Hands on: Huawei MateBook D review

Huawei's first attempt at a laptop

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Our Early Verdict

The new MateBook D isn't the most exciting product in Huawei's first laptop range, but it may be suitable for your next computing device with a solidly built design and lots of impressive spec.

For

  • Lots of connectivity options
  • Large display

Against

  • No backlit keyboard
  • Heavy

Best known for making smartphones, Huawei has announced its entry into the laptop market with two new products.

There’s its MacBook Air competitor, the MateBook X, with its super slim metal body and sexy 13-inch display… and then there’s the rather less sexy Huawei MateBook D.

The MateBook D is everything the MateBook X isn’t. It's nothing to get excited about, although some of the spec may be perfect for your needs.

Huawei MateBook D release date and price 

So far we don’t know whether the MateBook D will be coming to the US, UK or Australia, though as Huawei hosted events in the UK and US, it would make sense that they would launch there, at least.

As for price, the MateBook D starts at €799 (around $900, £690, AU$1200) for the model with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive and Nvidia 940MX graphics.

A step up is the model with the same specs but with a 128GB SSD as well - this will cost €899 (around $1000, £800, AU$1300).

The third version comes with a Core i7 CPU, and will cost €999 (around $1100, £860, AU$1500)

We expect to get much more information about this in the coming weeks.

Huawei MateBook D design 

The design of the MateBook D is best described as lacklustre, as this looks much like any other business-focused laptop you’ve used over the past few years.

It’s heavy at 1.9kg, but does have an attractive top cover. When you open it up you can see the 15.6-inch Full HD display from there and the keyboard just down below.

The keyboard is easy to type on, and the MateBook D will stay sturdy no matter if you're typing on a desk or on your lap. It's a bit of a shame that Huawei hasn't made this a backlit keyboard though.

On the right-hand side, next to the keyboard, is the power button, which doubles as a fingerprint scanner. This should give you that added peace of mind that everything on your laptop is secure, with your biometrics being the only way in.

The display on the Huawei MateBook D looks good, but won’t impress you as much as the MateBook X with its QHD resolution. 

Here you’re only getting 142 pixels per inch, but it should mean improved battery life, and QHD isn’t something everything will want on their laptop anyway.

Color choices are limited to a dark blue, a grey shade or a bright gold version. We found the dark blue version – pictured at the top of this review – did show off fingerprint marks pretty heavily on the lid.

Huawei MateBook D specs 

One of the benefits of the MateBook D is the amount of connectivity ports on offer. There’s a DC-in jack, 3.5mm headphone jack, two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port, as well as a HDMI port.

In terms of processing power, you’ll have the choice of either the Core i5 or i7 seventh-generation processors from Intel. Then there are a variety of RAM options.

It gets a little complicated here, but these options range from 4GB of RAM with 500GB of storage, which we’d expect to be the cheapest model, up to 16GB of RAM with 128GB of SSD storage and 1TB of HDD storage. 

One of the highlights on this laptop is the Dolby Atmos Sound System, which is also available in the MateBook X.

Huawei has partnered with Dolby to ensure the design of the laptop is optimum for viewing video content, as well as a few software tweaks that should make it more efficient. It means the speakers are in better places for when you're watching movies, as well as having a slightly less reflective screen.

However, this is a long way from the sort of sound experience you'd get from even a basic home cinema setup.

Early verdict

There isn’t much to get excited about on the Huawei MateBook D, but then excitement probably isn't what you’re looking for on a laptop that's designed mainly for simple day-to-day tasks.

As a first attempt at a productivity device it looks like Huawei has succeeded, but  whether or not it’s worth upgrading to will depend to a large extent on the price. Be sure to look out for our full review very soon.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.