Huawei MateBook 13 Rewiew
HUAWEI’S BACKWITHABANG-FOR-BUCK MATEBOOK.
IT’S BEEN LESS than six months since Huawei first launched its Matebook X Pro in Australia, but the company already has another laptop to add to the lineup; the Matebook 13. The new Matebook 13 drops the X and Pro nomenclature of Huawei’s flagship ultrabook, in exchange for a considerable price cut.
The Matebook 13 will land at $1,799 for the i5 version and $2,199 for the i7 variant, which is $100 and $400 cheaper than the respective Matebook X Pro models. For this you will have to be willing to take a hit on the screen resolution which drops from 3000 x 2000 pixels to 2160 x 1440 pixels. We didn’t get the chance to sit them side by side, but theoretically this shouldn’t make a massive difference on a 13-inch display. The MateBook 13 also ditches the pop up webcam in lieu of a top of screen pinhole camera, that’ll make your web conferencing or streaming sessions better, but pulls the screen to body ratio from 91% down to 88%.
These two cuts are rather inconsequential, however the Matebook 13 takes a pretty considerable hit in 1080p movie playback battery-life which drops from seven hours and 23 minutes on the MateBook X Pro down to just four hours and 37 minutes on the MateBook 13. This battery life cut didn’t seem to extend to the demanding PCMark 8 test however, where the MateBook 13 managed a similar 4 hours and 35 minutes, a lifespan that was on par with the MateBook X Pro i7. This means that while the MateBook’s media playback performance could be optimised it shouldn’t actually lose much longevity across general working tasks.
While there are a couple of sacrifices here, the MateBook 13 actually has slightly newer Intel Core i5-8265U and i7-8565U CPUs. Both upgrades still have four cores but the new processors run between 1.6 and 3.9GHz, and 1.8 and 4.6GHz, which means the i5 and i7 models have 0.5 and 0.6 increases in Turbo clock speeds, respectively. These chips actually gave a 38% boost in Cinebench’s R15 Multi-threaded CPU benchmark and a 21.6% boost in HWBot’s x265 1080p media encoding test over the Core i7-8550U model we tested on the MateBook XPro. We actually noted some impressive performance boosts across all CPU tasks, despite the minimal changes to processor configurations.
The i7 MateBook 13 swaps out the MateBook X Pro’s 512GB Samsung SSD and replaces it with a 512GB WD PCIe SSD, giving similar read speeds, but 26.6% faster write speeds. While the Core i5 version only has access to the integrated Intel HD 620 Graphics GPU, the Core i7 model comes with the Nvidia GeForce MX150 that we saw on the i7 Huawei MateBook X Pro. While this is technically a dedicated graphics card, it is really only capable of achieving 50% faster frame rates on less demanding titles like Rocket League, Apex Legends or Overwatch. You can play older titles using low graphical settings at less than 1080p resolutions, but the MX150 isn’t quite powerful enough to be considered an entry level gaming GPU.
The keyboard and trackpad combo are spot on with good travel distance and a silky generous surface, respectively, so the only real downfall we can see is the 41Wh battery for specific tasks.
Intel Core i5-8265U; 512GB WD PCIe SSD; 2160 x 1440 display.