Huawei Matebook X review: The Windows laptop that thinks like a MacBook

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The Good The Huawei Matebook X has a stylish aluminum design that impresses everyone who sees it. It has a Dolby Atmos audio system and its power button doubles as a fingerprint reader.

The Bad The US price is still not confirmed, configuration options are limited and it lacks a touchscreen.

The Bottom Line The thin, light and fast Matebook X is a tempting MacBook alternative for Windows 10 fans.

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First generation devices usually lack finesse and style, or at least still have a lot of rough edges, but not the Huawei Matebook X.

As the first clamshell laptop manufactured by Huawei, the Matebook X looks like a Macbook Pro running Windows 10 ($149 at Amazon). The 13-inch fanless notebook has Intel's latest-generation processor, a crazy-sharp 2K screen and a fancy power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. It has the chic design and high-end trimmings that any premium laptop needs. All it's missing, for now, is an official price.

That's right, Hauwei gave us a Matebook X to test, but the company is not yet announcing how much this new slim laptop is going to cost in the US. Several configurations of it will be available in Europe for between €1,399 and €1,699, but it may be closer to the expected summer ship date before we have prices and configuration options for other markets. The review unit we tested had an Intel i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD.


Macbook design, Windows heart.

Josh Miller/CNET

How much it costs in comparison to the MacBook Pro, as well as the bevy of Windows alternatives such as the new Microsoft Surface Laptop ($725 at Amazon), will determine if Huawei's first clamshell laptop will convince laptop shoppers to try this new-to-them brand.

We'll update this review with further benchmark results and a final rating when these worldwide price and availability questions are answered.

Svelte city

Luxury doesn't boast. Luxury just is. The Huawei Matebook X is a perfect example. The laptop's matte, metallic aluminum construction oozes style, and it feels as premium as it looks. Similar to the Huawei Mate 9 phone, the Matebook X's elegantly inconspicuous power button doubles as a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader.


The power button doubles as a fingerprint reader.

Josh Miller/CNET

Available in gold, grey and pink, the Matebook X's dimensions are thinner and it weighs less than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Its 12.5 mm thick and weighs 2.31 pounds, while the comparable MacBook Pro is 15 mm thick and weighs about 3.02 pounds. (The 12-inch MacBook, which uses lower-power Intel Core M processors, is 13 mm thick and weighs 2.03 pounds.)

There is a striking resemblance between the two high-end laptops. That's a big compliment. If the TouchBar-less version of the MacBook Pro is the "Retina MacBook Air" you've always wanted, the Matebook X is the Windows 10 version you never knew you needed.


Fashionably thin.

Josh Miller/CNET

Sounds great

The Matebook X is the first laptop to feature Dolby's Atmos sound system. (This is different from devices that simply have Dolby Atmos software technology that only optimizes sound via headphones). Using integrated software and hardware solutions for superior sound quality, it emulates the way sound travels in real life for an immersive viewing experience.


The speakers are located above the keyboard.

Josh Miller/CNET

Dolby collaborated with Huawei to help design the speakers, as well as the preloaded software that optimizes the sound for movies, music or gaming. The speakers sound satisfyingly full and loud. Dialogue is clear, background and soundscape noises are fittingly accentuated and sound travels up and down the speakers for a movie theater-like experience. At maximum volume they don't sound tinny, though highs can get a little screechy when maxed out. I was usually able to find a happy medium.

Laptops don't have a high bar for sound quality. It's nice to see (and hear) Huawei putting in some effort.

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