Huawei is rather known for its established smartphones in this country, but the Chinese tech giant has a lot more products in its portfolio. Among others, besides tablets and smart home devices, there are also notebooks, which are the subject of this review.
Huawei provided me with two models from their 2021 laptop lineup for this review. One is the MateBook X Pro (2021) and the other is the MateBook D 16. The MateBook X Pro represents Huawei’s premium model of the MateBook lineup. The MateBook D 16, on the other hand, is intended as an affordable all-rounder notebook.
Workmanship and design
The MateBook X Pro, with its 13.9 inches, is a good size to always have in your pocket. The MateBook D 16 is a bit bigger with its 16 inches, but still handy enough for mobile use. In this respect, the MateBook D 16 is especially suitable if you do not have another PC or monitor, because it is more relaxing to work on the larger screen for a long time.
The design of the MateBook X Pro is very similar to that of a MacBook. Especially the keyboard looks very similar. The screen, on the other hand, is on a much better level. The X Pro has almost no display edges, which makes a futuristic impression. The display edges of the MateBook D 16 are also narrow, but they do not look as impressive since the edge is a bit raised. The casing is made of aluminum in the MateBook X Pro and D 16 and feels valuable. The D 16 is only available in the color Space Gray. The MateBook X Pro is also available in Emerald Green. This somewhat bolder color looks great on the X Pro, but is unfortunately only available in the fully equipped variant. In general, however, the MateBook X Pro feels more premium than the D 16. Unfortunately, neither notebook is foldable, and stylus input is not possible – which can be quite an important feature for students.
The keyboard of the MateBook X Pro is one of the best notebook keyboards I have used and is on the same level as that of an M1 MacBook Air. The keyboard of the MateBook D 16 cannot quite keep up. It feels too loose in my opinion and not as precise as the X Pro’s keyboard. I don’t like the surface of the MateBook D 16’s trackpad that much. I often got my fingers “bogged down” and stuck instead of gliding smoothly across the pad. I didn’t have this problem with the MateBook X Pro, where the trackpad worked excellently.
On both MateBooks, the front camera is located in a button under the keyboard. If you now want to use the webcam, you press the webcam button, which then opens to reveal the webcam. This is a clever idea to free up space at the edge of the screen. Somewhat unusual is the viewing angle that this camera offers. A viewing angle from below the face is rather unpopular, as you can mainly capture “unattractive” facets of the face. In addition, the fingers are often visible in the picture and in front of the face – at least when you are typing.
Although the webcam now no longer has to be squeezed into a thin screen, the quality of the image is no better than other laptop webcams I’ve used. At this point, the disadvantages of the awkward angle could have been made up for with an improved camera. Or Huawei deliberately decided against it so that the wrinkles would not be even more visible from this position.
Hardware and specsheet
In terms of hardware, the two notebooks don’t differ much. The CPUs are on a comparable level. The Intel processors are slightly better in single-core performance. The AMD processors, on the other hand, are slightly superior in multi-core performance.
For a work or all-purpose laptop, the internal graphics units are sufficient, but they can’t keep up with dedicated notebook GPUs like in gaming devices. However, Intel in particular has improved its internal graphics unit significantly with the new CPU generation via the Iris GPUs, but it cannot yet come close to keeping up with Nvidia, for example.
The biggest difference between the two notebooks is the display. In this point, the MateBook X Pro is clearly ahead. The 1080p display of the D 16 is no comparison to the touch display of the MateBook X Pro with a resolution of 3000×2000 pixels. The MateBook X Pro’s screen immediately gives the device a very high-quality impression, and I have yet to see a better screen in a laptop. On top of that, the X Pro has a much better keyboard, which is why I would prefer the MateBook X Pro over the MateBook D 16 when I am on the road. However, neither device has a SIM slot.
Furthermore, the MateBook X Pro has four speakers compared to two on the D 16. The sound of the MateBook D 16 is by no means bad. However, I like the downward-facing speakers of the MateBook X Pro better, as it gives a fuller and more spacious sound – at least when the X Pro is placed on a solid surface.
It is nice to see that both devices come with a 56 Wh battery and a 65 Watt charger. Likewise, that an NVMe SSD was chosen for the internal storage.