Despite its concerns with Google services, Huawei continues to fuel the high-tech scene with new products. And after the MateBook D 14 under AMD passed through our hands at the beginning of the year, today we are testing its little brother, the MateBook 14, reviewed and corrected on many hardware points.
After the MateBook D14, Huawei is repeating the feat with a brand new version that incorporates a new generation of Ryzen 7 processors and a doubled amount of RAM. Everything always comes in a comfortable 14 ”format. If the MateBook 14 under the AMD flag looks a lot like the model we tested a few months ago. But, to reverse the trend proposed at the beginning of the year, the evolution is more present at the level of components than in terms of design.
Our full test of the MateBook 14 (AMD) in video
Design and connections: It’s beautiful, very beautiful
First thing that we notice when leaving the box is the exterior design. The Matebook 14 (AMD) is a beautiful 1.5kg baby and offers a great first impression. We really have there particular care taken in the choice of materials and colors. On the top, we will not find any frills, except the inscription “HUAWEI” on the middle, in shiny metal which contrasts perfectly with the charcoal gray and brushed aluminum of the rest of the device. Only the screen hinge is plastic, plastic which is however of very good quality as well.
Under the device we find a large air circulation space to ventilate the device thanks to two integrated fans, two non-slip pads and two speakers. The whole design is really successful and attractive.
Side connectors, we have everything, or almost. On the left edge we find a USB-C port who takes care of the 65W recharge thanks to the supplied power adapter, a 3.5mm jack port allowing to connect a micro-headset in TRRS jack and a HDMI 2.1 port. On the contrary, we are entitled to two USB type A ports in 3.0. We will note no SD card reader and, ultraportable format requires, Ethernet port. But what we especially regret is the wireless connection, which is limited to Wi-Fi AC. No Wi-Fi 6 therefore on this PC, while Huawei was one of the first to promote this standard.
Bonus 2K IPS LCD and touch screen
At the opening we do not notice a big design change. However, it is interesting to note that the opening angle has been reduced. It is no longer possible to open the device to 180 °, but to a maximum of 155 °. Let’s continue with the 14 ”IPS LCD panel in 3: 2 format which offers a very nice display surface, more pleasant in web browsing than 16: 9. Framed with 3 thin edges of 5 mm and a thicker edge at the bottom of 2cm thick, the latter occupies 90% of the surface.
Unlike the screen of the previous version, we have here a nice evolution from a full HD screen to a very beautiful 2K panel offering a resolution of 2160 * 1440 with a density of 185 pixels per inch. The maximum brightness announced by Huawei is 300 nits and a contrast ratio of 1500: 1.
Still interesting to note, this screen is multi-touch, and Huawei has played on this quality to offer various functions to improve productivity. A swipe down with 3 fingers will automatically open a screenshot tool for example. The touch responds well and is very precise. No particular worries to move the windows, to navigate, everything is done naturally.
Finally, the screen is designed for performance, but also health sinceit filters blue light emissions to protect the user’s eyes. In this period when we are always spending more time in front of our screens, this is an excellent addition to this already impressive panel.
Keyboard: large and comfortable
On the keyboard part of the Matebook 14, no huge change compared to the previous version. We find a very generous 11.9 cm wide by 7.2 cm high trackpad and multi-touch, and which offers smooth and intuitive navigation. The spacious backlit keyboard, meanwhile, has a very pleasant typing and offers two levels of brightness, but does not integrate no numeric keypad.
Note the presence of a retractable 720P webcam hidden between the F6 and F7 keys. A good point for those keen on the protection of privacy, a bad point on the framing side, unless you are really proud of your chin… During videoconferences, this webcam placement will inevitably impact the user experience, however it remains the most adequate solution to take advantage of a screen with thin edges.
Note the displacement of power button which passes above the “delete” key instead of being to its right. A change which saves a little space, the keyboard having been slightly enlarged. Note that this button also allows the fingerprint reading thanks to a dedicated chip. The set enables the computer to be turned on with “One-Touch-to-Go” technology, making ignition and identification completely transparent. Fingerprint recognition is fast and reliable. After configuration and a burst of attempts, fingerprint recognition was not wrong once.
A little audio point seems necessary: the sound delivered by the two stereo speakers located under the device is really clean. The bass, although a little shy, are sufficiently present to offer a beautiful audio reproduction during a video viewing or music listening session. The sound is balanced and, even at full power, does not saturate.
Finally, a satisfying little point, I had fun several times closing the computer flap. The noise emanating from it is really very pleasant: it’s a detail, but it adds something premium to the experience. We feel the importance given to the finish.
In summary, apart from a few small connectivity issues, and a more than questionable placement of the camera, the Huawei Matebook 14 AMD exudes premium. From materials to general ergonomics, the whole is really very beautiful. And especially, pleasant in every way. But looking good isn’t enough to perform well, so let’s get to what’s going on under the hood.
Hardware and performance: a superboosted ultraportable
Intel has some concerns. More and more manufacturers are integrating AMD’s equally powerful, but much cheaper processors. This is the case of this Matebook 14, which is equipped with the very recent Ryzen 7 4800H. This octo-core is based on the Zen 2 architecture (Renoir), engraved in 7nm and offers a base frequency of 2.9Ghz that can go up to 4.2Ghz. 8 cores, 16 threads, the whole being assisted by 16 GB of Ram in DDR4… What more could you ask for? A configuration which, on paper, looks almost like a gaming PC with the only difference that here there is no dedicated graphics card. The Ryzen 7 takes care of the display with 7 dedicated GPU cores thanks to AMD Radeon technology.
Players looking for high performance can therefore skip their way on this model which will not meet their high requirements in terms of gaming. However, you can run the less greedy games like Heartstone or any type of MOBA, but be careful not to push the graphics options to the maximum, otherwise the refresh rate and the battery take a hit.
Storage side It is a 512 GB SSD in PCIe that Huawei announces. A tour in the disk manager and we find ourselves in front of a 476 GB SSD which, on the version we had in our hands, is partitioned between OS (120 GB) and recovery volume. Finally, only there are only 341 GB of available data.
The 512 GB SSD in this model is a bit light unfortunately, especially when we see the space needed for some games like Call Of Duty Modern Warfare or Warzone, which already take 209 GB of storage between them. Today, below a terabyte of storage, this remains relatively limited. We would have preferred the integration of an SSD in NVMe M2 of a TB which could have saved weight and performance on the device, even if this PC remains swift. For exemple, Matebook 14 only takes five seconds to turn on and barely two to turn off.
Let’s move on to drums. The latter offers a nominal capacity of 56Wh and Huawei announces up to 10h of autonomy, depending on the power mode chosen, you can even go slightly above. 3 hours of local video watching only dropped the battery by 30% Another 4-hour half-day of binge-watching on Netflix over Wi-Fi only dropped the battery 100% to 45%.
After a day of writing this article, the battery had only dropped by 25%, having taken care to put the power management slider in “best performance”, ie just below “maximum performance”. The battery will therefore last without any problem for a day in the context of office use / web browsing.
In the box, you will obviously find the mains charger consisting of a USB type C to USB type C cable with a length of 1.80m, and a really small and discreet power supply unit capable of delivering 65w thanks to the Huawei SuperCharge technology, the latter allowing relatively fast recharging. During our tests, it only took half an hour to recharge the battery up to 50%.
The Hardware / Software package is managed by Windows 10 in family version and runs without any worries. If you are a fan of the brand and also own one of their smartphones then you will be able to use Huawei Share from the preinstalled “PC Manager” application. Huawei Share is a technology that allows wireless data transfer from computer to smartphone and vice versa. It also offers reply to SMS, calls, view your notifications, etc.
In short, Huawei Share makes it easier to control your smartphone from your computer, a bit like the Your Phone application in Windows 10, which now even offers the ability to launch Android applications. A good point in terms of productivity, which allows you to focus your attention on a single screen instead of two andimprove interactivity and communication between devices. Note that you will absolutely need a Huawei or Honor smartphone to benefit from this feature.
Conclusion: ultraportable, high performance
To summarize on the Hardware / Software harmony, Huawei serves us here a quality ultraportable that will meet all standard IT needs. The Ryzen 7 4800h coupled with 16 GB of RAM together offers undeniable fluidity and performance well above current standards, and this, with a completely bluffing endurance. A forgotten charger at home won’t be a problem with this Matebook 14 AMD in any way. Only point to note, the absence of graphics card makes this product very quickly limited for people working in 2D and 3D graphics.
The Matebook 14 will be available from October 2020 in two versions: one includes a Ryzen 5 4600H and a non-touch screen and is offered at € 899.99. The other, the one we tested here, is priced at € 1,099.99.
The Huawei Matebook 14 is equipped with a double ventilation arranged on each side below the device, after several hours of use. It is clear that the temperature rises very little, and that the heating is perfectly well managed. Even at peak performance, the computer heats very little and no performance loss is to be noted.