This month, two PC World readers are going to be the lucky recipients of Huawei’s latest smartwatch, the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 Pro, valued at $499.
Huawei Matebook X Pro (2020) review: The Real Deal
A couple of caveats hold Huawei’s finest back from being the laptop to beat
- Slick design
- Dedicated graphics
- Recessed camera
If you are looking to spend that much money on something thin, light and premium, the Huawei Matebook X Pro deserves more than just a cursory look.
Price$ 3,299.00 (AUD)
While their smartphone ambitions have been stifled by a lack of access to the Google ecosystem, Chinese tech giant Huawei’s ambitions for the PC market haven’t been hit nearly so hard and the company’s latest Matebooks are arguably just as compelling as their predecessors.
Like previous portable PC efforts, they’re as sleek as they are competitively-priced. That being said, even if we remove the larger worries around the brand from the picture, my gut says that the improvements found in the 2020 Matebook X Pro are only barely worth the sizable increase in asking price.
Huawei’s latest provides plenty of bang for buck but not quite so much that I can readily recommend it over last year’s crop. If you can find the latter cheaply, they’re the way to go. If not, then the Matebook X Pro is expensive but unlikely to disappoint.
In Australia, pricing for the Huawei MateBook X Pro starts at AU$3299. It's available through JB Hi-Fi, MobileCiti and Chatswood's Huawei Authorised Experience Store.
Processor: Intel i7-10510U CPU
Operating System: Windows 10
RAM: 16GB of RAM
Storage: 1TB of SSD storage
Graphics: Nvidia MX250 graphics
MicroSD slot: No
Display: 13.9-inch LTPS panel with 3K resolution, 100% sRGB color,
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5
Front-Facing Camera: 1-megapixel
Dimensions: 217 x 304 x 14.60 mm
Like the previous model, the new Huawei Matebook X Pro is built around solid specs, a metal unibody with diamond cut edges and a super smooth finish. It’s not a terribly original formula but it works.
The form-factor here is almost identical to that of last year's Matebook X Pro (or, if you like, 15% slimmer than a Macbook Pro). There are two USB Type-C ports (one of which is used for charging), a single regular USB port and a trusty 3.5mm headphone jack. Again like its predecessor, the new Matebook X Pro features a full-size keyboard with back-lighting, quad speakers and fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button. It also supports Huawei’s HuaweiShare fast file transfer if you happen to own a Huawei smartphone.
The screen is very much the centerpiece of the Matebook X Pro and Huawei haven't skimped on the specs here. A clear point of difference between the most expensive Matebook and cheaper options, the Matebook X Pro rocks a 13.9-inch LTPS panel with 3K resolution, 100% sRGB color, 10-point touch and 450 nitt peak brightness. In action, it’s a delight to look at and use.
Under the hood, the new Matebook X Pro comes powered by an Intel i7-10510U CPU, 16GB of RAM, 15TB of SSD storage and Nvidia MX250 graphics. The 2019 Matebook X Pro featured 8th Gen Intel hardware and no dedicated graphics, so you’re looking at a pretty significant bump upwards here in processing power and graphical grunt.
Unfortunately, the new Matebook X Pro also revives one of its predecessors most distinct drawbacks: a recessed camera. Rather than embed a webcam above the top-most edge of the screen, Huawei have opted to smuggle a webcam into the chassis of the Matebook X Pro underneath one of the keys.
On one hand, there's a peace of mind that a webcam that physically has to be popped up to see anything offers. On the other, that little bit of extra, unnecessary hassle can often be just that. What’s more, recessed cameras like the one found here rarely deliver the most flattering angles. Dell couldn’t make this feature work in their nicest laptop and Huawei can’t either. Though conceptually intriguing, the pros just don’t outweigh the cons here.
At the end of the day, the form-factor of the new Huawei Matebook X Pro is both a celebrant and a slave to tradition. It builds on the legacy of past successes but falls victim to many of the same sins as well. It’s slick, slim and modern but it’s far from perfect.
As far as thin, light and premium laptops go, the Huawei Matebook X Pro hits much of the notes you’d expect when it comes to performance. The 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor inside the machine keeps things feeling more than snappy enough for everyday usage. There’s a good reason it’s one of the most popular processors for this kind of laptop, though if you’re a particularly intensive power user it might be worth looking at something with a punch and bulk to it.
The twist here comes in the form of Nvidia MX250 dedicated graphics. Where many of the other premium laptops that Huawei are pitting the Matebook X Pro up against rely on integrated graphics from Intel, the Matebook squeezes in the latest from Nvidia. To be clear, you’re not going to run ray-tracing on this thing anytime soon but the extra dimension of competence that this inclusion adds means that the Matebook X Pro is more than capable of basic gaming. If you want to squeeze in a few games of Valorant on this thing, you totally can. You’ll have to turn the settings down, you’re gonna struggle to hit those higher framerates but you can do it with the Matebook X Pro in a way that you can’t with many other laptops like it.
PC Mark - 3735
Geekbench Single - 1115
Geekbench Multi - 3656
Geekbench Compute - 9450
For the most part, we came away really impressed with the battery life offered by the Huawei Matebook X Pro. More often than not, It’d easily last us through a regular workday of usage. Subjected to our usual Battery Eater rundown test, the Matebook X Pro took 2 hours and 47 minutes to run down from 100% to zero.
The Bottom Line
Aside from the ill-placed webcam and high asking price, the Matebook X Pro is almost everything you want from a modern laptop. It’s refreshingly robust and the inclusion of MX250 graphics helps it stand out even among fare like the Dell XPS 13.
Of course, the catch here is that the Matebook X Pro is almost triple the price of the Matebook D14 - and I’m unconvinced it’s three times as appealing. If you’re the kind of person looking to buy this kind of laptop, I don’t know if you’ll really notice the difference in clock speed and prestige.
It’s not necessarily the hands-down best laptop on the market right now but, if you are looking to spend that much money on something thin, light and premium, the Huawei Matebook X Pro deserves more than just a cursory look.
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