Hands on: Huawei MateBook 14 Review

The MateBook 14 is another entry in Huawei’s successful laptop lineup, sitting below the X Pro 2 but offering some of the same features.

First Impressions

The MateBook 14 looks like another good laptop from Huawei and it should end up being a great alternative to a MacBook Air or other Windows laptops from likes of Dell and HP.

Key Specifications

  • 14-inch 2160 x 1440 display
  • One Hop with Huawei Share
  • 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C, HDMI
  • 100% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut
  • 256GB/512GB storage
  • 8GB/16GB RAM

Launching at MWC 2019 alongside the MateBook X Pro 2 and Mate X, the MateBook 14 is another entry in Huawei’s burgeoning laptop lineup.

As the name suggests, the MateBook 14 packs a roomy 14-inch display into a sleek metal frame. It sits below the MateBook X Pro 2 in Huawei’s laptop line specs-wise, but offers some of the same higher-end features for a more affordable price.

Huawei MateBook 14 price and release date

The MateBook 14 will start at €1199 for a Core i5 model and €1499 for the Core i7 version. No regional pricing for the UK or USA was announced and there’s no official release date yet.

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First introduced at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the MateBook line originally launched with a 13-inch model designed to offer prospective MacBook Air buyers a Windows-based alternative. That MateBook 13 inch model – which now can be selected with a touchscreen – is now joined by this 14-inch version, although you wouldn’t think they were from the same range on first glance.

The MateBook 14 is little more like the X Pro 2, but just slightly bigger and not quite as sleek. It does, however, pack that same pop-up webcam hiding under one of the keycaps – something the 13-inch model lacks.

Huawei might be relatively new to laptops but the MateBook 14 feels like it has come from a company with a history of confident, competent design. Even if that design might have been heavily influenced by Apple.

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The laptop has a smooth metal body, measuring 16mm thick and weighing a very spry 1.4kg. That’s slightly under what the Asus ZenBook 14 Pro weighs (1.6kg), but not as light as the LG Gram 14Z980, which weighs 1kg.

I only had a short time with it but it felt nice to hold and, importantly, felt really well-built. The keyboard and trackpad both impressed too, and there’s a hidden fingerprint sensor inside the home button for logging in via Windows Hello.

One area it has the MacBook Air beat with ease is ports. You’ve got one USB-C 3.1 port that can be used for charging (more on that later), two USB-A ports (one USB 2.0 and the other USB 3.0) along with a headphone jack and an HDMI port. I’d have preferred an SD slot over the HDMI, but you can always use an adapter.

Another feature plucked from the X Pro is the super-thin bezel running around the 14-inch screen. The screen-to-body ratio of 90% is impressive and it leads to a device that should be really immersive for media. Having such a small bezel also means you’re getting that larger screen in a body more akin to a 13-inch model.

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The display itself was hard to judge in the poorly lit demo room but Huawei did mention plenty of its specs. It packs a 2160 x 1440 resolution (slightly lower than the 3000 x 2000 you’ll find on the X Pro) with a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 3:2 aspect ratio and 100% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut. Of course we’ll run our own tests to determine how true those claims are.

Even within the poor lighting conditions, it’s a striking-looking screen that really makes me want a laptop with a tiny bezel. It’s a touchscreen too and felt very responsive.

Performance will vary depending on the SKU you plump for and Huawei is offering one with a Intel Core 8th Gen i5-8265U, integrated Intel UHD graphics 620, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, plus another with the Intel Core 8th Gen i7-8565U. These are the latest laptop processors from Intel, from the so-called Whiskey Lake range. The latter also boasts 512GB storage, 16GB RAM and Nvidia MX250 you’ll find the X Pro 2.

Huawei’s final trick is One Hop – an extension of its Huawei Share tool for quickly transferring files between the MateBook and any Huawei phone running the latest version of EMUI 9.1. For example, you can tap your phone on the Huawei Share sticker and ping across a photo or video, or shake the phone first to capture a live feed of whatever is on your screen. There’s also seamless copy and paste support between devices.

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The MateBook 14 looks like another good laptop from Huawei. It’s obviously not as eye-catching or buzzworthy as the brand’s Mate X foldable phone but it should end up being a great alternative to a MacBook Air or other Windows laptops from likes of Dell and HP.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.