We have with us two laptops, the Huawei MateBook X Pro and the Asus ExpertBook B9400. Two laptops that are really different, right down to their intended target audience. But yet, we’re going to compare the two, because as a consumer, you have the choice, and surprise surprise, these two laptops cost almost exactly the same.
So first things first, let’s talk about pricing and availability. Here in Singapore, both laptops actually retail for the exact same price, just under S$2,700. Now you might notice that the MateBook X Pro does go on discount quite often, but with that said, the two laptops are still within that price bracket.
Now for the majority of you outside of Singapore, especially for those of you in the States, the ExpertBook would actually be the more affordable option, costing just about US$1,700. As for the other laptop… well… we all know the whole story about Huawei over in the States, so you will have to be willing to go the extra mile if you really want a MateBook X Pro. If you do, well, it’ll cost roughly a hundred dollars more if we take the offer price in Singapore Dollars and convert that.
All in all, the two laptops are still priced pretty similarly. To that end, if we talk about specs, both are actually downright the same.
You’re going to get an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Heck, even the Wi-Fi card is the same.
Now there is a little bit of difference in terms of the actual performance you’re getting, but let’s not dive too deep yet. We’ll touch on that later. For now, let’s talk about the two laptops in general and what you can expect from either of them.
Three things stand out immediately the moment you have these two laptops side by side. Build quality, weight and definitely the display.
In terms of the material used, the two laptops take two very different paths. The MateBook X Pro makes full use of aluminium which makes it really solid and premium to the touch, and for our model here, we have it in Emerald Green which honestly looks really great, and that comes from a guy who likes monochromatic stuff in general. It’s a really nice color and it’s a breath of fresh air.
On the other hand, the ExpertBook B9400 uses a magnesium-lithium alloy and it has a matte finish all around. It does still feel premium but yet somewhat rugged as well. Somehow you feel that it can take a beating more so than the MateBook X Pro and rightfully so since it is also Military Standard 810H certified.
With that said, the choice of materials does directly correlate to the weight, and the ExpertBook B9400 is definitely the lighter of the two, coming in at just about 1 kilogram (1.05kg) compared to the MateBook X Pro at about 1.3 kilogram (1.33kg).
But the display is arguably the biggest difference. The MateBook X Pro sports a 3:2 aspect ratio 13.9-inch display at a resolution of 3K by 2K, while the ExpertBook has a more standard 16:9 aspect ratio 14-inch display with a Full HD resolution.
Both displays are honestly going to serve you great, but the display on the MateBook X Pro definitely edges out a little here. The 3K by 2K resolution is quite a bit higher compared to Full HD, which makes for a great visual experience. It can also get slightly brighter, at 450 nits compared to 400 nits and the best part is the 3:2 aspect ratio, which really makes browsing and working on documents quite a lot more comfortable.
Also to mention is that the MateBook X Pro’s display supports touch which the ExpertBook doesn’t offer.
As we’ve mentioned before, a 3:2 aspect ratio does give you more space on the screen, but that translates down to the keyboard as well. Although the keyboards on both laptops are equally sized, the typing experience on the MateBook X Pro was definitely much better, simply because the palm rest area is much larger. In our opinion, the keycaps on the MateBook X Pro do feel much better. It does offer a much more tactile experience compared to the ExpertBook. We also appreciate the location of the power button, which is dedicated on the top right corner, as compared to the top right key on the ExpertBook.
But there is one major drawback… and that’s the webcam. Now the quality of both webcams are equally average with decent microphones, but the position of the webcam on the MateBook X Pro is not ideal.
Located under the keycap with a swivel mechanism, the angle is not flattering. The webcam on the ExpertBook is just far better in this regard, positioned where it should be, and that webcam also supports Windows Hello.
All in all, the ExpertBook has the better webcam.
As for the trackpad front, it’s arguably similar. Both perform equally great with just a slight difference in terms of the actual size. But the ExpertBook does incorporate a digital numpad within the touchpad itself, so that’s a plus.
In terms of speakers, you can expect decent quality from both of them. The main difference we could tell in terms of the overall audio experience is that the ExpertBook can get quite a bit louder despite the down-firing speakers, while the MateBook X Pro provides more clarity, especially for vocals.
But when we talk about ports, there’s no comparison, the ExpertBook wins hands down. The MateBook X Pro features just two Type-C ports, a 3.5mm combo jack and a standard USB port, whereas the ExpertBook has two Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, full-size HDMI 2.0b, micro HDMI to RJ45 Ethernet via an adapter, a standard USB 3.2 and your 3.5mm combo jack.
Finally, one of the most important factors when choosing such a laptop, battery life. The MateBook X Pro features a 56Wh battery and will last you roughly 8 hours of actual usage, while the ExpertBook features a 66Wh battery and will last you about 9 and a half hours. While the ExpertBook does take the edge here, the MateBook X Pro isn’t far behind and with either laptop, you need not worry should you forget to bring the power brick out for the day.
Now if you remember, we did mention that although the specs are the same, performance isn’t.
Here in Cinebench R20, with both laptops on their Performance profile, the ExpertBook scores much higher in both multi and single core. And the main reason for that actually comes down to wattage. The Core i7-1165G7 has a maximum TDP of 28 watts and that’s how it’s configured on the ExpertBook, whereas on the MateBook X Pro, it is configured for 15 watts instead.
This also translates to the render performance in DaVinci Resolve, where the ExpertBook is able to render the same 10-minute 1080 project a whole 8 mins faster.
And let’s say you want to do some light gaming, the same applies. The ExpertBook will perform much better, especially in a game like Genshin Impact, where it can get almost twice the average frames per second. On that note, we also have to mention that you get far fewer sudden frame rate drops on the ExpertBook compared to the MateBook X Pro.
But you do sacrifice a little for that uplift in performance on the ExpertBook, and that comes in the form of fan noise and temperatures.
On the MateBook X Pro, the temperature usually hovers in the high-60s to the mid-70s most of the time, be it gaming or creative work. Which, honestly, is actually quite amazing especially when you compare it to the previous generation MateBook X Pro which was a hot mess and didn’t even offer the performance for the specs. This generation is much better.
As for the ExpertBook, expect the temperature to be in the mid-80s for the most part, and with the fan at full speed, clearly audible and high pitched.
In the end, pros and cons. The Core i7 is configured for the full 28 watts on the ExpertBook and thus you do get the best out of the chip, but in return, fan noise and temperatures go up. On the MateBook X Pro, the chip tops out at 15 watts and while fan noise is minimal and temperatures are well controlled, you lose out on performance.
But here’s a little extra info. If you were to use the MyAsus app and change the profile to the out of the box standard mode for the fans, the Intel Core i7 in the ExpertBook will actually be limited to just about 8.5 watts, which does bring the fan noise and temperature down to the same level as the MateBook X Pro, but at almost half the performance.
So… I think we’ve covered just about everything about these two laptops, and you might be asking… well, which is better?
Honestly, there isn’t a clear cut answer. But we would say that if you’re looking for a laptop with a great high-resolution touchscreen display, a great pair of speakers, a really nice keyboard and trackpad and decent performance for day to day tasks, the MateBook X Pro is looking like a great choice. Not to mention that the Emerald Green stands out.
But if you’re looking for a matte display, an extremely lightweight chassis, multiple useful ports and good enough performance to indulge yourself in some light gaming or do some serious creative work in photography or videography, the ExpertBook might be what you want to look at. And if you’re in the States, you really have only one option anyways.
But with all that said, we still really like both laptops and we have to give props to Huawei, for they’ve actually managed to fix their flagship MateBook X Pro. This generation is much better compared to the previous. As for Asus, they’ve always been doing a good job, and it shows.
Content by Soon Kai Hong