It is not a professional review. It is a daily experience review over a long period. I am using this laptop for software development, non-video content creation for my blog, play games on super-rare occasion (XCOM2, Phoenix Point, Indie games, old games) and content consumption. If you are looking for specs, syntenic and non-syntenic (natural? ) testings .. .then you can close this tab to avoid wasting your precious time.
If you are looking for a review of 2020 revision, then the some parts I wrote will apply to the new version too.
Unfortunately, I left my previous laptop on the BA’s airplane, and due to useless and helpless BA’s customer service, I expect my computer to be lost forever*. While I was in China, I decided to use this opportunity to buy a new laptop. I decided to risk it, and I bought a brand new laptop from Huawei as it was an ultrabook and I like other stuff made by Huawei.
* I was able to recover the laptop thanks to the helpful staff at the Beijing airport, as all information provided by BA’s website and Twitter’s customer service was misleading and a waste of time.
MAIN TAKE AWAY
If you do not bother to read the whole article, then this is a main take away points:
- + Screen is fantastic.
- + Keyboard and typing experience.
- + It is good value and quality for the money.
- + Touchpad is fantastic.
- + Ability to charge a laptop from the power bank pack.
- – Battery life and management.
- – It struggles heat disposal when you keep on legs or cushion.
- – Charging cable is short.
- – Speaker.
- – Unable to upgrade any component.
- – No Thunderbolt 3.
MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS
I was more and more shocked as I discover more and more.
The laptop looks very small. It feels like a 13-inch screen in 12-inch laptop. Size of keys is massive for this kind of laptop, and I was impressed with typing from the beginning. Touchpad stunned me as I never had such a great joy of using the Touchpad. I usually hate to use the Touchpad, especially on Asus and Apple laptops.
My laptop configuration is I5-8265U, SSD 512GB (Western Digital® PC SN720 NVMe) 8GB (LPDDR3 2133 MHz) Nvidia MX150, Dimensions are 28.6 x21.1×1.49 (height x depth x weight, in cm). It weighs only ~1.3 kg. All spec can be found here: https://consumer.huawei.com/en/laptops/matebook-13/specs/.
It has 2x USB-C 3.1 and mini-jack. That’s all.
The good news is that left USB 3.1 supports a feature known as Power Delivery 2.0. It allows compatible ports to provide up to 100 watts of power to the device they’re connected to it. Using Zendure A6PD, it charges the laptop very fast. It is also possible to charge it using a regular charger like Anker Core 10000, but it is quite slow.
I think, if this laptop has Thunderbolt 3 port, it will be an excellent laptop with the few numbers of ports. Why the lack of this thunderbolt is a big drawback. Why? Thunderbolt 3 offers enough data transfer speed that allows you to connect to up to 2 displays and a few other devices. USB 3 hub does not provide as much performance, but with a decent hub, you should achieve a similar effect on the smaller scale.
Many people from medieval times may complain about missing various ports. From my point of view, it doesn’t matter as many things like mouse or keyboard can be connected via Bluetooth.
The last thing is that only left USB works as a laptop charger.
They are very quiet, but at least the quality of sound is good enough for a laptop of this size. Unfortunately, they put speakers bottom of the laptop. It means your music experience depends on how you hold a computer.
As my face looks like being hit by lorry a few time, so I don’t have the urge to use this camera for selfies. It has an astronomical a 1 MP front camera. Quality in the room with a medium at best. It is usable in emergencies but not as the main webcam for remote work.
I don’t use a webcam, so I don’t care, but if you are paranoid about being a watch, then I guess you will prefer Matebook X as it has a closable camera. However, many reviews complain about this solution because they are not capable of looking on camera and prefer to show they double chin. Anyway, this is my thought about Huawei Matebook 13 not moaning article about fussy reviewers.
It is a 13″ screen with resolutions of 2160 x 1440 and 3:2 aspect ratio. The ratio is excellent for the developer but less ideal for watching movies. It has a bit too big resolution for my taste, but the quality is incredible. My version is non-touchscreen, so I can’t write on the touchscreen feature. I played with a laptop with a touchscreen version in China, and it was fine, but I didn’t use enough to comment about it.
It has 41.8 Wh (3670 mAh@11.4 V). It is a disappointment. It is an ultrabook, and one of the core features is a long-standing battery. It can hold a few hours to write an article for the blog. It struggles to survive more than 5 hours for low intensive tasks, and my requirement is 8h). I played a Legend of Grimmrock 2 and battery in high performance was gone in 2 hours. As you can see, battery life is mediocre, but the laptop is usable, and on a long trip, you can charge with the battery pack.
SSD is very fast. It is the quickest SSD I used. It is up to 3x times faster in comparison to my SSD (AHCI model!) on my ASUS G771JWC (I bought new Samsung Evo 970, but my old laptop doesn’t support and … I can’t change SSD in Huawei laptop.
Windows loads in no time. The application loads very quickly and transfers between SSD and external drives is lighting fast.
It is a full-size backlit keyboard. The first impression was “Wow! This keyboard is awesome”. Keys are big, so my fat fingers enjoy typing without being terrified of misclicks. Even though I prefer mechanical keyboards anyway but I enjoy writing on this keyboard. The keyboard’s backlight does the job and improves the joy of typing at night.
I have noticed a problem where “Clicking” sounds …like in a poor quality keyboard. It may annoy pedantic people mad, but my experience with this keyboard is fantastic. I think my favourite keyboard is ASUS G771JWC.
It is the best Touchpad I used so far. The Touchpad is usually a feature that I often struggle with it, but on this laptop, I am fine to use it without feeling the urge to find a mouse.
At work, I have a Macbook Pro 2015, and I hate this Touchpad. I thought it couldn’t be worse, but then I tried to use Apple mouse after a few days of suffering. I bought Logitech MX Anywhere that suits me well since I unpacked. Asus G771JWC or HP Pavilion are less crap than Apple but still crap. Huawei touchpad was a shock for me. It is fantastic. The Touchpad is wide and very responsive.
My daily experience with a Huawei Matebook 13
I develop my personal projects on this laptop, and thanks to the excellent keyboard and decent Touchpad, it is a joy to use. I use IntelliJ IDEA as my IDE, and I write software in Java/Spring Framework + other libraries/framework. I write python apps too.
Most of the time, it works well thanks to great SSD, but when during some loads, RAM becomes the most significant bottleneck, and then CPU seems to struggle a lot.
I will start from high-performance mode as this laptop go bonkers. It becomes noisy and boiling hot. Otherwise, it is quiet and calm as long you are not playing games or compile and docker, running various task in gradle with code analyse at the same time. As this laptop gets hot very quickly, so if you face cold weather, this laptop will keep you warm.
The laptop is very stable, and Windows 10 never crashed so far.
The fingerprint sensor works well.
On the go, my keyboard and external Screen are connected via a USB hub. It also provides charging. External SSD is connected to the right USB.
I was wonder is it possible to charge a laptop from the battery power bank. The answer is YES.
I used Anker PowerCore 10000mAh, and it is enough to charge around 40% of battery in 3 hours. I got the much better result after I bought Zendure A6PD with power delivery charge this laptop much faster and you can use it while is charging.
My experience vs other reviews.
After I finished my review, I decided to read other reviews and compare my everyday experience in comparison to other reviews.
Others reviews likes:
+ Dedicated GeForce MX150 GPU
+ Webcam now on top
+ Excellent Value for money
+ Comfortable edge-to-edge keyboard
+ One free year of Microsoft Office 365 Personal
+ Runs cool and quiet
And I agree with all the points with the one exception. It indeed runs cool and quiet when you are typing, reading, watches something or do something demanding, but in the high-performance mode, it becomes boiling hot but still quite quiet.
GeForce MX150 is excellent for me as a rare gamer who plays casual games, but I doubt it is usable for modern games.
Other reviews moaning about:
- Disappointing battery life.
- Relatively low memory.
- No Thunderbolt 3.
- Cheap, plastic Touchpad.
- Memory limited to 8GB.
- Moderate-heavy uneven backlight bleeding.
- No NFC.
- Use of point of USB-C.
Battery life is the biggest drawback in my experience, and it is an only serious issue.
In terms of ports, I can understand why the lack of Thunderbolt 3 can be an issue. It is due to the fact that it limits the ability of this laptop to convert to a workstation or portable workstation with Thunderbolt port. USB 3.1 is OK for basic setup, but if you have a lot of devices to connect then, USB will struggle. 8GB can be another problem for a few people who but development will be enough as long as you do not spin up many dockers with 100 tabs in Chrome. I heard a don’t understand moaning about the Touchpad or backlight. No NFC is no problem for me at all.
I like this laptop. It is excellent for basic software development because of speedy SSD, excellent keyboard and fantastic display . It could be a fantastic laptop that offers a good value for money, but it has a few drawbacks that prevent me from recommending it.
The battery life is the biggest problem. If you need using many ports, then the lack of Thunderbolt 3 can be another problem, but you should achieve many cases with good quality USB 3.1 hub. Another problem is 8GB RAM that can be a problem for developers like where I can use up 14GB of RAM or people who has allergy reusing 100 tabs in Chrome, a few IDE and running docker locally. These disadvantages can make some picky people unhappy, but you can live with them. Inability to upgrade SSD and RAM is another problem (https://consumer.huawei.com/en/support/content/en-us00688752/).
After almost year, I am still happy with this laptop.