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Huawei MateBook 13 Test And Review

Elegant, robust and neat finish, powerful, 8h battery life, high resolution touch screen.

Already known and recognized for its smartphones, the Huawei brand has been attacking the laptop market for several months and intends to compete well with industry benchmarks such as Asus, Apple and Dell with its new model, the MateBook 13. Careful design, touch screen high definition without borders and autonomy able to hold a day are his assets to achieve it. Successful bet ? Up to you

Specifications of the Huawei MateBook 13

Slab13 ” IPS Touch Corning Gorilla Glass (2160×1440, brilliant)
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8565U Whiskey Lake (1.8 GHz, 4 cores, TDP 15W)
Installed RAM (max)8 GB LPDDR3 2133 MHz Dual Channel (soldered)
Storage spacePCIe 512 GB NVMe M.2 SSD
Graphic cardIntel UHD 620 integrated into the processor
Optical reader
Audio system2 Dolby Atmos speakers
webcamYes, 1 MP (720p) with 2 microphones
NetworkWi-Fi AC Intel 9560 (2×2)
BluetoothYes, Bluetooth 5.0
Card reader
Video output (s)
Fingerprint readerYes
Entries exits)Headphone / Mic Combo
USB2 USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen1)
Operating systemWindows 10 64-bit
DrumsLi-Polymer 41.7 Whr
Autonomy announced10am
Dimensions (mm)286 x 211 x 14.9
Weight1.28 Kg (with battery)
Guarantee2 years
OtherBacklit chiclet keyboard, multi-touch touchpad, MateDock 2 (mini hub with USB-C, USB-A 3.1, VGA, HDMI)

Chassis / Design of the Huawei MateBook 13

Discovering the MateBook 13 for the first time, hard not to see the resemblance to Apple computers, as the color is reminiscent of the sidereal gray proposed on the MacBook Pro (although in absolute terms that of the MateBook has reflections pulling more towards Brown). Aesthetically, it’s very nice but with use, this color is more sensitive to fingerprints (especially at the touchpad) than the “classic” light gray.

The quality of the aluminum chassis has nothing to envy to the models of the Apple firm and is close to perfection. The feel of density / robustness is similar to that of the Dell XPS 13, reference in the matter. The adjustments are perfect, no flexion area is deplored both at the keyboard and the screen. The hinges ensure excellent support whatever the opening angle. Sobriety is the order of the day and will allow it to blend in both at home and in a professional environment.

Access to the components requires disassembling the underside. Be careful, screws are hidden under the rubber pads, making it more difficult to reassemble.

Connectors / Ports of the Huawei MateBook 13

Ultrabook rhymes with minimalist connectivity. The MateBook 13 is the perfect example, with only two USB-C Gen1 (5Gbps) and a headphone jack. Some people will regret the lack of support for the Thunderbolt 3, reducing the possibilities of extension. Another complaint, only the left port can be used for charging. A great missed opportunity, because it is so much more convenient to connect its charger sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left depending on where is the nearest power outlet.

Huawei also provides a mini-dock. The latter includes a USB 3.1 port (Gen1), a VGA and HDMI output (limited to 30Hz with a UHD monitor) and a USB-C port. Good news, this one allows to recharge the computer, at least as long as it is connected to the port USB-C of left. With a single cable, you can connect screen, external hard disk and AC power.

Huawei MateBook 13 audio system

The sound of a laptop, which is more of an ultrabook, rarely rhymes with quality rendering. The MateBook 13 is no exception to the rule. If the power does not call reproach, apart from a few peaks of saturation on the treble, the overall lack of depth and is quite metallic, whether for music or movies. The Dolby Audio certification brings a little more, do not wait any miracle at this level, it is above all a software equalizer with different pre-settings.

Huawei MateBook 13 Keyboard / Touchpad

If for the chassis the MateBook 13 is inspired without context of Apple laptops, for the keyboard, Huawei remains on a more “traditional” choice. The dimensions (16.5 x 16.5 mm) are average, as is the stroke (1 mm) and the key spacing (2.6 mm). Therefore, the handling is not difficult, it is easy to find its usual typing speed. The sound of the keyboard does not equal the discretion of a Surface Book 2, a reference in the field, but will manage easily to be forgotten, including in the quiet of a library.

The keyboard can be backlit in two levels of intensity. On this point, the competition is often more generous but in practice, the majority of users should not have grievances against it. However, the fact that the backlight turns off (including mains) automatically after 15 seconds without pressing a key may cause much more criticism. The goal is probably to save (a little) the battery, but in the absence of proximity sensor, it is necessary to redo a support to the blind on a key for the keyboard to illuminate again. Ultimately, this is a source of false manipulation and it is regrettable that Huawei does not give the user the option to disable this feature.

More original, the Fn key can be locked and has an activation LED, just like the Caps Lock key. The power button hides a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader. A discreet integration but also very natural to unlock its Windows session.

The touchpad is also effective and pleasant to use everyday. The width (120 mm) is similar to that of most laptops. The height (62 mm) is rather generous for a 13-inch chassis.

If most of the time, the stickers are of no use (apart from harming the design), for once, “Huawei Share” deserves the user to linger, at least provided to own a smartphone Huawei . If this is the case, you can thanks to the integrated NFC chip simply and without cable, exchange data (photos for example) between the computer and the smartphone.

Huawei MateBook 13 screen

Huawei offers two different screens on its MateBook 13 marketed in France. One touch and the other not. Our model is the high-end declination, so it has a touch screen. No possibility on the other hand to convert it into a tablet, the inclination of the screen being possible only about 140 °. The interest is therefore less but sometimes it is still “nice” and intuitive to be able to press the screen to validate a dialog box, launch a program or click on a link.

Whatever the chosen declination, the screen will benefit from a definition of 2160×1440 pixels, a resolution of 200 dpi. What enjoy an excellent finesse for a 13-inch screen. Of course, you can not use the native definition of the slab or you will display lowercase text, so it is necessary to play on the scaling. While enjoying better quality, you can display an equivalent of 1080×720 (200%), 1440×960 (150%) or 1728×1152 pixels (125%) for the most usual.

Most observers will have probably noticed, the screen has a ratio of 3: 2 and not 16: 9 as on almost all other laptops market. Advantage, it is possible to display more information in height on a Web page, a Word document or any other software. Disadvantage, you will have more black stripes on a video.

On the colorimetric side, the slab (reference Chi Mei CMN8201 P130ZFA-BA1) has a native white point of 7000K, covers 96% of the sRGB space (77% Adobe RGB) and offers an average DeltaE of 1 after characterization. The 640: 1 contrast ratio is average, as is the maximum brightness (320 cd / m2). An ambient light sensor is present. To disable it, just open the Windows display settings and uncheck “change the brightness automatically when the lighting changes”.

With side edges of 5 mm, the screen can be described as borderless. The upper part is certainly a little thicker (9 mm), but it allows to integrate the webcam. No unsightly angles of view, therefore. In use, the quality is honorable for a laptop.

Huawei MateBook 13 performance

The MateBook 13 is equipped with the latest platform Intel Whiskey Lake with our model, a Core i7-8565U. The performance of this low-power Quad Core processor is progressing significantly, with at best 10% gains compared to its predecessor (the Core i7-8550U).

If on intensive computation phases (video encoding or photo export for example), this processor can not compete with a Hexa Core CPU, on a daily basis, its performances are largely sufficient for a polyvalent use. The MateBook 13 is devoid of dedicated graphics card, impossible to consider playing 3D games. An absence that could also have been feared some slowdowns when adjusting sliders under Capture One Pro or Lightroom, for example, the two software recommending at least 2 GB dedicated video memory. But even if the definition of the screen is greater than the Full HD, the total number of pixels to manage is ultimately not so high (about 3.12 MP vs 2.07 MP) and in practice we have nothing noticed of unusual so much during the passage of

The RAM is integrated into the motherboard, no evolution possible and unfortunately Huawei does not plan to market MateBook 13 with 16 GB native in France! Not that such a quantity of RAM is essential in 2019 for the majority of users but for some, it would have a “reassuring” side.

The SSD is standard, it is a model PCIe NVMe from Western Digital (WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G-1027) offering very nice bit rates. Recall however that in practice, the difference is imperceptible compared to a SATA SSD.

Noise / Noise / Temperatures of the Huawei MateBook 13

Most of the time, the MateBook 13 is completely silent, the fans being inactive. Solicited, a first level is reached at 38 dBA and if the charge is extended, a second at 41 dBA. Although present, the breath is not disturbing. Huawei has favored comfort by delaying the triggering of fans for 30 seconds, which limits their operation in everyday use. A behavior similar to that adopted by Apple on its MacBook. Secondary effect, the processor temperature reaches punctually 95 ° C (no worries that said, the thermal regulation only starts from 100 ° on this model). Once the fans are active, it goes down again after about 2 minutes to stabilize at around 75 ° C.

After several minutes of intensive use, the underside of the frame is warm, just like the right side of the wrist rest. Not disturbing at this time, quite the contrary, but it will be more problematic in summer.

Tests carried out with an ambient temperature of 20 ° C

Battery Life / Battery from Huawei MateBook 13

Despite a high definition screen, the MateBook 13 enjoys a rather comfortable autonomy with about 8:20 in current use (active WiFi, brightness at 140 cd / m², web page consultation, video streaming). By activating the airplane mode, the most energy-efficient profile and with the minimum brightness, it will be possible to hold about 16 hours before having to recharge. Conversely, solicited at its maximum, the battery does not take more than 1h25.

Good point, via the PC Manager utility settings it is possible to limit the battery charge according to different thresholds in order to preserve it and optimize its life. Another advantage of the MateBook, its compact charger, barely 200g on the scale for dimensions of 97x61x28 mm!

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