Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

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Introduction, Unboxing

Huawei’s MateBook X series is the company’s most premium – spanning the fanless MateBook X, which weighs only 1.0 kg and is Huawei’s most portable machine and the laptop we have here – Huawei MateBook X Pro, which combines portability with power .

MateBook X Pro 2021 was originally launched in China and is now pre-ordered in Europe and will go on sale soon. The 16GB / 1TB model is CNY 12,000 / € 1,899 / £ 1,599, which is not cheap but actually quite competitive when you consider the package you get.

Our device comes in the emerald green color and there is also a Space Gray, but Huawei has apparently discontinued the lighter Mystic Silver it offered for the MateBook X Pro 2020. The laptop comes in a small cardboard box with a 65W charger and a single USB -C cable.

The charger is a standard Power Delivery brick that can also charge your tablet or phone (or even drone) with variable power of 10W, 18W, 24W, 45W and 65W, making this combination very convenient.

One of the biggest appeals to the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is its design. It is a thin and light machine with thin frames and tightly packed internal parts.

It’s freakish to think that Huawei has kept more or less the same design for its MateBook X Pro series for four years, and yet this machine looks at least as good as any of its competitors in 2021.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021, front and rear
Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021, front and rear

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021, front and rear

Complete with Intel’s 11th generation Tiger Lake CPUs, the fastest RAM around, Wi-Fi 6 support, a 3: 2 touch screen and a premium design, the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is a serious ultraportable.

The 2021 model also brings some subtle improvements over its predecessor. There’s another fan under the hood, and Intel’s 11th generation processor provides more performance and the Thunderbolt 4, the aforementioned faster Wi-Fi 6 and a solid-state touchpad.

Screen, keyboard, touchpad, I / O

The display on the MateBook X Pro 2021 appears to be identical to last year’s model. It is a 3: 2 LTPS LCD screen with a resolution of 3000x2000px with sticky sharp 260ppi and 178-degree viewing angles. The edges of the machine are nicely trimmed, resulting in an alleged 91% screen / body ratio.

Huawei claims a typical brightness of 450 nits, which we even found conservative. We measured a maximum of 480 nits in the middle. The screen supports 100% of the sRGB color scale and came with excellent color reproduction from the box.

The only weakness of the screen is its glossy glass cover, which is quite reflective.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

The screen format of the screen is, in the opinion of this reviewer, the best for a laptop. With 13.9 inches and 3: 2, it finds the perfect balance between video, photo and web browsing / productivity. You get more vertical space for websites and documents and do not lose horizontal space to watch 16: 9 videos compared to the typical 13.3-14.0-inch 16: 9 or 16:10 laptop.

The Plus 3: 2 aspect is perfect for editing photos.

Of course, the MateBook X Pro 2021’s screen is a touch screen. It supports up to 10 point input, is very responsive and supports multi-touch movements for zoom. It adds a whole new level to scrolling through websites and viewing images.

You can drag the screen with three fingers to access Huawei’s intuitive screenshot tool. It allows you to select with one finger which part of the screen you want to capture.

The quad speakers on the MateBook X Pro 2021 include a subwoofer and a tweeter on each side for richer sound. However, the grids on the side of the keyboard are not the sound source. There are openings under them that give the loudest sound. They face the side and not also down, so if the laptop is on a desk, the sound bounces off the flat surface and provides a rich listening experience.

Watching videos on MateBook is great
Watching videos on MateBook is great

Watching videos on MateBook is great

The keyboard is full size with just over an inch on each side reserved for the speakers. This is a card travel keyboard that is paired with the course of thin and light laptops, but is one of the best I have used.

Keychain is short, but the tactile response is pleasant. Each key is nicely balanced and the layout is very easy to get used to. The Enter key is large and easy to find.

The only issues are the small up and down keys and the lack of any Home, Exit, Page up and Page down buttons, which may be a deal-breaker for some.

I wrote this entire review of the MateBook X Pro 2021’s keyboard and experienced no issues. This is a machine you can comfortably type on all day once you have spent the time getting used to its idiosyncrasies.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

The touchpad is very large. It takes up more than a third of the bottom of the MateBook X Pro 2021’s tires. The glass surface is perfectly smooth for rolling and movements with several fingers.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

This is a solid-state glass trackpad. Huawei calls it the Free Touch, and it can detect clicks anywhere on the surface. The Huawei Free Touch app allows you to customize the click sensitivity and vibration intensity to your liking. You can even turn off clicks, which is a bit jarring.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

If you have a supported Huawei smartphone, you can connect it using Huawei Share. Just press the phone’s NFC to the touchpad to initialize the connection. Huawei Share allows you to control your phone from the laptop and share files between the two devices.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

Something that has not changed from previous Huawei and Honor laptops and has not aged well, the webcam is hidden in the keyboard’s f-row. It is an up-the-nose cam that is easily blocked if you type. Plus it’s a high quality HD camera everywhere.

On the upside, the dual microphones on the front of the laptop provide excellent call clarity.

The fingerprint scanner is integrated in the on / off button. It supports redemption, which means that a single tap is enough to turn on the laptop and log you on to Windows. However, there is no Windows Hello-supported camera.

Power button for nose camera and fingerprint
Power button for nose camera and fingerprint

Power button for nose camera and fingerprint

There is decent port selection for such a thin and light device. You get two USB-C ports and 3.5mm audio jack on the left side and a single full-size USB-A on the right.

Both USB-Cs are 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4-ports that support 4K @ 60Hz and 3840x2160px output.

Three USB ports and a 3.5 mm connector
Three USB ports and a 3.5 mm connector

Three USB ports and a 3.5 mm connector

If we had to point the finger at anything in the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021’s build, it’s the chassis’ smear. The sleek metal surface collects and retains fingerprints and dirt eagerly and is a little hard to wipe down.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

Performance and battery life

Our Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is powered by the 11th generation Intel Core-i7-1165G7 – a chip with 4 cores and 8 wires, built on a 10 nm process with a 12 MB L3 cache and a TDP of up to 28 W.

Paired with the chipset is Intel’s 11th generation Iris Xe GPU, which is said to be about 20% faster than Intel’s 10th generation integrated graphics and faster than the NVIDIA MX250 GPU in last year’s MateBook X Pro.

Huawei has equipped the MateBook X Pro 2021 with 16 GB the current fastest LPDDR4x RAM running at 4266 MHz.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

In performance mode, the CPU runs at around 1200 MHz with peaks at 4100 MHz. Temperatures at idle are around 37 ° C to 40 ° C. During a stress test, the CPU jumps to almost 90 ° C and a clock speed of approx. 4100 MHz, and then rapidly down to around 2400 MHz and just below 80 ° C.

This year’s MateBook X Pro 2021 has added a second fan connected to the first via a thin steam cooling chamber.

Huawei set the MateBook X Pro 2021 to run quietly and not get very hot. Each time the machine passes 80 ° C, the CPU rapidly degasses to allow it to cool. Fans rarely kick in unless the system is stressed, but even then it became as high as 45 dB in arm length. The chassis never got really hot – we detected a peak temperature of 42 ° C in the middle of the keyboard.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

The combination of Intel’s 11th generation CPU and integrated graphics results in a quiet and cool machine that can tackle most workflows without any problems. Image editing on the MateBook X Pro 2021 is a breeze, and you can even do video editing with the right settings – e.g. Optimized media.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

The stock drive in our Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is the Samsung PM981a – an excellent drive with excellent performance.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

Battery life was very good from the MateBook X Pro 2021. It worked just under 8 hours continuous browsing with 100% brightness and 12:30 hours at 50% brightness.

Charging the machine from 0 to 100% took 90 minutes. Huawei says you can achieve 4 hours of battery life with just 30 minutes on the charger.

Are you going to buy it?

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 offers great value for money. It’s expensive and there are a few laptops with similar specifications for less, but one that matches the whole package costs more. And when you consider that the real performance is as good as the specifications promise, there are no real downsides.

No other device mixes a 3: 2 touch screen with 480 nit brightness, such a beautiful design, amazing speakers, keyboard, touchpad and battery life.

But again, it’s a pretty expensive laptop. You can get this performance, if not at this level of portability and craftsmanship, at a lower cost.

And there is one particular Apple laptop (or two) that has an advantage in performance and battery life at a lower price, but you will have to forgo Windows and a touch screen.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 can do it all, is great to use, does not compromise and feels special. We first saw this machine in 2018 and it was impressive back then and it is still impressive today. Definitely one of the easier recommendations we can come up with.

Advantage

  • Large, bright, color-accurate touch screen.
  • 3: 2 image format is perfect for web browsing, document work, photo editing.
  • Great keyboard, trackpad, speakers.
  • Excellent build quality and craftsmanship.
  • Good battery life.
  • Fast, convenient USB-C charging.
  • Very good performance from Intel 11th generation platform.
  • Very fast SSD.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive.
  • No USB-C (and no charging) on ​​the right side.
  • Poor location and quality of webcam.
  • The display is very reflective.
  • Body is easily smeared.
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