Homage or not, the Matebook X Pro does a decent job muscling in on Apple’s territory
Can Huawei pull Apple users away with its latest laptop?
Recently, Chinese tech manufacturer Huawei released its answer to Apple's Macbook Pro in the form of the Matebook X Pro. After taking a look at this laptop, excluding the clear homage to Apple in its naming, one might question at exactly what point the honor turns into blatant copying. Save for the logo, the Matebook X Pro looks almost identical to an Apple Macbook Pro, both in size, color, and design — although, the logo, in this case, doesn't actually light.
Still, while the Matebook X Pro has jacked Apple's style a bit, the company may have just put out a superior product, proving that the de facto leader in chic laptop-manufacturing can be beaten after all.
The Matebook X Pro has 256GB of storage (twice as much as the Macbook Pro in the same price range) an 8th generation i5 intel processor (faster than the Macbook), and 8GB of RAM. The device also comes equipped with an Intel UHD 620 Graphics card that's at least on par with what Apple has in its laptops. At $1200, the Matebook sits right in the midrange of the laptop market, and its specs reflect this. It's about the price of a MacBook Air, but inside is more along the lines of a MacBook Pro. It's not flashy or meant to be blazingly fast, but it's certainly a step above cheaper laptops that aren't designed to last very long.
Despite the fact that it looks exactly like Macbook, the Matebook Pro X has a few design features that the Macbook does not. For one, the laptop has 15-hour battery life, 50 percent longer than its competitor. Huawei also designed its laptop's webcam with personal security in mind.
Instead of putting the camera in its traditional spot at the top of the screen, Huawei chose to put the camera in the middle of the Matebook's keyboard, right in between the F6 and F7 keys. The button with the camera icon on it, looks just like any other key, but when you push down a webcam springs up. Unfortunately, this feature sacrifices functionality in favor of safety. As one can imagine, the camera's location doesn't make for the best webcam experience. Under the chin isn't a particularly flattering camera angle — and on top of this makes it difficult for Skype callers to even simulate eye contact.
The charger uses a USB-C and comes with a VGA adaptor, which is a nice bonus. The problem is, the charger is almost impossibly short, making it difficult to use unless you're sitting directly next to an outlet. On top of this, unlike Apple, who recently removed all the USB ports from their laptops, Huawei's Matebook still has one.
In all honesty, Windows 10 leaves something the be desired. This isn't really a reflection of Huawei, but it needs to be said nonetheless. Windows 10 is clunky, laggy, and not particularly intuitive. Even with its limited operating system, however, the Matebook performs very well.
The laptop's screen is crystal clear and its 3K display makes videos look fantastic. The Matebook also comes with Microsoft's voice-activated assistant Cortana, and the screen is touch sensitive. Sadly, the touchscreen isn't the best in terms of fluidity, and not even Huawei has been able to solve the eternal problem of fingerprints that plagues all touch screen laptops.
All complaints aside, the laptop runs perfectly fine and can handle just about anything the average laptop user could want. It occasionally lags when opening certain programs, and can't handle too many tabs open at once, but there was nothing about the Matebook's performance that indicated that it wasn't a perfectly adequate computer.
For the money, the Matebook really delivers. Its specs are comparable to that of a Macbook Pro, and it actually outperforms Apple in several key areas. It doesn't have enough RAM to be a gaming computer — and it wouldn't handle video editing or music mixing very well — but it doesn't really matter. Gamers, musicians and editors know exactly what they're looking for when they go shopping for a computer.
The touchscreen does leave something to be desired, and the webcam placement, while a good idea, isn't great in practice. Still, for a company that's a relative newcomer in the American PC space, Huawei has built a good product, staying competitive with top of the line laptops right off the bat. With limited downsides and a wonderful array of features, the Matebook is one of the best mid-range laptops on the market right now.