Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: The largest and better of Huawei’s 2019 laptops
It will have been simple to miss the MateBook 14 when Huawei unveiled it at MWC 2019. With each the Mate X foldable smartphone and a brand new model of top-of-the-line MateBook X Professional additionally making their debuts the much less flashy MateBook 14 needed to contend for consideration with its personal stablemates, not to mention every part else on the present.
And but, truly utilizing this laptop computer has revealed it to not simply be a superb ultraportable, however fairly presumably higher than the MateBook X Professional itself, no less than when it comes to how worthy it’s of your money.
Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: What you have to know
The MateBook 14 sits in the course of Huawei’s 2019 laptop computer lineup, beneath the brand new MateBook X Professional and above the MateBook 13 (a refreshed, touchscreen-equipped model of the MateBook 13 beforehand launched at CES). All three are glossy ultraportables and have related, typically equivalent selections of Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, Nvidia MX discrete graphics chips and PCIe SSDs.
Variations between the three primarily come right down to the general design, together with bodily connectivity, and show specs. The Huawei MateBook 14, for instance, has a 14in, 2,160 x 1,440 touchscreen – that’s a decrease decision than the MateBook X Professional has (three,000 x 2,000) however extra display screen actual property than the 13in MateBook 13.
Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: Worth and competitors
I’m testing the upper of the 2 out there MateBook 14 configurations, which has a Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia’s new MX250 discrete graphics chip and a 512GB SSD, and prices €1,499 (no UK pricing was out there on the time of writing).
Curiously, this has the very same CPU, GPU, reminiscence and touchscreen because the top-spec MateBook X Professional, which is €500 dearer, a significant factor within the MateBook 14’s usurper potential, offered this saving doesn’t include too many caveats.
It’s additionally up in opposition to the brand new Dell XPS 13. The closest comparable XPS 13 configuration, with the identical Core i7 chip, is at present £1,550, so even when Huawei will get a bit cheeky with UK pricing, there’s nonetheless an excellent likelihood the MateBook 14 will likely be cheaper than this as properly.
Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: Design
The MateBook 14 isn’t as glossy because the MateBook X Professional nor as compact because the MateBook 13, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a light-weight laptop computer with slim display screen bezels. Its 1.5kg weight is appropriate for a 14in machine, particularly one with devoted graphics, and it’s well-crafted typically with minimal display screen flex and a solid-feeling, all-metal chassis.
That is additionally the one one of many three new MateBooks to have two full-size USB ports (one USB 2.zero, one USB three.zero), along with a single USB Kind-C port, full-size HDMI output and three.5mm headphone jack. This makes it the best-equipped if you wish to use a number of USB peripherals and units with out adapters, though the MateBook X Professional does have the benefit of a Thunderbolt three port.
The MateBook 14’s Kind-C port can deal with information transfers and DisplayPort video output, however will seemingly most frequently be crammed by the charging cable.
The audio system are located on the underside of the chassis, with small grilles on the left and proper sides and an extended grille on the rear. These are Dolby Atmos-branded, and do sound barely higher than the typical laptop computer audio system however not transcendently so. Headphones will nonetheless be the higher possibility for listening to music.
As with on the unique MateBook X Professional, the webcam is hidden inside what would sometimes be a operate key, popping up if you press it. It is a intelligent thought in idea: shifting the digital camera away from the display screen retains the highest bezel skinny, and anybody with privateness considerations can hold it folded away. In observe, nonetheless, it makes for a really unflattering taking pictures angle. It’s higher at capturing the person’s chest than their face, and really typing on the keyboard whereas in a video name will deal with whoever’s on the opposite finish to an excessive close-up of your fingers.
Significantly better is the fingerprint sensor, which in one other case of borrowed design from the MateBook X Professional, is built-in into the facility button. It really works reliably and close to sufficient instantaneously and, if you change the laptop computer on for the primary time, it shops your fingerprint information, so it may possibly log you in routinely as soon as the laptop computer totally powers up.
Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: OneHop
Huawei doesn’t simply need you tapping your fingers on the MateBook 14, although. Together with its different two new laptops, there’s help for OneHop, which helps you to switch recordsdata between the laptop computer and a suitable smartphone (mainly any Huawei or Honor handset working EMUI 9.zero or later). Merely pair the telephone with the MateBook, and with a mix of Wi-Fi Direct and NFC, you possibly can faucet the telephone onto the laptop computer to share images and movies, amongst different issues.
A lot of the time, this works properly. It takes mere seconds to get a smartphone photograph onto the MateBook 14’s display screen and, if that image consists of textual content, you possibly can even use the Textual content Recogniser instrument to extract it in editable kind. This textual content recognition is surprisingly correct, too. It really works higher with single paragraphs, as formatting is all however misplaced within the course of however, apart from lacking a couple of bits of punctuation, it’s a decent execution of OCR (optical character recognition).
Nonetheless, OneHop has its disappointments as properly. Clipboard sharing, one among its extra enticing capabilities, solely works if PC Supervisor (Huawei’s Home windows app) is at model 9.1 or later. On the time of writing, the most recent out there model is 9.zero, so it’s not truly attainable to repeat textual content on one system and paste on the opposite simply but.
The truth that OneHop solely works with Huawei and Honor telephones can be a substantial, if not completely stunning, limitation. However it could have been a way more compelling motive to purchase a MateBook if it labored with different Android units. Lastly, it’s value noting that, whereas photos switch in a few seconds, movies take quite a bit longer. A 201MB MP4 file took 1min 6secs to switch, which is quite a bit longer than it could take to only seize a USB cable or add it to cloud storage.
Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: Keyboard and touchpad
Nonetheless, even when the MateBook 14’s fanciest characteristic could possibly be higher, there’s little to complain about with the core . The keyboard, as an example, is nice: even with a brief journey depth, every keypress has a optimistic, crisp motion, and the keycaps are properly spaced. There are not any unusually undersized keys or different oddities, though some would possibly discover the cursor key format one thing to get used to.
The touchpad is sweet, too. Apart from being easy and responsive, it’s fairly large for a laptop computer this dimension. There’s greater than sufficient area to get the cursor from one nook of the display screen to the alternative in a single swipe, even when set to a considerably low-ish default sensitivity.
Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: Show
At 14in throughout the diagonal, the MateBook 14’s touchscreen is the biggest in Huawei’s 2019 lineup. It’s a 2,160 x 1,440, IPS panel with a three:2 side ratio, which proves helpful for studying internet pages or modifying lengthy paperwork, as you’ve received a contact extra peak than on 16:9 laptops just like the Dell XPS 13.
Admittedly, the Full HD non-touchscreen Dell XPS 13 I examined got here out higher in our measurements. The MateBook 14’s 85.5% sRGB protection and common delta E of two.02 each fall behind the XPS 13’s 95.2% and 1.6, making the latter higher for photograph and video modifying. The MateBook 14’s 384.6cd/m2 peak brightness and 1,577:1 distinction ratio are additionally decrease than the XPS 13’s 413cd/m2 and excellent 1,643:1, and Dell’s alternative of a matte end helps hold reflections at bay far more successfully than the MateBook 14’s shiny display screen.
That mentioned, that is removed from a nasty show. That distinction ratio, specifically, is a good displaying and, anecdotally, the MateBook 14 seems to be simply as shiny and vibrant as could possibly be anticipated of a £1,000-plus Ultrabook.
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Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: Efficiency and battery life
The perfect argument for selecting the MateBook 14, nonetheless, is efficiency. Regardless of being cheaper than each the MateBook X Professional and the XPS 13, the MateBook 14 matches them with its quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U, so it’s simply as quick.
The truth is, it got here out barely forward of the XPS 13 in our 4K benchmark assessments, scoring 97 total to the Dell’s 95, and its Geekbench four scores of 5,150 within the single-core check and 17,413 within the multicore check are each larger than the XPS 13’s as properly. A part of that is seemingly right down to the MateBook 14 having 16GB of RAM, to the XPS 13’s 8GB. Solely the Razer Blade Stealth 13 has scored larger with the identical CPU, with an total rating of 115 in our in-house assessments.
One other benefit the Huawei MateBook 14 has is its Nvidia MX250 graphics chip, which is the successor to the MX150 present in the most costly MateBook 13 spec, in addition to the Blade Stealth 13. In contrast with this earlier GPU, it appears to solely present a modest gaming efficiency bump slightly than an enormous one nevertheless it’s sufficient that the MateBook 14 can run the GFXBench Manhattan onscreen check at nearly the very same pace because the Blade Stealth 13, regardless of Razer’s laptop computer having a lower-resolution (and thus much less GPU-intensive) show.
The MateBook 14 additionally beat the Blade Stealth 13 within the Metro: Final Gentle Redux benchmark, returning a mean of 45fps at 1080p with Excessive settings enabled – the Blade Stealth was solely in a position to attain a mean of 39fps. That won’t sound like an enormous distinction however it’s nearly noticeable. The Dell XPS 13, although, is persistently thrashed in all these assessments, due to its lack of a devoted, discrete graphics chip.
Storage pace is superior on the MateBook 14, too. Utilizing AS SSD, I measured energetic sequential learn and write speeds of two,228MB/sec and 1,810MB/sec respectively. On each counts, that’s quicker than the XPS 13 and Blade Stealth 13, and never by a small margin, both.
The one factor the XPS 13 comes out on high for is battery life, though solely by a sliver. Dell’s laptop computer lasted 10hrs 35minutes in our video playback check, the place the MateBook 14 managed 10hrs 24minutes. That’s nonetheless an outstanding consequence for the Huawei, particularly if you bear in mind the upper decision and always-on touchscreen can have been had a unfavorable impression on the consequence.
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Huawei MateBook 14 assessment: Verdict
It’s hardly the achieved factor to get excited in regards to the center baby of a brand new product vary. There’s not fairly the identical degree of premium flashiness as with one thing just like the Huawei MateBook X Professional nor the advantage of being probably the most reasonably priced possibility, as with the MateBook 13.
Regardless, the MateBook 14 seems to be just like the canniest alternative of the three. It lacks a handful of the MateBook X Professional’s actually high-end perks, like Thunderbolt three, however the important thing internals are equally potent and it’s extra versatile than the MateBook 13, with a greater number of ports and extra highly effective graphics.
That’s to not overlook about a few of the 14’s weaknesses, just like the iffy webcam positioning or MIA OneHop options, however neither of those impression on on a regular basis use except you make common video calls. The core tenets of efficiency, construct high quality, show high quality and battery life are all fulfilled superbly, and for much less money than the competitors.