Hands-On With Huawei’s First Ever Laptop And New Tablet – Forbes
Huawei just announced in Berlin a follow up to the MateBook, a quite good 2-in-1 tablet that hit store shelves last summer. The new device, called the MateBook E, is a clear step forward. But the bigger news from Huawei’s launch event is that it’s finally venturing into the laptop market.
In fact, Huawei announced not one but two new laptops today: a super slim, fanless, small-bezeled 13-inch device dubbed the MateBook X, and a bigger 15.6-inch device that can handle gaming courtesy of its NVIDIA GeForce 940MX Graphics chip. Both laptops will be the first in the world to use Dolby’s Atmos Sound System, which uses custom-built hardware and software to create the feeling of surround sound.
Both the MateBook X and D run 7th generation Intel i7 or i5 processors, with the X (the slimmer fanless one) coming with either 4 or 8GB or RAM with 256 or 512GB or internal storage. The E (the one for gaming) has various configurations offering RAM up to 16GB and storage up to 1TB.
The new 2-in-1 tablet (MateBook E) has a redesigned folio keyboard case that can prop the device up at various angles up to 160-degrees. This is a huge jump from the last device’s folio case, which only offered one angle. The keyboard typing experience and the 2k display were both excellent even in last year’s device, so the MateBook E doesn’t have to worry here. This is powered by a 7th generation Intel i5.
The battery sizes are: 5,449 mAh for the MateBook X, 4,430 mAh for the MateBook E (that’s the 2-in-1 device) and 3,800 mAh for the MateBook D.
I am actually at the launch event in Berlin right now — and I’ll have a more detailed hands-on and review coming later — but I got the chance to play with the MateBook X last week in Hong Kong, so here are some early personal thoughts.
At just 4.4mm thick, the slim bezels around the screen make the MateBook X smaller than almost all other 13-inchers out there save for maybe the Dell XPS 13 which also has really slim bezels. We’re already into the slim-bezel movement for smartphones, about time laptops jumped on board too.
The MateBook X measures 11.2-inches x 8.3-inches x 0.49-inches (286 mm ×211 mm x 12.5 mm), which is more compact than the 13-inch MacBook Air’s 12.8-inches x 8.9-inches x 0.67-inches. In fact, as Huawei CEO Richard Yu made a point to mention in Berlin, the MateBook X’s dimensions are smaller than that of an A4 piece of paper. Huawei’s really happy to point out the screen-to-body ratio of the MateBook X is 88% to 13-inch MacBook Pro’s 76%.
Top-of-the-class fingerprint reader
Huawei’s implemented a fingerprint reader into the power button of the MateBook X (not the other two devices). And if you’ve used Huawei’s phones you know the company’s fingerprint scanning technology is absolutely top of the class. I’m serious — the fingerprint reader on my iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy S8 feels slow whenever I’m jumping on it after extended use of my Huawei Mate 9 Pro.
The MateBook X’s sides are alarmingly clean, with only two USB-C ports — one for data transfer and one for charging the device. You will likely need a dongle to make full use of the laptop’s full potential. Huawei, of course, has created one dubbed the MateDock 2. It’s a follow up to last year’s dongle that I tested along with the MateBook 2-in-1 device. The device’s edges has a curved, which Huawei’s Yu said was designed in mind to not be as sharp as other devices.
Huawei used a technology known as Micro-encapsulated Phase Change Material to forego using a fan. Huawei’s Yu said this is the same technology used in space aircraft to ensure proper heat dissipation without overheating.
As for prices, they are: 1399/1599/1799 euros for the X, 999/1199/1299 euros for the E, and 799/899/999 euros for the D.