Hands on: Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) review

The MacBook Pro killer gets even better

What is a hands on review?
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Early Verdict

The latest MateBook X Pro is just as impressive as the one that came before it, if not more so with increased power throughout. This update should maintain the laptop's pole position, but won't be an essential upgrade for existing users.

For

  • Excellent display
  • Still offers port variety
  • Improved power throughout

Against

  • Still uses recessed webcam
  • Very few tangible improvements

During MWC 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, Huawei has pulled the curtain back on a brand new version of MateBook X Pro laptop with updated parts inside.

Essentially speaking, this update is a simple configuration refresh, with minor improvements to the laptop’s processor and graphics options as well as new Thunderbolt 3 support. It seems Huawei hopes to build on the critical acclaim its previous laptops have garnered by doubling down on its winning design.

Upon taking a close look at the Huawei MateBook X Pro, this isn’t the one to upgrade to if you already own last year’s model. However, newcomers will be impressed by Huawei’s knack for merging performance and panache.

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019)

Price and availability

For the new MateBook X Pro, Huawei isn’t yet discussing price, though the laptop will be available in the US this May, with a wider release to follow. While we don’t know exactly how much the laptop will cost, here’s what it will start with inside.

The entry level MateBook X Pro will include an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor with Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB of DDR3 memory and a 256GB SSD. If you want more power than that, then an Intel Core i7-8565U is available along with double the memory and storage as well as dedicated Nvidia MX 250 graphics.

Both 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.

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Design and display

This new version of the MateBook X Pro looks essentially identical to the 2018 model, which is no bad thing. The most glaring difference between the two models is that this one lacks the lotus flower logo, which Huawei appears to be moving away from entirely.

Huawei is selling the laptop in the same color options of “Mystic Silver” and “Space Gray,” and within the same aluminum frame measuring just 0.57 inches thin and weighing only 2.93 pounds as the previous version. That’s MacBook Air levels of portability.

Also like the MacBook Air, this model supports Thunderbolt 3 through one of its three USB-C ports, but it also offers a standard USB 3.0 port.

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. Unsurprisingly, the display is gorgeous, with rich and vibrant color, and now supports a touch-based cut-and-paste tool made by Huawei.

We’re definitely impressed by the display’s massive 91% screen-to-body ratio, thanks to super thin bezels, but don’t necessarily think it was worth bringing back the webcam that hides beneath the keyboard. This decision is only going to turn away buyers that hold lots of video meetings.

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019)

Performance

Since the MateBook X Pro uses much of the same hardware as the newly-released Huawei MateBook 13 as well as the forthcoming MateBook 14, we already have a good idea of what this laptop is capable of. Look to those tests for a good idea of what to expect here in terms of performance.

That said, expect this MateBook X Pro to be tangibly stronger in the graphics department, with Nvidia's latest MX 250 GPU. Early reports say that this GPU is only marginally better than the previous, but remember that this implementation is at 25W of power draw compared to the standard 10W to 15W of most Nvidia MX graphics applications. 

As for using the laptop, we find the keyboard and touchpad to feel nearly identical to that of the model released last year. Expect the same surprisingly deep travel for a laptop this thin with forceful feedback.

Again, the display is just as vibrant and snappy as ever, but we find the touch-based screen sharing feature to be a little disappointing, mostly on account of the inaccuracy of the human finger. It's difficult to accurately cut contents into a screen shot with a pudgy index finger, and the app should account for this somehow.

As for how long you can use the device for, Huawei promises up to 12 hours of general use from the MateBook X Pro's 57.4Whr battery. Of course, we expect strong if somewhat smaller numbers from a full review.

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019)

Early verdict

The latest MateBook X Pro is just as impressive as the one that came before it, if not more so with increased power throughout. However, these updates are rather small, and therefore not going to be as keenly felt by upgraders from the previous model.

Without knowing how much Huawei intends to charge for the laptop, it’s difficult to pass even preemptive judgment on such a product. That said, while this version of the MateBook X Pro is more powerful than ever, we would have liked to see the laptop differentiate itself further from Huawei’s MateBook 13 or even 14.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase 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 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

Images Credit: TechRadar

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.