Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) review: Hands on with Huawei’s new portable powerhouse

By | August 5, 2020

 

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The Huawei MateBook X Pro counts an upgraded processor, improved discrete graphics and Thunderbolt 3 among its new features

Last year’s MateBook X Pro was a fantastic laptop that improved on its predecessor in practically every conceivable way. So impressed was our Jonathan Bray when he tested it that he labelled it a “MacBook killer”.

So what does Huawei have in store with the new 2019 MateBook X Pro? I’m lucky enough to have been hands-on with the new model ahead of MWC in Barcelona, and from what I’ve seen so far it looks set to be one of the best laptops of 2019. For everything you need to know about the ultrabook, read on.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 14in 3000 x 2000 IPS touchscreen (3:2 screen ratio)
  • 91% screen-to-body ratio
  • 8th-gen Intel Core i5-8265U / 8th-gen Intel Core i7 8565U processor
  • 8GB/16GB RAM
  • 512GB/1TB storage
  • Nvidia MX250 discrete graphics
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB-A and two USB-C ports
  • Quad speaker (with Dolby Atmos) and quad microphone
  • Keyboard-recessed camera
  • One touch to go – fingerprint sensor in power button
  • 1.33Kg
  • 14.6mm thick
  • Price: €1,599 or €1,999 (UK price TBC)
  • Release date: Available April 2019

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) review: Design, key features and first impressions

Huawei’s 2019 MateBook X Pro doesn’t deviate too far from the company’s blueprint as far as design is concerned. Indeed, like previous MateBook X models, it’s built with portability squarely in mind and counts extremely narrow bezels and a lightweight 1.33kg build among its selling points.

There’s still a brilliant 14in touch display at the centre of everything. The MateBook X Pro’s panel has a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution and is protected by Gorilla Glass. Huawei claims the display delivers an impressive 1500:1 contrast ratio and a 450 nits maximum brightness, although we’ve not had a chance to test this out for ourselves yet.

Most of what’s new about the laptop, though, is hidden within the chassis. The most notable change is that the top-spec MateBook X Pro is powered by an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor that’s 10% faster than the 8550U chip used by the previous model. And that’s not the only performance upgrade; the MateBook X Pro also has improved discrete graphics in the form of Nvidia’s GeForce MX250 with 2GB GDDR5 RAM. It won’t replace your console, but the MateBook X Pro should have respectable 3D gaming chops.

huawei-matebook-x-pro-2019-4.jpgConnectivity has also been improved. As before, the laptop has one USB-A port and two USB-C connections, but one of these now supports Thunderbolt 3 for faster file transfers along with support for external eGPU enclosures, which could potentially take you all the way up to a GeForce RTX 2080. Meanwhile, wireless file transfers are also faster thanks to the newer Intel 9560 wireless chip’s support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2×2 MIMO and Bluetooth 5.0. The latter is twice as fast as Bluetooth 4.0 and has four times the range.

Huawei has also been very keen to show off its Share 3.0 OneHop technology, which debuts on the new device and enables the transfer of photos, videos and documents at up to 30Mbit/sec. You need a Huawei smartphone that runs its EMUI 9.1 software to make the most of this functionality, but from what I’ve seen it works very well, transferring images to the laptop’s larger screen almost instantaneously.

There are other nifty things you can do with Share 3.0, too, such as sharing clipboards, and recording what’s on the laptop’s screen by shaking your phone and tapping it on the Mate X Pro’s NFC sensor.

In terms of price, the i5 processor model, with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage will set you back €1,599. The i7 model, with 16GB RAM and 1TB storage will cost €1,999.

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) review: Early verdict

At this stage, the 2019 MateBook X Pro appears to be more an exercise in refinement than revolution, with an improved processor and discrete graphics being its most notable new features. However, when you consider that last year’s MateBook X Pro was one of the best laptops we’ve ever tested, there’s no reason the new model can’t follow suit.

In fact, the only thing threatening to stop it from being our favourite Huawei’s laptop is the company’s announcement of the MateBook 13 and MateBook 14, two laptops with very similar components, more configuration options and, crucially, lower price tags. You can read our hands-on review of the MateBook 13 and MateBook 14 here.

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