The MateBook 13 is a fast and attractive ultraportable laptop with a very good keyboard, but the battery life is too short.
- Speedy performance
- Sharp, colorful display
- Comparably affordable
- Comfortable keyboard
- Short battery life
- No Thunderbolt 3 ports
Now that Huawei has created the best MacBook Pro clone – the MateBook X Pro – it’s a solution in the right direction to improve Apple’s new MacBook Air. Yes, Apple has finally updated its entry-level notebook with a high-resolution display, but the Huawei MateBook 13 has a cost of less than $200 and offers much faster performance thanks to the Whiskey Lake U Series processors Its keyboard on the Huawei is more comfortable than that of Apple. The big problem, however, is the long life of the MateBook 13, which could be for some a dealbreaker deal. If speed is your number one priority, this laptop is worth watching. Learn more about this laptop in our Huawei MateBook 13 Review.
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Design
Like the Huawei MateBook X Pro, the MateBook 13 looks so much like a MacBook – with its understated, minimalist design – that it can easily be mistaken for a problem without Huawei’s brilliant logo. We tested the Space Gray version of the MateBook 13 (also called Huawei Mystic Silver shade), which is an elegant color. The screen/panel ratio of the MateBook is also higher than that of the MacBook Air, which seems rather thick in comparison. The MateBook 13 has slightly thicker glasses than the MateBook X Pro, but that’s because the webcam is stored in the top edge.
The MateBook 13 has two USB Type-C ports: one draws power; the other includes DisplayPort technology to expand your screen and a headset connection. Frustrated, the two type C ports are Thunderbolt 3, the premium ultra-fast version of Type-C that allows connections to two 4K monitors. The MacBook Air has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the MateBook X Pro has a Thunderbolt 3 port and a traditional USB 3.0 port, so your older devices do not require a protection key. The Dell XPS 13 also has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and an SD memory drive.
Hidden in the power button, you’ll find a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello logins. He quickly applied to me during my tests. I’m glad that Huawei did not reserve this option for the MateBook X Pro, which has the same technology in the same place, like the XPS 13 and MacBook Air. (Although Apple uses Touch ID, which also works with Apple Pay.)
The MateBook 13, which weighs 2.9 pounds and measures 11.3 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches thick, is similar to the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2.9 pounds, 12 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches), which fits on a larger screen of 13.9 inches in the frame. The new MacBook Air (2.8 lb, 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches) is a bit lighter but has a larger footprint, including a slightly larger 13.3-inch screen. The new Dell XPS 13 is lighter, thinner and lower, with a wider chassis for its 13.3-inch display (2.7-lb, 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.5-inch).
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Keyboard and TouchPad
I found the keyboard of the Huawei MateBook 13 easy to type. When I started the 10fastfingers test, I clicked comfortably at 71 words per minute, with an accuracy of 97%, close to my 80wpm. The MateBook keys have a travel time of one millimeter, longer than the 0.6-millimeter keys on the MacBook Air, and are connected to one-millimeter keys on the XPS 13. The 4.6x touchpad The 2.4-inch MateBook 13 offered solid accuracy as I navigated the desktop. It even helped with the quick scribbling work in MS Paint.
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Display
The Huawei MateBook 13’s 2K 13-inch display offers solid color reproduction but could be a bit brighter. Looking at John Wick Chapter 3’s trailer, I saw black shadows in the corridors where Keanu Reeves prowls, a saturated and rich green light in a bank robbery scene and bright, graceful gold in the lobby of a hotel. The MateBook’s screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and offers so much detail that I could see the looting of raindrops and read small names on a remote board at the headquarters of the successful man.
According to our colorimeter, the MateBook 13’s display produces 122% of the sRGB spectrum, which is above average for first-class notebooks of 117% and 119% of the XPS 13, while being very close to 124% of the MateBook X. Pro arrives. The MacBook Air recorded a decline of 109%.
The MateBook 13’s screen emits up to 318 nits of brightness, which is close to the 321-nit average, and higher than the 234-nit MacBook Air. The models MateBook X Pro and 375-nit XPS 13 to 458 screens become brighter. Although it was so clear that the neon lights on the John Wick trailer remained 30 degrees to the left or right, they darkened as I pulled away from the turn.
The MateBook 13’s touch screen accurately traced my tapping and streaking as I navigated the desktop and opened the Windows menus. I also noticed regular scrolling when I slid a finger up and down the screen to search for a Google document.
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Graphics
In the Mark Ice Storm Unlimited 3D graphics test, the combination of the integrated UHD Graphics 620 MateBook 13 and its discrete Nvidia GeForce MX 150 GPU (2GB memory) reached 141,995, compared to 88,029 on average. We also saw lower scores of 116,359 on the MateBook X Pro (Nvidia MX150 with 2GB of memory) and 88,473 on the XPS 13 (Intel UHD Graphics 620). The MateBook 13 also started the Dirt 3 racing game, with 166 frames per second, a much sweeter pace than the 75 fps category average, as well as the numbers received from the MateBook X Pro (117 frames per second ), the MacBook Air (22 fps) and the XPS 13 (88 fps).
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Audio
The Huawei MateBook 13 produces a good amount of sound, as I discovered by filling one of our medium-sized private offices with a faithful reproduction of James Blake’s “Where’s The Catch?”. Blake’s scary voices sounded not only for beating but also for dreadful synthesizers and drums. The included Dolby Atmos app is pre-filled and my advice is to keep it and forget it’s there. I tried to adjust the settings, between the detailed standard preset and other, presets for music and movies, but I never noticed that a noticeable difference had been made. Your time is better spent enjoying music and movies.
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Performance
The Huawei MateBook 13 takes a lot of speed, thanks to the 8th Gen Core i7-8565U processor and 8GB of RAM. When I shared my screen between a 4K episode of the Binging with Babish culinary series on YouTube and a dozen Google Chrome tabs (including Gmail, Giphy and the Google document of this review), I did not notice any delays nor any stuttering when I tapped, parried and watched.
On the overall performance test of Geekbench 4, the MateBook 13 earned a high 17366, jumped above the 13.058 premium laptop average, the 13.769 from the MateBook X Pro (Core i7-8550U with 16GB RAM), the 7.871 from the MacBook Air (Intel Core i5-8210Y with 8GB of RAM) and the 14,936 of the XPS 13 (Core i7-8565U processor with 16GB of RAM).
The 512 GB NVMe SSD in the MateBook 13 copied 4.7 GB of media files in 8 seconds, at an amazingly high speed of 636 MBps, which is the category average of 526.92 Mbps. We saw lower speeds of the SSDs in the MateBook X Pro (283 MBps) and the XPS 13 (565 MBps). However, the 2,066 MBps speed of the MacBook Air blows everyone out of the water.
The MateBook 13 completed our Excel VLOOKUP test, corresponding to 65,000 names and addresses, in 1 minute and 5 seconds, sliding below the 1:31 category average, as well as the 1:49 of the MateBook X Pro, the 3:26 of the MacBook Air and the 1:10 of the XPS 13.
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Battery Life
Unfortunately, Huawei MateBook 13 does not offer much endurance. The MateBook 13 lasted only 6 hours and 15 minutes on our battery test (our test includes surfing the Internet with 150 nits). That’s a whole movie shorter than the category average of 8:38, and less time than we got from the MateBook X Pro (9:55), the MacBook Air (9:32) and the XPS 13 (7:50). We will report back once we have tested the Core i5 model to see if it will last longer.
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Heat
The Huawei MateBook 13 can get a bit warm, but not too hot. After 15 minutes of streaming Full-HD video on the laptop, our heat gun caught cool temperatures on its touchpad (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and keyboard (90.5 degrees), but its bottom reached 97 degrees, and barely exceeded our 95 degrees comfort threshold. But nothing serious heat problems.
Huawei MateBook 13 Review – Conclusion
Our Huawei MateBook 13 Review shows that Huawei has a big punch in the small frame of this notebook – thanks to the Core i7 processor and Nvidia MX 150 graphics – on top of a color screen and solid sound and a comfortable keyboard. If only the battery could support this, we would say that this machine is a great option for everyone. For longer endurance, look for a comparable 4K Dell XPS 13, although it will cost you about $500 extra – or $300 if you’re willing to settle for a 1080p screen, giving you even more battery life.
And while a comparable MacBook Air lasts longer than 3 hours longer than the MateBook 13, you exchange a lot of performance. However, if you are looking for a lot of speed in a design of fewer than 3 pounds, the MateBook 13 is definitely worth considering.