If you’re in the US, you may never have heard of Huawei, but globally, the company is massive. It’s the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, and it built a Windows convertible last year earned it a lot of love. This Year, Huawei moves into laptops, and the result is a thin and light notebook that unlocks with a fingerprint, blows your ears off with super sound, and even stands up some spillage.
Lots of folks seem to love the MateBook X design, which closely approximates the quality cut of Apples’s MacBook. Now, we don’t like it when Android phone makers ape the iPhone, and we also don’t dig Windows laptops that look like they came from the Apple Store. But Huawei has managed to outshine Apple in some ways here. The display is bracketed by the super-thin bezels, which look a lot better, for one thing. And also, that three to two aspect ratio makes the screen a little taller and helps documents and webpages make the most of that canvas.
The fingerprint sensor built into the power button makes all the sense in the world and it’s super fast on top of that. There are two USBC ports and a hub that comes in the box if you need more expansion. And easily one of the top three features of this machine is the sound it kicks out. The difference is even more impressive in person, thanks to hardware and software optimizations by Dolby, which you can tweak using a built-in control panel.
Beneath the speaker bar is the full-size keyboard. Now, we find our own experience diverging from some other reviewers who cite the 1.2-millimeter key travel as too shallow for them. We found it very comfortable to type on, though, my only complaint being how quickly the keys seemed to pick up dirt, a complaint which you’ve probably already noticed extends to the rest of the casing as well. We don’t know if it’s the gold paint job or what.
Video Courtesy: Huawei Mobile
But you know what?
We can deal with it in exchange for the keyboard’s splash resistance. We tried to spill a little more seltzer on here than we planned to, but true to Huawei’s promise, after a quick dry-off, it was right as rain. This was the first time we have seen a spill on a laptop that didn’t immediately kill it, so we were impressed.
Also impressive: there’s not a fan to be found in this machine. This is pretty crazy. Normally you only see fanless designs when you’re talking about mobile devices, but this review unit is powered by a big old seventh-generation Intel Core i7, and the specs supporting that telecom are pretty okay too.
Now, these are U series chips, whether you get the i5 or i7 model. U for an ultrabook or ultra-low voltage. So, you won’t get the same ability to run demanding stuff.
Now, that’s if you use it carefully. We tested it on normal workload includes two separate instances of Google Chrome running five to ten tabs apiece, and we hop between Evernote, Slack, and Edge every so often. We just got a bunch of stuff open. Even at only half screen brightness, that’s enough to take us from a full battery to dead in just under five hours of use, and half screen brightness isn’t always enough to overcome ambient light, especially in open-air cafes and outdoors. This machine takes about three hours to fully charge if you continue to use it while it’s plugged in.
Couple details before we decide whether the whole thing holds up.
On the bottom, four big rubber feet keep you from sliding around, and the one-handed opening test gets a big pass. Bright speed on the solid-state driver. Fast responsiveness throughout Windows 10 Pro follow suit, and the precision trackpad is better than average. On the downside, we kinda wish the display was a touchscreen, we wish the keyboard backlight were brighter, and we wish the big Huawei brand logo on the laptop was maybe a cooler looking.
What do you pay for the privilege of this Prestige Gold model?
Well, the higher-end trim here, the Core i7with the 12 gig SSD will cost you about $1300. Taking a step down to Core i5 and cutting your storage in half will save you, but not much. You get a $200 cost cut.
If you just need something that’ll get the job done without being too fancy about things, there are many cheaper options out there, and that’s the beauty of the Windows ecosystem. But if what you’re looking for is a machine with excellent sound, a splash-resistant keyboard, and a great display, bundled up in a relatively attractive and super light and thin package, then we’d say Huawei has done enough to earn your dollars here.
Just don’t stray too far from the charger.