The Huawei MateBook X Pro is a great all-round laptop with a lovely ultra-portable design, gorgeous 2K display and a performance decent enough to handle basic productivity tasks. A terrible webcam and a reflective display are the main factors holding it back from challenging the Dell XPS, but it's still a great value option for the likes of students and office workers
- Looks fantastic
- Screen aspect-ratio is great for productivity
- Lots of good specs for the price
- That green colour
- Reflective screen
- Everything about the webcam is bad
- SD slot would have been the icing on the cake
- Review Price: £1399.99
- Originally reviewed: May 21, 2020
- 13.9-inch touchscreen LCD display
- Up to Intel Core i7-10510U
- Up to Nvidia MX250 GPU
- Up to 16GB RAM
- Up to 1TB SSD
- Dimensions: 304 x 217 x 14.6 mm
- Weight: 1.33kg
Huawei has been making excellent Windows 10 laptops for a few years now and the MateBook X Pro 2020 might just be the best yet – even if it doesn’t offer too many upgrades over the outgoing model
The MateBook X Pro 2020 is a true flagship laptop. It comes with either an i5 or i7 10th-gen chipset, 16GB of RAM and a glorious design headlined by a fantastic display.
The i7 version with the 1TB reviewed here costs £1699, while an i5 version with half that storage will set you back £1399.
Design – One of the best looking laptops you’ll find
- Available in a stunning Emerald Green colour
- Weighs just 1.3kg, making it very portable
- Great port selection, although lacks SD card slot
In its main Emerald Green hue, the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 is a gorgeous laptop; it’s easily one the best-looking devices around right now. From its heavily chamfered edges that glisten in the light to the large, responsive trackpad, it feels as though every inch of this laptop has been well thought out and refined.
Huawei has the MacBook Pro series in its sights in terms of looks, more so than the Dell XPS 13 with its carbon-fibre interior. It also doesn’t try to be as small as the XPS 13, deciding instead to offer a squarer, larger display. Still, weighing 1.3kg and packing dimensions smaller than Apple’s latest 13-inch laptop, the MateBook X Pro 2020 is still a machine that will easily slide into your bag without adding too much extra bulk.
Huawei impresses with the port selection, too, pairing two USB-C ports (both of which can be used for charging and one packing Thunderbolt 3 support) with a single traditional USB 3.0 port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
While I’d have preferred a greater number of USB-C ports, including that older USB-A port helps productivity and removes the constant need for dongles and adapters. The MateBook X Pro lacks an SD card slot, however; the addition of one would have really completed the package.
Keyboard and trackpad – More impressive stuff
- Keyboard is very comfortable to type on
- Fingerprint scanner sees inconsistent results
- The pop-up webcam is located in the keyboard
Like the MateBook’s overall composition, both keyboard and trackpad design are well thought out, making for some of the best additions I’ve used.
The backlit keyboard remains identical to the unit that featured in the previous MateBook X Pro. Its springy keys are well spaced out, packing sufficient travel to leave you bouncing around the keyboard free of making too many mistakes. It’s similar in many aspects to the Magic Keyboard on the newer MacBooks, and you’ll notice a significant improvement if you’re upgrading from an older Mac with a butterfly keyboard.
Positioned just above the keyboard is the circular – and colour-matched to the laptop – Windows Hello certified fingerprint scanner. This isn’t the best security solution I’ve tried – it would often take a couple of attempts to recognise my digit. However, its presence at least means that when it does work, it offers a quick way to unlock the machine. Windows certification also means it will also work for showing your passwords in Chrome, for example, or authorising Windows Store purchases.
Hidden among the function row of keys you’ll find the pop-up 1-megapixel webcam – the biggest issue I have with this laptop. Now, the decision to hide away the camera makes sense and adds that bit of extra privacy. However, its positioning means it will always be looking up your nose, which is far from ideal. In addition, general camera quality is terrible – which doesn’t serve this laptop well given that video conferencing has become more important than ever before.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is a winner. Not only does it just about square up to the MacBook Pro’s unit for size, it’s responsive and consistently reliable too.
Display – The aspect-ratio might not be for everyone, but we love it
- The 3:2 aspect ratio improves the look of webpages
- 2K resolution results in a sharper display than most ultrabooks
- Reflective panel makes it difficult to use laptop outside
I love almost everything about the MateBook X Pro 2020’s 13.9-inch display. In fact, it’s been the feature that’s kept me glued to this machine for the past month. It also gives the laptop a unique twist; something I’ve come to expect from Huawei.
Unlike the majority of the competition, the display here boasts a 3:2 aspect ratio, which makes it squatter, squarer when compared to the more common 16:9 or 16:10 screens. The idea here is that the taller panel is better for cramming more into web pages – you’ll be scrolling less in long documents. Having used this form of display, everything else feels restrictive.
However, not everyone will be a fan, especially those who use their laptop to watch a lot of movies. The black bars around traditional cinema content will appear far larger here, and can prove distracting.
Elsewhere, the screen continues to excel. It has a sharp, if not quite 4K, 3000 x 2000 resolution, tiny bezels and the display is touch-enabled. I’m not the biggest fan of how Windows utilises touch, but here it’s responsive at least. Colours are bright and vivid, black levels are decent, and to my eye the brightness levels just about matched those of my MacBook Pro.
The only thing that stops this display from being class-leading is that it’s super-reflective. Typing out this review in a slightly sunny room, I can clearly see my fingers reflecting back at me. I tried using it outside on a mildly sunny day and I struggled.
Performance – What you’d expect from a high-end 2020 laptop
- Powerful enough for basic productivity tasks
- Not quite as powerful as similar Windows rivals
- Nvidia MX250 GPU offers small bump in graphics power
Huawei is positioning this as its flagship, high-end laptop, and the internal options reflect that. See the chart below for a full look at all the options available:
|Huawei MateBook X Pro||i5/512GB SSD||16GB|
|Huawei MateBook X Pro||i5/512GB SSD/ NVIDIA MX250||16GB|
|Huawei MateBook X Pro||i7/1TB SSD/ NVIDIA MX250||16GB|
I’ve been using the top-end i7 10510U model; it’s a quick machine that remains near-silent when you’re putting it through its paces. Even though you do get a bump up to the Nvidia MX250 for graphics, don’t expect this machine to be pushing too many intensive tasks or games. I managed to run Football Manager 2020 with graphical settings set to low – which the machine handled well.
While I’ll get into benchmark tests shortly, real-world performance is arguably far more important. As you’d expect with the specs on hand, this machine handles day to day tasks without issue. More than 30 tabs open in Chrome failed to cause any lag, nor cause the machine’s fans to kick up a notch. Nor did I ever feel the need to close down apps – Lightroom, Photoshop, Steam for example – to keep the machine from becoming bogged down.
Below you can see the MateBook X Pro 2020’s benchmark results compared to some of its rivals. While I was a little surprised by the low scores, nothing I encountered during the review period led me to believe there would be an issue – as long as you keep to basic tasks and don’t intend editing video on a frequent basis.
|Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020||Dell XPS 13 2020||HP Spectre x360 13|
Audio performance, too, is decent, with the speakers pumping out loud audio from either side of the keyboard. They can’t match the units that feature in Apple’s high-end laptops for pure quality – these speakers are far better for movies than detailed music – but they’ll still get the job done.
Huawei’s big software feature is Huawei Share, and if you have one of the company’s phones running EMUI 10, then it’s a handy addition. It will let you very quickly bulk-share snaps and media by tapping your phone on the laptop’s keyboard. It works well and is just about as successful as Apple’s AirDrop. It’s only a shame you’ll need a Huawei phone, rather than any Android, to take advantage of it.
Battery life – Will the MateBook X Pro 2020 get you through the day?
- MateBook X Pro 2020 lasted around 5-6 hours of screen time
- Looping video saw the battery last 8 hours and 3o minutes
As is the case with most laptops running high-end i7 chips, the MateBook X Pro 2020’s endurance wasn’t always a winner. Battery life is by no means poor, but if I was away from my charger for a full work day then I’d be concerned that the device might not make it through that time without a top-up.
Depending on the battery setting chosen, I’ve achieved around 5-6 hours of screen-on time per day. This includes Chrome open with multiple tabs, Photoshop and Slack running in the background, and the odd bout of Spotify. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but I wouldn’t consider my use out of the ordinary for the target market of this device.
For watching video, the MateBook X Pro played a looped 1080p video for 8hrs 30mins before giving out.
You should buy the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 if…
- You’re looking for a classy ultrabook
The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 is one of the most stylish ultrabooks we’ve reviewed, with a simple but elegant design and slender screen bezel. If looks are a priority, the MateBook X Pro 2020 should be high up your shortlist.
- You watch a lot of video
Thanks to the 2K resolution and bright colours, the Matebook X Pro 2020 boasts one of the best ultrabook panels in the business, especially if you want to watch the likes of Disney Plus, Netflix and YouTube.
- You want a laptop for the office
The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 has everything you need for the office, including a competent performance, ultra-portable design and a comfortable keyboard. If you need a Windows work laptop, this is one of the best options.
You shouldn’t buy the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 if…
- You’re going to use use your webcam a lot
The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 features a webcam in the keyboard, which results in an unflattering view up your nose during video chats. This could be a deal breaker for those who frequent Zoom.
- You’re happy to sacrifice some performance power
If you don’t need a high-end performance, it’s worth considering the Honor MagicBook 14 as an alternative; it’s almost identical to the MateBook X Pro albeit with a slightly weaker performance, a standard Full HD display, and a more affordable price point.
- You want to use it outside
The MateBook X Pro 2020’s screen suffers from issues with glare, which means it can be difficult to see what’s on the display when using the laptop outside on a sunny day. Battery life is also underwhelming.