Huawei's Matebook X Pro promises to be an ultimate, ultraportable, business laptop. But should you buy it?
Back in ye olde days, there was a great industry gasp when the first laptops with widescreens appeared. The extra real-estate was cited as revolutionary. Now here’s Huawei crowing about its revolutionary 3:2 square screen in its latest business flagship. That’s weird.
The screen is certainly the main feature of Huawei’s Matebook X Pro. It has a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution (which is way higher than back when most laptops had 3:2 displays). This may suit some workers but the deeper-than-normal (217mm), squarer chassis might also put some people off. The display is well-lit and gets very bright. It also dims down considerably to the point where it won’t be intrusive in a darkened aircraft cabin (should we ever fly again). It’s a touchscreen that does a decent job of repelling fingerprints, but it’s also got a glossy coating which can produce annoying reflections in certain lighting conditions.
It’s encased in a thin, bezel-less glass frame that extends to the sides not-unlike a phone. The glass and metal casing make the lid stiff and it doesn’t flext much. It took us a while to find the webcam which, uniquely, is implanted in the keyboard. As clever as this is, we’re no fans of this low-down ‘jowly’ point of view as it can provide an unflattering image to people when web conferencing. There are four digital microphones, though, so conference calls at least sound good.
The keyboard itself utilises full-sized, low-travel, Scrabble-tile keys and is very comfortable to type on for prolonged periods. Our only (minor) gripe is the half-sized arrow keys. The large trackpad is responsive and supports multiple gestures.
13.9-inch, glossy, 3000 x 2000, touchscreen LCD; 1.8-4.9GHz Intel Core i7-10510U processor; 16GB RAM; 1TB NVMe; 120GB SSD; Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU; 56Wh battery; 15 x 304 x 217mm, 1.33KG. SKU: 53010WDH. Full specs here.
Intel’s Core i7-10510U processor is a favourite of current-generation, top-end ultraportables, offering a great combination of power and power efficiency. However, it has just been superceded by Intel’s 11th Gen technology which promises to be even better. Nonetheless, it combined with 16GB of RAM plus a 1TB hard drive to score 3,795 n PCMark 10 which is good for an ultraportable despite still being slow for a standard office laptop. However, it also sports Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics which scored 10,328 in 3DMark’s Night Raid and 8,200 in SkyDiver. This is a roundabout way of saying it will play competitive games like Overwatch, Fortnite and CS:GO.
However, we ran into problems when trying to make it work with Virtual Reality as the connectivity was limited...
While the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 match our expectations of a premium ultraportable, the wired connectivity will feel limiting to some people. On the left are two USB 3.1 Type-C ports (one of which can be used to charge remote devices) plus a 3.5mm audio jack. While on the right there’s a solitary USB 3.1 Type-A port. While dongles will allow connection to peripherals like monitors and Ethernet, none are included in this premium business notebook.
Battery life and portability
It sports a 56Wh battery that lasted a decent 10hrs 30mins in PCMark’s Office test. The 19g charger resembles a large phone charger (which is good) although it utilises one of the few USB ports.
With dimensions of 304 x 217 x 15mm and a weight of 1.33KG it’s very light but the slightly-square-ish chassis might irk some users.
We don’t expect much from ultraportable speakers, but Huawei’s stuffs four into the chassis and they sound impressive. There’s actually some punch to the bass and while there was a little distortion at the top end, treble notes and vocals were loud and distinct.
There power button doubles as a fingerprint reader but it’s not Windows Hello compatible. Huawei Share software offers additional integration features for those with Huawei phones.
At $3,299 this is expensive for a premium notebook and rather under-featured too. Comparing it with the recent Asus Expertbook, this promises a lot but is limited in what it delivers. It’s not particularly attractive, but that’s not a dealbreaker for the corporate market. One of the big concerns will naturally be the politics Huawei is embroiled with right now, but everyone will have a different view on that. Ultimately, it’s pricey but the screen and speakers offer a unique combination that will prove attractive to some.
Unique 3,000 x 2,000 screen
Relatively impressive speakers
Limited wired connectivity
Unflattering webcam position