Now if you didn’t know, Huawei doesn’t just make smartphones, but laptops as well. We tried out the new Matebook 13 and it is a laptop that people should really consider.
First off, let’s start with the specs. Here in Singapore, there’s only one variant of the MateBook 13. If you go over to the Huawei Global website, however, you might see more configurations available, but it’ll still vary from region to region.
But anyways, our model runs an Intel Core i5-10210U, an Nvidia MX250, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB NVMe SSD.
So as you can tell, it has pretty much the same specs that you can expect from most thin and light laptops of this calibre.
For the design, it’s really minimalistic. The only thing that stands out is the Huawei logo right on the lid, and it only comes in one colour, which they call Space Grey.
The laptop is roughly 15 millimetres thin and weighs in around 1.3 kilograms.
Huawei doesn’t really mention what exact material it’s made out of, but it’s some form of aluminium. It’s definitely not a solid block of it, however, as you can tell from the edge of the keyboard deck.
However, there’s almost zero flex on the chassis. Overall, it’s really well-built and I would say quite premium as well.
We now move to the display, and this is one thing we really like on the MateBook 13. It features an aspect ratio of 3 by 2.
If you’ve haven’t had the chance to use a 3 by 2 aspect ratio display on a laptop, you’re missing out. A 3 by 2 display gives you more vertical space, and with that means is that more information can be seen at a glance on websites, working on documents is much more natural, and it also helps with the typing experience.
And for that last point, that’s because the display is taller compared to 16 by 9, which means your keyboard deck has to be lengthened, which translates to more space for your wrists to rest on.
That’s the main reason why we love the Surface Laptop and we’re glad Huawei made the same choice.
Of course, it’s a 13-inch display, and it does feature a pretty high resolution of 2160 by 1440. It covers 100% sRGB and goes up to 300 nits brightness. During our time with it, we found the display great for YouTube, and even while working long hours typing away at work documents.
Also to mention, it does feature 10-point multi-touch as well, should you want that.
Up next we have the webcam, and it’s a standard 720p webcam.
It’s all right for conversations on Zoom, Skype or Discord and the like, and the microphone is par for the course. Not the best, but not the worst. It’s passable.
We then move down to the keyboard and to be honest, the keycaps themselves are really large, especially for a 13-inch laptop. So in that sense, we really rarely made any mistakes while typing on it. The keys do have a shorter travel distance, and when pressing down on them, it feels more like clicking than pushing, if that makes sense. The keyboard also has white backlighting, though it’s not that bright.
To sum it up in a sentence, we feel like this keyboard most closely resembles that of the Magic Keyboard from Apple in their new Macbooks.
The power button also functions as a fingerprint reader for authentication, which is nice.
All in all, it’s a great keyboard that we would gladly use.
But we do have one gripe with it, and it brings me back to our first good point about it, the size of the keycaps.
The keycaps are large, and as we’ve mentioned, we rarely made mistakes on it. But because of the size, it took much more space on the keyboard deck, which meant less space for wrists to rest on. So while the keyboard was great to type on, we couldn’t type for as long as we could on the Surface Laptop.
So it kinda offsets the benefit of going for a 3 by 2 display.
But despite that, Huawei has managed to cram quite a large trackpad. As usual, it features a glass surface, and it’s honestly one of the few Windows-based laptops that has such a large trackpad, especially for this form factor.
It runs Precision drivers, accepts all the gestures, and is just great to use. My only issue is just the left and right clicks, which feel a bit mushy. But it’s not a big deal.
Right beside, you can also find the area for Huawei Share. So if you have a Huawei smartphone, you can just tap and transfer files between the two devices. Pretty simple.
For the speakers, they are located underneath. They sound decent and do get reasonably loud. But of course, you’ll have to use it on a flat surface, or it’ll be muffled.
Next up, ports, and unfortunately, there really isn’t much.
You get a total of just two USB-C ports, and a headphone/mic combo jack. But do take note, that you can only charge the laptop via the left USB-C port. The left USB-C port supports both power and data transfer, while the right USB-C port only supports data transfer.
With more and more devices using USB-C nowadays, I guess it’s not that big of a problem compared to a couple of years back, but I would still like to see at least one standard-sized USB port. But like I said, I can still kind of forgive that. But really, having both USB-C ports support charging, or better yet, Thunderbolt 3 would’ve been much more beneficial.
With that said and done, we come to the performance, and to be honest, the specs are plenty for the target audience that this laptop is meant for.
You can easily browse the web and have multiple Chrome tabs open, thanks to the inclusion of 16GB of RAM. You can also do basic photo editing with that Core i5 chip, and the SSD is plenty fast as well, with over 2GB of sequential read and write speeds.
But I did mention, it has dedicated graphics in the form of an Nvidia MX250. So let’s see if this is viable for video editing.
In Cinebench R20, the Core i5 did boost up to about 4GHz at the start, with temps hitting 90C, but it soon stabilized to around 2.4GHz with temps in the 70s for most of the run, giving a multi-core score of 1251 with a single-core score of 410.
In DaVinci Resolve, it managed to render our standard 10 minute 1080p project in 27 minutes and 26 seconds, while 4K took over an hour. The inclusion of an MX250 was great and definitely helped, though I will still stick to 1080p video editing for this laptop.
Temperatures are also well maintained while doing creative work, with the CPU capping out in the mid-70s, while the GPU just barely hit 70 while rendering in Resolve.
That’s partly thanks to the thermal cooling solution which Huawei designed for the MateBook 13, where you have two fans with two heat pipes, one each for the CPU and GPU.
It’s actually doing a great job cooling the laptop, though it does get a little loud when rendering, definitely noticeable if you’re in a quiet place like a library.
Now I didn’t really play any games on this laptop, but with an MX250, you can pretty much play games like CSGO and Minecraft, no issues at all.
As for battery life, we got a solid 8 hours of real usage, though do take note that it was mostly watching a couple of videos here and there, and mainly on documents. If you were to do anything more power-hungry, like photo editing, do expect the battery life to drop significantly.
So, this is the MateBook 13 from Huawei, and it was honestly a really enjoyable experience. It’s a great everyday laptop that’s minimalistic in design, light to carry around, and can do everything that the average person would use a laptop for, and more.
But the main reason why we say this is a laptop you should really consider is the price.
For this specific variant, the MateBook 13 retails for S$1,598. At that price, it’s much more affordable than the Macbook Air or Macbook Pro 13 with the same specs, and even the Surface Laptop 3 or the Razer Blade Stealth.
And most of the laptops we mentioned, don’t even feature a dedicated graphics card.
Now, you might argue about build quality and stuff, and we do have some gripes about it, and you’re kind of right? But to be fair, we would say you’re getting 90% of that same premium experience as with those laptops I just mentioned.
It’s a great laptop, at a great price.
More information and purchase options for the Huawei Matebook 13 (S$1,598) is available on Huawei’s website.