Huawei MateBook 13 Review: A Genuine MacBook Air Rival Running Windows

In June 2016 we met Huawei's MateBook - a tablet PC with a flexible keyboard - this product showed that the company had some great ideas for Windows 10 devices. Since then, the Chinese company has launched the innovative MateBook X and the popular MateBook X Pro.

In 2019, comes the MateBook 13 that fits perfectly between the "X" and "X Pro" and in many ways brings the best of both for a few hundred euros less than an Apple MacBook Air. Like any laptop, there are some things that prevent it from being perfect, but overall, Huawei continues with its series of victories in traditional Ultrabooks with the new MateBook 13.

In short: The MateBook 13 Huawei finds a sweet spot between the ultra-light MateBook X and the largest MateBook X Pro, offering exceptional performance for an attractive value.

Huawei MateBook 13: What You Need To Know

The MateBook 13 is a mid-to-upper level Ultrabook with a touch screen. The price starts at € 999 for the Core i5 version with a discrete graphics card and jumps to € 1299 for the Core i7 model with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 25W graphics solution.

Compared with the MateBook X, the chassis is almost identical, but the MateBook 13 is about half a kilo heavier and significantly thicker. The MateBook 13 also features a touch screen, but the Dolby speakers are at the bottom due to the fans that have been added, which greatly improves the system performance compared to MateBook X.

OMATEBook X Pro costs about € 200 more than the MateBook 13. This extra value allows you to have a slightly larger screen, a pop-up camera, a USB port type A and Thunderbolt 3.

Although there is no Type-A port, Huawei includes its MateDock2 in the box (€ 50 value), which adds USB-A, USB-C, HDMI and VGA ports to MateBook 13.

CategorySpec
Exhibition13 inches
2160 x 1440, 200 PPI, touch-enabled
Display ratio3: 2
CPU8th generation Intel Core i5 8265U
8th generation Intel Core i7 8565U
GPUIntel Graphics UHD 620
NVIDIA MX 150 with 2 GB GDDR5
Storage256GB NVD PCIe
SSD 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
Memory8 GB LPDDR3 2133 MHz
Windows HelloYes (fingerprint)
Ports3.5mm connector, two USB-C
chamberfront camera: 1MP
AudioDolby Atmos (No support for audio mixing feature)
Battery41.7 Wh
Charger MateBook 65W (included)
AccessoriesHUAWEI MateDock 2 (included)
Size8.31 in. X 11.26 in. X 0.59 in
WeightApprox. 2.84 pounds (1.27 kg)
ColorsMystic Silver or Space Gray

 

Finally, compared to the latest Apple MacBook Air, the MateBook 13 brings a touch screen and a significantly more powerful U-series processor (compared to Apple's Y series) in conjunction with an option for NVIDIA graphics with the GeForce MX150, but the Thunderbolt 3 port is missing.

Huawei MateBook 13 Design and quality of construction

MateBook 13 uses Huawei's traditional laptop design, which is good and bad. The all-metal chassis has little flexibility but is better than the average in terms of resisting fingerprints.

At 1.27 kg, the MateBook 13 is not heavy, but neither is the lighter laptop. Part of that weight is the 42 WHr battery and the metal body, which make the MateBook 13 look solid and sturdy.

The bad side is more of a subjective observation; Huawei's design is, at best, generic and, at worst, heavily inspired by Apple. in a world where HP, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, and MSI are creating unique designs, Huawei's is functional but a little more of the same.

Typically, a 13-inch screen would be too small for a laptop, but Huawei again uses a ratio of 3: 2 versus the typical 16: 9 used by everyone else, except for Microsoft Surface PCs. This aspect ratio makes the screen taller in MateBook 13 and gives plenty of room for work.

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Huawei claims a 100% sRGB color accuracy rating and our tests confirm that along with 78% of Adobe RGB. The screen brightness is decent at about 300 nits, but the Huawei still has a hyper-aggressive auto-brightness feature, which makes the lightness fainter than most people will like. The added value is better battery life, but most users will probably want to uncheck the automatic display brightness setting in Windows settings. This unit features a touch screen, although the pen holder is not present.

Huawei also continues to adopt thin frames, but this design is merely a copy of MateBook X from mid-2017 and today is less impressive. But as the front panel of the screen is not too thin, the engineers have managed to keep the decent 1MP camera at the top of the screen compared to the strange pop-up camera that the MateBook X Pro features.

Huawei MateBook 13 keyboard and trackpad

Huawei produces decent keyboards and trackpads, and this is applicable to the MateBook 13. Key scrolling is minimal but satisfying with a backlight for added comfort. The keyboard layout is comfortable to use, and this laptop is generally better than average for intensive use.

Compared with MateBook X, Huawei has extended the trackpad in MateBook 13. The trackpad is one of the largest that will find on a PC of this category only surpassed by Apple. The click is smooth and responsive with support for smooth gestures thanks to Microsoft Precision drivers.

The MateBook 13 has a fingerprint reader built into the power button.

Huawei MateBook 13 improved audio

Huawei makes some of the best portable audio, especially in this price range. Both the MateBook X and MateBook X Pro take advantage of the speakers combined with Dolby Atmos speakers and software to deliver superb audio.

The MateBook 13 has two excellent speakers that are very competent. The problem is that the sound is great when the MateBook 13 is placed on a desk, but using the laptop on top of your knees easily locks the speakers, resulting in muffled sound reproduction.

The reason the little MateBook X could get columns behind the keyboard is because it came without a fan. The MateBook 13 has fans, which is good because this machine is much more powerful and so will not have an exaggerated thermal acceleration.

Huawei MateBook 13 Performance

The MateBook 13 is easily one of the most powerful 13-inch laptops, only Surface Book 2 can outperform it in graphics. This may also be an unfair comparison, since Surface Book 2 is a different class of laptop that is larger, more expensive, and a 2-in-1.

Huawei uses the latest Intel 8th Generation "Whiskey Lake" processors, which provide a slight increase in clock over previous Kaby Lake 8th Gen processors. The results are obvious, with the Core i7-8565U quad-core surpassing everything from Surface Book 2 to the XPS 13 (9370), Surface Laptop and Core i7 Surface Pro 6. The numbers are especially impressive for the multi-core, which hit 17,062 on Geekbench 4.0.

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CPU

Geekbench 4.0 benchmarks (the higher the better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Huawei MateBook 13i7-8565U5,33617,062
Huawei MateBook X Proi7-8550U4,70614,342
Surface Book 2 13i7-8650U4,86214,694
Surface Laptop 2i5-8250U4.20313,233
Surface Laptopi7-7660U4,7149,535
Surface Pro 6i7-8650U5,04813 869
Surface Pro 5i7-7660U4,5139,346
Dell XPS 13i7-8550U4,68114,816

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 CUDA (higher is better)

DeviceGPUComputation Score
Huawei MateBook 13MX15048,430
Huawei MateBook X ProMX15041,730
Samsung 9 15 NotebookMX15048,536
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SSD

CrystalDiskMark (the higher the better)

DeviceReadWrite
Huawei MateBook 133,436 MB / s2,553 MB / s
Samsung 9 15 Notebook2,952 MB / s1,948 MB / s
Surface Laptop 21.509 MB / s811 MB / s
Surface Laptop486 MB / s244 MB / s
Surface Pro 61,632 MB / s814 MB / s

 

The NVIDIA GeForce MX150 is an excellent replacement for Intel Iris Plus graphics, which are not available with Intel's 8thGr platform. Although far from the GeForce GTX 1050 - 76,948 on the Geekbench, compared to 48,430 on the MX150 - Huawei used the most powerful 25W version of the Chipset, giving it a bit more force. The MX150 has an increase in graphics that will allow you to play some light games but will be insufficient for hardcore games or intense video editing.

Fan heat and noise are within normal ranges. The fans are audible, but Huawei manages the thermal issue well, and the laptop, though metal, never got too hot until it became uncomfortable.

Finally, in storage, Huawei uses a Western Digital premium solid state drive (SSD) with exceptional performance, similar to what Samsung offers. The sequential read speed was 3,500 MB / s with respectable recordings of 2,500 MB / s, this is one of the fastest storage solutions on a laptop.

MateBook 13 is easy to recommend (with one caveat)

The MateBook 13 is packed with premium hardware, including the outstanding i7 processor, Western Digital SSD, Intel AC-9560 Wi-Fi card, excellent touch screen, and a great typing experience.

The battery life for real-world use is between seven and eight hours, which is not extraordinary but is at that point ideal for most users. Battery life, however, is rewarded with outstanding quad-core processor system performance and the NVIDIA GPU, which provides an extra boost for photo or video editing.

There are not many disadvantages in MateBook 13. Audio is only harmed when the laptop is in the lap due to speaker placement, but it is great when sitting at a desk.

The lack of Thunderbolt 3 door is a disappointment, but it's worth pointing out two things. Huawei sells the Thunderbolt 3 with the top MateBook X Pro laptop, acting as a differentiator and partially justifying this extra € 200. Second, this is probably the latest generation of laptops where Thunderbolt 3 is optional since Intel is applying the technology in the chipset directly without licensing costs, this will start with the tenth generation of Intel Core processors, which should arrive at end of 2019.

Although the overall look of the MateBook 13 is simple, the quality of construction makes it look more substantial, especially at the reasonable price of € 1299.

Overall, the MateBook 13 is an impressive traditional Ultrabook that offers aesthetic care, is like combining the Surface Laptop with a MacBook Air, but this equipment has a much lower price. For those who want a non-convertible laptop, it will be difficult to find something that does so much for less than € 1299. MateBook 13 is therefore easy to recommend.

Pros MateBook 13:

  • Excellent display of 3: 2 "2K".
  • Outstanding performance.
  • Better value than the MacBook Air.
  • Elegant but muted.
  • Optional GPU.

Cons MateBook 13 :

  • No thunder 3.
  • No USB port type-A.
  • Huawei's name is controversial.
  • Mediocre battery life.

Price and Availability Huawei MateBook 13

For an ultraportable laptop with Windows 10, the Huawei MateBook 13 is undeniably a very attractive set that should give the competition a reason to worry. The initial price will be € 1099 for the Intel Core i5 variant that will be available in the domestic market on March 21 and the Core i7 variant with the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU can be purchased for € 1299 and will be available in mid-April. The price is very competitive and looks at the competition. Will the laptop segment be a success story for Huawei?

1 Comment
  1. w11stop Electronic says

    No doubt Huawei is a nice brand. I’m using Huawei since long time and I’m satisfied from them.

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