256/512GB SSD
- Pop-up 1Mp net cam
- USB-A three.zero
- USB-A 2.zero
- USB-C x1
- Headphone jack
- Fingerprint energy button
- Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.four/5GHz 2×2 MIMO
- Bluetooth 5.zero
- Twin audio system
- Quad microphones
- 57.4Wh non-removable battery
- 65W USB-C charger
- House Grey