Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: An excellent ultraportable, with a couple of flaws Review

Huawei may perhaps be ideal recognised as a smartphone maker and seller of networking devices, but it also would make laptops, and we’ve seemed at several in the previous. Previously this calendar year I reviewed the 15.6-inch MateBook D 15 (2020), and now we have the thirteen.9-inch MateBook X Professional (2020), an update to the 2018 model. It really is a top quality notebook that marries high-quality design and best-stop technical specs, including a alternative of two tenth-era Intel Main processors. A Main i5 model will cost you £1,399.99 (inc. VAT £1,166.66 ex. VAT), whilst a Main i7 variant sells for £1699.99 (inc. VAT £1,416.66 ex. VAT). The MateBook X Professional (2020) is on sale in Europe and the Asia Pacific location, but is not formally obtainable in the US.

Huawei’s industrial design is generally exemplary, and there’s a pleasing minimalism on perspective below. The Space Grey chassis of my review sample would glimpse high-quality in the business office, and there are two other chassis colours (neither obtainable in the Uk at the time of writing): the brighter Mystic Silver would sit properly in the business office, whilst Emerald Green may flip heads.

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The 2020 MateBook X Professional operates on tenth-era Intel Main i5 and i7 processors, with 16GB or RAM and 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage. The i5 model takes advantage of integrated graphics, whilst the i7 variant has a discrete Nvidia GPU.


Pictures: Huawei

The MateBook X Pro’s all-steel chassis would make this a strong device. My normal check of bowing the lid segment in my palms achieved with some good results, but I’d certainly rely on the create enough to go with out a protective sleeve when carrying the notebook. On the other hand, a sleeve would provide safety versus scratches.

Very narrow bezels — Huawei talks of a ‘borderless experience’ — set the thirteen.9-inch screen in a chassis that’s just 304mm extensive and 217mm tall. It really is impressively skinny way too — fourteen.6mm at the back again, tapering to a narrower front edge. The body weight is 1.33kg, which is heavier than some ultraportables, but beautifully manageable. An clear comparison is the Dell XPS thirteen 2020, which weighs in at 1.2kg, albeit with a marginally smaller sized (thirteen.four inch) screen.

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There are two USB-C ports on the remaining aspect, and a USB three. port additionally a three.5mm headphone jack on the right aspect.


Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Huawei delivers a fairly small set of on-board ports and connectors. You can find a one USB-three. port on the right edge, whilst the remaining edge residences a three.5mm headset jack and two USB-C ports with assist for info, charging and DisplayPort. One of these USB-C ports is employed for charging. 

Huawei provided its Mate Dock 2 with my review device. This connects through USB-C and delivers HDMI, VGA, USB-C and USB three. ports. It really is a disgrace Huawei isn’t going to give this as normal, whilst customers at the time of writing do get a totally free MediaPad T5 with the notebook.

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You can find no place on the narrow best bezel for a webcam so, just as in the 2018 MateBook X Professional, the digital camera sits under a pop-up critical involving Fn6 and Fn7. The similar digital camera arrangement was employed in the MateBook D15 (2020) I reviewed in February.

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The pop-up keyboard-embedded webcam is clever, but the digital camera angle is unfortunate for movie calls.


Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The digital camera posture makes the most uncomfortable viewing angle for movie calls that I have come across: I truly you should not want to have movie calls with this kind of an up-the-nose angle. And as movie calls are now incredibly significantly a mainstay of performing life for a lot of of us, it really is a significantly far more significant drawback than it was back again in February. 

Huawei takes advantage of a vertical strip a minor around a centimetre extensive on each and every aspect of the keyboard for the speaker grilles. Though there are four speakers — two treble, two bass — the audio high-quality is not wonderful. It really is a bit on the tinny aspect, and whilst loads of quantity is obtainable, there’s no serious gain in cranking it up for motion picture listening or small business shows. Voice high-quality is obvious, though.

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The MateBook X Pro’s keyboard is properly developed, with a responsive but tranquil action, and the substantial touchpad is equally remarkable.


Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Despite the vertical speaker grilles, the backlit keyboard is substantial and its keys are properly spaced. You can find a great bouncy action, but incredibly minor sounds. The Fn keys are relatively substantial way too, whilst the remaining and right cursor keys are full-sized and the up/down kinds 50 % peak. It really is a neat and tidy arrangement that’s suitable for speedy touch-typists. The touchpad is a delight to use: it really is incredibly substantial, and feels wonderful under the fingers.  

The electricity button, sitting happy in the best right corner of the keyboard, incorporates a fingerprint sensor for secure login. This is possibly incredibly useful as there’s no Home windows Howdy facial recognition below.

The thirteen.9-inch screen is, with a single exception, excellent. The three,000-by-2,000 pixel LTPS panel provides beautiful-high-quality graphics, and the narrow bezels aid a (claimed) screen-to-entire body ratio of 91%. Watching movie is a treat, whilst there is some letterboxing many thanks to the three:2 factor ratio. Viewing angles are very good, and the screen is touch responsive.

My a single grumble is with the light sensor which mechanically adjusts brightness. It just isn’t going to get brightness higher enough, so that just about every time I moved place I experienced to do a manual adjustment — not minimum to counteract the reflectivity that distracted from both of those perform and leisure takes advantage of. Most likely that’s an attempt by Huawei to conserve battery life, but it would make the sensor considerably redundant. Brightness can be manually cranked up to 450 nits, which is enough for out of doors viewing in a lot of circumstances.

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Huawei may perhaps have skipped a trick by not making the MateBook X Professional 2020 a 360-diploma convertible, as orientations like tent method typically enable full advantage to be taken of higher-high-quality screens for media playback.

People of some the latest Huawei smartphones will be equipped to get advantage of Huawei Share, which makes it possible for documents to be exchanged involving gadgets employing the MateBook X Pro’s NFC connectivity.

There are two versions of the MateBook X Professional (2020) obtainable at the time of writing. The £1,699.99 (inc. VAT) device comes with a tenth-era Main i7-10510U processor, discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. This is the device I was sent to review. The entry-level £1,399.99 (inc. VAT) model has a tenth-era Main i5-10210U processor, integrated Intel UHD Graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

Large-resolution screens can shorten battery life, but Huawei offers up to thirteen hours of local movie playback for the MateBook X Professional (2020). If your workload is everything like mine you may perhaps properly get a day’s usage out of the 56Whr battery. Standard performing times of writing into world-wide-web applications, searching the world-wide-web and streaming some movie and music saw the battery fall from full to around 66% in three.5 hours with the screen set on its default brightness. In everyday use I would set it a pair of notches higher, with a concomitant reduction in battery life, but would nevertheless assume to get through a day’s perform involving charges.

Conclusions

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Graphic: Huawei

For the most component, Huawei’s MateBook X Professional (2020) is a higher-high-quality notebook. But this would make its failings all the far more notable, and two that truly irk are the webcam positioning (significantly far more of an challenge right now than it was at the beginning of the calendar year) and the under-doing light sensor for the screen. We found the quad-speaker audio subsystem marginally disappointing, way too.   

These downsides are a disgrace, mainly because in all other respects this is a incredibly remarkable device. Let’s hope Huawei finds a resolve for these issues right before developing the following model of its flagship ultraportable.

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