Huawei isn’t the first name you think of when it comes to portables. But the company has already made a big splash in the mobile market (with its P-series smartphones and MediaPads) and it hopes to do the same with its laptops.
So enter the Huawei Matebook X, a slender and silent 13-inch portable powered by a passively-cooled 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 processor. Not only that, but the skinny brushed aluminium shell hides up to 8GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics and can host either a 256GB or 512GB SSD. That’s not bad for starters.
“Where the MateBook X really comes into its own,” writes Trusted Reviews, “is portability. It’s not quite as light at the sub-1kg ZenBook 3, but at 1.05kg it comes very close. It’s thinner, too, at 12.5mm. This is one of the most baggable laptops you can buy today.”
Of course, while the MateBook is a lightweight machine, it’s a heavyweight in other areas. We’ve already talked about the processor, memory and storage. The last headline feature is the screen — a 2K (2160 x 1440 pixel), Gorilla Glass IPS panel (non-touch) that feels surprisingly roomy thanks to bezels that are only 4.4mm thick.
“The screen on the MateBook X is a marvel,” says TechRadar in its review. “It’s a 13-inch display in a 12-inch body, and Huawei has managed to achieve this by including a slightly different aspect ratio of 3:2.”
That aspect ratio is intriguing. Machines like the Dell XPS 13 and ASUS ZenBook 3 favour a widescreen (16:9) design. But the Matebook X, like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, is a little more compact — offering more height, but less width. However, you’ll probably only notice it when watching a video, as the display will be subtly letterboxed.
Dolby Atmos sound
The screen is not all the good-looking, thoroughly minimalist Huawei MateBook X has to offer. The chiclet keyboard is smartly backlit, the trackpad generously-sized. While there’s a fingerprint sensor top-right for secure logins. There are also two modern USB-C connections and a supremely effective pair of speakers that leverage the latest Dolby technology.
“Worthy of commendation is the Dolby Atmos sound that Huawei proudly advertises on the box of the MateBook X,” The Verge points out. “In terms of speaker output, this is one of the best-sounding laptops I’ve yet experienced, and I don’t particularly care if Dolby or Huawei deserves the praise for it. The bass is a bit light, but the clarity, even at high volumes, is exceptional.”
Available in Space Grey, Prestige Gold and Rose Gold, the Huawei MateBook X does more than enough to be considered alongside more established brands. It will doubtless get a refresh to include an 8th generation Intel Core processor in 2018, so keep an eye out for it in a high street store near you.