Huawei has been killing it over the last year: with top-end Ultrabooks like the Huawei MateBook X Pro, MateBook 13 and now the Huawei MateBook 14, it doesn’t look like the manufacturer is slowing down any time soon. This thin and light beauty is packed with the latest U-series processors and enough RAM and SSD storage to keep it competitive.
But, with so many great Ultrabooks out there at every price point, is the Huawei MateBook 14 worth your time and money? Well, yes, but the lack of Thunderbolt 3 and the weird in-keyboard camera might rub some people the wrong way. It’s the classic question of value versus features, but no matter how you slice it, the Huawei MateBook 14 is a compelling laptop.
Price and availability
Here is the Huawei MateBook 14 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 LPDDR3 (2,133MHz)
Screen: 14-inch, 2,160 x 1,440, IPS touch display (185 ppi, 300 nits, 1,000:1 contrast, 100% sRGB, 3:2 aspect ratio)
Storage: 512GB SSD (NVMe PCIe)
Ports: 1 x USB-C 3.1, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, headset jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: HD (720p, 0.9MP) webcam
Weight: 3.28 pounds (1.49kg)
Size: 12.11 x 8.81 x 0.63 inches (307.5 x 223.8 x 15.9mm; W x D x H)
The Huawei MateBook 14 will be launching in the US in May, and you can pick up the entry-level model for €1,199 (about $1,340, £1,040), though we don’t have exact pricing for the US or UK yet. That price will get you a Whiskey Lake Intel Core i5 processor (CPU), 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a QHD non-touch display and an Nvidia MX250 graphics processor (GPU).
However, if you want the model we reviewed here, it will set you back €1,499 (about $1,690, £1,300). That higher price tag will get you an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a QHD touch display.
The most obvious competition is going to come from Huawei itself, in the MateBook X Pro. The specs are nearly identical in Huawei’s pro-level laptop, but includes Thunderbolt 3, twice the storage and a higher resolution display for an extra €400 (about $449, £350, AU$630) at the entry level.
We love Thunderbolt 3 and high-resolution displays as much as anyone, but it’s hard to justify spending that much extra cash. The Huawei MateBook 14 is obviously the better value here.
As for Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Pro, the entry level model will set you back $1,799 (£1,749, AU$2,699) for hardware that’s roughly equivalent to the entry-level for the Huawei Matebook 14. If you want a MacBook Pro that matches the MateBook reviewed here, that will cost you a whopping $2,499 (£2,399, AU$3,799). The Huawei MateBook 14 is the obvious value pick here, too – especially when you consider that the MacBook Pro doesn’t have dedicated graphics.
Design and display
When you first pull the Huawei MateBook 14 out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is that it looks like a MacBook Pro with thin bezels, and that is enough to catch our attention. This thin-and-light beauty is just 0.63 inches thick and weighs only 3.28 pounds.
And, because the Huawei MateBook 14 has incredibly thin, 0.49mm bezels, it’s able to pack its 14-inch QHD (2,160 x 1,440) display into a small chassis. In fact, it’s not much bigger than the 13-inch MacBook Pro we use on a daily basis – certainly not big enough for us to notice a difference when they’re not next to each other.
As for ports, there are plenty available here. This laptop features two USB A ports, a USB C 3.1 port for charging and data, HDMI and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Thin and light Ultrabooks have a tendency to sacrifice ports, and that’s not the case with the MateBook 14. However, we would have liked to see Thunderbolt 3, especially at this price point.
If you’re looking for a beautiful display, look no further – the Huawei MateBook 14 is simply gorgeous. The 3:2 screen makes the MateBook 14 an excellent choice for productivity. With 300 nits of brightness, it’s not the brightest laptop on the market, but the 100% sRGB coverage helps make up for it.
Beyond the brightness and color accuracy, though, this is a touch-enabled laptop at the high end. The touchscreen is incredibly responsive, and the hinge is sturdy enough so that it doesn’t wobble every time you poke at it.
Then, there’s the speakers. One of our biggest pet peeves with laptops is speakers on the bottom of the chassis, and the Huawei MateBook 14 is just another in a long list of offenders. They’re not the worst speakers we’ve ever heard, but they will get muffled if you’re using the laptop anywhere but on a desk.
The keyboard is extremely comfortable and responsive with incredibly deep travel for a laptop so thin. We do a lot of typing day in and day out, and believe us when we say that this is definitely one of the best laptops for writers.
Between the F6 and F7 keys on the keyboard, is the webcam. You read that right: the webcam is beneath a button on the keyboard, which you can press to pop it up. The webcam itself works fine: it’s a 720p shooter, but at such an awkward angle. We don’t typically use our webcam very often, so the thin bezels are totally worth it – your mileage may vary, though.
Below the keyboard is the glass-coated touch pad, and it's one of the best touchpads we’ve used on a Windows laptop. The tracking surface isn’t the widest, but it’s wide enough to get the job done without too much frustration. Luckily, it’s incredibly responsive and accurate, and the button click is crisp, not mushy like some other Windows laptops.
Above the keyboard, on the top right hand side of the chassis is a power button that also acts as a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello login. This fingerprint sensor is one of the most accurate and reliable we’ve used in a long time, it reads our fingerprints quickly and accurately every time.
- Check out the best laptops you can buy today
- Images Credit: TechRadar