The Matebook X is Huawei’s new ultrabook. New components, but a design similar to what Huawei has offered us so far, is the Matebook X pro’s little brother the ultrabook you’ve been dreaming of?
Yes Huawei In the end, it will only have released very few smartphones this year in France, mainly because of the embargo imposed by the Trump administration, the Chinese manufacturer has redoubled its efforts on other tech products. We were therefore treated to an anthology of accessories and devices: headphones like the Freedbuds Pro and u the Freebuds 3i, connected watches like the Watch GT 2 Pro and the Watch Fit, or PCs like the MateBook 14 ( AMD) and the 2020 Matebook D 14, to name just a handful. In the end, Huawei is staying the course and few mistakes have been made by the manufacturer (who mentioned the Sound X speaker?).
It is in this context that Huawei offers the MateBook X 2020 edition, a lighter, more affordable version of the MateBook X Pro released last summer. Despite a formula that may seem worn out, this ultrabook has in store for us some very good surprises. We’re off for a full owner tour through our review of the new MateBook X.
Price and availability
The Huawei Matebook X is priced at € 1,499.99 in a single configuration: Core i5 (10th generation), 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage space. It is notably available on the official Huawei website. By doing a little research on the most popular online stores, you should even be able to find it for $ 1,299.99. Finally, note that this PC exists in two colors: silver or green.
Our video test of the Huawei MateBook X (2020)
Design and Connections
The contents of the box are as simple and light as the Matebook X itself. You will obviously find the ultrabook, but also a USB-C cable from one end to the other and an AC adapter for recharging, delivering up to 65W.
The Matebook X is no exception to what Huawei is accustomed to offering: a sumptuous brushed aluminum frame, in an ultra-portable 284.4mm wide by 206.7mm long. The device is mostly less than 1.5 cm thick (the device is only 13.6 mm, to be precise). All for a featherweight of 1 kg, yes, you read that correctly, only 1 kg.
On the top of the device we will find, as usual with Huawei, the name of the brand, integrated in shiny metal silver color which contributes to the premium look of the Matebook X. Originally, there is a green version (closer to duck blue), that Huawei did not intend to market the latter on the French store. The manufacturer seems to have changed its mind and we can now find both editions in its online store. It would have been a shame to do without this color, which is simply splendid.
To the right of the device, we find a first USB-C connector. On the left are a 3.5 mm mini-jack port as well as‘A second USB-C port. Both will be used for recharging, for data transfer or for connecting an external screen. Two USB-C ports therefore, which can seem problematic if you do not have a HUB integrating USB-A sockets to connect, for example, a USB key. This is the price to pay for an ultraportable. The problem will be quickly resolved via a small USB hub or a simple adapter.
Let’s move on to the bottom of the device: it remains as simple and stylish as the top. Only 2 holes concealing 2 microphones on the front edge and two openings allowing sound to exit to the left and right of the device, each housing two speakers. After a few plays, the sound is surprising. Obviously, the whole thing lacks depth in the bass, but listening is very pleasant even at full volume, and does not saturate. All frequencies are audible and well balanced. The Matebook X offers audio quality that is comparable to larger riders.
A keyboard with an integrated webcam, the wrong idea?
By opening the Matebook X we find ourselves facing a 13 ”touch screen on the upper part, which we will talk about in detail a little later in this test, and on the lower part, a backlit Chiclet keyboard. The keyboard is large, comfortable: the 1.5 mm key spacing provides smooth typing and limits typing accidents. Small negative point, similar to that of the Matebook 14 running on AMD that we presented to you a few months ago: the keyboard backlight only offers 3 levels (off, 50% and 100%). However, even at 100%, the backlight is still quite dim. This is a shame, as it makes it difficult to use in a low light environment. Especially since the latter automatically turns off after 15 seconds of use. When you do not know the positioning of the keys well, typing will therefore become hazardous the time to reactivate said backlight.
Small specificity specific to Huawei Laptop: the presence of an additional key slipped between the function keys F6 and F7. The latter actually houses a retractable webcam. In these times when everyone cares more and more about notions of privacy, the integration of a retractable system is therefore a good point. However, the placement of the webcam poses various concerns. First, the low-angle framing will not enhance your image. Second, if you type text on the keyboard at the same time as a conference, your callers will have a macro shot on your fingers. A concern that we can see more and more regularly on laptops offering thin edges and hazardous webcam positioning, which despite everything, has the merit of being present. In terms of video quality, this webcam offers a resolution of 720p which seems more than sufficient for the intended use.
A fairly generous touchpad, given the size of the device, is placed just below the keyboard. The latter measures 69 mm wide by 119 mm long and supports multi-touch up to 4 fingers. This notably makes it easier to navigate between various windows in a single movement. In use, the touchscreen is very responsive and the trackpad surface is more than sufficient, even for large hands.
Finally, just above the delete key, a small round button which will be used to turn the computer on and off, but which also allows the fingerprint unlock. Once fingerprint recognition is set up, it only takes one tap to start the Matebook X Pro AND sign in. After several tests, the fingerprint recognition proves to be effective and reliable. No unlock attempt has failed.
Read also: best ultrabooks, which model to buy in 2020?
There is a lot to say about this 13 inch LCD display. Let’s start with its ratio. Huawei has gotten us used to breaking codes, and this is also the case here. We are facing a panel in 3: 2 format, the idea being to offer more vertical space to display information, especially during web consultation. Add to that a 3K definition of 3000 x 2000 with a density of 278 pixels per inch, sprinkle with full coverage of the sRGB gamut, all with 90% occupancy of the main surface. The remaining 10% of space is reserved for borders measuring respectively 5mm on the upper part and on the sides, and 15mm on the lower part. Here you get the recipe for the perfect screen for a notebook dedicated to web browsing and office automation.
To finish on the technical specifics, the screen of the MateBook X offers 1500: 1 contrast ratio and a maximum brightness of 400nits. Huawei announces a viewing angle of 178 ° and we were surprised to find that from any angle the whole thing remains very readable and does not lose too much brightness. Small negative point if one is needed, the panel is unfortunately not equipped with an anti-reflective coating and therefore placing the computer against the light is problematic. In addition, since we are here on a touch screen, we quickly find ourselves with a good amount of fingerprints when we regularly use this feature.
But it is clear that this recipe works, and that the slab offers a nice restitution despite its relatively small size. The colors are bright and well calibrated, the details are striking and finally the multi-touch touchscreen reacts without worry. On the other hand, as said above, the additional integration of a matte screen would have made everyday use even more pleasant, in addition to limiting the visibility of fingerprints.
Hardware and performance
While the Huawei Matebook X looks good on the outside, it’s also the beauty on the inside that matters. Here we have the right to a processor 10th Generation Intel Core i5, the i5-10210U, clocked at 1.60 GHz and up to 4.20GHz in Turbo. This Quad-core is supported by 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 2133 MHz. On the operating system side, the assembly comes with a Windows 10 Home. Don’t expect crazy performance capable of running all the latest games around – this is an ultraportable, it wasn’t designed for it. However, whether in office automation (this entire test was written directly on the Matebook X), browsing the web, or watching videos, the Matebook X remains fluid, fast and efficient.
here are some benchmarks to see its general performance:
As you can see, the Matebook X doesn’t position itself as a racing monster, but offers good performance for an ultrabook. It ensures smooth use if your applications are not too resource intensive, especially graphics, since the entire GPU part is managed directly by the Chipset integrated into the Intel Core i5. Note also that this ultraportable computer has no ventilation. This results in reduced performance if the system detects a higher temperature than normal.
On the storage side, the Matebook X is equipped with a 512 GB NVME SSD partitioned as follows:
- a first partition of 100 MB for the UEFI BIOS
- three partitions dedicated to recovery of respectively 512 MB, 1 GB and 14 GB
- a 120 GB system partition for Windows
- a 341.33 GB data partition
So that finally, of the 512 GB announced, only 341 GB will actually be available if you don’t want to impact the system partition. It’s a shame, but sufficient for all the tasks for which this notebook is designed, ie mostly office automation. However, we would have liked to be able to choose a more substantial storage: 1 TB for example would not have been refused to feel more comfortable in the long term. Unfortunately Huawei does not offer any choice of storage configuration when purchasing. If you have special needs, you will need to provide external storage for all of your data.
In terms of connectivity, the Huawei Matebook X is compatible with the latest Wi-Fi 802.11 AX (more commonly known as Wifi 6), but also Bluetooth version 5.0. You will therefore have everything you need for everyday use, both to synchronize wireless headphones or any other accessory, but also to connect to wifi networks while always enjoying the best accessible speeds. However, as you can imagine, if you need additional performance, you should plan to purchase a USB-C to RJ45 adapter to connect over Ethernet.
The Huawei Matebook X fits perfectly into the‘Brand ecosystem, thanks to the SHARE function. Under the trackpad fits an NFC chip which, if you drop a branded smartphone there, allows you to duplicate your smartphone screen directly on your laptop. You can then reply to your messages directly on it, but also access a number of applications, much like what Windows offers with their “your phone” application.
This system, in addition to being practical, makes it possible to limit dispersion due to notifications and to centralize all information on a single screen. Enough to save time and be more productive.
Battery and Autonomy
The Huawei Matebook X is equipped witha battery with a capacity of 42 Wh, Huawei announcing until 9 hours of battery life. In optimal performance and watching videos on different VOD services, the latter held slightly more than 6 hours. On the other hand, in saving energy and writing this test, the battery has exceeded the duration announced by the manufacturer of one hour and forty-three minutes. If you work during the day and you are not fond of maximum brightness, then you can, without too much hassle, do without the additional transport of the AC adapter and the USB-C cable, which is a great point. and adds to the ultraportable side of this laptop.
On the recharging side, as indicated in the first part, we havean AC adapter capable of delivering 65 W. Once the battery is completely empty, it only takes about 30 minutes to recharge it to 60%, which allows you to quickly refuel before setting off again. The performance delivered by this battery is therefore more than correct and will be more than sufficient for the majority of uses.