Huawei MateBook X Pro Review
Huawei MateBook X Pro review. Laptops are exercises in compromise, with companies sacrificing what they deem to be unnecessary features on the twin altars of portability and longevity. The decisions on what to keep and what to ditch will ultimately be how the hardware is judged in the real world. Huawei’s fourth traditional laptop, the MateBook X Pro, manages to avoid most of the pitfalls around cramming decent hardware in a slender, good-looking body. In fact, it might even be good enough to make laptop buyers think twice about simply running back to the usual cluster of brands.
Huawei’s fourth laptop looks like a MacBook Pro clone, but manages to add in features that make it better for pros on the go. A traditional USB A port and a 14-inch display in a 13-inch body are both big pluses, plus excellent audio that makes it a cut above some others. You may not be so thrilled with the pop-up webcam, or the fact that it’s hard to pick up in the US.
Huawei has never paid attention to the critics who say that its devices crib too many design features from Apple. Last year’s MateBook X was a, uh, loving homage to Apple’s suffix-less MacBook, and the Pro clearly draws plenty of inspiration from its Californian namesake. But Huawei wasn’t content to simply rip off Jonathan Ive’s work and pass it off as its own: The company has also done its best to improve upon it.
On the left-hand side, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack and a pair of USB-C ports; one for power, the other Lightning-compatible. Down the right side, however, is a traditional USB-A port that just about fits without breaking the device’s clean lines. It’s a wonderful little addition for all of us who don’t want to spend big on replacing all of their existing USB accessories.
Bigger laptops, like Lenovo’s new X1 Carbon still come with USB-A and HDMI-out ports, for sure, but it’s a testament to Huawei that it included the port on a device measuring just 14.6mm thick. And it’s one in the eye for Dell’s new XPS 13, which is surely the first machine people think about for a 13-inch ultraportable. Sure, there are different trade-offs to consider with that machine, because at 11.6mm, it’s so much thinner. But we still live in a USB A world, so I like having at least one port on my work machine.
If there’s one thing that a laptop like this needs, it’s a rock solid keyboard — especially if you spend your days typing and editing documents for a living. Huawei chose not to reinvent the wheel here, opting for a chiclet keyboard that is generously-sized and spaced with short, but decent, amounts of travel. There’s a satisfying click at the bottom of each keypress that lets your fingers know you’ve successfully typed each letter. Coming from a 2013 MacBook Air, there was precisely zero learning curve to getting on this keyboard, and that’s a good thing. Nestled above the delete key on the right-hand side is a fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello that worked pretty well most of the time.