Huawei MateBook X Pro has an awesome pop-up camera, so why copy Apple?

The Huawei MateBook X Pro is an impressive device that packs a lot of high-end features into a compact body - and even has some smart innovation.

A little camera pops out of the F6 key when needed, removing the issue of having to cover your webcam if you’re ever worried about being watched secretly.

When this feature was announced at Huawei's MWC 2018 press conference, the audience audibly gasped - it's such a tiny little change, yet it was seen as incredibly innovative.

If you get that kind of reaction, surely you don’t need to make such a big deal about how much better you are than Apple’s high-end notebook?

The press conference wasn’t just a blow-by-blow explanation as to why the MateBook is better than the Macbook, though - it was filled with proof that Huawei has taken more than a little ‘style-inspo’ from Apple for its latest laptop.

Huawei Matebook X Pro specs

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 / i7
Graphics: Nvidia MX150
Screen: 13.9-inch LPS, 3000x2000, 3:2 ratio
Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x USB-A
Cameras: 720p pop-up camera
Weight: 1.33kg

Firstly, the MateBook comes in Space Gray coloring… that’s not an accident. Combine that with the fact the all-in-one aluminium design with speakers left and right and ‘rounded square’ keyboard looks an awful lot like the Macbook, and you have to wonder why Huawei doesn’t feel confident enough to tread its own path.

And there’s plenty of reason to feel confident in doing that: the FullView display lacks bezels all around three sides, meaning 91% screen-to-body ratio for the display. This is one of the best on the market and packs a clear screen, with 3000 x 2000 pixel count and a slim profile.

But again, Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu was at pains to show that the MateBook X Pro is 1.33kg in weight, which is just a touch less than the 1.35kg of the Macbook Pro. The thickness is 14.6mm, compared to 14.9mm on the Macbook.

Every brand likes to show how much it’s better than the competition - that’s nothing new, and a traditional marketing tactic - but Huawei doesn’t want to be an ‘and me’ brand. If it has designs on being one of the world’s most popular technology manufacturers, it needs to break out of the mode of aping others and showing how much better it is.

Impressive in its own right

It needs to get consumers excited by its own tech for the sake of the technology; letting consumers and reviewers find out for themselves what’s good and bad about what’s on offer, and believing in the power of the emerging brand.

What it doesn’t need to do is slip to the wrong slide once in a while during a presentation, or ‘accidentally’ drop in a gratuitous cleavage shot when demoing a game on one of its new tablets.

A little camera pops out of the F6 key when needed...the audience audibly gasped

These are the things that mark it out as a me-too brand that is hell-bent on appealing to the lowest common denominator by taking cheap shots at brands, or appealing to the stereotype technology buyer.

There’s a lot to be impressed by on the MateBook X Pro - Huawei needs to listen to the fact people were most excited by a hidden camera when deciding how to take the brand forward. It doesn’t need to follow the market - it’s capable of leading it and needs to find its own branding instead.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.