Huawei isn't one of the best known companies in the phone world and it has been practically non-existent in the PC market. And yet we're here with the Chinese electronic firm's first Windows tablet 2-in-1, the Huawei MateBook.
Although there are more Surface and iPad rivals than ever, the 12-inch MateBook came as real curve ball when it was first announced at MWC 2016. Instead of introducing a phone, tablet or wearable, Huawei brought forth its first Windows machine with a focus on luxury and style instead of following its history of introducing inexpensive gadgets.
Huawei isn't the first phone maker to introduce a Windows tablet, there's also the excellent Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, which also happens to be its closest competitor. However, the MateBook differentiates itself with an even lower price, a sharper screen and higher-end configurations with faster processors and more storage.
The 12-inch Matebook is essentially a blown-up Huawei smartphone. It features the same all-aluminum unibody, chamfered edges and glass front as some of the company's best smartphones like the Huawei P9 and Mate 8.
Even the fingerprint scanner has made its way over, allowing you to login with your fingerprint and Windows Hello by lightly tapping on the space between the volume rocker button. Huawei has taken the best qualities of its mobile devices and implemented them into a Windows tablet.
The all-metal back makes it bit more pristine than Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S and its plastic backed magnesium frame.
That said, all that aluminum ends up making the 0.27-inch (0.69cm) MateBook a smidge thicker than the 0.25-inch (0.63cm) TabPro S. Strangely, Huawei's Windows 10 slate ends up being the lighter of the two at 1.41 pounds (0.64kg) whereas the TabPro S weighs 1.5 pounds (0.69kg).
All about that base
Beyond the tablet itself, the MateBook's other half is a keyboard folio enveloped in classy brown leather. The keyboard base folds nearly around the tablet with magnetic flaps while the padded exterior feels nice and subtle for carrying around the device.
In keyboard mode the same flap does a solid job of propping up the screen in two different positions. However, due to the way the tablet uses its weight to stay in place, you also can really lean back or forward while you have it on your lap.
It's also a bit uncomfortable in the fact that the base of the leather folio is soft and has a tendency to bend with the shape of your knees. The base never unfolded and sent the MateBook flying into the ground, but I'm hoping Huawei comes up with a sturdier base soon or for its next iteration.
Otherwise Huawei has done a great job developing its first 2-in-1. Simply having one more option for orienting the screen puts it above the Tab Pro S.
What's more, the keyboard is simply massive and spanning across the entire width of the folio cover. The keys are just as large and although they're styled like the Surface's first type cover instead of the modern trend of island keys, the travel on each button is deep with a noticeable click.
Just below the spanning keyboard is an equally large glass trackpad that offers the same smooth gliding experience as other premium Windows devices.