It was both the Mate X Foldable smartphone and MateBook X Pro that managed to steal the show in 2019 while the less flashy Huawei MateBook 14 debut at MWC 2019 went almost unnoticed.
Huawei has proved in the last year that it can manufacture top-end, amazing Ultrabooks like the Huawei MateBook X Pro, MateBook 13, and now the Huawei MateBook 14, and there is no turning back for Huawei.
This ultra-sleek beauty is packed with the latest U-series processor and enough SSD storage and RAM to keep it competitive. In such a fierce competition where Ultrabooks are available at every price range, the Huawei MateBook 14 is a head-turner. It is a great ultraportable laptop and definitely worth the money.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8565U 1.8GHz (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz)|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce MX250 (2GB GDDR5); Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR3 (2,133MHz)|
|Screen||14-inch, IPS touch display 2,160 x 1,440 (185 ppi, 300 nits, 1,000:1 contrast, 3:2 aspect ratio, 100% sRGB)|
|Storage||512GB SSD (NVMe PCIe)|
|Ports||1 x USB-C 3.1, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, headset jack, 1 x HDMI|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi|
|Camera||HD (720p, 0.9MP) webcam|
|Weight||1.49 kg (3.28 pounds)|
|Size||307.5 x 223.8 x 15.9mm, (12.11 x 8.81 x 0.63 inches); W x D x H|
Availability and Price
The Huawei MateBook 14 will be launched in the US this month (May), and the entry-level model will cost for $1,340 (AU$ 1,199, £1,040). The laptop possesses a Whiskey Lake Intel Core i5 processor (CPU), a 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, a QHD non-touch display, and an Nvidia MX250 graphics processor (GPU).
However, the model reviewed here will cost you $1,690, (AU$ 1,499, £1,300). The higher cost will give you an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a QHD touch display.
The most obvious competitor is MateBook X Pro with specs nearly identical to Huawei’s pro-level laptop but includes Thunderbolt 3, double the storage, and a higher resolution display for an extra $450 (£350, AU$630) at the entry-level.
We love Thunderbolt 3 and high-resolution displays, but it’s’s hard to justify spending that much extra cash. The Huawei MateBook 14 gives the true value of its price.
As for Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Pro, the entry-level model costs $1,799 (£1,749, AU$2,699) for hardware that’s almost same to the entry-level for the Huawei Matebook 14. A Mac Book equivalent to the MateBook reviewed here will charge you $2,499. Surely, MateBook 14 is the obvious pick here not only in terms of money, but MacBook Pro doesn’t have dedicated graphics as well.
Display and Design
A quick glimpse of Huawei MateBook 14 may lead you to believe that it is a MacBook Pro with thin bezels, and that is enough to catch everyone’s attention.
Weighing only 3.28 pounds and with a thickness of only 0.63 inches, this MateBook has incredibly thin, 0.49mm bezels which is capable of compressing its 14-inch QHD (2,160 x 1,440) display into a small chassis. In fact, it is almost the same size as the 13-inch MacBook Pro we use daily, certainly not big enough for us to notice a difference when they are not next to each other.
Unfortunately, sleek and light UltraBooks usually make compromises on ports, but this one is different. This laptop features 2 USB A ports, a USB C 3.1 port for data and charging, HDMI and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Though we still expected to see Thunderbolt 3, especially at this price point.
As for the display, the 3:2 screen makes the MateBook 14 an excellent choice for productivity. With 300 nits of brightness, it is not the brightest laptop in the market, but the 100% RGB coverage somewhat compensates for it. The touch screen is extremely responsive, and the hinge is strong enough so that it does not wobble every time you poke at it.
The speakers are a big disappointment. To have laptops with speakers on the bottom of the chassis is very annoying, and the Huawei MateBook 14 is just another in a long list of such offenders. They are not the worst speakers we have ever heard, but they will get muted if you are using the laptop anywhere but on a desk.
No exaggeration but this laptop is one of the best laptops for writers. The keyboard is responsive and extremely comfortable with incredibly deep travel for a laptop so thin.
Surprisingly, between the F6 and F7 keys on the keyboard, is the built-in webcam. You read that right: the webcam is under a button on the keyboard, which you can press to pop it up. The webcam itself works fine: it’s a 720p shooter, but at such an absurd angle.
Beneath the keyboard is the glass-coated touchpad, and it’s one of the best touchpads we’ve used on a Windows laptop. The tracking surface is just wide enough to get the job done without too much frustration. Luckily, it’s amazingly responsive and accurate, and the button click is crisp, not mushy like some other Windows laptops.
The power button lies on the top right-hand side of the chassis above the keyboard. This also acts as a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello login. This fingerprint sensor is one of the most reliable we have used in a long time that reads our fingerprints quickly and accurately every time.
The Huawei MateBook 14 we tested here is packed with an Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. For most day-to-day use, this laptop can handle almost everything that comes its way.
Here’s how the Huawei MateBook 14 fared in our suite of benchmark tests:
- Battery Life: 8 hours and 55 minutes
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,482 points
- Cinebench CPU: 618 points; Graphics: 99.97 fps
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 22 minutes
- GeekBench 4: 5,186 (single-core); 17,281 (multi-core)
- 3DMark Sky Diver: 10,959; Fire Strike: 3,476; Time Spy: 1,278
There was no slowdown in the internet speed even when twenty chrome browser tabs, tidal and slacks were opened at the same time. With this type of power, nothing short of robust video editing is going to slow it down. It can also handle some light video editing and random gaming because of the Nvidia MX250 graphics chip but it cannot be taken as one of the best gaming laptops however playing some Civilization VI can be fun.
What’s amazing is that the benchmarks show similarity in specs between Huawei MateBook X Pro and Huawei Matebook 14, but this laptop has phenomenal functioning for the money paid. It will not be wrong to say that in our testing, the MateBook 14 takes the cake against its expensive companion. For example, in Cinebench, it scored 618 points, compared to the MateBook X Pro’s 495. Numbers were a bit closer in the GeekBench multi-core test, where the MateBook 14 scored 17,281 to the MateBook X Pro’s 17,152.
Even in graphics benchmarks, MateBook 14 overpowered MateBook X Pro: in the 3DMark FireStrike test, the Huawei MateBook 14 scored 3,476, compared to the MateBook X Pro’s 2,709. This is likely because of the MateBook X Pro’s sharper display resolution demanding more graphics power all the while, but considering that the Huawei MateBook 14 is up about $560 (£430, AU$760) cheaper this is an extraordinary performance.
Matebook 14 Battery life
In the PCMark 8 battery life test, the laptop lasted 3 hours and 22 minutes, which compared to the MateBook X Pro, is about 30 minutes short. However, battery life is improving in UltraBooks even for models featuring discrete graphics like Huawei MateBook 14.
In our video playback test, where we loop 1080p video with the display and volume set to 50%, the Huawei MateBook 14 lasted just 8 hours and 55 minutes, which falls short of the 10 hours and 8 minutes that the Huawei MateBook X Pro scored.
This is probably because of the MateBook 14’s slightly smaller 56.3 Watt-hour capacity against the 57.3Wh within the MateBook X Pro.
Nothing to worry as Huawei MateBook 14 is more than capable of lasting throughout the workday without draining the battery. The laptop will last even longer if you get creative with battery saving options.
Software and features
The only software that was preinstalled on the Huawei MateBook 14 is the Huawei PC Manager, which will search for the missing drivers. This software also features Huawei Share, which allows users to sync data between the laptop and a mobile device. Unluckily, this feature isn’t available for iOS, so we weren’t able to test it out ourselves. It does seem like a useful piece of software, but the lack of any other bloatware is an appealing asset. Do checkout this 10-in-1 USB C docking station from qgeemtech.com which will be an amazing accessory with the Huawei or any other laptop for that matter.
That means the Huawei MateBook 14 is as close to a pure Windows 10 laptop experience as you can get short of picking up something like the Surface Laptop 2. Windows boots up extremely quickly, as there is nothing preinstalled to slow it down.
Well, there are no remarkable features, but it is genuinely desirable keeping in view the price of the operating system wasn’t subsidized by third-party software.
Our Final verdict
On a final note, Huawei MateBook 14 is an excellent bargain for every penny spent. The extraordinary hardware, the gorgeous QHD touch display and strong structure-it is truly a steal at such a price.
This is especially true when you compare it to the more expensive Huawei MateBook X Pro. Sure, the MateBook 14 doesn’t feature Thunderbolt 3 and has a lower-resolution display, but no regrets when you are saving hundreds of dollars.
MateBook 14 is a feather in the cap of Huawei laptops, soaring its position higher among the best laptops and UltraBooks of the market.