No matter what you consider the corporate’s current political controversies, one factor is for certain: The parents at Huawei make some unimaginable merchandise. From smartphones to laptops, the corporate has made a reputation for itself. Simply think about the P30 smartphone, which has a digital camera so staggeringly good, it defies perception.
The MateBook X Professional is the proper instance of the corporate’s achievement. Initially launched in 2018, this MacBook Professional competitor confirmed the corporate wasn’t afraid to take dangers. With an up to date MX250 graphics card and new gesture help, the laptop computer’s 2019 replace doesn’t reinvent the wheel. The whole lot we preferred concerning the 2018 mannequin is again, proving simply how strong the unique design holds up.
The issue? A value bump over final yr’s mode. Whereas Huawei hasn’t confirmed U.S. pricing, the Euro value of our tricked-out overview unit converts to about $2,250. Are the upgrades price the additional scratch?
A contact of sophistication, a touch of magnificence
The MateBook X Professional is a stupendous laptop computer. The darkish gray coloration scheme is minimal with out being too boring. The chassis is skinny and lightweight with out sacrificing port choice or construct high quality, and even the weather on the keyboard deck really feel exact and thought out.
It’s not solely about appears to be like. When you’re aware of the aluminum construct high quality of the MacBook Professional, you possibly can count on the identical rigidity right here. Throughout the board, the MateBook X Professional appears like a highly-refined product, which is an accomplishment for a corporation as new to laptops as Huawei.
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The one actual change in exterior design is a brand new brand on the lid, which is a little more elegant than what seems on different Huawei laptops. A chamfered edge outlines the chassis, giving the machine only a trace of sophistication. It’s not exhausting to think about it becoming right into a enterprise setting each bit in addition to at a espresso store – proper subsequent to a MacBook Professional.
Talking of the MacBook Professional, the MateBook X Professional compares to it favorably. It shares the identical silver chassis, a black chiclet keyboard, and similarly-sized touchpad. What’s totally different? Properly, essentially the most notable distinction is the display. It measures in at 14 inches diagonally in comparison with 13.three inches of the MacBook Professional or the Dell XPS 13, however it’s additionally a three:2 facet ratio that gives some extra display actual property. Sitting subsequent to a MacBook Professional (which makes use of a 16:10 display), the MateBook X Professional is a bit taller, however once they’re closed, the footprint on the desk is sort of an identical. For my cash, it’s the perfect measurement for a laptop computer display — when you don’t plan on utilizing it on an airplane, the place the taller display could make tray-top use troublesome.
It’s not exhausting to think about it becoming right into a enterprise setting each bit in addition to at a espresso store.
Talking of measurement, the MateBook X Professional actually isn’t the thinnest or lightest laptop computer on this planet, although it matches the MacBook Professional and Floor Laptop computer 2. At 2.9 kilos, it’s lighter than its Mac rival, and it’s ever so barely thinner at zero.57 inches. Smaller laptops like XPS 13 beat all of them in portability, after all.
Port choice on the MateBook X Professional hasn’t modified from final yr’s mannequin. You continue to get a Thunderbolt three / USB-C and USB-C port on the left aspect, in addition to a USB-A three.zero port on the fitting. It is a good steadiness of the outdated and the brand new, although I do want Huawei had cut up up the USB-C ports in order that charging from both aspect was potential. Creatives may additionally lament the dearth of an SD card reader. The XPS 13 features a mini-SD card slot, whereas the Asus ZenBook UX333 contains each a mini-SD card slot and an HDMI port.
A incredible keyboard, apart from one key
The MateBook X Professional has a wonderful set of inputs. The keystrokes aren’t lengthy, however they really feel snappy and responsive. The format is spacious and acquainted, holding issues proper the place you’d count on them to be. I picked up the MateBook X Professional and commenced comfortably typing away with confidence with out a hitch.
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That’s, apart from the webcam key, situated proper in between F6 and F7. In 2018, the position of the webcam beneath this key was cute. In 2019, it feels a bit extra like a misstep. With the XPS 13 shifting to a smaller webcam positioned above the display and the Asus ZenBook S13 utilizing a slight bump to slot in, Huawei’s resolution appears the least elegant. Sure, the bezels are razor-thin, however they arrive to the detriment of the webcam placement. As we’ve at all times mentioned with these nose-cam conditions, it gained’t matter for individuals who hardly ever use a webcam. For frequent video callers, it’s a dealbreaker.
The bezels are razor-thin, however they arrive to the detriment of the webcam placement.
The island-style touchpad is massive, outlined by chamfered edges. The additional measurement over laptops just like the XPS 13 or Floor Laptop computer 2 means you’ve gotten loads of house for monitoring and multi-touch gestures. The glass floor feels extremely easy and responsive, a big enchancment over the MateBook 13. Because of the Home windows Precision drivers, two-finger scroll and three-finger swipes all reply shortly. It ranks among the many best possible touchpads you’ll discover on a Home windows 10 laptop computer.
The fingerprint reader is constructed into the ability button, which is true the place we prefer it. Utilizing Home windows Hiya, it reads fingerprints precisely and makes signing into Home windows 10 quick easy.
Additional house to scroll
The shiny display is the place the MateBook X Professional flexes. It’s wonderful. The additional horizontal house offered by the three:2 facet ratio is a boon to productiveness. Whether or not it’s web sites or paperwork, you possibly can see extra of every thing you’re engaged on. Past simply measurement, the MateBook X Professional can be extraordinarily sharp. At three,000 × 2,000 pixels, it’s simply in need of 4K however forward of the Retina show on the MacBook Professional and each 16:9 1080p display on the market. The Floor Laptop computer 2 and Pixel Slate tie it in sharpness, however the MateBook X Professional has the picture high quality to again it up.
That is as vivid as laptop computer screens get. We measured it at a max of 540 nits, which once more, ties the MacBook Professional and destroys laptops just like the XPS 13. You gained’t have an issue seeing previous your reflection within the shiny display. It additionally logs spectacular readings in distinction and coloration accuracy, the place it’s once more at entrance of the pack.
The one place the place the MacBook Professional beats it’s in coloration gamut. Apple’s screens nonetheless win right here with a 94 % of the AdobeRGB coloration scale in comparison with the extra common 74% of the MateBook X Professional. Even nonetheless, with coloration accuracy as strong as it’s, you must haven’t an issue trusting the display whereas enhancing pictures or video.
The audio system are situated proper on the keyboard deck, which is the place we wish to see them. They’re Dolby Atmos enabled, and an honest set of audio system. There’s nonetheless a scarcity of bass within the sound, and at increased volumes you’ll begin to hear crackles. However in comparison with most laptops, the MateBook X Professional is nice.
4 cores on one fan
The MateBook X Professional comes with the Core i7-8565U processor, a quad-core processor that’s widespread in premium, thin-and-light laptops. Our unit additionally got here with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. All of that provides as much as a fast laptop computer with loads of productiveness efficiency.
Geekbench outcomes aren’t displaying us something out of the extraordinary, each by way of single-core and multi-core efficiency. We additionally check our laptops in a real-world state of affairs: 4K video encoding. In Handbrake, we encoded a two-minute film trailer to the H.265 video codec in 5 minutes. Surprisingly, that’s a bit slower than the smaller MateBook 13. The explanation? The cooling.
The MateBook X Professional handles the 4 cores fairly effectively, however it makes use of only a single fan for cooling, in contrast to the 2 followers that the MateBook 13 or XPS 13 use. That single fan doesn’t throttle the efficiency an excessive amount of, however we did discover it could kick in a bit prematurely now and again. In comparison with different laptops, it’s having to work double-time.
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Whereas the MateBook X Professional holds up effectively on the whole productiveness efficiency, it’s in no way the last word content material creation instrument. In comparison with 15-inch laptops just like the Dell XPS 15 or HP Spectre x360 15, with their six-core processors and extra highly effective graphics playing cards, the MateBook X Professional can’t maintain its weight. Photographers can get by, however when you’re enhancing video, these 15-inch laptops will serve your wants higher.
Fortuitously, the MateBook X Professional contains some actually high-speed storage. The Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD is quick in each learn and write speeds, incomes learn speeds of as much as 2,127 MB/s and write speeds of as much as 1,292 MB/s. Whereas RAM is soldered on (and due to this fact non-upgradable), the SSD could be swapped out sooner or later.
The MX250 disappoints
When Huawei first introduced the mysterious MX250 graphics chip within the new MateBook X Professional, we have been excited concerning the potential. The MX150 is a strong step up from built-in Intel graphics, however at this level it’s outdated. As one of many solely laptops with the brand new MX250, this might’ve been its killer function. As a substitute, the outcomes clarify why nobody else is utilizing this chip.
Let’s begin with the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark. Instantly, we are able to see how the MX250 stacks as much as two direct alternate options; the 10-watt MX150 (2GB) and the 25-watt MX150 (4GB). The previous is the model used within the unique Huawei MateBook X Professional, and it underperformed in comparison with different methods with the identical GPU. The upper-wattage possibility has lately been utilized in units such because the Razer Blade Stealth (2019) and the Huawei MateBook 13. To seal the deal, even the current MateBook 13, which makes use of the 10-watt MX150, beats the brand new MX250 in Time Spy. That’s not what you need in a next-generation chip.
In video games, it’s an analogous story. We tried the MateBook X Professional out in two video games: Civilization VI and Fortnite. You may get by at 1080p when you accept low graphics settings. In Civilization, you’ll must backside it out at Low to get near 30 FPS. Something above that leads to a uneven mess. Fortnite performs a bit smoother, hitting 35 FPS on Excessive at 1080p. When you’re extra of an informal gamer, the MateBook X Professional gives workable framerates, however it’s not going to fulfill anybody who video games greater than as soon as each few weeks.
General, the MX250 lands someplace between the 10-watt MX150 and the 25-watt MX150. With solely 2GB of reminiscence, it’s no shock it’s restricted in what it could do.
All-day battery life, after which some
The MateBook X Professional served up wonderful battery life once we examined it final yr, which was a nice shock given the massive, high-resolution display. We have been curious how the brand new Nvidia MX250 would possibly change battery life, since we’ve seen some mediocre outcomes from laptops with the 25-watt MX150, such because the MateBook 13. We have been pleased to see the brand new MateBook X Professional not solely retains up with the nice battery life however improves on it.
A strong 10 hours in internet looking is great. That’s a half hour over final yr’s mannequin. Extra importantly, which means a full day of labor on a single cost shouldn’t be an issue – spectacular, given the show. We’ve examined 1080p laptops such, because the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre x360, that last more, however most fashions are on par or behind the Huawei.
A full day of labor on a single cost shouldn’t be an issue for the MateBook X Professional.
We noticed the identical improve in our video loop check, which runs native 1080p video till the battery dies. The MateBook X Professional lasted slightly below 11 hours. Our most intensive check, a web-based CPU benchmark known as Basemark, killed it simply three hours, which is a bit decrease than another opponents. This, nonetheless, represents the least quantity of battery life you possibly can count on from the laptop computer. We discovered ourselves hitting round 10 ten hours in our normal workflow.
Three finger screenshots
We don’t usually spend quite a lot of time speaking about software program on Home windows 10 units. They’re all usually the identical. Nonetheless, Huawei has included a pair software program tweaks this time round.
New to the MateBook X Professional in 2019 is a brand new method of taking screenshots. You’ll activate a screenshot mode with a three-finger swipe down from the highest of the display. From there, you possibly can draw the realm you need to choose to seize or choose a window individually. Utilizing the touchscreen for screenshots is a neat thought, however Huawei’s implementation feels clunky. Gestures usually set off Microsoft’s personal Home windows contact gestures.
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The second function is Huawei Share, a method to make smartphones work together extra with PCs. It’s an issue we’re seeing quite a lot of corporations try to resolve, whether or not it’s Dell or Microsoft. However sadly, Huawei Share solely works with Huawei smartphones – which aren’t precisely common within the U.S.
You will see some bloatware right here. Most of it’s simply Home windows stuff, however our system got here loaded with over 40 GB of functions preinstalled. That’s not preferrred, and disappointing to see on a premium laptop computer.
The 2019 additions to the MateBook X Professional aren’t a lot to be enthusiastic about. The software program options are awkward and the MX250 GPU isn’t a lot of an improve. Nonetheless, they don’t take away from the attraction of the unique mannequin, which continues to be a stand-out laptop computer in some ways.
There’s a giant downside, nonetheless. Worth. We at the moment solely have entry to the European costs, that are hovering round $2,250. Final yr’s mannequin ended promoting for much less within the US, however that’s nonetheless round a 20 % improve in value. In the meantime, the value of the 2018 mannequin continues to drop. Shopping for the brand new mannequin doesn’t make quite a lot of sense proper now.
Are there any alternate options?
The MateBook X Professional appears to be like so much just like the 13-inch MacBook Professional, however we desire Huawei’s in most methods. The keyboard is extra dependable, the discrete GPU is an effective addition, the ports are extra handy, and it’s cheaper.
One other sturdy contenders is the Floor Laptop computer 2, which incorporates a related three:2 facet ratio touchscreen and a stellar design. We haven’t examined the battery life and efficiency but on that machine, however the laptop computer’s unlucky port scenario makes it a bit tougher to suggest.
Lastly, now we have to say the Dell XPS 13, which is at the moment our favourite laptop computer. It’s resolution to holding bezels slim is extra sensible than Huawei’s, and it options among the greatest battery life, efficiency, and construct high quality you may get in a laptop computer. It’s fairly a bit smaller than the 14-inch three:2 display of the MateBook X Professional, nonetheless.
How lengthy will it final?
The MateBook X Professional ought to final you three to 5 years, if not longer. It’s a contemporary laptop computer in each method, together with the port choice and parts. Huawei gives an ordinary one-year guarantee, although it’s nothing out of the norm for what producers provide.
Do you have to purchase it?
Not the 2019 model. Whereas we just like the laptop computer, the large leap in value isn’t justified by middling upgrades over final yr’s mannequin. For now, the 2018 version stays a terrific worth.