Huawei’s new laptops pack Dolby Atmos audio and MacBook-rivalling specs
Huawei has launched three brand-new Windows 10 devices, including its first ever laptop. We have all the information you need on the new MateBook X, E and D.
Huawei MateBook X – A thin and light MacBook rival
The most exciting device launched today, the MateBook X is an ultra-thin and light laptop that looks very similar to the Asus ZenBook 3, and might even steal a bit of limelight from the 12-inch MacBook.
The MateBook X comprises a 13-inch screen and weighs in at just 1.05kg. That puts it in the same ballpark as the ZenBook 3, which tips the scales at 910g. The screen is a 2160×1440-pixel affair that sits inside a thin, 4.4mm bezel. Closed, the MateBook X is just 12.5mm thick. There’s a full-metal chassis and an edge-to-edge backlit keyboard, along with a Microsoft Precision Touchpad.
Inside, the company has fitted a dual-core Intel Core i5-7200U processor. This is the same chip you’ll find in the ZenBook 3 and even Dell’s XPS 13, but what’s different here is that Huawei has chosen not to install cooling fans in order to keep the weight and thickness down. The cooling technology consists of a layer of gel compartments that melt and liquify at certain temperatures, apparently storing heat until it can be later dissipated. It’ll be fascinating to see how this works in practice and whether the chip can keep up with the fan-cooled XPS 13 and ZenBook 3.
With that thin design comes a lack of full-size ports; there’s a pair of USB-C connectors, one of which is used for charging, and a 3.5mm headset jack. Huawei sells an optional dock, adding good old-fashioned USB-A, if you want it. There’s also a fingerprint scanner inside the power button. Huawei uses the best scanners in the business, so this is excellent news.
The other big feature? Huawei has enlisted the help of Dolby to engineer the audio. Normally this just means some fancy-looking software, but in this case, Dolby says it’s custom-designed the speakers in terms of both layout and specifications. Dolby is so confident about the quality of the speakers, in fact, that it has slapped a Dolby Atmos Sound System label on the box. Read our MateBook X first impressions to find out more.
It comes in three colours: grey, gold and a delightful pink.
Huawei didn’t have any information on availability in Europe, but said the device would launch in the USA and China. Pricing starts at €1399, which will probably be about £1200 inc VAT.
MateBook E – A hugely improved 2-in-1
Think of the E as a MateBook 2. Last year’s 2-in-1 did not perform well under review, which was largely down to its terrible keyboard dock that was hard to use and poorly thought through. The tablet itself is largely the same, aside from being updated to the latest Intel processors (ultra-low-power Core M and Core I Y-series), and still packs the same gorgeous screen and slim design as last year.
It’s the dock, however, that’s been overhauled. Gone is the weird magnetic folding contraption from last year, and in comes a flexible hinge that lets you position the MateBook at practically any angle. If it performs well under review (and is priced accordingly), Huawei might have cracked the 2-in-1 market for the first time.
The first MateBook was sold in the UK, so we’re hoping for a UK launch for the E as well. Pricing starts at €999, which will be about £900 in VAT.
MateBook D – A “business” laptop with dedicated graphics
The D is Huawei’s entry into the business laptop market. The 15.6-inch machine comes with dual-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, it should perform well under load, and with optional dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 940MX graphics, it has a little multimedia and gaming clout as well. Weighing in at 1.9kg, it’s no lightweight.
It gets the same Dolby Atmos Sound System badging as the X, and comes in blue, gold and grey colour options. This is exactly the sort of laptop that you often find in South East Asia, but rarely makes the jump to the UK. If we get UK launch info, we’ll update this piece.
Pricing starts at €799 for a Core i5 model with dedicated graphics, which will be about £700 inc VAT.
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What do you think of Huawei’s new laptops? Let us know in the comments.