Huawei MateBook X Pro
€1,499 (around £1,300)
Huawei’s new MateBook X Pro builds on its predecessor – which was the firm’s first-ever laptop – with upgrades galore including a touchscreen, better performance and a lower price.
It’s called the X Pro rather than the X2 because the firm is pitching it against MacBook Pro and hoping that the lower price (and Windows) will tempt buyers away from Apple’s offering.
At the time of writing Huawei hasn’t yet announced when it will go on sale, or any UK pricing. The official
line is that it will be launched in Q2, which means it should be out by the end of May.
Suffice to say that there are three main models: two with a Core i5 and one with a Core i7. They’re also better specified than the equivalent MacBook Pro: €1,499: i5/8GB/256GB €1,699: i5/8GB/512GB €1,899: i7/16GB/512GB
This is undeniably a great-looking laptop. It also feels reassuringly well built and is light to carry around, possibly diminutive enough to fit into the tablet pocket of your backpack too.
Comparisons with the MacBook Pro are inevitable as Huawei has taken much inspiration from Apple in the MateBook X Pro’s design. Flip it over and you’d be hard pushed to tell which is which: even the screws are in the same positions.
If you’re familiar with the old MateBook X – a laptop that wasn’t widely available to buy in the UK – you probably will notice the screen has grown and the bezels shrunk.
In a chassis that’s basically the same size, Huawei has managed to fit a 13.9in panel and increased the resolution to 3,000x2,000 pixels. It has also added a touch layer so you can use all 10 digits on it simultaneously. A sheet of Gorilla Glass covers the entire display, running right to the edges of the lid.
However, the hinge design hasn’t changed so the screen stops at around 130 degrees – it doesn’t fold flat
against the desk or even underneath the keyboard for a tablet mode. That’s not really a problem as such as this isn’t meant to be a convertible or hybrid.
Build quality is top-notch and there’s the same allmetal unibody design with diamond-cut edges and a sandblasted satin finish. Huawei’s flower logo is now on the lid alongside the company’s name and it certainly looks good even if it’ll be unfamiliar to many who see it. You can open the screen with one finger and the base remains on the desk: the hinge’s stiffness is perfect.
In a bid to trump the MacBook Pro, the new MateBook is fractionally thinner (by 0.3mm) and lighter (by 400g) than its rival.
The trackpad is bigger than before and the backlit keyboard is now spill-proof. As there’s no room for a webcam above the screen, Huawei has cleverly hidden it in the keyboard. Just press it and up it pops, ready for action (see opposite). When you don’t need it, it’s hidden out of sight: handy for security, too.
Its position is far from ideal, though. As with other laptops that place the webcam below the screen, the viewing angle is less than flattering. In the MateBook X Pro’s case, the camera points at your chest rather than your face if you sit in a normal working position. So you’ll have to move back further than normal if you want your face to be in the shot on video calls.
Four mics are present and allow far-field use. That means you can stand the other side of the room and talk to your audience, or ask Cortana for assistance.
As with its predecessor, the power button has a built-in fingerprint sensor, which is compatible with Windows Hello.