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Huawei MateBook X Pro review: The MateBook X Pro squeezes some big features into its little package

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The Good The Huawei MateBook X Pro is compact and light, with a stellar sRGB display, a very good sound system and solid performance for its size.

The Bad Worst webcam placement ever, and the AC adapter has a horrible case of plugspreading disease. Plus, you do sacrifice some connections for the size, and an LTE option would be nice.

The Bottom Line A great 14-inch lightweight clamshell laptop, the Huawei MateBook X Pro offers a combo of first-rate display and a little oomph that suits it for basic graphics work. But an absurd placement in the keyboard renders the webcam close to useless.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 8

Review Sections

Huawei's slim little 14-inch clamshell laptop makes a big first impression that stands up over time. It boasts a bright, color-accurate screen and Nvidia MX150 discrete graphics in a slim, mostly well-designed body, making it an appealing Windows-based MacBook Pro alternative. As long as you're not counting on using the built-in webcam.

Note that it's not quite a direct match to a MacBook Pro, at least for graphics work: The display is accurate, but it only covers the sRGB color space, as compared with Apple's Retina display with its much larger P3 color gamut. But for basic photo and video editing, that's good enough. 

The system comes in two configurations: a Core i5-8250U with a 256GB SSD and 8GB memory for $1,200 (£1,300, AU$2,230) or our test configuration with a Core i7-8550U, 16GB memory and a 512GB SSD for $1,500 (£1,500, but with 8GB; not yet available in Australia, but probably around AU$2,500). 

If all you're doing is typing and web surfing, you can get away with the cheaper model, though if that's all you're doing then the MateBook X Pro is overkill and you could save more money with something like the slightly heavier Dell XPS 13.

Huawei MateBook X Pro

Price as reviewed $1,499.99, £1,499.99 (with 8GB)
Display size/resolution 13.9-inch 3,000x2,000 touch display
PC CPU 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
PC memory 16GB DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 2MB Nvidia GeForce MX150
Storage 512GB SSD
Ports Headphone jack, 1 x USB Type A, 2 x USB-C (1 x Thunderbolt 3)
Networking Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8275, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
Weight 2.9 lbs/1.3kg

From the ridiculous to the sublime

Let's just get these two design abominations out of the way: the gimmicky pop-up webcam and the awful AC adapter plug that takes up the space of three outlets. While it's great that you can hide the camera for extra privacy, the angle and location make it unusable. Of course, you can work around both problems with a third-party 65W USB-C charger and external webcam.

huawei-matebook-x-pro-5590

Who thought this was a good idea? It's actually worse than Dell's notorious up-nose camera placement.

Josh Miller/CNET
03webcam-location

This is the view of you the webcam shows. If the notebook is farther away you just get the up-nose perspective.

Sarah Tew/CNET

But the rest of the design is almost ideal given the trade-offs it needs to make between size, heat dissipation needs and connections. With only two USB-C ports and one USB-A, you're going to have to go with a dock or dongle.

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