Huawei managed to surprise us all last year with the first MateBook X Pro, so much so that it became our best laptop of 2018. Unfortunately, Huawei did such a good job of building a flagship laptop last year that its sequel fails to improve on what was already near perfection and therefore is actually a worse value than the original.
The 2019 MateBook X Pro is undoubtedly more powerful and just as thin, light, portable and versatile as before – but the laptop is faster by such a small margin that it’s barely worth the asking price.
If Huawei wants to continue its sudden critical domination of the flagship laptop scene, it will need to infuse the MateBook X Pro with more improvements and differentiations next time around. Unless Huawei discontinues last year’s version, or you cannot find a refurbished model, this take on the MateBook X Pro is difficult to recommend outright.
Here is the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce MX250 (2GB GDDR5)
RAM: 16GB DDR3 (2,133MHz)
Screen: 13.9-inch, 3,000 x 2,000, LTPS touch display (260 ppi, 450 nits, 1,500:1 contrast, 100% sRGB, 3:2 aspect ratio)
Storage: 1TB SSD (NVMe PCIe)
Ports: 1 x USB-C Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB-C 3.1, 1 x USB 3.0, headset jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Camera: HD (720p, 0.9MP) webcam
Weight: 2.93 pounds (1.33kg)
Size: 11.97 x 8.54 x 0.57 inches (304 x 217 x 14.6mm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
For the new MateBook X Pro, Huawei isn’t yet specifically discussing price in the US, UK and Australia, though the laptop will be available in those regions this April. While we don’t know exactly how much the laptop will ultimately cost, the laptop’s official pricing in Euros reveals plenty.
The entry level MateBook X Pro includes an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor with Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB of DDR3 memory and a 512GB SSD for €1,599 (about $1,810, £1,370, AU$2,500). If you want more power than that, then an Intel Core i7-8565U is available along with double the memory and storage for €1,999 (about $1,810, £1,710, AU$3,190).
All MateBook X Pro options include the 13.9-inch, 3,000 x 2,000-pixel resolution touchscreen and fingerprint reader within the power button for biometric login via Windows Hello.
This new version of the MateBook X Pro is identical to the 2018 model on the outside, which is just fine. The most glaring difference between this new one and the previous is that this model lacks the chrome lotus flower logo, which is slowing leaving Huawei’s laptops entirely.
The laptop is available in the same colors as before, “Mystic Silver” and “Space Gray,” using the very same aluminum unibody frame, and is just as thin and light as before: just 0.57 inches and 2.93 pounds, respectively. That’s thinner than the latest MacBook Air, and a hair heavier.
Also like Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop, the MateBook X Pro supports Thunderbolt 3 via one of its two USB-C ports, but it also offers a standard USB 3.0 port.
Much unlike the MacBook Air are the MateBook X Pro keyboard and touchpad, which offer stronger feedback and a wider tracking space, respectively. The MateBook X Pro key travel is surprisingly deep for a laptop this thin as well. We also find the touchpad’s tracking surface to be accurate and smooth, putting up strong palm rejection while typing.
All in all, we’re quite happy with Huawei’s decision to leave the MateBook X Pro’s chassis design largely untouched. However, we wish the company would move on from the webcam recessed within the keyboard. Huawei cooked up a clever trick with privacy in mind, but it’s simply a poor place for a laptop webcam.
Display and audio
The MateBook X Pro uses the same super-sharp screen in 3:2 aspect ratio as before, producing 100% sRGB color with a 1,500:1 contrast ratio and 450-nit maximum brightness. We’re fine with these stats, however competitors have achieved even brighter panels – and we’d love for a matte display option to offset glare.
Unsurprisingly, the display is gorgeous, with rich and vibrant color, but it’s designed more with productivity in mind than entertainment. The 3:2 aspect ratio reveals more content vertically, which is a boon for just about all digital professionals, but makes videos and photos appear even smaller than they really are.
The display’s massive 91% screen-to-body ratio is still impressive, but it’s an old trick that wasn’t necessarily worth stowing the webcam beneath the keyboard again – this decision is only going to turn away buyers who hold lots of video meetings.
Now, we will say that audio on the MateBook X Pro is seriously impressive for a laptop of its size. This is thanks to Huawei’s decision to include top-firing speakers on the keyboard deck. Yes, they produce sound that’s still a bit thin on the whole, but it’s far fuller than any laptop we’ve heard with bottom-firing speakers in the base, and it’s on par with the MacBook Pro.
Images Credit: TechRadar
First reviewed March 2019