Huawei Matebook X Pro: a Very Convincing Ultraportable Notebook


Slim and compact, Huawei’s 14-inch MateBook X Pro made a strong first impression that hasn’t wavered over time. This ultraportable has a bright, color-precise display and a Nvidia MX150 graphics card in a slim design that makes it a good Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro At least if you don’t really need a webcam…


 

Note that it’s not a direct match for a MacBook Pro at least for the graphics. Although accurate, its screen only covers the sRGB colour space, compared to Apple’s Retina screen with its much wider P3 colour gamut. But it’s still enough for basic photo and Video Editing

In France, the Matebook X Pro is available in two configurations: a Core i5-8250U processor with 256GB of SSD and 8GB of RAM for 1,200 euros; a Core i7-8550U processor, 512GB of SSD and 8GB of RAM for 1,700 euros.

If you only do word processing and web browsing, the basic template is more than sufficient. But in this case, the Dell XPS 13is also a very good option.


 

Design: from the ridiculous to the sublime

Let’s sweep away two design aberrations that have horrified us. The first is the retractable webcam located under a key in the top row of the keyboard. While it’s great to be able to hide the camera for privacy, the angle and location make it unusable. The second aberration is the bulky power outlet. Of course, you can get around both problems with a 65W USB-C charger and an external webcam.

Otherwise, the rest of the design is almost ideal given the trade-offs that have to be made between size, heat dissipation needs and connections. With only two USB-C and one USB-A ports, you’ll need a docking station or a dongle if you have big needs in this area.


 

One of the highlights of the MateBook X Pro is its 13.9-inch touch screen. Its resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels gives it an excellent density of 271 dots per inch. Although it covers only 100% sRGB (73% Adobe RGB and P3 according to tests), it offers excellent color accuracy with a maximum brightness of 544 nits, but not at the same time and with the default adaptive brightness turned off. Because of its 3:2 format, movies and games usually appear in a frame and the screen is relatively reflective, like many of its competitors.

The keyboard layout is well thought out, the chiclet keys are spacious with just enough travel and return to make typing comfortable. The Windows Precision touchpad is large and responsive with clickable areas. Personally we found it a bit too sensitive, even at minimum settings, but it’s pretty typical. Huawei has integrated the fingerprint sensor into the Power Button one of the latest trends in notebook design.


 

The manufacturing quality is essentially top-of-the-range. The top and bottom covers are made of aluminum, but the keypad cover area is made of plastic. This prevents it from overheating and helps to make it lighter.

The four speakers on either side of the keyboard are very powerful for such a small laptop. The overall audio quality is quite good, as long as the volume is not turned up above 80%. The MateBook X Pro is Dolby Atmos compatible but the effect is moderately effective on a machine of this size. Don’t expect much from this side.


 

The Nvidia MX150 GPU offers a small gain in graphics performance compared to an Intel integrated chip that will be welcome for occasional gaming, basic photo editing and streaming series. But, like most ultraportables, the MateBook X Pro uses the slower, lower-powered version of the chip (1D12) operating at 936MHz rather than the faster (1D10) version operating at 1.468MHz. Certainly, this preserves autonomy. But with nine hours in our endurance test, the MateBook X Pro is only in the middle of its class.

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