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HUAWEI MateBook E: Hands-on with the 2-in-1 Windows 11 tablet
HUAWEI might be down-and-out on the global scale when it comes to smartphones, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t still making other terrific consumer electronics. At Mobile World Congress 2022, the company launched a bunch of interesting devices, one of which really stood out to us: the fourth-generation HUAWEI MateBook E.
This 2-in-1 Windows 11-powered tablet packs some great specs and won’t break the bank. This solid value ratio earned the tablet one of our coveted Best of MWC awards.
But what can you expect from the HUAWEI MateBook E? This hands-on should help answer that question.
Best of the best: Our favorite products from MWC 2022
HUAWEI MateBook E at-a-glance
The product most similar to the MateBook E is Microsoft’s line of Surface tablets. As with a Surface, the MateBook E operates primarily as a Windows-powered tablet but can snap onto a keyboard folio when one needs a traditional clamshell experience.
However, the MateBook E isn’t designed like a Surface. It’s thinner than most Surface tablets, for one, and also a lot curvier. It feels great in the hand and its 709g weight prevents it from being a wrist destroyer.
The MateBook E is similar to a Microsoft Surface in that it's a Windows-powered tablet that can become a traditional laptop when needed.
The HUAWEI MateBook E is the first in the series to have an OLED display. This makes the colors and blacks really pop and will also go easier on the battery than a traditional LCD panel. In person, the display looks gorgeous and was a joy to use. Do note that it’s a 60Hz panel, so gamers might want to look elsewhere.
In the box with a MateBook E, you’ll get the tablet itself, a keyboard folio, a USB-C cable, and a USB-C wall charger. The keyboard folio feels great, although the floor model we used had some trackpad issues. This is probably due to the amount of traffic the tablet received (it was a popular item on the MWC show floor), so don’t let that sway you from potentially purchasing.
It also supports HUAWEI’s second-generation M-Pencil stylus, but you’ll need to buy that separately. If you do, it can magnetically snap onto the top of the MateBook E for a quick charge.
Is the MateBook E a powerful tablet?
Interestingly, HUAWEI is pushing the MateBook E to market with 11th-generation Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. These are no slouches when it comes to speed and reliability, but it is strange considering the current availability of 12th-generation processors.
The decision to stick with last year’s CPUs likely has to do with pricing. If HUAWEI offered the newest chips, it would probably push the tablet’s price too far into the ultra-premium category. Sticking with 11th-gen chips keeps things more affordable.
See also: AMD vs Intel
If you go all-out with the Core i7 model, you should see terrific performance with the HUAWEI MateBook E. That’s the model we used at MWC and it was fast and smooth while we jumped around between apps, loaded web pages, and scrolled through tons of content. The Core i5 and i3 models would likely perform a little lower than this, but should still be great for the average user.
Once you’ve decided which processor you like, you can choose between 8 or 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128, 256, or 512GB of solid-state storage. Obviously, the higher you go with these specs, the more powerful (and more expensive) the device becomes.
HUAWEI MateBook E impressions: Great for the price
If you opt for the base model HUAWEI MateBook E, you’ll get a Core i3, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage for €649 (~$732). This is a pretty good deal, especially when you consider the keyboard folio comes with your purchase. Normally, this would be an extra €100 (~$111).
See also: The best laptops you can buy
For the average user, that model should be perfect. It will allow you to browse the web, run the full suite of Windows apps, and even do some light gaming without any issues. Of course, if you want to do more processor-intensive things such as edit video, play AAA games, or have a dozen programs open at the same time, you might need to step up to one of the more expensive models.
For the HUAWEI MateBook E, though, the base model is the sweet spot. For less than $750, you’re getting a terrific OLED tablet that can become a thin-and-light laptop when you need it. That’s a deal you can’t ignore!