Huawei has a short history in the notebook field but this hasn’t stopped it from creating excellent products. Think for example of the excellent Matebook D, which has been able to bring a high build quality and solid performance in a competitive price range, or the Metebook X Pro of 2018, which aimed directly at the high segment of the market.
These laptops have been welcomed worldwide and now too the 2020 variant of the Matebook X Pro is ready to hit the market Italian. Huawei has once again aimed high, especially with the price, perhaps the only real weak point of the offer, for a product with undoubted qualities.
The design remains a reference but changes little
Never change a winning team. Huawei has changed little or nothing compared to the previous Matebook X Pro, after all the quality achieved in the past was difficult to improve, if not with changes that would have changed the face of the product. So the Chinese house has chosen the easiest and safest way, reserving the news for the hardware.
The general quality remains very high, the body is entirely in metal and is solid during the grip. The attention to detail is high, just look at the edges of the laptop to understand it: these show a CNC cutting for chamfering, an aesthetic device that gives a little more personality.
The fingerprint reader, the fastest we’ve tried so far on notebooks, is installed under the power button, you just have to put your finger on it, without pressing, to be immediately recognized. The design of the 13.9-inch screen is very nice, thanks to the reduced bezels.
These are possible thanks to particular positioning of the webcam, which as in the previous models is installed under the key usually occupied by the “F7” button, you must press it to see it appear. A solution that best protects privacy but that has not been appreciated by everyone. In reality, it does not have particular limits in use, the shot from the bottom up will not be the best but we did not find any critical issues during video conferences.
The set of ports includes two USB Type C, one of which is also used for charging and with support for the DisplayPort standard, and one USB Type-A 3.0.
Interesting is the presence, in the bundle, of a practical adapter to be connected to the USB Type C, which allows you to expand the ports available with a VGA output and an HDMI output, as well as two USB, also in this case Type C and Type A. Very often accessories of this type are sold separately and it is useful to find them directly in the sales package.
Huawei has done an excellent job with the keyboard but even more with the trackpad. Accurate and above all large, it is very convenient to use. The keys are well spaced and of considerable size, the click generated by the pressure is barely noticeable, if you like keyboards with more powerful sound feedback it may not be to your liking.
On the ergonomics front, the small dimensions facilitate the use on the move, this is precisely the field in which the Matebook excels. The thickness of 14.6 mm and the weight of 1.33 kg are not a record, there are lighter notebooks, but they are not a problem during use.
Make way for Intel’s 10th generation processors
Outside, Huawei has kept on the same lines seen in the past, but inside, practically everything has changed, both on the CPU and GPU front. In Italy, there are two variants, one with a Core i5-10210U, paired with Intel’s integrated graphics, and one with i7-10510U and NVIDIA MX250, which we have tried in recent weeks. The processor offers 4 cores and 8 threads, with operating frequencies from 1.8 to 4.90 GHz. Depending on the form factor and the thermal needs of the individual products, these processors can be configured to operate at lower frequencies than the declared maximum frequencies. In the case of the Matebook X Pro, the limits are not imposed by the factory but by the dissipation system, which cuts the frequencies to keep the temperatures within the normal operating ranges in case of need.
During prolonged intensive use, for example, after several cycles of Cinebench R20, the performance degrades with increasing temperature, this laptop is not made to handle long-lasting intensive tasks. We have observed the trend of the clock frequencies, these reach 4.9 GHz peak but as the maximum load time for the CPU increases, they can also fall below 3 GHz.
The NVIDIA MX250 GPU is better than the Intel integrated but the performance remains low, however, the graphics performance is not the heart of Huawei’s offer, which points more to business use for this laptop, as confirmed by the display.
We find a 13.9 inch 3: 2 aspect ratio panel with a resolution of 3000×2000 pixels, for 260 total PPIs and integrated touch screen. A perfect display for managing web pages, documents and in general Windows, a little less for gaming applications, such as watching movies and TV series, which have showy black bands at the top and bottom, Matebook X Pro is designed and optimized for the rest.
The yield is still very good, thanks to a peak brightness that allows you to work without problems even outdoors, too bad only for the glass cover of the panel which tends to capture many reflections.
On the memory front, 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 512 or 1 TB of internal memory based on NVMe standards are available. Complete connectivity, which includes Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, however, the network port is missing, sacrificed to minimize the thickness of the body.
Performance and test
By design and size, the Matebook X Pro is a PC designed to provide balanced performance, so as not to compromise weight and battery life, without forgetting the operating temperatures, which must remain optimal. Needless to say, Windows 10 runs beautifully, Intel’s i7 processor meets, and exceeds, the needs of a traditional workplace, made of web browsing and document management.
The daily bread for a product of this caliber. No problem even with the basic use of Photoshop, of course large projects with dozens of effects work better on more powerful machines, but to do some retouching there are no problems. Same thing for Adobe Premiere, which manages simple 4K editing. Confirmation also comes from the benchmarks, where single core test scores show high performance, also superior to those of desktop solutions of the past generations, while in multi core the data are less incisive, both on Cinebench R20 and on CPU-Z.
3D Mark Time Spy instead shows all the limits of a PC of this type in the gaming field, certainly not the one favored by future buyers of the Matebook X Pro. The scores are low, we also tried two games, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Batman: Arkham Knight, but heavy compromises must be made to play them, both in detail and in resolution. It is not a problem of course, it is not a machine designed for this, if you want to play better aim for very light titles.
Positive feedback on the installed SSD, which showed excellent performance on CrystalDiskMark, reaching one sequential read speed of 3373 MB / s and write speed of 2979 MB / s.
On the autonomy front, this laptop defends itself well, it all depends on what you do and where you do it. Heavy programs or outdoor use, with a consequent increase in screen brightness, can also vary greatly in autonomy. Huawei claims 15 hours of traditional business use and 11 hours of internet browsing. With our working use, indoors, we easily exceeded 7 hours, a figure that reveals a good autonomy even on the move, enough to cover even the most intense working days.
During our test we found the Huawei Share service, which allows you to connect your Huawei phone to the PC thus accessing functions such as sharing the screen of the smartphone on that of the laptop. Also from here you can easily copy-paste files, images and videos, or even record the phone screen and share notes. An integration certainly useful for those who already have a Huawei phone and which confirms that the expansion of the product ecosystem is now a priority for the Chinese company.