Last year’s Huawei products, namely MateBook X, and the Matebook 14 Ultrabook Seriously vowed tech fans and journalists. The fantastic displays, powerful performance, and comfortable keyboard made them more than MacBook clones. To some people, the outside appearance is a replica of the MacBook, aside from the Huawei logo.
This year, Huawei has tried to duplicate the previous year’s MateBook models’ performance in an affordable package titled ‘Huawei MateBook 13.’ Presently, the MateBook 13’s closest competitor is the Dell XPS 13, but Huawei’s machine is a flagship notebook that has tried to improve on last year’s products and beats Dell out of the water!
The MateBook 13 is a more compact version of the MateBook X Pro, which was a ‘best-in-class 2018 notebook.’ The aluminum body is still there, and you have the choice of buying it in mystic silver and space gray colors. The first color option evokes automatic comparisons with the MacBook. The first you notice after opening the lid is the webcam is resting over the screen, and this is a huge and compared to X Pro’s webcam hidden beneath the keyboard. This makes video conferencing much easier as people really get to see your face rather than only the lower or nose. The 0.9 mp camera with 720p resolution won’t support a dazzling look, but it is functional.
For those obsessed with thinness and weight of a laptop, its 0.59 Inches (~1.5 cm) and 2.87 pounds (1.3 kg), respectively. These dimensions beat the MacBook Air in the thinness department and marginally loses out in the weight. However, this remains impressive as the notebook comprises the combination of a dedicated graphics chip and a fully loaded Intel mobile processor.
The MateBook 13’s keyboard is a definite plus point, and 1.2mm key travel provides you adequate space to type. The punchy feedback is great for typing, and you will feel this difference as compared to the Apple’s MacBook Pro’s flat keys. This does not imply that the keys resound like those of the Surface Laptop 2. Overall, it’s a fairly good typing experience, and the Microsoft Precision touchpad adds to the experience. The trackpad’s smoothness and width are definite advantages, and the only possible improvement could be the height.
The touchscreen is 13 inches diagonal and displays a 1440p image with a practical touch digitizer. 300 nits of brightness and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio provides a superb display. The only downside is that the brightness level is a hurdle in outdoor use or beneath bright lights. All in all, the notebook’s refinements over the X Pro are keenly felt.
The notebook’s internal layout is surprisingly good. Improved graphics are an outcome of faster fans and improved thermals. This permits the notebook to use 25 watts from the notebook’s power draw, and this is 10 watts higher than standard laptops equipped with Nvidia MX150, which is the chip’s lower-spec edition. You’ll feel the machine keeping cool under impressive loads because of these improvements.
Given the mentioned reasons, the notebook’s graphics are better, along with general computing in its laptop range. Functionally speaking, the laptop embodies aesthetics and peak processing functionality in 1 package. Key competitors like Dell XPS 13 and Surface Notebook 2 are still far behind in such aspects. The performance doesn’t suffer from running a number of windows and tabs while doing intensive tasks such as image editing at exactly the same time.
Laptop PCMARK 7 PCMARK 8 (CREATIVE ACCELERATED) 3DMARK (SKY DIVER) ATTO (TOP READS/WRITES)
Huawei MateBook 13 (2020, Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA MX150) 5,853 5,492 9,392 2.9 GB/s / 2.38 GB/s
Dell XPS 13 (2020, Core i5-10210U, Intel UHD 620) 6,438 4,918 2,446 3.1 GB/s / 527 MB/s
Surface Laptop 2 (Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD 620) 5,856 4,367 3,977 1.5 GB/s / 781 MB/s
Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019, Core i7-8550U, GeForce MX150) 6,167 4,147 8,289 2.96 GB/s / 4.60 GB/s
The MateBook 13 is a clear winner in 3DMark tests as compared to Surface Laptop 2 and Dell XPS13. The PC Mark 8 tests also give it a definite advantage in comparison with competitors. In this regard, the graphics ability of MateBook 13 has significantly benefited from its NVIDIA GeForce MX150 card. The processing capacity owes its thanks to a faster Core i7 CPU. Looking at competitors: Apple’s laptops feature a Y-Series Intel chip that is fanless and contains two lesser processing cores. Despite these relaxations, the MateBook 13 is still marginally thinner.
The thermal system needs additional discussion, and an intriguing Aspect is the capability of dual fans to begin functioning when benchmarks are being tested. According to Huawei, the key lies in the ‘smart filtering system,’ deployed by the company’s Shark Fin 2.0 thermal system.
This system monitors temperature fluctuations by using seven thermal detectors embedded in the chassis. According to Huawei, the fan noise is automatically reduced by 3 DB, when matched with ordinary fan designs, and the laptop’s performance is actively managed. During active use, the fan’s noise is slightly lower, and the laptop’s bottom does not become too hot.
The performance specifications are backed by battery life which exceeds 9 hours of full HD video playback. This marginally beats Dell XPS 13, but the Mac Book Air is a definite winner at 10.5 hours of playback time. The slightly lesser battery life is due to a decrease in battery size in contrast to the X Guru and increased performance levels. The MateBook 13 is sure to last a full day’s use, and USB-C quickly charging grants 2.5 hours of battery life in 15 minutes of charging. Professionals and travelers will find the maximum performance from their machine.
Battery Life Comparison:
|Huawei MateBook 13||09 hours 15 mins|
|Surface Notebook two||16 hours 57 mins|
|Huawei MateBook X Pro||11 hours 07 mins|
|Apple MacBook Air||10 hours 30 mins|
|Dell XPS 13||08 hours 45 mins|
Software and associated features
The Huawei PC Manager is the only preloaded program installed on the MateBook 13 laptop. This is keeping in trend with Huawei’s software policy for its notebooks, and the main aim is to scan the device for Windows 10, missing any driver updates or checking hardware issues.
The fingerprint reader is a useful biometric addition in MateBook 13. Embedded in the power button, the feature uses Windows Hello to ensure seamless login into the system. The login speed is awesome, and you hardly await a second to access the desktop after the machine has powered up.
The closest competitors to Huawei MateBook 13 are MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13 — 2020. The former is largely the inspiration behind MateBook 13 and why it’s known as a ‘MacBook clone.’ Huawei has wooed MacBook fans with a better keyboard, hardware, and Windows 10 allure. All this is cheap, so Apple fans have a new choice from the notebook segment.
Dell XPS is a different story and now occupies the position of ‘gold standard’ in this notebook range. It starts at $849 and updating the specs into the MateBook bridges the gap to a certain extent. The webcam position has improved in the XPS 13, and the battery life is a clear advantage. Fundamentally, the 2020 XPS 13 has improved over the previous year’s model’s performance with certain improvements. Critics are divided between XPS 13 and MateBook 13, regarding which one is ‘best in category for 2020.’ Overall, MateBook 13 includes a definitive advantage over XPS 13 based on images display and hardware performance.
The Matebook 13 is designed for frequent travelers and those who want many benefits from a single machine. It’s a wonderful addition to the 13inch laptop market, and its dynamic features and attractive design guarantee the best of both worlds. MacBook expatriates will also be pleased by this machine. The premium build and cost rule out the first group, and hard-core PC gamers high-end graphics will be disappointed. But if you are a student, a writer, journalist, write code or work in a normal office, then Huawei’s Matebook 13 is really recommended for you.