Had someone asked us a year ago what we thought the top laptop brands would be heading into the summer of 2018, one name that would probably not have been mentioned is Huawei. It’s not that laptops are a foreign product category to the Chinese manufacturer, it is just that Huawei is better known here in the U.S. for its smartphone lineup. It would be a mistake to overlook Huawei’s new MateBook X Pro, however.
Cutting right to the chase, the MateBook X Pro challenges the notion that you have to pay a hefty premium for a high-end ultraportable, one that brings all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a pricier laptop, while maintaining a thin and light profile. Typically, the compromises are clearly evident when shopping the selections at lower price tiers—sometimes it’s in the construction, trading a slab of metal for a plastic or composite body, and other times it’s pokier hardware inside the laptop, be it an under-powered CPU or skimpy storage.
None of that is the case with the MateBook X Pro. There are two SKUs available, one that runs $1,199.99 and pairs an Intel 8th generation Core i5-8250U processor with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB M.2 NVMe solid state drive, and a higher-end configuration that costs $1,499.99, which is what we’re taking a look at here. That extra $300 gets you a Core i7-8550U processor, twice the amount of RAM (16GB) and storage (512GB), and discrete graphics by way of NVIDIA’s GeForce MX150 GPU. Both systems sport a 13.9-inch touchscreen display with a 3K (3000×2000) resolution.
That is a lot of hardware for the money. To put the price of the system we’re reviewing into perspective, Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 with a Core i7-8650U processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and GeForce GTX 1050 costs $2,499. Sure, it has a slightly faster CPU and a burlier GPU, but the price disparity of nearly a grand is not in line with the disparity in specs.
Bear in mind that we’re not knocking the Surface Book 2—it’s a fine machine. Instead, we’re highlighting the value proposition that Huawei has somehow managed to achieve with the MateBook X Pro. This is one of the most aggressively priced ultraportables that we have ever seen, and it has the potential to alter our expectations of what a $1,500 laptop should bring to the table.
Price is one thing, but does the MateBook X Pro hold up in build quality and performance? We’ll get to both of those in a moment, but first let’s have a look at the full specs…
|Processor Options||8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U Quad Core (8MB Cache, 1.8GHz to 4.0GHz)
13.9-inch 3K (3000×2000) LTPS touchscreen
Intel UHD Graphics 620
NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB GDDR5)
|Storage||512GB M.2 NVMe Solid State Drive|
|Audio||Dolby Atmos Sound System
||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1|
||3.5mm Headset/Microphone Combo, 2 x USB-C (1 x Thunderbolt 3)
1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
|Dimensions||0.57 (H) x 11.97 (W) x 8.54 (D) inches (217 x 304 x 14.6 mm)
||2.93 lbs (tablet mode) (1.33 kg)
|Manufacturer Warranty||1-year limited warranty, 3-year warranty optional|
|Pricing||$1,499.99 — Find Huawei MateBooks @ Amazon|
This is a sound setup for the money no matter how you slice it, and clearly Huawei is attempting to make a splash in the US market. As part of that, Huawei told us it partnered with Amazon, Microsoft, and Newegg to offer a $300 gift card with a purchase of a MateBook X Pro during the first three weeks of availability. Unfortunately it seems there was some miscommunication there, as we only saw Microsoft offering the full amount—Newegg’s listing indicated a $150 gift card, and we didn’t see anything on Amazon.
That’s enough talk of price, let’s dive into this thing. One thing that is immediately evident when cracking open the box is that Huawei drew inspiration from Apple. The packaging looks and feels strikingly similar to a MacBook Pro or iPad, only there are no Apple stickers inside (or any stickers). What you do get is USB-C cable, 65W power adapter, and Huawei’s MateDock 2, which is a USB-C adapter with USB-A, HDMI, VGA, and USB-C connectivity. It’s a nice add-on, as it typically sells for $50 by itself, further adding to the value proposition here.
Let’s take a closer look at the design…