Huawei highlights new Nvidia MX250 graphics in its MWC laptops

A new MateBook X Pro adds new processor, graphics and Bluetooth hardware, plus special tricks if you also own a Huawei phone.

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Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
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Angela Lang/CNET

Between high-end phones and international intrigue, you might have forgotten that Huawei makes laptops, too. It even makes from pretty good ones, such as the Mac-alike MateBook X Pro. One of my colleagues called the 2018 edition of that 13.9-inch laptop "the best little laptop you've never heard of."

The MateBook X Pro is back. It's got the same name and frankly it looks almost exactly the same -- the only visual difference is a tweaked logo. But it does have some interesting component and software updates. 

Watch this: Huawei's new MateBooks give you the power to touch and share

It will also, most interestingly, be one of the first laptops with the new Nvidia MX250 graphics chip. That's an entry-level graphics chip found in some mainstream or premium laptops that need a little extra muscle for Photoshop, video editing or other graphics-heavy tasks. That GPU is driving a screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio screen and a 3,000x2,000-pixel resolution, which we've seen in Microsoft's Surface line and a handful of other PCs recently.

The MX line isn't great for gaming, but you can definitely sneak a little game time on there, as long as you keep expectations modest. For example, we tested the new game Apex Legends on the previous MateBook X Pro, which had the Nvidia MX150 GPU, and it ran at around 20fps.

Other specs for the new MateBook X include:

  • Intel Core i5-8265U or Core i7-8586U CPU
  • 8GB or 16GB DDR3 2133MHz RAM
  • 256GB or 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Two USB-C or Thunderbolt ports, one USB-A port
  • Quad Dolby Atmos-compatible speakers
  • Built-in fingerprint reader (in the power button)
  • Space Gray or Mystic Silver color options

Some of the software sounds interesting, like a suite of laptop-to-phone apps. Huawei Share allows you to send files easily from your phone to the laptop through a direct Wi-Fi connection. There's also a clipboard-sharing feature and you can use your phone to trigger a laptop screen-recording session. But these features only work if you also have a Huawei phone.

At least you can still use a three-finger downward gesture on the screen to take a quick screenshot, which is better than the built-in Windows alternative.


Sneaky webcam... 

Angela Lang/CNET

One thing to note if you're picky about webcam placement: There's a pop-up camera hidden in the function-key row. Its photos may be a little up-the-nose for your tastes. 

Joining the MateBook Pro X are new versions of the MateBook 13 and MateBook 14 laptops, pitched as affordable alternatives to the premium-priced X Pro. Both laptops have 2,160x1,440-pixel screens and a 3:2 aspect ratio. They also have dual (not quad) Atmos speakers and the same new CPU options.


The more affordable MateBook 14. 

Angela Lang/CNET

The 14-inch version will also offer the Nvidia MX150. Both laptops will come in Space Gray, Mystic Silver or Pink (not rose!) Gold.

Specific price and availability details have not yet been released.