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Huawei MateBook X review: The first notebook from Huawei is very nearly a MacBook killer

Huawei MateBook X overview: The primary pocket book from Huawei may be very practically a MacBook killer

The Apple MacBook has a brand new rival, and it comes from an surprising supply: Huawei. The MateBook X is the Chinese language tech large’s large Home windows 10 play in 2017, and it is a improbable effort, squeezing a 13in laptop computer right into a chassis not a lot bulkier than that of the 12in MacBook.

How has it managed such a feat? Slim bezels are the reply: measuring four.4mm on both facet of the display screen and a barely thicker 8mm on the prime, the MateBook X is ready to boast an unbelievable 84% screen-to-body ratio. It is also amazingly skinny, measuring 12.5mm from prime plate to underside, stupidly mild at 1.05kg and is the primary laptop computer on this planet to have Dolby Atmos-powered audio system.

MateBook X overview: Tl;dr

That is an ultraportable laptop computer, at first, nevertheless it’s one with hidden strengths. It has a 13in display screen in a chassis you would possibly usually affiliate with a 12in laptop computer. It weighs little or no, is achingly slender, is impressively well-made with an outstanding keyboard and touchpad, and it has astounding audio output – in addition to extra energy than the Apple MacBook. It is the type of laptop computer you purchase if you’d like one of the best of all worlds.

READ NEXT: One of the best laptops of 2017 – our decide of the best portables

MateBook X overview: Worth and competitors

The MateBook X is not low cost. Costs begin at €1,299 for the bottom mannequin, which comes with an Intel Core i5-7200U, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe SSD storage. That may in all probability translate to a UK value of round £1,200 (I’ll replace this overview once we know for certain), which is exactly the identical because the Apple MacBook and pricier than the Asus ZenBook three, each of which have a smaller 12in show.

As for 13in rivals, you’re wanting on the Dell XPS 13 or the glitzy HP Spectre 13. The HP is barely pricier, beginning at round £1,399, whereas the Dell, although fatter and heavier, is best worth, having an Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for a similar because the Core-i5 MateBook X.

MateBook X overview: Core options and design

No two methods about it, the MateBook X is a beautiful machine. Obtainable in three colors – gold, rose gold and gray – Huawei has hit the button on design. The laptop computer’s all-metal chassis has a silken, sand-blasted end to it, and each factor, other than the minimal display screen bezel, is colour-coded, from the touchpad to the facility button.

As you’d anticipate from a newcomer to the scene, Huawei has borrowed lots of the design cues behind the MateBook X from Apple. Corners are rounded, the keyboard is subtly sunk into the bottom and there’s little or no overt branding seen. It is minimalist within the excessive. And but Huawei has sneaked in just a few of of its personal little touches.

There’s the dual-purpose fingerprint reader and energy button located above the keyboard and to the best. There are Dolby Atmos-powered “dual-motor” audio system hidden beneath the understated runway of micro-perforations that prime the keyboard. And, in a tiny, teeny dig on the Apple MacBook, the MateBook X has two USB Kind-C ports, one on both sides.

It is a mark of Huawei’s design maturity, nonetheless, that only a few liberties have been taken with usability right here. The backlight on the keyboard is a little bit patchy, however in any other case the practicality of this laptop computer outweighs its frivolities. The keyboard is sensibly laid out with massive keys. The important thing motion is a little bit on the sunshine facet, nevertheless it isn’t disagreeable, and the massive touchpad responds sensibly to gestures and clicks. I had no downside with it throughout testing. 

There is just one damaging level to notice. Though there are two USB Kind-C ports – double that supplied by the MacBook and ZenBook three – solely the left port can be utilized for charging and solely the best port for hooking up an exterior monitor. This implies you may’t use a single cable for each jobs; laptop computer desk-jockeys beware.

Huawei MateBook X overview: Show and audio

The MateBook X’s display screen is as fascinating as its design. The side ratio is three:2, so it’s squarer than most of its rivals, and the decision is a crisp 2,160 x 1,440. That isn’t as excessive because the Dell XPS’ QHD+ three,200 x 1,800, however from a traditional viewing distance you’re not going to have the ability to inform the distinction. 

By way of high quality, it’s fairly good too, with brightness reaching all the best way as much as 414cd/m2, so that you’re not going to battle to learn the display screen, even within the brightest of circumstances, whereas sRGB protection is a fairly respectable 92.eight% and the distinction ratio 925:1.

The MateBook X’s audio system are even higher. Developed in partnership with Dolby, they’re the world’s first Atmos-branded laptop computer audio system and boy do they sound good.

Though there isn’t a lot bass to talk of, audio has such a depth, presence and readability that it’s typically exhausting to consider that it’s coming from a tool this small and slim. There’s not a lot sense of encompass sound, however sound results do pan throughout the soundstage successfully, and relating to music even laptops twice the scale could have a tough time matching the MateBook X’s efficiency – they’re fairly merely phenomenal.

Huawei MateBook X overview: Efficiency and battery life

Thus far, so good. Nevertheless, one space the MateBook X can’t compete with the Dell XPS 13 is efficiency. On paper, the specs look fairly good. Our overview pattern is the bottom mannequin and has a Kaby Lake seventh-generation Intel Core-i5 7200U processor with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe Liteon SSD.

In our benchmark assessments, it carried out, partially, as anticipated. The much less demanding picture conversion and video conversion a part of the assessments gave scores of 82 and 43, which is a little bit slower than the Dell’s 92 and 55, however that laptop computer does have a Core i7 and double the RAM.

The place the MateBook X falls brief is whenever you max out the processor. Though this laptop computer copes fairly properly with brief bursts of exercise, the fanless design means the chassis will get fairly sizzling – as much as 46 levels Celsius – when it’s pushed for any size of time. In response, the CPU throttles again and slows, and it carried out very poorly in our demanding multitasking check, dropping the general rating to 31, an excellent 38% decrease than the Dell XPS 13’s rating. The excellent news is that, for brief bursts, this can be a a lot sooner laptop computer than the MacBook; the unhealthy information is that it actually doesn’t like being harassed.

Nonetheless, that’s an excessive state of affairs and different components of the MateBook X’s efficiency are fairly respectable. The 256GB Liteon PCIe SSD returned sequential learn and write speeds of 1,079MB/sec and 339MB/sec and, extra importantly, the 5,449mAh battery helped the Huawei to a formidable time of 5hrs 47minutes in our video playback battery check at full brightness.

Dropping the brightness to a extra life like 170cd/m2 improved stamina to a barely much less impressive-looking 7hrs 11minutes. This places the Matebook X a good distance behind the 2016 Skylak Core M3-based MacBook, nevertheless it’s proper on the cash for Home windows Kaby Lake Core i5 and Core i7 machines we have examined. That’s to say, it is barely higher than the Asus Zenbook three and barely behind the 2016 Dell XPS 13 we examined earlier within the 12 months. Both approach, here is a chart to point out you precisely what I imply:

MateBook X overview: Verdict

No matter you consider the MateBook X, there’s little question it’s a formidable first stab at a laptop computer. It’s virtually as skinny and lightweight because the Apple MacBook, but boasts a bigger 13in show and a extra highly effective processor. Battery life is superb, the display screen is luxurious, the ergonomics spot on and the audio system are unbelievable.

It isn’t good. The fanless design means the MateBook X can get fairly heat and efficiency dips whenever you push it exhausting. You also needs to remember that the 12in Asus Zenbook three is simply as light-weight, prices a substantial quantity much less and but affords extra RAM and double the storage.

Nevertheless, if you happen to completely should have that additional inch of display screen actual property, the MateBook X is difficult to beat. It’s a reasonably pretty, ultraportable 13in laptop computer.

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