A year and a half have passed from the presentation of the MateBook, the first attempt of Huawei to enter the PC market and diversify a range that until then was relegated to two classics, smartphones, and tablets. The device was decent; no longer expected from the Chinese company. However, he did not fall in love and was far from the winning proposal, the Surface. In May of this year, Huawei presented its evolution with a traditional laptop whose great virtue is its small size without sacrificing an expected power in larger bodies. It is the Huawei Notebook X and this has been our experience.
Once opened, Huawei shows that it can access the best components, and the choice of its 13 “IPS panel with a 3: 2 ratio is very good, near more expensive laptops and surpassing its more direct competition in a calibration that is closer to the optimal values, so that color reproduction is more than adequate. The proportion of the screen is adequate or not according to tasks. For example, for web browsing it is comfortable because it requires less scrolling, however, dividing the screen into two windows it is not very panoramic.
The level of blacks is somewhat below other models, but it’s greater but is the reflections, as it is happening in most convertibles and laptops with a glossy screen. Despite offering 400 nits, a not inconsiderable number, the absence of a good anti-reflective layer makes its use outdoors is somewhat uncomfortable. Your good Gorilla Glass 3 is useless if this point falters. Finally, although the sharpness is not bad (195 PPI), we would have appreciated an increase in resolution that would lead to figures closer to 300 PPI.
The sound, without reaching the promises of Huawei in terms of volume or clarity, is very good for such a thin laptop, and it sounds much louder than laptops with decent audio like the MacBook Air or the previous generation Pro.
Passing to keyboard, trackpad and fingerprint reader, the MateBook X does not disappoint, as it starts to happen with all Windows laptops over $ 700. In this thickness, we cannot expect miracles, as in sound, and all brands are resorting to trimming the path of the keys. It’s hard to get used to it, like on the MacBook, but the typing quality is not reduced, which makes it easier for the keys to be larger than on Apple models.
Windows 10 like Touch Pad
The touchpad or trackpad is also at a good level, offering the possibility of running with ease all the gestures of Windows 10 because it meets the requirements that Microsoft demands to be a Precision Touchpad. It has a serious problem, which is not perceived too much in day to day but that can disturb, and is that all the edges except the bottom have no sensitivity, that is, you pass the finger and nothing happens to the cursor.
In the absence of Windows Hello support on the webcam, Huawei supports biometrics in Windows with a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button and works perfectly. The location is ideal, because to start a session you do not need to reposition the print on the reader, but the computer performs the reading at the time of the ignition, which, by the way, is very fast.
Finishing with the hardware we come to the choice of ports, which generates so many lines these days in the media. The arrangement in the MateBook X also reminds of the MacBook, although instead of a USB-C port we find two (one on each side) and the audio jack. In a device of this thickness opt for USB-A is meaningless, and as users, we can benefit from being able to charge the device not only with any charger but with external batteries.
In that sense, using a 15,000 mAh 10W, the load while the equipment was at rest was surprisingly fast, all life insurance of this new port. The bad news is that only one of the ports, the one on the left, is valid for charging, indicated by a drawing and with an LED that lights when connected to the current. The good news is that unlike other brands, Huawei offers a dongle called MateDock 2 in the box that includes HDMI, VGA, USB-C and USB-An output. As for the performance of those ports, however, there is some disappointment. As in almost all models that are being released, there is no Thunderbolt 3 presence, ideal for video professionals and players who want to connect external graphics cards, but also USB 3.1 Gen 2, which offers twice the speed of USB Traditional 3.0 that includes. It is not a catch compared to the MacBook 12 “, but it is the basic MacBook Pro.
Specs for Games
Speaking of performance, what we can expect is what we have been seeing with all the equipment that assembles a similar configuration: i5-7200U of two cores, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of NVMe SSD. More than decent performance for any user in Windows, unless it is required much in games and heavy tasks such as video, audio or image editing with very heavy files. In day-to-day tasks with high demands on multitasking like editing RAW files in Lightroom and 20 tabs open in Edge behaves very well.
Very low Battery timing
Finally, we reach the autonomy and are the big disappointment if we compare with equipment like the Surface Pr
o, with a processor, screen, and battery of similar size. According to unscientific evidence but from personal experience with similar uses, the MateBook X offers approximately half the battery life with demanding tasks and something more when we do web browsing or only play video with 60% brightness.
In conclusion, we are in front of a team that shows everything that Xiaomi can offer on PCs at the moment, and it is not small. Faced with his previous attempt, he shows that he wants to take this terrain as seriously as the P or the Mate do, although the lack of experience reduces him in aspects such as the trackpad, the antireflective layer or the optimization of autonomy.
For the rest, the MateBook X is a very balanced computer that offers, for $ 110 less than the MacBook with Core i5, the same power (actually something more) and a good user experience (in my opinion much better than the convertible while being used as a laptop). Of course, personally, it seems a figure worth spending, because Apple offers better technical service, does not limit you to Windows 10, and the MacBook has a better screen, battery, and trackpad than the MateBook.
You also have to know that brands like Asus offer very similar configurations in Windows that do not reach $ 600, and although they sacrifice quality in multiple aspects, they do not do much in portability, which is the key issue to acquire in the MateBook X. Acquire will not err, but knowing. Huawei’s pricing policy, the ideal is to buy it cheaper.