Why Huawei Mate X Is So Good?
are many products that cross my desk for review, and very few of those products surprise me. I’ve been doing this for long enough that I can generally guess how a device is going to perform or work before it even gets to me.
Huawei’s new MateBook X Pro is an exception. Even though the MateBook X Pro has a deep bench of specs and an eye-catching design, Huawei is not exactly an established brand in the laptop world. Prior Huawei laptops weren’t great, either: they had poor battery life, not enough power, bad design, frustrating trackpads, and were generally not worth considering.
Fortunately, the MateBook X Pro has completely and thoroughly exceeded my expectations. While it is not a perfect laptop and it has a couple of faults that will stop some from considering it, it is still the best laptop I’ve used all year. That makes it my new recommendation as the productivity and entertainment laptop to buy right now.
The smooth metal finish is as premium as it gets, the tolerances are tight, there’s no flex in the chassis or display, and the display hinge works exactly like it should: I can lift it open with just one finger and the whole laptop stays put. That’s something most laptops can’t accomplish.
In addition, the MateBook has two USB-C ports (one of which supports Thunderbolt 3), plus a USB-A port, so I can plug in most accessories without needing a dongle. If I need to plug in a video cable, like HDMI or VGA, Huawei throws an adapter in the box for no extra charge. Another clever trick: the power button has an integrated fingerprint scanner that makes logging in a breeze.
The MateBook is under 15mm thick when closed and weighs just under three pounds, which makes it just as portable as Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, Dell’s XPS 13, and Apple’s MacBook Pro. You can get lighter computers, but I’ve had no issues toting this thing back and forth to the office on my long commute.
Of course, the MateBook is way more interesting when you open it because then you see it has a 13.9-inch touchscreen display with the trimmest bezels you’ll find on any laptop. Huawei claims a screen-to-body ratio of 91 percent, which is even more than you’ll get on smartphones with full-screen displays. The net effect is not only a great and immersive viewing experience, but it means the footprint of the MateBook is the same as most computers with a 12-inch screen, only with a noticeably larger display.
Here’s one of the issues with the MateBook’s design that may be a deal-breaker for some: the webcam placement. Since the bezel above the screen is so slim, there’s no room to stick a standard webcam there, so Huawei came up with a clever solution to hide the camera in a pop-up key in the middle of the keyboard. It’s a wild bit of engineering that also automatically blocks the webcam when you’re not using it, so you don’t have to stick a gross piece of tape over it for privacy.
But actually using the webcam sucks because the viewing angle is so low and the quality of the actual camera is really poor. It has the same problem that Dell’s XPS computers face: the camera’s view is an extremely unflattering up-the-nose shot, and if you need to type while you’re on a video call, your fingers will block it. If you take a lot of video calls from your computer, this will be a problem.
Rounding out the MateBook’s hardware is a four-speaker Dolby Atmos speaker system that’s louder and better sounding than any other laptop I’ve used in this size range.