Long-term test Huawei Mate­book X Pro

Huawei’s lat­est lap­top has the sleek de­sign, zippy brain­power and daz­zling screen to chal­lenge Ap­ple’s finest… Tom Mor­gan spends a fort­night en­joy­ing its com­pany

Stuff (UK) - - CONTENTS - €1899 (as re­viewed) / stuff.tv/prox

What a dis­play from this skinny lap­top!

DAY 01

Imag­ine com­pet­ing for gold at the Com­mon­wealth Games, but it’s only 12 months since you first picked up a javelin. That’s essen­tially what Huawei is do­ing with the Mate­book X Pro.

Last year’s Mate­book X was the first time the com­pany had ever at­tempted to make a lap­top, and its per­for­mance came im­pres­sively close to the 12in Macbook. Now, though, its suc­ces­sor is com­fort­ably ready to take on the might of Ap­ple’s Macbook Pro.

This sleek ma­chine borrows more de­sign in­spi­ra­tion from the lat­est phones than from other lap­tops, with a near-bezel-free screen, finger­print-sens­ing power but­ton and in­cred­i­bly com­pact di­men­sions. Then it goes one bet­ter with ded­i­cated graph­ics, and more raw power than you’ll get from Ap­ple’s el­der states­man. Prices start at a com­pet­i­tive £1499, though the UK price for our top-spec re­view model wasn’t con­firmed as Stuff went to press.

At 1.33kg this Huawei is light enough to slip in a bag and for­get it’s there – and mea­sur­ing just 14.6mm at its thick­est point, it’s barely any bulkier than an is­sue of the world’s great­est gadget mag­a­zine. Once you open it up, though, it feels big­ger than it re­ally is. That’s be­cause the touch­screen dis­play cuts re­ally close to the edges for a 91% screen-to-body ra­tio.

The only way to make the screen so big was to move the we­b­cam: it’s clev­erly tucked away be­neath a but­ton on the key­board. This might not cre­ate the most flat­ter­ing an­gle for video calls, but it’s good news for any­one who wor­ries about hack­ers gain­ing ac­cess for spy­ing pur­poses.

The all-alu­minium build, large touch­pad and black key­board flanked by speaker grilles all look fa­mil­iar, but it’s nice to see Huawei hasn’t com­pletely fol­lowed the Macbook Pro for­mula: in ad­di­tion to USB-C and Thun­der­bolt ports plus a 3.5mm jack socket, you get reg­u­lar USB. An SD card slot would have been a nice ad­di­tion, though.

DAY 03

I could get used to this screen. The Mate­book X Pro is no big­ger than the av­er­age 13in lap­top, but those tiny bezels have helped Huawei squeeze in a 13.9in panel. The 3:2 as­pect ra­tio feels ex­pan­sive, and with an im­pres­sive 3000x2000 res­o­lu­tion I’ve no trou­ble work­ing on two things side by side.

There’s real depth to images, the colours are vi­brant, and view­ing an­gles are ex­cep­tional – which is great if you’ve got friends gath­ered round to look at hol­i­day pho­tos, but not so good if you’re read­ing se­cret gov­ern­ment plans on the bus.

DAY 07

I’ve no com­plaints about typ­ing on this com­fort­able key­board – and it’s back­lit, which is very handy for work­ing in the dark. Huawei also calls it ‘spill-proof’ – not that I’ve chucked cof­fee over it to check.

That we­b­cam is hid­den among the func­tion keys, and pops up and down with a sat­is­fy­ing spring. The nos­tril-cen­tric an­gle isn’t ideal, but that’s re­ally not a ma­jor is­sue.

DAY 10

For such a skinny ma­chine, the Mate­book X Pro isn’t short of speed: this ver­sion is pack­ing an 8th-gen In­tel i7 CPU, along with 16GB of RAM and a speedy 512GB NVME SSD. The i7-8550u hasn’t strug­gled with any­thing, keep­ing the CPU at its boosted 2GHZ speeds in apps like Pho­to­shop and Premiere Pro.

Gaming is also on the cards, as this is one of the thinnest lap­tops around to have a ded­i­cated graph­ics card. If you’re rea­son­able with the set­tings it’s pos­si­ble to play even new ti­tles: Fort­nite copes well at 1500x1000 with a mix of low and medium de­tail.

DAY 13

Bat­tery life was one of the orig­i­nal Mate­book’s weak points, but the Pro copes quite well away from the mains. On av­er­age I’ve man­aged eight hours be­tween top-ups, which is av­er­age for the class. Try more in­ten­sive stuff and you’ll be out of juice far sooner, though.

DAY 14

The Mate­book X Pro feels like the Win­dows-pow­ered Ap­ple al­ter­na­tive a lot of peo­ple have been wait­ing for. It has a sharper screen and skin­nier bezels than the Macbook Pro, plus su­pe­rior GPU per­for­mance. Some Win­dows ri­vals might cost less, but they can’t match this Huawei for graph­ics.

This is one of the thinnest lap­tops to have a ded­i­cated graph­ics card, and it’s pos­si­ble to play even new games like Fort­nite

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