Huawei Matebook X Pro
HOW DOES HUAWEI’S PREMIUM ULTRABOOK COMPARE NOW THAT IT’S FINALLY AVAILABLE DOWN UNDER?
IN MANY WAYS the MateBook X Pro is a pastiche of great ideas pioneered by other ultrabook manufacturers. Initially it looks a lot like a Macbook Air with its slim rounded chassis, rubber dome feet and cutaway edge tabs for ventilation. It’s also borrowed elements form the Macbook Pro’s style guide including keyboard-surround speaker grills, a generous 16 x 9 style trackpad and a simple black and white key-colouring scheme. It’s even taken some inspiration from Microsoft using the 3:2 aspect ratio that the company has pushed on all its Surface devices with the MateBook X Pro’s 13.9-inch 3000x2000 touchscreen display.
We’ve seen the appropriation of borrowed ideas backfire in the past, but in this instance it really does seem like Huawei has taken the best bits form existing laptop design and stitched them all together. There’s also enough custom Huawei tech in the device to make it feel unique. Most notable is Huawei’s removal of the camera from the top of the screen to a popup key on the centre of the keyboard. This gives it the freedom to shrink the bezels to a size we haven’t seen before, giving it the highest overall screen to body ratio of an ultrabook in Australia at 91%.
The MateBook X Pro can be configured with either an Intel Core i5-8250U or a Core i7-8550U. The entry level model is paired with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD to land at $1,899, while the i7 version bumps up the RAM to 16GB, has a bigger 512GB SSD and throws in a dedicated Nvidia MX150 GPU for an RRP of $2,599. Huawei is selling the new devices through the Microsoft Store in Australia which puts them right next to the Surface Laptop 2s, which costs $100 and $600 more for equivalently specced i5 and i7 models, respectively. You’ll have to be ok with a Mystic Silver colouring if you’re keen on the Core i5, but anyone looking at the i7 can choose this or the sleeker Space Grey.
While the Core i5 configuration will be more than enough grunt for anyone looking to just use Word, Excel and web browsers, the Core i7’s dedicated Nvidia MX 150 will add the capacity for basic graphical rendering and even some light gaming. You’ll struggle with any intensive games, but titles like Rocket League and Overwatch run at 50% higher frame rates than you get with the i7’s integrated GPU. The Core i7-8550U model we tested is a pretty standard laptop chip for premium ultrabooks and it performed as expected in both raw Cinebench R15 CPU benchmarks and HWBot’s x265 media encoding tests. This translated into above average PCMark 8 Home accelerated scores that were about 5% better than a similarly specced Dell XPS 13, a Lenovo Yoga 920 and a Razer Blade Stealth.
The overall design of the Space Grey model is somewhat tainted by a cheap looking powdered metal chassis with reflective bevelling. The MateBook X Pro can also run really hot if you’re herding a bunch of Chrome tabs, but when you consider it’s got a 56Wh battery that lasts 7 hours and 17 minutes during 1080p video playback, and a fast Gen 3 PCIe SSD, the drawbacks are far outweighed by the benefits on offer.