If you’re in the market for a new laptop, there’s a lot to consider. For most of us, the ultimate laptop is, thin and light with amazing battery life and performance. After spending some time with the Matebook X Pro, it’s certainly a laptop that meets those requirements and some.
While the design certainly matters, it is often improved performance that is the key motivator to replace your existing device. The Matebook X Pro features the latest 10th gen Intel processor (Core i7-10510U), along with a dedicated GPU from Nvidia, the GeForce MX250. It also comes with 16GB of RAM which as I’ve mentioned in the past, should now be the default for laptops in 2020 and a massive 1TB of storage from the NVME SSD.
Other key attributes of a laptop on my must-have list, include a great typing and trackpad experience, if there’s any issues here, then a device is a complete non-starter. Thankfully there’s great news to report, with the Matebook X Pro featuring a familiar chicklet keyboard, with great travel and responsiveness to each key press. The trackpad is massive and is smooth to allow you finger to glide easily, making navigating and being precise with the cursor, easy and fast.
When it comes to ports on a laptop, it often reflects the manufacturers understanding of their customer’s needs and something a lot of device makers get wrong. The Matebook X Pro offers a nice blend of the future with 2x USB-C ports, along with 1 USB-A port, making it easy to connect your favourite peripheral, like an external mouse, or external drive.
Now it’s time for the details.
Thin, light and almost bezeless.
There’s a wide variety of options when it comes to laptop design. From the big and bold RBG gaming laptops, to the flip around convertibles and of course, just the straight up, ultra thin and light ultrabooks.
The Matebook X Pro definitely fits in the last category at just 14.6mm thick and weighing just 1.33kg, it’s easy to carry in your hand between the desk and your car, or throw it in a bag and you’ll barely notice the weight. Being ultraportable ultimately means you are more likely to take it with you, more of the time.
Something I really appreciate in the design is the matt grey exterior. Huawei have chosen to go with very understated styling, which leaves the laptop with a really professional appearance, something that looks powerful, professional and serious about getting work done.
The MateBook X Pro features a 13.9″ touchscreen display, with a massive 91% screen-to-body ratio. This means most of what you see when staring at the laptop for hours on end, is pixels, rather than bezels. This also means the Huawei have managed to fit what is essentially a 14″ display in an aluminum chassis that’s very close to what we typically see from a 13″ device.
The screen features a resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels, arranged in a 3:2 aspect ration. This is something I’ve loved on SurfaceBooks and I really appreciate the extra vertical resolution. This makes it easy to using complex applications like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere, Visual Studio or Unity a great mobile experience. Typically these apps require an external display to be productive, as they depend on you using multiple toolbars and panels that consume screen real estate.
Over the years, trackpads have increased in size and Huawei have gone large with the MateBook X Pro multitouch trackpad. This sits below the backlit keyboard and that keyboard has a trick. Embedded in the keyboard is the webcam. Located between the F6 and F7 keys is a pop up camera. Having a physical button to press to hide the gives users confidence the webcam is only active when on a call.
If you’re planning on fitting the laptop in a backpack or existing laptop sleeve, then the dimensions are important. The MateBook X Pro 2020 is 304mm wide, 14.6mm height and 217mm deep. It weighs just 1.33kg.
How does it perform ?
There’s no doubt that my expectations for performance on the Matebook X Pro were high, given its 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U Processor, running at 1.8 GHz, and boosting up to 4.9 GHz. Paired with 16GB of 2,133MHz RAM and a dedicated GPU, then NVIDIA GeForce MX250.
I have to say I was really impressed with the performance on offer here. I often batch process images through Photoshop and this crunched through them in seconds. I also tried editing some 4K video from my GoPro Hero 8 and Premiere, accelerated by that GPU, dealt with the editing and rendering without issue. Something i often try is leaving the editing preview on full resolution. This helps see the detail you need when applying effects or transitions. Typically with on-board graphics, this has to be turned down to 1/2 or even 1/4 the full resolution.
When it comes to benchmarks, I like to fire up PC Mark 10 as its simulated testing, is fairly close to what real world power users would put the machine through. The next score itself isn’t particularly useful, scoring 3,297, but compared to some other machines I’ve reviewed, it stands out as incredibly capable.
How you perceive the performance of a device in 2020 is certainly also dependant on how fast your internet speed is, as a large portion of our personal and work lives are played out online. The MateBook X Pro features the some of the fastest WiFi I’ve used in a laptop, offering 802.11a/b/g/n/ac on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums. If your router and laptop supports 2 x 2 MIMO (mine does), then this thing will absolutely fly, using two antennas and can simultaneously connect.
When it comes to the speed of reading and writing from that massive 1 TB NVMe PCIe SSD, you also have great speeds available. It’s like Huawei went down the list of components that can cause bottlenecks to performance and addressed each one of them.
So with all this performance, it’s obviously to think battery life would be just a few hours, particularly with how thin this device is. Somehow they’ve managed to cram a 56 Wh Lithium polymer battery inside, to deliver up to 13 hours of video playback.
In our daily lives, you’ll never sit and watch 13 hours of video, even on the longest Netflix binge, instead your consumption is often made up of a mixture of applications and tasks. Anytime a laptop can make it through an 8 hour work day and still have hours of battery remaining, it’s an absolute winner.
Stand out features of this laptop.
I’m someone who signs in and out of laptops, many times a day. As you all should, I also lock my computer when I’m away from the keyboard, so having a rapid way to authenticate upon return is really appreciated.
The power button on the Matebook X Pro has a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader built in. As Microsoft continues to rollout new places you can use Hello authentication, this means you can sign in faster to applications and websites as well as the OS. It’s something I really appreciate and another must-have feature for me when considering a new device.
While there’s no Hello support from the camera, I’ve always found the fingerprint to more conducive to more situations. For example, at night, lying in bed with the laptop propped up on your knees, having the camera detect your face is almost impossible, while the fingerprint works every single time.
Like many manufacturers, Huawei wants to give people who buy multiple products some extra features, increasing the value proposition for sticking with the brand. Huawei Share allows users to connect their Huawei phone (like the P40 Pro) wirelessly to the Matebook X Pro.
To set this up, simple the ability to tap the phone on the NFC area (beside the trackpad) and accept the prompts to connect. Once connected, your devices just got some great new functionality.
Often we want to take a photo from our phone and get it to our laptop. If you open a photo, then tap the P40 Pro on the Matebook X Pro, the photo instantly appears and you can easily save it to your device. It’s kind of incredible how simple and easy this works and it solves something that I deal with almost daily.
Huawei Share also offers full screen sharing and interacting with your phone using touch on your laptop screen is fast and immediate. While Microsoft are trying to offer something similar with YourPhone, it’s definitely still in development and today, Huawei’s solution is better.
When it comes to audio, plenty of laptops throw in a couple of speakers and call it a day. Huawei offer a quad speakers setup, offering great sound which combines with that great display for a really great movie watching experience. There’s also a 4 microphones array built in, meaning you can yell commands at it and Cortana does a great job of understanding you.
The other more popular use case is for online meetings, the frequency of which has exploded over the past few months. Whether you’re using Zoom, Teams, Google Meet or others, using the on-board microphone and speakers is actually a completely viable option here. Great for those who have quiet environments who want to skip on the headset.
Many of our phones have fast-charging for those times where we need a quick boost. Huawei have also included a 65W Type-C charger with the Matebook X Pro which significantly reduces charging time compared to lower watt chargers.
Making good, great
Probably my one complaint about this almost perfect laptop, is the webcam position. If you use your laptop at your desk and have it propped up on a stand to get it next to your monitor, then I suspect you’ll be fine.
By placing the webcam in the keyboard, Huawei tries to solve the privacy concerns around the webcam being on when you don’t want it to be. The physical button, integrated into the keyboard between the F6 and F7 keys is a nice idea, but I’d like to see this reconsidered in future versions.
Naturally adding the camera back into the top bezel will increase the height of that top bezel, but that’s a design compromise I’d take over having a lower angle to the camera.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The 2020 Huawei MateBook X Pro is available now from Huawei directly, or JB HiFi, MobileCiti or eBay. As we approach the end of financial year, don’t forget about the ability to leverage instant asset write-offs or just be on the look out for great deals in the leadup to July 1st.
In Australia we only gets the Space Grey colour, while internationally, the product is also available in Emerald Green and Mystic Silver. There’s a very simple, single configuration to chose from, which includes the Core i7 10th gen intel processor, 16GB RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD.
The laptop costs A$3,299.00 which I think is well priced, considering the premium design and performance available. If you’re budget doesn’t stretch that far, Huawei does offer some cheaper devices that may suit your needs.
If you purchase the Huawei Matebook X Pro before June 30, you’ll score a bonus pair of Huawei’s wireless earbuds, the Freebuds 3, valued at A$299.
Huawei’s End of Financial Year (EOFY) sale, includes discounts of up to 25% on the MateBook D 14 or 15 and $200 off the P40 Pro, before 30 June.
Personally I love thin and light ultrabooks and after using the Matebook X Pro for a couple of weeks, I’d be glad to own this device. It offers a really stunning display, in a stealthy, understated body that offers great performance and battery life to go with it.
The device really coped well with any task I threw at it, from productivity, to photo and video editing, to even gaming. Connect it to a USB-C dock and you’ve got a powerhouse that could definitely replace most people’s need for a desktop.
In terms of living with the laptop, I write a lot and that is easily one of the best keyboards I’ve used. I could happily type on this all day long and having that 3:2 screen aspect ratio really helps the vertical glanceability on documents, webpages and emails.
If you’re in the market for a premium laptop with a great set of features, then you should definitely consider the Huawei Matebook X Pro.
While you may have never purchased a laptop from Huawei before, it really is a compelling offering that you should consider.