The Huawei MateBook 16 is a solid laptop with a great 16-inch screen that’s ideal for working and watching video content. Add to this an excellent battery life and a quick eight-core processor, and there’s no doubt this is one of the best 16-inch laptops available for productivity. That said, the webcam’s odd location may be a deal-breaker for those who frequent video conferences.
- Speedy performance
- Big screen for work and play
- Reliable battery life
- High-quality keyboard
- Sometimes goes to sleep when the charger is removed
- Not great for portability
- Unflattering webcam
- Can upgrade to Windows 11You can upgrade the Huawei MateBook 16 to Windows 11 for free, although this review is based on the Windows 10 version
- Large displayThe generously sized 16-inch display is great for productivity and for watching media
- Nosecam is pretty awkwardThe webcam is nestled in the keyboard, which results in an unflattering view of your face on those daily Zoom calls
Big laptops are back in vogue, as we’ve recently seen the return of 16-inch portable PCs that have designed for casual use rather than gaming. The Huawei MateBook 16 is a shining example of this, even though it’s only currently available in select markets.
This model comes packing an AMD Ryzen 7 5000-series processor, which makes it super-fast and a great option for those needing a new work laptop.
Unfortunately, the Huawei MateBook 16 isn’t easy to pick up if you’re in the UK or USA; the Huawei website only offers this laptop to those in Germany or China. It’s expected to appear on these shores at some point, although when isn’t yet clear.
It is possible to buy this laptop from third-party retailers in the UK, but ensure you’re buying from a reputable seller and keep in mind that extras such as warranties and chargers may not be included.
But is this laptop worth all of that hassle? With that in mind, here’s how I got on with the Huawei MateBook 16.
- Feels sturdy
- Fairly lightweight considering the 16-inch display
- Nosecam is bizarre
The Huawei MateBook 16 sports a similar design to the rest of the MateBook series – which is a good thing. The slim chassis and build quality, with similar aesthetics to the MacBook Pro, make this one of the best-looking laptops on the market right now.
In the same vein as the Huawei MateBook X Pro, this particular variation is neither foldable nor a hybrid model, with the hinge folding back to just 130 degrees.
The metal design and 1.9kg weight make this laptop feel remarkably sturdy, while still offering a degree of portability. I’ve been using this laptop both at the office and at home, and haven’t found it too annoying or too heavy to carry. As long as your bag is big enough, you shouldn’t have any issues using the MateBook 16 as your primary work laptop.
Of course, if portability is important to you, then there are plenty of lighter 13-inch and 14-inch laptop alternatives out there, so you’re going to need to make use of that huge screen in order to get your money’s worth here.
The aluminium chassis helps to keep the laptop looking clean and smudge-proof, and while the exclusive Space Grey colour isn’t the most eye-catching compared to the other laptops lining up the shelves of Currys, the MateBook 16 remains a sleek-looking machine.
The keyboard is more shallow than some folk may like, but delivers good feedback and is impressively quiet. Personally, I found the depth and response of the keyboard almost perfect, allowing me to type comfortably and quickly with few issues.
The trackpad feels roomy and responsive, and the laptop itself comes with a good selection of ports, including two USB-C, two USB-A, an HDMI and audio jack. My only gripe here is that since the laptop uses USB-C charging, I would have welcomed a USB-C port on either side of the laptop, rather than their current placement that’s directly next to each other.
However, the main downside of the MateBook 16’s design is the oddly placed webcam. The camera sits in the keyboard and pops up on the press of a button. For privacy, then, it’s ideal; but in use it means that your zoom calls will be spent with others looking up your nose. And considering video calls have now become more common place, this isn’t the best for setting a professional tone.
And touching on the sound and microphone qualities, the speakers here are consistent and loud, with an impressive level of bass for a laptop. They make music and TV sound balanced, making the laptop usable without the need for headphones or a separate speaker. The microphone is decent, too: I didn’t receive any complaints over Zoom that my voice sounded distorted.
- Vibrant and detailed display with 2520 x 1680 resolution
- 3:2 aspect ratio makes working with multiple tabs a breeze
- Massive 16-inch display
The best part of the Huawei MateBook 16 is the display. The 16-inch 3:2 aspect ratio means that you can easily work with multiple tabs open at once, furthering the case for this being a fantastic work device.
A super-thin bezel results in a screen-to-body ratio of 90%. This gives it a stylish modern look, especially when compared to the Surface Laptop 4, which looks outdated due to its chunky rim.
The laptop features a 2520 x 1680 resolution, which means it will look sharper with supported content compared to screens that are limited to Full HD (1920 x 1080). There’s no 4K or OLED option here, but that’s incredibly rare to find at this price point.
In order to test out the Huawei MateBook 16’s screen quality I used a colorimeter to collect scores, while also my own judgement to see whether it held up to those scores in real-world use.
In terms of brightness, the laptop scored 349.99 nits in our tests, which is well over the average 300-nit score you typically find with laptops.
Contrast was measured at 1734:1 too, resulting in a vibrant screen quality that’s ideal for watching the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus. Colours appear natural too, with no noticeable red or blue hues distorting the pure on-screen whites.
But is this laptop’s screen good enough for content creation? No quite. The 88% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut narrowly misses out on our 90% target, which means digital artwork will look a tad more accurate on other screens.
The MateBook 16 posted even worse scores for Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 (61% and 63% respectively), which means this laptop really isn’t ideal for colour-sensitive work with photos and videos. You’re better off with the likes of the MacBook Pro if that’s important to you.
But while it may not pass the grade for professional content creation, the MateBook 16’s screen remains a fantastic choice for office workers and Netflix addicts who just want extra screen space.
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800H is pretty fast
- Loads up extremely quickly
- Integrated AMD Radoen graphics card
The Huawei MateBook 16 fared very well in terms of performance, with the eight-core Ryzen processor keeping everything running smoothly. The machine proved remarkably quiet, and I wasn’t concerned about anything abruptly shutting down or stalling, even with multiple Chrome tabs, Spotify and Zoom open at once.
Looking at the benchmarks, the MateBook 16 performed well, beating the 11th Gen U-series chips in both the Huawei MateBook X Pro and LG Gram 17 (2021). It wasn’t quite able to outrun the MacBook Air, although that’s understandable given the jaw-dropping power of the M1 chipset.
|Huawei MateBook 16||Huawei MateBook X Pro||LG Gram 17 (2021)||MacBook Air M1|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 5800H||Intel i7-1165G7||Intel Core i7-1165G7||Apple M1|
|Geekbench 5 single-core||1447||1518||1564||1731|
|Geekbench 5 multi-core||7151||5048||5435||7308|
|3DMark Time Spy||1351||1469||1335||N/A|
But while the Matebook 16 is a standout performer for productivity tasks, you may want to look elsewhere if you’re looking to use the MateBook 16 for heavier tasks such as video editing. This can also be attributed to the lack of a discrete GPU.
The integrated AMD Radeon graphics card here will be fine with a spot of causal photoshopping or gaming – but it will struggle with rendering 3D animations or playing AAA titles.
The MateBook 16 comes with 512GB of storage, which is plentiful enough for work or education purposes. However, considering that allocation is the only option, it’s a shame that you can’t boost it 1TB.
The SSD is offers fast speeds too, with benchmark results showing that it boasts 3569.9MB/s read and 2989.67MB/s write scores. This means you should notice a speedy performance when running or installing software to the physical drive
Plus, if you do manage to get your hands on a MateBook 16, you can upgrade to Windows 11 for free – although I’ve been exclusively operating on the default Windows 10 during my testing.
- Reached 13 hours in our testing
- Can easily last one working day
For a work laptop, the Huawei MateBook 16 will happily see you through a day – which was good news on those few occasions that I had left my charger at home. In the PCMark 10 Office battery benchmark, the laptop lasted exactly 13 hours before shutting down.
This is three hours longer than the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021, putting it towards the higher end of the scale when it comes to longevity.
The one issue I experienced concerning the battery is that on occasion, the laptop would go to sleep if I removed the charger while it was on. Logging back in would bring me right back to where I had left off, but it was pretty disconcerting the first few times it happened.
It isn’t a deal-breaker – it happened only a handful of times – but I try not to mess with the charger while I’m working.
Should you buy it?
If you want a big-screen productivity laptop
For those looking for a great work laptop, the large screen, impressive battery life and fast processor make the MateBook 16 worth the price.
If you want to do more graphically intensive tasks There are equally fast, and faster, laptops that can handle video/photo editing more capably than the MateBook 16.
The Huawei MateBook 16 offers amazing build quality and a superb screen that makes every task easier. Running almost silent, the battery will happily see you through a work day without any issues. That big screen is also useful for having multiple browsers open at once, or just making Netflix shows more dramatic.
However, you may have trouble getting your hands on the MateBook 16 depending on where you live, and we can confidently say that the oddly placed webcam isn’t doing anyone any favours.
How we test
Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life.
These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real-world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps.
We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.
Used as our main laptop for the review period
Tested for at least a week
Used consistent benchmarks for fair comparisons with other laptops
Tested the battery life
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No, this is not a touchscreen laptop.
Yes, you can run Microsoft Office and its applications on this laptop.
It uses a USB-C port charger.