Huawei's Windows 10 tablet packs a stylus with a frickin' laser pointer built in

This Windows 10 laptop-tablet hybrid takes on the iPad Pro.

Nate Ralph Associate Editor
Associate Editor Nate Ralph is an aspiring wordsmith, covering mobile software and hardware for CNET Reviews. His hobbies include dismantling gadgets, waxing poetic about obscure ASCII games, and wandering through airports.
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Nate Ralph
Jessica Dolcourt
3 min read

The thin, light, attractive MateBook that Huawei introduced at Mobile World Congress obviously takes a few design cues from Apple's iPad Pro, including a folding keyboard case and a pressure-sensitive digital pen for writing or drawing on the screen.

Huawei's, though, comes with a bonus: a built-in laser pointer on one end that you can use to emphatically circle or underscore key points during a presentation -- or just use to drive the feline population nuts.

The rest of the package looks more than a little familiar (aka, like the iPad Pro), from the folding keyboard case to the tablet's sleek, aluminum body. Of course, the 12-inch MateBook (incidentally, Huawei's first tablet-PC hybrid) runs Windows 10 software, like Microsoft's own Surface 4 Pro. It automatically prompts you when you switch from tablet mode to PC mode, which shifts the display to make it more like either a handheld or laptop-like experience.

The MateBook attaches to its keyboard case by way of sturdy magnets that, as we accidentally found out, are strong enough to hold fast even when the keyboard is dangling in the air, so you shouldn't have to worry too much about the parts disconnecting when you're toting it around.


The stylus offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The case folds up into a stand much like the keyboard case on the iPad Pro, and like Apple's gargantuan tablet, you're limited to just one viewing angle if you prop the device upright. At this point, we prefer the Surface Pro 4's more flexible hinge, but that hinge also adds bulk: the MateBook is 6.9mm (0.27 inch) thick and weighs in at 640 grams (1.4 pounds), sans keyboard. The Intel Core m3 variant of the Surface Pro 4, by contrast, is 8.45mm (.33 inch) thick, and weighs 766 grams (1.7 pounds).

Oh, and one other thing. The only camera is on the front, so while you can make video calls, you won't be obnoxiously holding it over your head at a concert trying to get a good shot.

Things get a little confusing from here on out, because, like a lot of these hybrids, there are three models, starting with a Core M3 processor and 4GB of RAM that starts at $699, up to $1,599 for the full spec model with a Core M7 chip and 8GB of RAM.

There's currently no word on pricing in the UK or Australia, but the European prices for those models convert to around £620 and £1,390, or AU$1,245 and AU$2,800. It's set for a July 11 release date in North America, though no word yet on availability in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Lasers sold separately

During our time with the MateBook, we noticed that its keyboard keys are appreciably large and wide, which makes for fairly accurate typing in our limited tests. A fingerprint reader sits on the MateBook's spine, sandwiched between the volume controls, but we couldn't test it out. The tablet also packs a USB Type-C port, for your charging and data transfer needs. If you need a bit more utility, Huawei will also offer a standalone docking device: it has a few more connectivity ports, including an Ethernet jack so you can tether down when Wi-Fi won't cut it.


The case's magnets are rather sturdy.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Let's not forget the stylus. Huawei boasts that the MateBook's stylus offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is double what you'll find in Microsoft's newest Surface Pen. The stylus, case and dock are all sold separately -- there's no word on pricing -- and we were told bundles will be available. If the stylus' sensitivity plays out nicely in real world use, it could be a neat little accessory for budding digital artists. You can be the judge of the laser pointer's utility.

Huawei MateBook specs:

  • Intel Core M processor: Core M3, up to Core m7
  • Storage: 128GB, up to 512GB
  • RAM: 4GB or 8GB
  • 5-megapixel front-facing camera, no rear camera
  • 12-inch, 2,160x1,440-pixel resolution display
  • 400-nit brightness
  • 33.4-watt hour battery, approximately 10 hours of battery life
  • Colors: Gold, grey
  • Case colors: Orange, brown, black, beige