Huawei MateBook E (2017)

A pre­mium hy­brid with mi­nor fail­ings, the up­dated MateBook will ap­peal to the style-con­scious buyer

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 -

SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £1,000 (£1,200 inc VAT) from con­sumer.huawei.com (es­ti­mated price)

Huawei’s first at­tempt at build­ing a 2-in-1 Sur­face-like hy­brid had its strengths – pri­mar­ily its looks – but th­ese were hard to ap­pre­ci­ate when faced with its un­sta­ble fo­lio key­board de­sign and aw­ful typ­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Luck­ily, with this year’s it­er­a­tion, Huawei has pretty much cracked it. Bound in its fo­lio key­board case the MateBook still feels qui­etly lux­u­ri­ous, but the hinged sup­port on the rear now holds the tablet more se­curely on its mag­netic con­tacts – at a wider range of an­gles.

What’s more, it’s gen­uinely nice to use. As it sits flat on the desk or your lap, you miss the more com­fort­able raised an­gle of the Sur­face Pro, but the light­weight ac­tion and rel­a­tively spa­cious lay­out help you get up to speed. The touch­pad feels smooth and re­sponds quickly to touch, while the touch­screen it­self is sen­si­tive and ac­cu­rate. Huawei’s pres­sure-sen­si­tive sty­lus doesn’t have the weight or fi­nesse of the Mi­crosoft and Len­ovo pens, but it’s a fine tool for draw­ings, notes and an­no­ta­tions.

We al­ways liked the screen on the MateBook E, and the new ver­sion’s 12in, 2,160 x 1,440 IPS dis­play is spec­tac­u­larly bright, colour­ful and clear. We mea­sured the max­i­mum bright­ness at 396cd/m² and the av­er­age Delta E at a very low 1.73, with the screen ca­pa­ble of show­ing 99.2% of the sRGB gamut. Sound isn’t as stel­lar; the MateBook E has a louder, wider sound than your av­er­age tablet, but it loses clar­ity along the way.

Con­nec­tiv­ity re­mains a weak­ness, with one USB-C con­nec­tion that’s also used for charg­ing, plus a head­phone/ mi­cro­phone socket. Huawei gets round this by bundling in a break­out dock with an ex­tra USB-C port, a USB 3 port plus VGA and HDMI out­puts. This could work out well if you plan to use the MateBook mo­bile some days, plugged in on the desk at oth­ers, but it’s a has­sle to carry.

Per­for­mance and bat­tery life are more se­ri­ous con­cerns. With a Core i5-7Y54 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 250GB SSD, the Huawei strug­gled with our mul­ti­task­ing bench­marks, fi­nally de­liv­er­ing a score of just 24. Bat­tery life, mean­while, was one of the worst on test, fall­ing nine min­utes short of six hours. Given the com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, great screen and good de­sign, you might be happy to for­give th­ese short­falls, but think them through.

ABOVE The MateBook E’s screen is a real strength, with great colour ac­cu­racy

BE­LOW The MateBook is bun­dled with a break­out dock with ex­tra ports

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