We were already quite impressed with the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro in 2018 and 2019, thinking there was little to nothing the company can do about a product which is already checking all the major boxes regardless of how long or short your list is. These models were beautifully designed and crafted, with exceptional performance and battery life.
But, staying true to its tradition, HUAWEI updated the MateBook X Pro line-up at this year’s cancelled MWC 2020, introducing the new family of MateBook X Pro 2020 models. While, at a first glance, nothing changed on the outside – which is a good thing, considering how gorgeous this laptop is – there are several changes under the hood which make the MateBook X Pro 2020 (we’ll refer to it without the year in its name moving forward) very, very hard to resist if you’re looking for a flagship, premium ultraportable laptop.
We’ve been using the MateBook X Pro for a little over two weeks for work and entertainment. This is actually the second review we’re fully writing on this machine (the P40 Pro was the first one), and this is our complete MateBook X Pro review.
Those familiar with previous generation MateBook X Pro models will already be accustomed to the design, but for those who pick this laptop up for the first time, it will be a pleasant surprise. Available in Emerald Green, Space Gray (this unit), and Mystic Silver, this is one fine precision machined piece of equipment that weighs only 1.3 kg. At its thickest point, it only measures 14.6mm, and the first thing you notice about it is the simplicity of the design, and the attention to detail.
Made out of aluminum alloy, you’ll also notice the accented chamfered edges, which act as a contrasting highlight around the sides, the trackpad, and the power button. Said power button retains the fingerprint scanner, and the precision keyboard is flanked to the sides by the four speakers (2 x 2) underneath the finely drilled grill. There are also a total of four microphones around the machine.
The display is a 14-inch (13.9) LTPS panel which is one of the best that we’ve seen on a laptop. With 1500:1 contrast ratio and 100% sRGB color gamut, the images reproduced are gorgeous.
Said display has a 3:2 aspect ratio with a resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels and a density of 260PPI, with 178 degree viewing angles. Protected by Gorilla Glass and coated against fingerprints, the panel is also touch-enabled with 10-point multi-touch sensitive capabilities.
Removing all the hardware around the display allowed HUAWEI to reduce the bezels insanely and achieve a whopping 91 percent screen-to-body ratio which is a real pleasure to look at. Sure, the 3:2 aspect ratio is uncommon for modern laptops, but it makes the MateBook X Pro stand out from the rest by simply looking better with that all-display real estate.
At the heart of the MateBook X Pro sits the 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10210U, or Intel Core i7-10510U processor. The former is clocked at 1.6GHz with 4 cores, and Turbo up to 4.2GHz. The latter, which is also powering our unit, runs at 1.8GHz on the 4 cores, with Turbo up to 4.9 GHz.
Our unit is also helped by 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 2133MHz, 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD storage, and is equipped with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX250 that kicks in when the integrated Intel UHD Graphics need more horsepower to cope.
The battery is rated at 56Wh and the charger supplied is able to deliver 65W of charging for quickly topping up the juice pack.
Other hardware components include Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, two USB-C ports, one full size USB-A port (which sets it aside from its main competitor, the MacBook Pro), a 3.5 mm headset and microphone port, as well as a 1MP selfie camera that concealed in the top key row between the F6 and F7 keys. You have to press down on it to pop up, which is a design that brings both pros (privacy, convenience, the ability to reduce bezels) and cons (a camera angle you’ll have to cope with).
Luckily the U.S. ban didn’t affect HUAWEI’s laptop business like it did with its smartphone segment. If phones lost Google support and are shipping with AOSP versions of Android, laptops ship with full-fledged Windows 10 from Microsoft, and they do that with little to no bloatware. We won’t go into details of the Windows 10 operating system, as that’s a review by itself, but we’ll look at some specifics the MateBook X Pro is offering out of the box.
You’ll find HUAWEI’s own PC Manager app preinstalled, which runs diagnostics and makes sure your most recent drivers are installed, and they stay up-to-date. It resides in the taskbar (as well as the Start menu), but if you never user it you can simply prevent it from auto-launching.
HUAWEI Share is, on the other hand, the main software feature that the company is pushing with the MateBook X Pro, which also sets this laptop aside from other competing models. Sadly this feature will only work with recent HUAWEI smartphones, so if you have an older model, or a different make, you won’t be able to benefit.
We’ve tested this out with the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro and the P40 Pro (it should work with any EMUI 10-powered smartphone) and it’s a really convenient tool.
All you have to do is touch your smartphone to the HUAWEI Share sticker next to the trackpad. It’s basically an NFC tag, which will allow, once scanned/read, for you to do many of your smartphone tasks on your laptop. This means you’ll have to have NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi enabled on your smartphone.
You can mirror you smartphone’s display, for starters. It will pop up as a window you can interact with and accomplish any tasks on your phone, from your laptop. This means you can take calls, send texts, chat, as well as drag and drop files from one device to the other.
This suite is based on Multi-screen Collaboration, a feature of HUAWEI Share allowing an Android device (HUAWEI for now) to collaborate with a Windows laptop.
There are three ways you can connect your smartphone and this laptop. 1. You can simply tap to connect by scanning the NFC label. 2. From the PC Manager, you go to your My Phone section and select Connect, followed by the NFC label read. 3. This is similar to number two, only that instead of scanning the tag you select the “Scan” option to find your phone and connect to it.
Aside from mirroring your smartphone’s display and taking and making calls, sending texts, and chatting, there’s also an entire productivity suite of actions you can undertake. Images, documents, and text can be simply dragged and dropped from one device to the other. You can drag an image from your smartphone into a Word document or presentation, for example, and then drag said final document back to your phone.
Another feature is the shared clipboard between the connected devices, so you can easily copy and paste text from one place to the other. With HUAWEI Share you can also access and run your Android apps on your Windows laptop, by actually running them on the phone, which, at this point, is displayed on your laptop as a window.
There’s a lot of potential behind this feature, and the company is working on pushing it further. We understand the limitations of it working on certain HUAWEI phones only for the time being, but we wish the company would expand this functionality to other Android smartphones as well, which could make this laptop even more appealing to non-HUAWEI smartphone owners.
Let’s get the “not so good” out of the way first. While the 3:2 aspect ratio of the display allows you to fit more information onto it, and access more data (not to mention that it simply just looks good), you’ll have to get used to some serious banding if you’re consuming 16:9 video content (which is pretty much the norm). You’ll have to get used to it, just as you’ll probably either have to take pictures in this “squarer” format, or get used to banding when viewing stills as well. This was one of the first inconveniences we faced.
There’s a reason why the internet called this webcam approach the “nosecam”, being placed on a lower plane than the user. If you’re serious about your video calls, you’ll have to adjust your laptop’s and its display’s angle so that you get a better framing and angle on your video stream. With the current situation of social distancing, quarantines and lockdowns, online communication has become the norm, so if you’re serious about the image you’re streaming, find an angle that suits you, or connect an external camera.
Last, but not least, the sound is impressive, it’s loud, but it lacks in richness. We wouldn’t necessarily say it’s tinny, but it would definitely benefit from a little bit of oomph on the mid and low frequencies. That being said, we’ve heard other laptops, from competing companies, sound worse.
Now, let’s get on to the things we really liked, which is pretty much everything else. Windows 10 in combination with the powerful internals result in blazing fast performance, regardless of what it is that you do. Boot-up and restart is fast, so are update and app installs, and launching apps as well as switching between them while multitasking is no hassle.
We mentioned it already, but we can’t help but admire how beautiful this display is, especially if you’re watching 4K content and crank up the brightness.
If you’re doing heavy graphics editing or manipulation, as well as planning on playing graphics intensive games, the MX250 graphics card might require you to reconsider at times. After all, this is not a gaming laptop, or a videographer’s creation tool. However, thanks to the gorgeous display, photographers will likely enjoy its rich color reproduction.
They keyboard, which is spill resistant according to HUAWEI (we didn’t test those claims) feels really good, and bears a striking resemblance with MacBook keyboards. The trackpad is a large clickpad that is smart enough to disregard accidental touches or palm rests, but has otherwise been tuned to accuracy. However, due to the design, you can’t click on the entire surface. While clicks are not possible at the top part, the easiest areas to click on are towards the bottom of the trackpad.
Being a touch-enabled display, you can always tap, click, or drag on the screen with your fingers if you find it more convenient for the task at hand.
…and we absolutely loved the battery life, which HUAWEI rated good for up to 13 hours of local video playback. Now, this all depends on the content, brightness, and many other factors, but with regular (office scenario) use you can expect a full day out of it, with brightness set at 40-50 percent. However, battery shouldn’t be a concern as you can fine tune the settings for better battery life, and the fast charger ensures you get your juice back fast.
What adds to the user- and business-like experience, as well as safety and privacy, is the convenience of having the fingerprint scanner inside the power button. Much like on most modern smartphones, you can unlock your laptop by simply resting your finger briefly on the power button. This was also a decision HUAWEI had to make since Windows Hello sign-in using face recognition is not a feasible way to unlock a laptop that has a pop-up selfie camera that’s closed most of the time.
Performance and benchmarks
While here at Pocketnow we don’t really place too much emphasis on benchmarks, as we prefer to have a “real-life” approach rather than a synthetic one, we do understand that some of you like to compare numbers. We ran Geekbench 5, PC Mark 10, and 3D Mark, so you can find the results below.
Pricing and availability
Let’s address the elephant in the room: the price. The base model MateBook X Pro starts at €1,499. There’s a model priced at €1,699 which adds the NVIDIA MX250 graphics card; both models mentioned so far ship with the Core i5-10210U chip. And there’s the flagship model, which we’re currently reviewing, that goes for €1,999, which takes the processor up to a 10th Generation Intel Core i7, and 1TB of SSD storage.
Interestingly (or not), these are exactly the prices Apple is asking for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Where HUAWEI one-ups Apple is the specs it offers for the same price. Some MateBook X Pro models have double the memory (at 16GB) and storage (512GB and even 1TB) than their respective Apple competitor price-equivalents. The highest tier model we’re reviewing today tops Apple in so many aspects specs-wise on paper that matching the specs would result in a MacBook Pro priced €3,129 plus tax, where applicable.
If you think these prices are too high, you’re looking at the wrong laptop category, regardless if it’s Apple or HUAWEI. The MateBook X Pro is HUAWEI’s flagship laptop, just like the P- and Mate-series are the flagship smartphones. There are other laptops, just like there are other smartphones, in a different pricing category, if the premium is not something you can afford/want to pursue.
But now that we got rid of the elephant, the MateBook X Pro will be available starting April and May 2020 in Europe, Asia Pacific, Russia, Latin America, Japan, and the Middle East.
- Beautiful design;
- Great performance;
- Excellent battery life;
- Gorgeous display;
- Integration with HUAWEI smartphones via HUAWEI Share.
- Not recommended for graphics-intense operations;
- Pop-up webcam’s angle is something you’ll have to get used to;
- If you’re in the U.S. you’ll likely need to import it, which will add to the price.
Even with the Core i5 configuration and 512GB of storage to go with those 8- or 16GB of memory, the base model can handle entertainment and work tasks without a problem. If you are using the computer for more graphics-demanding tasks, you should probably go with the mid-tier model that packs the NVIDIA MX250 graphics card. Throw in some heavy computational power requirements, say, for content creation, video rendering, photography manipulation, encoding and decoding, you should probably go with the Core i7 model. It also doubles the storage to 1TB. Just stay away from graphics demanding games.
Choosing a laptop is one of the most important tech decisions one can make. You have to take into consideration several factors, starting with your budget, the destination of your laptop (business, gaming, all-around), size, weight, features, and the list can go on and on. Depending on whether that decision is a wise one or not will make the difference between a lot of frustration and getting work done (or play).
If you’re looking at a flagship-class laptop like the MateBook X Pro, which is really the top of the line from HUAWEI, and a direct 13-inch MacBook Pro competitor, you probably already know what you want or need.
Its beautifully designed and executed chassis is small enough to be carried around without a problem, but offers a display large enough (thanks to the minimal bezels) to not warrant the need for a larger model. And with the horsepower it packs, it elegantly handles anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat, all while offering a very generous battery life that can go up to 10 hours or more, depending on the tasks you throw at it.
Should you buy? If you’re looking for a Windows 10 alternative to the MacBook Pro, and want an beautiful, lightweight, and snappy laptop computer, definitely.
If, however, your demands exceed the limits of the MX250 graphics card (which is an entry-level mobile graphics card) and your primary purpose is gaming or heavy graphics-demanding tasks, you should look at alternatives featuring more powerful graphic cards.
HUAWEI MateBook X Pro (2020) specs
|Display||Size: 13.9 inches
Screen-to-body ratio: 91%
Resolution: 3000×2000, 260PPI
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Viewing angle: 178°
Colour: sRGB 100% colour gamut(typical)
Maximum Brightness: 450 nits(typical)
Touchscreen: 10-point, anti-fingerprint coating
|Appearance||Dimensions: 14.6mm × 304mm × 217mm
Weight: Approximately 1.33kg
Color: Mystic Silver, Space Grey, Emerald Green
|Processor||10th Generation Intel® CoreTM i7-10510U Processor
10th Generation Intel® CoreTM i5-10210U Processor
|GPU||NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250 with 2GB GDDR5 / Intel® UHD Graphics|
|Memory||8GB / 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz|
|Storage||512GB/ 1TB PCIe SSD|
|Buttons & Ports||Fingerprint power button
3.5mm stereo headset jack
USB-A port x 1 (USB 3.0, maximum output 5V/2A)
USB-C port x 1 (USB 3.1, with a charging icon, maximum output 5V/2A)
USB-C port x 1 (Without a charging icon, maximum output 5V/3A)
|Wi-Fi||IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz 300Mbps, 5GHz 1733Mbps,
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0, compatible with Bluetooth 4.2, Bluetooth 4.1
and Bluetooth 4.0
|Camera||Front pop-up camera: 1MP|
|Audio||Digital microphone x 4, speaker x 4|
|Battery||Material: Lithium Polymer
56Wh (rated value)
|Power adaptor||HUAWEI USB-C Power Adapter 65W
Input: 100–240V AC, 50/60Hz
Output: 20V/3.25A, 15V/3A, 12V/2A, 9V/2A, 5V/2A
Support multiple output modes, and quick charge for
different devices, and HUAWEI SuperCharge for certain phones
HUAWEI PC Manager Monitor Manager
Eye Comfort Mode
Finger Gesture Screenshot
|Inside the box||HUAWEI USB-C Power Adapter 65W Charger cable (USB-C)|
|Optional accessories||HUAWEI MateDock 2
HUAWEI Bluetooth Mouse
HUAWEI Leather Case
HUAWEI USB 3.0 A/M TO RJ45 conversion cable HUAWEI Sleeve
HUAWEI Leather Case