Huawei makes phones, tablets and smartwatches. Now you can add laptops to that list.
The company announced two new laptops, the Matebook X and Matebook D, as well as a refresh to last year's Windows 10 tablet, the Matebook E. A little confusing, right? Let's start with the cream of the crop.
Matebook X laptop
The Matebook X might be Huawei's first clamshell laptop ever, but from the looks of it, the company knows a thing or two about high-end laptop design. It's a chic little laptop that looks like the 12-inch MacBook, but with better speakers. Despite the compact size, its specs are closer to those of the higher-end MacBook Pro.
The Windows 10 laptop is the first fanless 13-inch model with an Intel U-Series processor. It has a sleek aluminum chassis that'll be available in gold, grey and pink. At 12.5mm thick and weighing 2.31 pounds, it's slimmer and lighter than the comparable MacBook Pro, which is 15mm thick and weighs about 3.02 pounds. (The 12-inch MacBook is 13mm thick and weighs 2.03 pounds.) The Huawei laptop's power button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor, similar to some Huawei phones, and it works with Windows Hello.
It's the first laptop to have Dolby's Atmos sound system, which features integrated software and hardware solutions for superior sound quality. Dolby collaborated with Huawei to help design the speakers located above the keyboard, as well as the preloaded software that optimizes the sound for movies, music or gaming. The result is dynamic sound that emulates the way sound travels in real life via speakers and headphones. This is different from devices that simply have Dolby Atmos software technology that only optimizes sound via headphones.
The average laptop speakers sound tinny at max volumes, but the Huawei laptop held up pretty well in comparison. During a short movie clip with minimal dialogue, background and soundscape noises were crisp, and sound traveled up and down the speakers for an immersive experience.
What are good speakers without a great screen? The Huawei laptop's 2K resolution screen is beautifully sharp and vibrant, with super-narrow 4.4mm bezels that maximize screen space. It also has a 3:2 screen ratio (like the Microsoft Surface Pro), which is more conducive for office or school work.
Huawei Matebook X specs
- 2,160x1,440-pixel resolution screen (non-touch)
- Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB/512GB SSD
- Full-size Chiclet backlit keyboard
- Two USB-C ports
- Includes multiport adapter
- Estimated 10-hour battery life
While we got some hands-on time with the Matebook X at a press event in San Francisco, the Matebook D wasn't available. That model is like a larger version of the Matebook X with a lower-resolution screen, but a Nvidia GeForce 930MX GPU for better gaming graphics.
Matebook D specs
- 15.6-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution (non-touch)
- 7th gen Intel i5 or i7 CPU
- Estimated 8.5 hour battery life
- Dolby Atmos sound system
- Up to 1TB HDD
- Full USB, USB-C and HDMI ports
Matebook E tablet
The Huawei Matebook E is an updated version of last year's model. The Windows 10 tablet was notable for its iPad Pro-like chassis, but didn't include the keyboard case in its base price.
The new 12-inch tablet corrects that mistake by throwing in the luxe leather keyboard accessory, as well as packing a higher 2K-resolution screen and offering an optional upgrade to an Intel i5 processor.
Available in gray or gold, the slim aluminum design is notable because, for a Windows 10 tablet, it looks more like an iPad Pro than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Like the Apple tablet, the Matebook E has a premium, high-end look and feel. It charges and transfers data via USB-C port, and its volume rocker doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
Matebook E specs
- 2,160x1,440-pixel resolution touchscreen
- Intel M3 or i5 CPU
- 4GB/8GB RAM (8GB only in US)
- 128GB/256GB/512GB internal storage
- USB-C port
- Estimated 9-hour battery life
Cop or drop?
At the time of posting, Huawei has yet to announce pricing and availability. How much the devices cost will determine how good of a deal they are in comparison to what's out there. The Huawei Matebook X is a luxe little laptop that could be a great alternative for anyone interested in the 12-inch MacBook Pro but with Windows 10. Same goes for the Matebook E and the iPad Pro. Considering Huawei is still a relative a newcomer to laptops and tablets, it would be in their best interest to price the devices competitively to stand out against the flood of laptops and tablets available.