A few weeks back, I was trying out the Huawei MatePad, which is a beautiful, sleek device to use but I wasn’t too impressed with the Huawei OS. Since then, they’ve sent over their latest laptop, the MateBook 13 (2020 Intel version) and I have been using it as my daily grinder for the last 10 days or show. Work, play, the lot and I have to say, I’m impressed.

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Unboxing

It’s obvious Huawei have taken design inspiration from Apple and their Macbook, which I’m fine with, as I think Macbooks looks fantastic. That being said, there are of course little tweaks, variations, so it’s not a complete copy. The MateBook is a 13″ laptop, which is 286mm wide, 211mm deep and just under 15mm high. It weighs 1.3kg. It’s got a brushed gunmetal aluminium alloy body/casing, with just some subtle Huawei branding to the front. Lift the lid and there is a large trackpad, dark grey/black backlight keyboard and a wonderful glossy black display. The display has a black bezel, just 5mm either side and slightly larger top and bottom. The power button located above the keyboard on the right doubles up as a fingerprint reader too.

Like with the MatePad, Huawei delivers on aesthetics, it’s a beautifully sleek, modern, minimalist laptop, which is what people want nowadays.

Working around the MateBook, to the left side is the USB-C power input (data & charging) and 3.5mm headphone jack. To the right is another USB-C port (just data), which you can connect an adapter too. This adapter acts as an extension lead of sorts and allows you to plug in another USB-C device, USB-A, HMDI or VGA. That is it for inputs, very limited but in todays world, it’s enough and If anything, I would have liked an ethernet input. To the bottom, four small rubber feet to sit it proud from the work surface, two small speaker grilles and 1 large heat output grille where the fans are located.

Specification

  • 13″ IPS display
  • 2K resolution 2160x1440p [200PPI] 60Hz
  • 1000:1 contrasts ratio + 300nits brightness
  • Touchscreen available on the 16GB version ONLY
  • 10th Gen Intel i510210U / i7-10510U / 4cores 8threads
  • 8GB / 16GB DDR3 2133MHz Ram
  • 2.4 & 5GHz WiFi
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX250 / Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 512GB SSD

There is an AMD Ryzen version of the MateBook 12 2020 available too and is slightly cheaper.

Performance

As mentioned earlier, I used this as my daily device for just over a week, both work and play, and I was impressed with how it performed.

The display is fantastic, it’s beautifully crisp and vibrant. It’s a glossy display, so glare can be an issue but that’s a generic problem with laptops of this type. It’s an IPS panel, so viewing angles are fairly good, so you don’t need to be directly in front of the screen to see what’s going on. The resolution can go up to 1440p, which was fine for me but some may think it’s too small for a 13″ display. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, so thick black bars top and bottom in some circumstances but wasn’t an issue for me. The display is touch screen, it’s very responsive and snappy. Scrolling, clicking, pinching to zoom in & out was a breeze and I found it very beneficial indeed. The only downside, finger print marks galore!

huawei_matebook_2

As for task or processing performance, the i7 in this delivers every time. Word documents, browsing the internet and watching video content, perfect, no complaints. Going onto something a little more demanding, photo editing via Lightroom and Photoshop, a breeze and lastly, you can game on it too. Now, this isn’t advertised as a gaming laptop in any way but I had to try it and I was surprised at the results. I played some League of Legends with ease, Valorant too in fact and on low settings, it was very playable. With that 3:2 ratio though, you will get black bars top & bottom unless you change the resolution. Could it play anything more demanding? It probably could but I’m unsure it would be good enough for an enjoyable, smooth experience. I was tempted to try Warzone on it but then I remembered it was a 200GB+ game.

I plan on trying some video editing on this in the near future, so I’ll update this review once I’ve done that!

We ran some benchamrks via Geekbench and Cinebench and they can be found below:

That leads me nicely onto storage. A 512GB SSD comes as standard with this model, partitioned into C drive (80GB) for Windows and D drive (380GB) for everything else. I should also mention it boots up within seconds and when you turn it on, it also recognises your fingerprint, so logs you in at the same time, making the whole process very efficient (when you have that security feature set up).

Sound quality is fairly good considering the size and position of the speakers provided. The speakers are positioned on the underside of the laptop and there is just enough clearance from the rubber feet to offer a loud enough experience when watching content. Put the laptop on your lap and that sound output is reduced slightly. Dont forget, there is a 3.5mm input too, so you can plug a decent pair of cans in to get a better experience.

I found the keys on the keyboard somewhat heavy, it took me a while to get used to, as I initially started missing letters when typing, as I wasn’t pushing the keys down enough but perhaps because I’m so used to my gaming keyboards. As for the trackpad, it was very responsive when scrolling up & down, or pinching. It’s large too, so plenty of space for multiple fingers.

huawei_matebook_5

It’s a very lightweight, compact laptop, making it very portable. Put it in your backpack, or hold it in your hand within a one of those fabric folders and it will not burden you at all.

Battery life was very good. Huawei state circa 10hr battery life watching 1080p content and from testing, it wasn’t far off that at all and will keep most, if not all travellers occupied for their journey. The laptop includes quick charge via the USB-C port, so a 15minute charge will give you just over 2hours of juice!

Any problems with it? Nothing out the ordinary. Heat output could be better. It’s not the worst I’ve tried but when it’s on your lap, you can definitely feel it warming up. Lastly, the lid and hinge are stiff. I wanted to be able to lift the screen up with one my thumb but that only lifts the screen a little bit and then the more you try to lift, the bottom lifts too, so you need to lift the screen with your thumb and hold the base down with another finger.

Verdict.

This Huawei MateBook 13 2020 Intel edition has been fantastic and it’s been a pleasure to use for the last two weeks. It’s sleek, it’s compact, it has a beautiful vibrant touchscreen display, it’s powerful and unless you’re doing some heavy 4K editing or hardcore gaming, it will suit most peoples needs. As for price, it’s not cheap BUT it’s competitive when compared to what else is on the market right now. The i7 version I tested will set you back ¬£1099, with lower-spec versions available from ¬£579, so there are options to suit your budget.

To find out more, to purchase or explore build options, head over to the official Huawei Store now.