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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022) hands-on: The nose-cam is no more
The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022) has one of the best screens of any device I’ve seen here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The display is vibrant and beautiful, and the company also fleshed out the innards and redesigned the airflow to keep the laptop performing at its best. Here are some early thoughts about the Huawei MateBook X Pro.
We can’t ignore the elephant in the room. Like its predecessors, the MateBook X Pro was clearly inspired by certain products designed by a particular fruit company in California. The sleek aluminum chassis, the paper-thin lid, even the Space Grey colorway selected by Huawei — none is especially unique in this space. But that doesn’t mean the machine isn’t attractive. The beautiful design might be borrowed, but it stands out in a way many laptops simply don’t. And it mostly holds its own against the svelte profiles of new devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro and Pro 360.
We also can’t fault the quality of the materials or the strength of its construction. The laptop lid is attached to the base firmly thanks to a strong hinge that has just the right amount of resistance when you move it. The new Shark Fin fan cooling system is easy to spot, thanks to the slim cutaways on the bottom surface of the laptop. Huawei took something as boring as air slits and gave them some personality. Everything about the build is classy and confidence-inspiring.
The 14.2-inch, 3K display is eye-poppingly sharp.
Opening the lid reveals the 14.2-inch 3:2 screen, which is extremely sharp. It features a resolution of 3,120 x 2,080 pixels (which Huawei calls 3K) with a 90Hz refresh rate (that you can drop to 60Hz) and a peak brightness of 500 nits. Though the sample units on hand showed plenty of reflectivity with the overhead lights, the sheer brightness was more than enough to overcome the sun-like illuminated space that was Huawei’s MWC booth. The screen’s color looked excellent thanks to its 100% coverage of the DCI-P3, and viewing angles were outstanding. It put nearly every other laptop screen at MWC to shame.
Huawei made the keyboard deck out of aluminum and drilled speaker holes into the metal on both sides of the keyboard (ahem, just like the MacBook.) The keys are black and yet still plainly visible thanks to backlighting. Huawei said it made an effort to improve the usability of the keyboard and boosted key travel a bit. I thought the keys had a nice springy action to them in the few sample sentences I typed out, but I wish the function keys were full-sized. On the plus side, the fingerprint reader is a nice touch for those who are security-minded. The trackpad is exceptionally large and had a nice smooth texture to it. I found it to be responsive and easy to use.
If you prefer a laptop with tons of ports, you’ll find the MateBook X Pro 2022 might not be the best choice. The laptop has two USB-C ports on the left along with a 3.5mm audio jack, and two more USB-C ports on the right. There are no memory card slots or legacy ports like USB-A. The ports on the left support 10Gbps speeds, while the ports on the right are limited to 5Gbps. The device charges via USB-C, however, so you’ll lose one of the ports to your power supply. Speaking of batteries, the MateBook X Pro has a 60W battery. When paired with the official 90W GaN charger, it can score about three hours of battery life on a 15-minute charge.
Rounding out the rest of the specs, the MateBook X Pro 2022 will ship with 11th Gen Intel processors, though 12th Gen will be available later. There’s a single SKU that offers 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. There are six speakers and four microphones to augment your video chats, though the webcam is limited to just 720p. Thankfully, at least, Huawei has relocated the webcam from the keyboard deck to above the display bezel for a more natural angle.
Huawei relocated the webcam from the keyboard deck to above the display for a more natural angle.
The laptop ships with Windows 11, though Huawei has added a few custom applications into the mix. The most notable addition is Super Device, which features a drag-and-drop interface for quickly pairing your various Hauwei devices together. This will allow you to easily share files, search, messages, and more — at least that’s the idea. In practice, the Huawei staffers on hand had trouble getting it to work. Hopefully, those kinks are ironed out by the time of release.
See also: The best laptops
The device costs a hefty €1,899 (about $2,140), which is in line with its predecessor’s pricing. It’s a bit more than I would want to pay when you consider there are models with dedicated GPUs out there for a similar price, but everyone’s needs are different so this won’t be a deal-breaker for many. Unfortunately, Huawei didn’t specify when and where the laptop will launch, but hopefully we’ll know more in the coming months.