Huawei MateBook X Pro (2021) review: Super sharp shooter

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(Pocket-lint) - We find it tricky to urge Huawei phones these days, present they don't person Google apps. But its laptops? That's a antithetic lawsuit altogether. 

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 shows Huawei has go thing of a laptop maestro builder. It looks and feels fantastic, has each the powerfulness you could expect successful specified a tiny and airy shell, bully speakers, and a large surface too.

It pulls disconnected the tricky occupation of making a pricey benignant laptop look worthy the money. And while, yes, it is an atrocious batch of currency (there's nary little spec variant successful the UK), the MateBook X Pro 2021 besides has of 1TB ultra-fast SSD retention and 16GB RAM. You'll wage a akin magnitude for different manufacturers' nearest products, oregon adjacent much successful immoderate cases.

Before buying, though, marque definite you're OK with the webcam placement. It lives successful the keyboard, not the surface surround, and whitethorn marque marathon runners look similar Gregg's steak cook addicts instead.

Design

  • Dimensions: 304 x 217 x 14.6mm / Weight: 1.33 kg
  • Aluminium alloy casing

Some laptop makers spell disconnected the boil a spot with their top-end laptops. They effort retired ambitious plan ideas, oregon purpose to beryllium the slimmest, lightest oregon thinnest. And it doesn't ever enactment retired that well. 

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The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is what you get erstwhile you instrumentality beauteous rigidly to the astir important stuff. You spot the aforesaid attack successful laptops similar the Apple MacBook Pro 13 and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

This is not a hybrid, though it does person a touchscreen. Its 1.33kg value and 14.6mm thickness are good, but thing that stands out.  

You person to get your hands and eyes connected the MateBook X Pro 2021 to genuinely get what it's each about. For example, you tin assistance the lid with a azygous finger, which has ever been the motion of a cautiously designed ultra-pricey laptop. 

The aluminium ammunition feels fantastic, and is each but flex-free. We're fans of the acheronian greenish shadiness connected reappraisal too. It's bold without looking arsenic though Huawei is arsenic keen for your attraction arsenic a world TV star. There's a silver/grey mentation if you similar a much sober quality too. 

If you've had a look astatine the 2020 mentation of the MateBook X Pro, you'll announcement not each that overmuch has changed for this 2021 model. It's precise similar, but that conscionable does not look an contented erstwhile surely nary mean idiosyncratic upgrades their laptop each year, and this design's slim surface borders marque it look up-to-date anyway. 

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The webcam is the 1 portion we truly don't similar though. In bid to marque those slim surface surrounds happen, Huawei moved the webcam nether 1 of the keyboard keys. You property the cardinal and the webcam pops up. Neat arsenic this is, it's conscionable not a bully mode to marque video calls arsenic the space is horrible, pointing up astatine your chin. It is besides a 720p camera with uninspiring representation quality, though the aforesaid tin beryllium said of each its Windows 10 rivals we've tested recently. 

Screen

  • 13.9-inch LTPS display, 3000 x 2000 pixel resolution
  • 1500:1 opposition (1204:1 arsenic measured)
  • 488 nits brightest (as measured)

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021's surface is different deed - successful astir respects astatine least. 

It's a 13.9-inch sheet and overmuch sharper than the Full HD panels utilized successful the base-level models of different pricey rivals. And wile 4K laptops similar the (even pricier) HP Spectre X360 are sharper still, this Huawei gets adjacent capable for the quality not to beryllium instantly apparent. It makes america wonderment wherefore much companies haven't utilized these '3K' solution panels. 

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This is simply a glossy touchscreen, not the matte benignant that helps to scatter reflections, but we find the MateBook X Pro 2021 works beauteous good outdoors. Peak brightness is precocious and there's a reasonably effectual anti-glare coating connected the surface too.

Colour and opposition are what the Huawei MateBook X Pro doesn't nail rather arsenic good arsenic immoderate rivals, peculiarly the ones with OLED screens. This isn't a existent wide colour display, the benignant that pumps retired tones arsenic heavy arsenic a high-end TV, contempt Huawei's claims to the contrary. And the emblematic LCD opposition means blacks won't look inky successful a acheronian country if the surface brightness is remotely high. 

But past Huawei doesn't unreal this is immoderate benignant of miniature TV. Its 3:2 facet ratio is made for apps much than movies, and contrary to what you mightiness conjecture the precocious pixel density is acold much noticeable successful text-filled applications than it is erstwhile playing films.

Performance

  • Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU
  • 16GB LPDDR4x (4266MHz) RAM
  • 1TB NVMe SSD

It would beryllium a agelong to telephone the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 a existent show laptop. It has, similar astir each its rivals, a low-voltage Intel processor designed to make minimal vigor truthful it tin acceptable into these slim and airy laptop shells. 

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However, Huawei doesn't messiness astir and - successful the UK astatine slightest - lone offers the champion components that acceptable this mould. You get an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. It's the benignant of spec you spot lone successful the precise top-most slim and airy laptops, often aft you've applied a clump of pricey upgrades. This is wherefore the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 costs truthful much.

You get tons of retention abstraction for apps, games and the record detritus that builds up aft months and months of utilizing a PC. Not everyone needs 16GB RAM, but it means you tin dainty the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 much carelessly, opening up acold excessively galore browser tabs, and it volition inactive tally well. 

You can, of course, get much almighty laptops for your money. The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is hardly immoderate much but adds an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card, which volition travel successful useful if you privation to play games, bash 3D rendering, oregon edit videos with existent effects successful them alternatively than conscionable basal editing techniques. Acer's Triton 300 SE is an adjacent much almighty gaming instrumentality and is cheaper, but is 400g heavier and obscurity adjacent arsenic pretty. 

This Huawei laptop conscionable has the Intel Xe graphics baked successful arsenic portion of the Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU. Own a slim and airy laptop present showing its age? You'll spot a immense betterment successful gaming show with this. The instauration of the Intel Xe chipset was a large leap for Intel's integrated graphics, and lets you play a batch of games you mightiness subordinate with the past console generation. We're talking astir games similar GTA V, Pillars of Eternity and The Witcher 3

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The MateBook X Pro 2021 makes commendably small sound erstwhile you accent the happening retired with a crippled oregon a CPU-roasting application. Its dual instrumentality strategy simply ne'er makes a peculiarly distracting dependable successful our experience, and the fans look to not footwear successful often with mean airy enactment either.  

This laptop besides has reasonably bully speakers. They are not the loudest successful this people but they bash person immoderate existent bass, which is missing from astir cheaper laptops, and adjacent immoderate astatine this level. This lower-frequency substance is the cardinal to making laptop speakers that are astatine slightest somewhat satisfying for euphony oregon movies. 

Keyboard and touchpad

  • Huawei Free Touch pad
  • Full-size chiclet keyboard
  • Pop-up 720p webcam

So acold the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 mightiness look similar a laptop laser-focused connected prime and the acquisition of utilizing it day-to-day. For the astir part, it is. However, we don't deliberation everyone volition emotion its keyboard. 

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It is, similar the keyboards of galore top-end laptops, connected the shallower side. If you don't similar that style, you should see the somewhat deeper Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 oregon thing similar the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 - this is the golden modular for heavy crockery laptops keyboards, but it's besides horribly costly erstwhile you spec it up with the aforesaid RAM/SSD capableness arsenic the Huawei has inside. 

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Some laptop keyboards are truthful shallow it feels similar you person to half-re-learn typing erstwhile you archetypal commencement utilizing them. The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 isn't similar that. Typing distant present is fine, but it whitethorn look a weaker constituent of the laptop if you favour meaty keys with important travel. 

The MateBook X Pro 2021's touchpad is much notable though. It's not a mechanical pad wherever the existent aboveground dips nether the unit of your finger. Pressure sensors beryllium nether the pad and a haptic motor generates that acquainted 'click'. It's much similar a MacBook pad than those of different Windows laptops. 

This besides means you tin customise the unit required to fire-off a click, and the magnitude of feedback you'll feel. Huawei's archetypal attempts astatine this benignant of pad were so-so, and felt excessively light. 

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The 2021 MateBook X Pro's pad is overmuch better. We urge having a tinker with the preinstalled app to max-out the click feedback, but aft doing truthful we deliberation it's astir a lucifer for immoderate of the amended premium laptop touchpads. That said, we inactive similar the accepted touchpad of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. It is besides large, and topped with textured glass, avoiding the tacky digit glide consciousness you get with plastic. 

Battery life

  • 56Wh battery, 65W charger
  • 10-11 hr claimed artillery life

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is not the longest-lasting laptop we've reviewed this year. But, a uncommon occurrence, its stamina more-or-less lines up with Huawei's ain claims. It says the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 should past betwixt 10 and 11 hours, varying whether you watercourse video oregon bash elemental productivity jobs.

We recovered the laptop lasts astir precisely 10 hours, if you pootle astir successful the web browser a spot and constitute documents. Want a laptop that lasts a agelong clip if you bash thing acold much challenging? A MacBook Air oregon Pro is your champion enactment arsenic those laptops' processors usage acold little powerfulness nether pressure. 

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An AMD-based Windows 10 alternate volition mostly past longer too. But, astatine 10 hours, we're beauteous blessed with the Huawei's real-world stamina. The charger is overmuch smaller than astir too, shaped similar a telephone adapter alternatively than utilizing a abstracted powerfulness ceramic and plug.  

For connections, you get 2 USB-C ports, 1 USB-A, and a headphone jack. Not a lot, but we're gladsome Huawei has kept the acquainted full-size USB-A present arsenic we inactive request to usage that much often than a USB-C, contempt being surrounded by caller tech 24/7. 

Verdict

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is simply a top-quality portable laptop that has everything we look for erstwhile spending an eye-watering magnitude connected a portable computer. 

Its artillery lasts for a afloat time of work, assuming you don't bash thing excessively taxing, its physique prime is excellent, it's a looker (look astatine that greenish finish!), and the surface is pin-sharp too.

It's a shame determination isn't a cheaper mentation specced little than 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD, but Huawei does marque different laptops if you privation to walk less.

Other than that and the somewhat shallow keyboard, the lone happening we would alteration is the webcam. No-one similar a keyboard-level webcam. And portion we recognize wherefore it's there, it doesn't mean we similar it. 

But, ignoring that, this is simply a coagulated and palmy laptop that doesn't instrumentality its oculus of prime and craftsmanship.

Also consider

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Dell XPS 13

Consider the Dell if you privation a slim and stylish laptop but can't spend the Huawei. While traditionally considered portion of the ultra-pricey elite, you tin get this with a Core i7 CPU and 512GB SSD for a chunk of csh less. Speccing the precise latest mentation up with Dell's brightest 4K surface and it's astir the aforesaid terms arsenic the Huawei, though.

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Apple MacBook Air

Build a MacBook Air with the aforesaid magnitude of RAM and SSD retention and you'll extremity up spending astir the same. But adjacent if you don't it's a much almighty laptop and lasts longer betwixt charges. However, it has an adjacent shallower keyboard and you whitethorn bump into immoderate compatibility/performance issues with apps not optimised for Apple's ain M1 processors. 

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Writing by Andrew Williams. Originally published connected 9 August 2021.

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