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Hands-on: Huawei's sleek new MateBook X Pro (2019) and MateBook 14
Last year, Huawei introduced the MateBook X Pro, a premium ultraportable laptop directly positioned take on Apple’s MacBook. In fact, it’s been highly criticized for looking extremely similar to Apple’s offering. Still, the laptop was a hit, and Huawei had a hard time keeping enough stock on Microsoft Store shelves in the U.S.
At CES 2019, the company launched the MateBook 13: a more budget option targeted at those who wanted premium quality at a cheaper price. While initial reviews of this haven’t been quite as positive as those of the MateBook X Pro, Huawei is clearly looking to expand its product stack to reach a much wider audience.
Now, the company is looking to broaden its potential market even further with the introduction of two new laptops.
Huawei MateBook X Pro: Building on the success of last year’s model
The new MateBook X Pro is titled the same as last year’s model, so you may have trouble telling them apart if you’re looking to pick one up. In fact, the chassis is almost identical to last year, with the exception of the logo on the top of the device. While the original MateBook X Pro had the Huawei logo embedded into the top of the device alongside the name, the new model removes the logo and leaves the name only. The primary differences between the MateBook X Pro from this year and the model from last year are the internals.
The new X Pro updates the CPU to an Intel Core i7 8565U, a four-core, eight-thread chip with a base clock of 1.8GHz and boost clock of up to 4.6GHz. This chip also enables full 40Gbps output from the Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C port. This means you could connect the laptop to an external GPU for maximum graphics performance at home, while having extreme portability on the go.
The new Huawei MateBook X Pro takes everything you love about the original and upgrades it significantly.
The Nvidia MX150 GPU from the original MateBook X Pro has been upgraded to the MX250. We don’t know exactly how this GPU compares to the MX150 since it hasn’t been added to any laptops yet, but rumors are speculating that there isn’t much improvement in this chip. RAM options stay the same capping out at 16GB, but there is now a 1TB storage option for those that want to store more files locally.
Other changes include an update to Bluetooth 5, a new fan design for 20 percent better heat dissipation, and a new Wi-Fi card that can hit a maximum throughput of 1,733 mbps.
Besides these changes, most of the hardware remains the same. The device still has the same 3,000 x 2,000 resolution display with 450 nits of brightness and 91 percent screen-to-body ratio, the same 1MP pop-up camera button that saves real-estate on the display, and the same dual-fingerprint reader power button. The other changes included in the new MateBook X Pro come in the form of software.
Huawei Share 3.0 is Huawei’s newest way to share files between the Matebook X Pro and your Huawei smartphone. Using NFC, the laptop can establish a secure Wi-Fi Direct session with you phone, which allows you to share photos, video, your clipboard, and more between the two devices. If you want to send a file from your phone to your PC, simply open it on your mobile device, set the phone on a specific spot on the laptop, and it will show up on your display.
If you shake your phone while it is connected to your PC you can record the screen, and the recording will automatically be saved to your mobile device. Huawei says it wants to make moving information between devices as seamless as possible, and these features seemed to work well during our demo.
Huawei has not yet made pricing or availability publicly available, but we do know it will be launching globally sometime in May.
Huawei MateBook 14: a cheaper alternative to the Pro
The other major announcement Huawei made today is the introduction of the MateBook 14. Like the MateBook 13, the MateBook 14 is being positioned as a budget option for those that don’t want to shell out the full price for the MateBook X Pro. With most of the same features as the X Pro and specs some people might even prefer, this could be an interesting option for those who don’t need maximum portability.
The Matebook 14 has the same Intel Core i7 8565U processor and Nvidia MX 250 GPU as the MateBook X Pro, with 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. The primary changes in this model are the second full-size USB-A port (one USB 3.1 and one USB 2.0), a full-size HDMI port, and the lack of Thunderbolt 3 on the USB-C port.
- Read our full Huawei Matebook 14 review
The screen on the MateBook 14 is a 2K panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio, and is a bit more dim than the MateBook X Pro at 300 nits vs 450 on the X Pro. The shell of the device is also a bit thicker, similar to the MateBook 13, so you aren’t getting the same extreme portability you get with the MateBook X Pro.
We still don’t have pricing or availability for this device yet, but it should be launching alongside the new MateBook X Pro soon. It’s also expected to be a bit less expensive, of course.
Are you interested in either of these laptops? If the original X Pro was any indication, these things should be flying off the shelves in no time.