Huawei MateBook 14 full review
MWC is typically about smartphones, but Huawei has updated its line of laptops with a trio of new models. Here’s our MateBook 14 hands-on review, which is the middle of the pack offering the best of both worlds.
You probably know Huawei for devices like the Mate 20 Pro, but its laptops are worth a look if you want a MacBook alternative, or even something to rival the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo. The firm is something of a dark horse in this area if you ask us.
As we thought, the MateBook 14 sits slightly above the MateBook 13 which starts at 999 Euro. The laptop starts at 1199 Euro (we're waiting for UK and US prices), then jumps to 1499 Euro.
You'll get a Core i5 at the lower price with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The more expensive model is a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and a touch screen. It's similar to the MateBook X Pro 2019 yet at a lower price.
It will be available ‘by April’ we’re told by Huawei.
Design & Build
Humble in its initial appearance, the MateBook 14 has some impressive design features like a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. That’s only one percent off the X Pro.
It’s not quite as svelte but at 15.9mm and 1.49kg it’s not exactly a brick. This is still a premium laptop but Huawei has to hold something back for the X Pro.
It still has some features of the X Pro, though, like a webcam hidden in a pop-up key - which is neat albeit with an awkward angle for calls - and a fingerprint scanner hidden in the power button.
The advantage of it being a little bigger is space for ports. For a modern portable laptop it’s got flipping loads including, shock horror, full-size HDMI. There’s also two USB-A ports, one USB-C (used for charging) and a headphone jack.
You’re unlikely to need a dongle here unless you really need an ethernet port.
Like the X Pro, it’s available in Space Grey and Mystic Silver colours but also a Pink Gold
optins. It features things like a large trackpad and backlit keyboard which we need to spend more time with before commenting on.
Specs & Features
As the name suggests, the MateBook 14 has a 14in screen. It’s pretty similar to the X Pro’s (13.9in) with a 3:2 aspect ratio and touch input but a more modest 2160 x 1440 resolution (185ppi). It’s also not as bright on paper but we think it looks pretty decent overall.
The MateBook 14 comes with either an Intel Core i5-8265U with integrated UHD Graphics 620 or a Core i7-8565U with an Nvidia MX250 discrete GPU. That’s pretty impressive.
There’s also 8- or 16GB of RAM with a 256- or 512GB SSD so we’re not talking about basic specs. Even the cheaper model here will be pretty decent for most users.
Confusingly, the models confirmed at the Huawei MWC press conference are:
- Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage, MX250
- Core i7, 16GB, RAM, 512GB storage, MX250, touch screen
Like the other MateBooks for 2019, there’s Bluetooth 5 and upgraded Intel 9650 Wi-Fi. It’s also impressive to see a quad-speaker setup like the X Pro which includes Dolby Atmos support.
We’ve mentioned all the ports above, but it’s worth noting that there’s no Thunderbolt here so you’ll need to get the X Pro if that’s a deal breaker.
Moving on and Huawei promises 15 hours of video playback here which is the highest of the new MateBooks.
One of the most interesting features comes in the form of a hardware and software combination. It’s odd for a laptop to have NFC but a sticker to the side of the trackpad has a chip so you can tap your phone and do some neat tricks.
It’s called Huawei Share 3.0 and tapping your Huawei or Honor running EMUI 9.1 will set up a Wi-Fi connection between it and the laptop. You can then use elements like OneHop to quickly transfer files like photos or videos.
There’s also things like a shared shared clipboard and you can also shake your phone to record what’s happening on the laptop’s display.
It’s pretty cool in theory and for some people could be a real boon and time saver so we’re looking forward to trying it in the real world.
The X Pro might be the shiny flagship, but we're quite taken by the MateBook 14. It's got lots of the same specs as its bigger brother without being much thicker of heavier.
The lower resolution will be fine for most people and things like an HDMI port and longer battery life will be a real boon.
It might not have flare but the MateBook 14 might quietly be the best option in Huawei's 2019 range.
Huawei MateBook 14: Specs
- Windows 10 Home or Pro
- 14in 2160x1440 touchscreen, 3:2, 185ppi
- Intel Core i5-8265U processor + Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Intel Core i7-8565U processor + Nvidia MX250 (2GB RAM)
- 8/16GB RAM
- 256/512GB SSD
- Pop-up 1Mp web cam
- USB-A 3.0
- USB-A 2.0
- USB-C x1
- Headphone jack
- Fingerprint Power Button 2.0
- Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5GHz 2x2 MIMO
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Quad speakers with Dolby Atmos
- Quad microphones
- 57.4Wh non-removable battery
- 64W USB-C charger
- Mystic Silver or Space Gray or Pink Gold