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Huawei MateBook X Pro hands-on review

Huawei knows smartphones — please see the Huawei Mate 10 Pro for proof — but does it know notebook computers? The MateBook X was a strong showing last year, and now Huawei has announced a successor, the MateBook X Pro — not bad for a company that has only been making PCs for two years. Huawei takes inspiration for the design from its smartphones (and, if we’re all honest, from Apple’s MacBook line as well) by fitting what it’s calling the world’s first FullView screen on the MateBook X Pro.

FullView is Huawei’s term for the almost bezel-less screen technology. The MateBook X Pro’s 13.9-inch screen has 4.4mm bezels around it, giving a 91 percent screen-to-footprint ratio. That’s a significant increase over the 84 percent screen-to-footprint ratio of the MateBook X.

The LPTS display has a 3000 x 2000 pixel resolution, and a wide 178-degree viewing angle. It looked fantastic in our brief test, with video shining through realistically and the Windows 10 operating system appearing pin-sharp. It’s also a touchscreen, a feature missing from the MateBook X.

The lack of screen bezels presented Huawei with a problem: Where should it put the camera? Stop reading for a moment and look at a picture of the MateBook X Pro in thand see if you can spot the lens.

The camera is actually underneath a key in the middle of the function key row. Press the right one and up pops the little camera; a second press hides it again. No more tape over the lens for the paranoid. The placement is unusual, and it does give a slightly strange viewing angle, like when you hold your phone a little too low during a video call.

See if you can spot where Huawei put
the MateBook X
Pro’s camera.

Tapping away on the keyboard was a comfortable experience, as it has a good motion, and we doubt typing for any length of time would become fatiguing. A welcome feature is that the backlit keyboard is spill-proof, so little accidents won’t become expensive accidents. Below the keyboard is a massive, super-precise touchpad, apparently the largest you’ll find on any notebook in the 14-inch category.

The MateBook X Pro in general was comfortable to use, even after just a short while adjusting to it, due to the combination of beautiful screen, large touchpad, and pleasing keyboard.

On either side of the keyboard are four speakers — two at the top for treble, and two below for bass. We listened to a demo video showing off the surround sound capabilities of the notebook — enhanced by Dolby Atmos — and it was very impressive. While the bass response wasn’t that strong, the surround effect was instantly noticeable, and the setup is very loud. Watching movies on the MateBook X Pro will be a pleasure.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review |

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Inside the notebook is a 57.4Wh battery ready to deliver an entire day of use, and the USB C charger is pocket-sized for easy use when traveling. It has variable watt and voltage support, so it’ll charge up your phone, tablet, and smartwatch, too.

The combined power button and fingerprint sensor is back on the MateBook X Pro, and it’s faster than the version fitted to the MateBook X, going from cold start to login in 7.8 seconds, or from standby in six seconds. Huawei offers an Intel 8th-generation Core i7 processor with up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, combined with a Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card with 2GB of RAM. The Thunderbolt 3 port also supports external graphics cards, and will handle anything up to a Nvidia GTX1080 card.

When we saw the
computer, the
company wasn’t
ready to talk
about the cost,
but described the
final prices as,
“disruptive.”

At just 1.33kg in weight, the MateBook X Pro was easy to pick up and carry around, and the body tapers down from 14mm at its thickest point to just 4.9mm. It’s a really slick, minimalist design, and the metal unibody with its sandblasted finish looks good in an all-business way.

We preferred the look of the mystic silver model, as it added a little visual sparkle to the overly stealthy space gray version. Whichever model you choose, the Core i7 or the cheaper Core i5, the port layout is the same, with two USB Cs, a USB A, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Huawei’s MateBook X notebook had the power to attract people away from Apple, and the MateBook X Pro is technically even more compelling, but success will come down to price. When we saw the computer, the company wasn’t ready to talk about the cost, but described the final prices as, “disruptive.”

Huawei MateBook X Pro Compared To

It has all the right specifications, cute little design highlights, and more than enough power for everyone, up to and including gamers. The right boxes have been ticked, and now it’s down to the price to deliver the MateBook X’s strong knockout punch to the competition.

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