I still remember reviewing Huawei’s very first laptop in 2017 and being blown away by its looks. It had impossibly thin bezels (at the time) encasing a rare (at the time) 3K resolution screen, a power button with an integrated fingerprint scanner that allowed me to log into the home screen in 10 seconds from a cold device, and it was also a genuinely creative device Possibility to house the webcam: in the keyboard. It looked more high-tech than anything else on the market.
In the six years since, other laptop makers have caught up in terms of bezel size and display resolution, and Huawei in particular has largely settled on a design language it’s stuck with.
This means that the 2023 MateBook actually looks pretty much the same as last year’s 2022 model, although the new 2023 device has a new white color that I find visually striking, and it also got Intel’s annual processor spec boost.
While it doesn’t offer any visual surprises, the MateBook’s six-speaker setup makes for an excellent device for watching movies.
As always with the MateBook for a laptop with a 14.2-inch screen, its dimensions of 310mm x 221mm by 15.1mm are still one of the most compact form factors on the market. The laptop received a new antenna layout called “Metaline” which results in more stable and faster connectivity.
The laptop shell is made of aluminum but features a micro-velvet spray that gives it a silky soft texture. It’s hard to describe, you have to feel it yourself.
Another hallmark of current Huawei laptops is the excellent full-size keyboard with generous key travel (1.5 mm). It’s a much better typing experience than many other laptops on the market, and I can get my fastest typing speed here without any learning curve. The trackpad is also large and has excellent tactile feel, which comes into play when you swipe up and down on the edges to adjust brightness or volume.
The 13th generation Intel Core i7-1360P power chip is a high-end processor and performs well in benchmarks. Paired with 12GB of RAM, the device never slowed down even when I was doing light gaming and photo editing in Adobe Lightroom. Windows 11 Home is obviously the software here, and while I prefer macOS, I have no real complaints software-wise.
Unfortunately, the MateBook X Pro lacks a dedicated graphics card, so you rely on the integrated graphics from Intel. That means you can’t do major video editing or gaming with it, but the device handles light games well. A touchscreen definitely helps.
If you own a Huawei phone or tablet, the MateBook X Pro works very well with it via a seamless ecosystem that Huawei has dubbed a “super device.” For example, you can connect a Huawei phone to the laptop simply by tapping the trackpad with the phone. Once connected, you can control the phone right from the laptop home screen, including controlling apps on the phone by tapping the laptop screen. You can even drag and drop files between two devices.
Battery life is solid, clocking in at around eight and a half hours of active continuous use, including streaming Spotify, typing words into a CMS in Chrome, and visiting social media. If you only watch videos on Netflix or YouTube, the device can last over 10 hours according to my tests. This is thanks to a 65Wh battery that can be charged at a speed of 90W. I’m also satisfied with the connection options: four USB-Cs, two of which are Thunderbolt 4, and a headphone jack. For a slim machine, these I/O options are fine.
It’s not all good news, however. The 720p webcam is a bit lacking, and Huawei’s built-in “AI” features for video calls like beauty mode and automatic eye contact can be a godsend.
The laptop isn’t cheap either, costing the equivalent of around $1,900 in Asia and Europe. Still, Huawei products have always been priced high, so this is nothing new.
I wish Huawei would consider trying new form factors. As we said, the original MateBook X from 2017 looked different than most laptops on the market. It zigzagged where others jagged. Now the 2023 laptop looks like dozens of other laptops on the market. I understand that laptops aren’t handheld devices like smartphones, so there aren’t that many choices when it comes to hardware design. But we’re starting to see some very awesome dual-screen laptops from the likes of Lenovo, and I think Huawei should consider going down that route. After all, Huawei’s smartphones are still breaking new ground in terms of hardware design. Compared to its phones, Huawei is a bit too sure about its laptops. But I guess I’m a little thing – this is a polished and versatile portable laptop for working on the go.