HUAWEI MateBook 13 - Thin & Lightweight Laptop
HUAWEI MateBook 13 - Thin & Lightweight Laptop
If you consider Huawei as just another Chinese company that makes devices similar to bigger manufacturers for less money, then you my friend would be making a mistake. Just take a quick look at the MateBook X and you’ll see why you’re wrong.
Today we’re reviewing the Huawei MateBook 13, which is a blatant rip-off of a MacBook. The idea behind it is quite interesting actually: in essence, it’s a Windows laptop that takes its inspiration from a very popular styling but is cheaper than a few hundred quid. Honestly speaking, that’s sure to attract the masses.
This unique strategy can be successful, but the MateBook 13 just might be pricing itself out of the competition. It definitely looks great, however, does the price justify shortcuts like a plastic trackpad and below-average battery life? Let’s find out.
Processor: Intel Core i5-8265U / 1.6 GHz Max Turbo Speed 3.9 GHz Quad Core
RAM: 8 GB RAM
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 13-inch HD Display (2160 x 1440)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2GB GDDR5
Battery: 41.8 Wh/3670mAh battery
Weight: around 2.86 lbs (1.3 kg)
Operating System: Windows 10 Home
The Huawei MateBook 13 is intentionally designed to look like a 12-inch MacBook. Its width is less than normal laptops, there is little to no space left at the sides of the keyboard, and all of the shell has a matte finish. Only a little bit of the natural aluminium shine can be seen.
However, we would again like to remind you that thinking of it as a MacBook will make you miss the bigger picture in which this laptop differs from Apple and other big manufacturers. There are both good and bad parts here so let’s dig in a bit deeper.
First, the bad parts. This MateBook comes with a weight of 1.3 kg, heavier than Apple’s MacBook. Also, it’s 15mm thickness is not thinnest. But that just may be us as we’ve experienced a lot of ultra-thin laptops on the market, spoiling us beyond recognition in the process. Hence the Huawei MateBook 13 is actually thin enough to carry around all day long.
Now for the good parts. The Huawei Matebook 13 is actually more powerful than the Macbook and MacBook Air. The Core i7 variant is even stronger than most of the MacBook Pro 13-inch models. Perhaps only the Touch Bar version can tackle the MateBook 13’s upper-spec version CPU.
Do you know what this means? You’ll be paying less than half the price for the same performance. The Touch Bar MacBook is around £2200.
The overall build quality of the Huawei is good as well. We’ll even go as far as to say that it’s in the same league as Apple. The entirety of the shell is made of metal and the screen cover is a smooth sheet of glass. There may be some light flexing going on around the keyboard, but it’s not noticeable unless you’re specifically looking for it.
The Huawei Matebook 13’s display might just be the weirdest part of its build. It’s because it has a 3:2 display whereas other laptops have 16:9 or 16:10. This may hinder your movie or TV-watching experience. But the laptop itself has a good screen image, especially for the price range. It has a 1440p display which is somewhere between FHD and 4K.
From the looks of it, we would’ve never guessed that the trackpad is actually made of plastic instead of textured glass. One glide of the finger and you’ll be getting that familiar plastic pad feel. This is a problem because most Windows laptops in this price range use glass. The pad even has good click mechanism so the decision to use plastic seems even more baffling.
This MateBook 13’s keyboard is decent and has no major issue. It typing response is chunky and gratifying. This came off as a surprise to us because the keys looked very shallow at first glance. We’d much rather type a long article on this laptop than on a MacBook.
Here’s where things get a bit tricky because the MateBook 13 only has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack. And the USB ports are on the slower side; USB 3.1 Gen1. This means that you’ll have very low speeds when compared to MacBook’s Thunderbolt 3 connectors.
This’ll cause problems if you want to hook up a lot of high-resolution monitors or an external SSD faster than 500MB/s. If not, then you’re good to go.
We have to look at the bigger picture here. The powerful CPU of the MateBook 13, which the MacBook 12 can’t compare to, is what’s more important to most users. Huawei gives us a breakout adapter, that includes HDMI and VGA sockets, in the box. So, no need to worry about plugging in a monitor.
The Huawei MateBook 13 blows the MacBook out of the water with its performance. The laptop can be bought with a Core i5 or i7 CPU. These CPUs are not your average processors either. They are genuine quad-core processors. You can even replace your desktop with this laptop if you want to.
But where there is light, there is darkness. The Huawei MateBook 13 can’t be used for gaming. Especially the version with no Nvidia MX250 graphics card. However, the good news is that you can still play some older games on the card. For example, Skyrim SE can run at 1080p with low settings, giving you around 30 fps.
This laptop is meant to be very portable but if the battery doesn’t stick around for a full day of work then all that portability is for naught. The Huawei MateBook 13 will last for about six to seven hours if you only browse, write documents, and watch some videos.
The Huawei MateBook 13 shouldn’t be compared with the MacBook. They both might appear to be speaking the same language, but the dialects are different. If you’re not that fussy over a plastic trackpad, absence of discrete graphics card, and average battery-life then this laptop is a viable option because you’ll at least get a good screen and lots of raw power. This and MateBook X were better than expected and makes us look forward to more Huawei laptops.