Aimed at a wide audience, the Huawei MateBook 13 offers a compact notebook experience that is premium and priced well starting at Dh2,999. For the price, what does the consumer get?
Out of the box
The notebook comes in a very standard package that is well protected. It is wrapped in a bit of plastic and supported by some high-quality polystyrene. Accompanying it, there is some mandatory paperwork.
Alongside this, you also find another cardboard package housing the other accessories. There is a USB-C adapter that helps expand your I/O selection by adding a VGA port, USB-A 3.0 port and a HDMI port. There is also a USB-C to USB-C charging cable of adequate length as well as a 65W compact charging adapter.
Design and build quality
The 13-inch form factor of the notebook makes it extremely portable for starters. Much of the design might have been inspired by Apple’s Macbook line-up but nonetheless, it feels extremely solid in the hand. Weighing in at 1.3kg, the laptop is not a burden to carry and can easily fit in a standard travel backpack.
Its chassis is made of metal that gives off that cold feel. And a special mention goes out to the laptop’s rubber feet. The front ones are a bit shorter than the back ones giving the laptop a good incline for cooling during extended use.
I think the I/O selection for the notebook is a bit slim. There are only two USB-C ports on it, of which only the left one can be used for charging the device. In addition, you get a 3.5mm headphone jack but aside from this, the laptop is bare bones.
You also find a fingerprint scanner embedded onto the power button of the notebook. This works extremely well with the Windows Hello authentication system on top of Windows 10 Home.
Huawei has gone for a FullView display on this notebook, which means extremely thin bezels. The display is an IPS LCD panel with a 1,440p resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio. It clocks a top brightness of 300 nits which might be a bit on the lower side. But with an sRGB coverage of 100 per cent and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, it is good for media watching.
While it may not be anti-glare, it is a touchscreen panel. So far, it has shown a good amount of responsiveness when browsing the web. But in certain applications, gestures such as pinch to zoom do not work. Combined with the Dolby Atmos powered speakers on-board, the media experience has been good so far.
Processing power and features
Inside, you are looking at up to an Intel i7 8565U processor alongside 8GB of DDR3 RAM. You also find a dedicated NVIDIA MX150 graphics card bundled with the notebook for light gaming and video editing on the go. As an Huawei exclusive, the laptop has the new Huawei Share 3.0 feature, which lets you easily transfer multimedia to and from the laptop from a supported Huawei or Honor phone. The experience is seamless and I can definitely see myself using it often as I spend time with the laptop.
Otherwise, this laptop comes with up to 512GB of SSD storage. And while I cannot comment on battery life just yet, the 65W charging brick is very compact and impressively does not have the bulk of an external battery pack like most other notebooks. With this, you are able to charge the 41.8Wh battery on the notebook for 2.5 hours worth of office usage in just 15 minutes.
Having used the notebook briefly, I cannot give my final verdict just yet. Whether the chiclet-style keyboard grows on me is something I will find out with time. But so far, the MateBook 13 from Huawei is shaping up to be a good option for its price.