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Laptops

Huawei MateBook 13 and MediaPad M5 Lite debut in the US at CES 2019

The company brings its latest ultraportable laptop and kid-friendly tablets to the US.

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The MediaPad M5 Lite.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Huawei may be known for its cutting-edge phones, but it makes some nice little laptops (like the MateBook X Pro) and tablets, too. At CES 2019, the company introduced two models to the US: the midrange MateBook 13 13-inch ultraportable and the MediaPad M5 Lite tablet that's got some... interesting kid-focused parental controls.

The "lite" aspect of the new family-friendly MediaPad refers to the lower-resolution, slightly smaller 10.1-inch 1080p screen, less powerful processor and the bundled M-Pen Lite stylus which offers 2,048-levels of pressure compared to the regular M5's 4,096. It will also have a slightly lighter price of $299 when it ships at the end of January.

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Before (right) and after (left) Princess Butterfingers got her hands on the MediaPad M5 Lite.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It offers the usual parental time limit controls and a dedicated "Kids Corner" interface, but also introduces some novel behavior-focused controls as well. It can detect when the tablet is too close to a face, the ambient light is below a certain threshold or if the tablet's being used at an "unhealthy" angle, such as overhead. It will then pop up a little warning animation in the corner, which expands to the entire screen if not heeded. 

"Hey there! Sit up to keep playing!" The warning messages which take over the screen are going to get old really fast.

Sarah Tew/CNET

And it's not very durable for kids -- I accidentally dropped it thanks to my toddler-level coordination and ended up damaging the corner and headphone jack.

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As for the MateBook 13, it's more or less a reworked MateBook X: aluminum unibody construction with a matte sandblasted finish, 2,160x1,440 touchscreen with 100 percent sRGB gamut coverage, and a measly two USB-C ports for connections. And the updated logo, of course.

It incorporates the latest Intel Core i5 or i7 U series processors, and the higher-end i7 model comes equipped with the higher-power version of the Nvidia MX150 graphics processor.

The MateBook 13 will be available at the end of January starting at $1,000 with integrated graphics and $1,300 for the model with discrete.

Because of the discrete graphics option, the MateBook 13 isn't fanless like the X models, which makes it thicker, and it scales back to two speakers from four.

It will come in Space Gray for a Core i7 or silver for a Core i5 with prices starting at just under $1,000.

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Huawei MediaPad M5 and MediaPad M5 Pro