For almost a year now, the race of Huawei within the European market it has suffered a sharp slowdown due to the ban imposed by the Trump administration and the consequent impossibility of equipping its smartphones, such as the Mate 30 Pro and the brand new P40 Pro, with the famous Google Services.
Fortunately for the Chinese giant, last November Microsoft obtained permission to resume relations with Huawei, and therefore was able to resume validating the licenses for the company's notebooks.
Among these we also find the new one Matebook X Pro in the 2020 version, announced at the end of February on the occasion of what was supposed to be the Mobile World Congress. The Catalan event was stopped by the emergency COVID-19, but Huawei has not renounced its launch event that has brought to light, among other things, just the new top of the range of the Matebook line.
An expected refresh that brings news especially inside the chassis: after using it for more than two weeks, the time has come to talk about it in detail.
FUORI IS IDENTICAL TO THE PREDECESSOR
If in the past you have had one of the previous generation MateBook X Pro in your hands, you can be sure you know exactly what we are talking about. The 2020 version is identical to that of last year, which was in turn the same as the previous model. Put this way it might seem a bad thing, but it is a product with lines and still very current features: this shows how much three years ago the design of this MateBook X Pro was innovative.
Therefore, the sober style remains, the dark gray color that closely resembles that of some MacBooks and the aspect ratio of the display that also offers very thin bezels on all four sides.
The merit is of the webcam inserted under the key between F6 and F7, which frees the upper frame of the presence of the optics thus allowing to keep the overall dimensions to a minimum The pop-up camera is now one of the distinctive features of this product line: while on the one hand it offers a significant advantage in terms of optimizing the frames, on the other it remains as always the defect of a low-angle shot that is not beautiful, often hampered by fingers when typing during a video call.
Having said that, i materials used are excellent. The shell is made entirely of aluminum, the assembly is perfect and the rubber feet that slightly raise the bottom of the notebook have a good grip and do not slide it on the surface during use. The hinges that hold the display are solid and offer a level of resistance that allows you to open the panel with one hand but without letting it wobble when used on the move.
The sides of the notebook then host the expansion ports that are not many, on the contrary: you will need to have a Type C adapter to expand the equipment. On the left side we have the audio jack and two USB Type C, one of which has Thunderbolt support, good news for those who have compatible accessories or want to connect external monitors or even a box for a discrete GPU. The right side instead houses only a standard USB.
The keyboard surface is rigid, does not flex and houses the right size keycaps, well spaced and backlit. Huawei uses this same keyboard on practically all notebooks and does very well: typing here is really a pleasure, there almost seems to be an artificial intelligence that moves the keys exactly under your fingertips. I think it's one of the best notebook typing experiences, probably second only to some Lenovo keyboards.
There is also a generously sized trackpad, one of the largest among those on board Windows solutions: the surface is large, the fingers slide well and the click of the right and left keys is distinct. Touch recognition is precise even when we use multiple fingers and this allows us to make the most of system gestures.
The two short sides of the keyboard then house the grids behind which they are hidden the speakers, which in total are four. Two of these are facing upwards and direct the audio from the front of the user, while two are facing downwards and use the support surface as a sounding board. The result is a sound of good quality, with a high volume and very clear high and medium frequencies. Some bass is missing, but it is a circumstance due to the size of the speakers.
In all this we speak of a product however compact, characterized by a thickness of only 15 mm and by a weight that stands at 1.33 Kg. A notebook that therefore fully falls into the category of ultra-laptops, extremely easy to transport thanks to the power supply of dimensions slightly greater than that of a smartphone.
TOP DISPLAY AND WELL CALIBRATED
The display of this MateBook X Pro is one of the elements that I liked most. It is a 14-inch diagonal LTPS panel with an aspect ratio 3: 2 and 3000×2000 resolution, in my opinion a really winning combination.
The extra vertical space offered by this form factor, combined with the high resolution, in fact allows you to work easily even with a screen with a reduced diagonal. In some situations, with two windows side by side I found myself better with this display than with the 15 inch fullHD in 16: 9 of the notebook that I use every day.
Even from the point of view of quality, one cannot complain, on the contrary. The brightness is very high and the contrast more than enough, we are talking about over 400: 1, important parameters since, having a glossy finish, the panel is quite reflective. Outdoor visibility is discreet while indoors, even with brightly lit rooms, there are no problems.
The graphs above show you how the JDI display with which this MateBook X Pro 2020 is equipped is also able to offer good color fidelity. Surely these are units that receive a first factory calibration, which allows you to have some delta E lower than 3 for both grayscale and colors. The coverage of the sRGB color space is also good, which marks a value very close to 100%.
A PRESERVATIVE SETUP
And here we are spending a few words hardware of this new MateBook X Pro and how the new components were implemented by Huawei engineers. First of all, the internal components are the elements that actually distinguish this model from its predecessor. The platform has been updated and now offers tenth generation Intel Core processors, i5 or i7 depending on the configuration chosen, 16 GB of RAM and a 1TB Samsung SSD, in our version, very fast but characterized by the usual reckless partitioning which characterizes all the company's notebooks.
TECHNICAL SHEET HUAWEI MATEBOOK X PRO 2020
- dimensions and weight: 14.6x304x217mm for 1.33kg
- OS: Windows 10
- display: 13.9 "LTPS, 91% screen to body, 3000×2000, 260ppi, 3: 2, 100% sRGB, 1500: 1 contrast, 450nit, touchscreen
- processor: 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2GB GDDR5 / Intel UHD Graphics
- memory: 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
- storage: 1TB SSD
- fingerprint sensor: in the power button
- 1x USB-A (USB 3.0)
- 1x USB-C (USB 3.1) with Thundebolt support
- 1x USB-C
- connectivity: WiFi 802.11ac dual band 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
- audio: 4x mic / 4x speaker
- battery: 56Wh
- front camera: 1MP
At power up we find a partition C: 80 GB and a partition D: with all the remaining space available, needless to say that just install two programs to run out of space available on the main partition. You can therefore take two paths: the first is to leave the remaining space on C: for backups and system updates and install all the programs on D: together with your data, the second is the re-partitioning the disk that you can perform by following the steps listed below.
- right-click on the windows menu icon
- select Disk Management
- in the window that opens select partition D: from about 900 GB
- right click and select "Delete Volume"
- accept everything and at the end you will have unallocated space of the exact dimensions of D:
- right click on C: and select extend volume
- carry on the process without changing anything and at the end you will have a single partition C: about 1Tb GB
Attention: we recommend carrying out this operation the first time you turn on the PC or in any case before storing data on D :. The Delete Volume operation in fact involves the deletion of all data on the unit.
Having said that, we can really talk about performance. Our model is the one with processor Intel Core i7 10510U, still a 14 nm Sky Lake with 4 cores and 8 threads, flanked by an NVIDIA GeForce MX 250 GPU. A coupled CPU-GPU that allows you to substantially accomplish all the most common work operations with the same efficiency in the office as in mobility. No problem therefore in the management of emails, in the use of the Office suite programs, browsing with Chrome with several open tabs and using photo editing software such as Photoshop or Lightrooom.
But not only that, in these weeks of use I have also tried to edit a video in 4K with Premiere Pro and I must say that the preview is handled rather well and you can make a basic editing without too many hitches. If you need a 3D rendering machine, graphic animation and the like, it is better to move to higher TDP solutions.
The CPU and GPU stress test at the same time shows quite good overall behavior. After the initial peak in which the cores splash up to almost 5 GHz we have an obvious drop in frequencies due to the rise in temperatures. That's right, the so-called thermal throttling. Huawei has, however, been good at fine-tune this machine so that this throttling is never really harmful. The CPU and GPU temperatures are always around 75 degrees and even trying to open Chrome under stress test you can navigate without crashing or jamming.
Can you play with the presence of the MX 250? Well, let's say that playing is a big word. Let's say that the less demanding titles run in 1080p with low detail at a framerate always around 30 fps. In short, it is not a gaming machine and we did not even expect it, but if you want a few minutes of fun every now and then with simple graphic or similar adventures, then you can count on this GPU which is certainly much better than the integrated UHD Graphics.
To report, unfortunately, the presence of a modem WiFi only ac. It works well, the reception is excellent and I have never had problems with any type of network but in any case given the updated platform it could be worth inserting a latest generation WiFi ax modem. Then there are Bluetooth 5.0 and an NFC chip that is used to activate software functions such as the Huawei Share One Hop of which I will speak to you shortly.
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE SMARTPHONE ON THE NOTEBOOK
MateBook X Pro 2020 is based on the operating system Windows 10 Home and it arrives without too many useless bloatware installed on board the first time it is turned on. Huawei, however, in order to slowly build an ecosystem in which all the products talk to each other and are somehow optimized to communicate in the most natural way possible, has started to develop interesting tools that bring some functions typical of smartphones also on their notebooks.
Hence the PC Manager and above all the function Huawei Share One Hop which allows you to connect your smartphone to the notebook thus mirroring the phone screen 1 to 1 on the notebook screen, but not only.
Always through the same function it is also possible to transfer files, such as photos and documents, in a few moments. Just select the desired item on your smartphone, bring it closer to the palm rest where we find the Huawei Share sticker and in a few moments we will see it transferred to the notebook display. The system uses NFC for the first connection and then WiFi Direct for data transfer.
Another function taken from smartphones is it unlocking with the fingerprint sensor, located in the upper right corner above the keyboard. It is a very fast and precise reader that always unlocks the solution correctly and that is also the only secure access method to the system since we do not have infrared sensors for facial recognition.
There is also a quick charge. The Type-C charger in the package, which can also charge smartphones, offers a maximum power of 65W, allows you to charge the notebook even in use and under full load and manages to complete a 0 to 100% charging session in about an hour, obviously with the laptop on standby.
Autonomy Huawei Matebook X Pro
|Browsing Chrome / Social / Office||-9.8%||10.2 hours|
|Netflix HD app full screen||-9%||11.1 hours|
|Games / Rendering / Stress Test||-56.6%||1.7 hours|
|Draining when closed (Connected Standby off)||-0.1%||41 days|
|Standby charging (20V 3.25A)||+ 93%||–|
50% screen brightness (about 230 nits), 50% audio. Default energy mode.
As for autonomy, however, we found a behavior similar to the model equipped with Intel 8th generation platforms, which however offered excellent performance. This new MateBook X Pro, with its 54Wh battery is able to reach the 10 hours of autonomy in standard working use under WiFi network. Watching videos in 1080p on Netflix with the Windows app you can get up to 11 hours with the display brightness at 50%, while at full load it is difficult to get beyond the hour and a half.
A PREMIUM PRODUCT, AS WELL AS THE PRICE
Here we are at the bottom of this review, ready to draw conclusions. There is really nothing to say about the build quality, we are at a very high level as always. The feeling that we have holding this product in our hands and working on it is of extreme solidity and refinement in all detailsin short, a full-fledged premium notebook as were its predecessors. The same perception also when we turn it on and we are greeted by an excellent display with a high resolution and excellent color fidelity.
The platform has been updated and competes with the offer of many competitors. maybe I would have avoided saving money on the modem and maybe I would have inserted RAM with higher frequency; we say that they are not characteristics that put the product in crisis, but the price is high and therefore it is right to expect the top in everything. Yes, the price: it starts from 1699 euros for the model with Core i5 and 512 GB SSD and you get to 1,999 euros for the one we tried, that is the Core i7 with 1 Tb SSD.
They are high prices, no doubt about it, but there are at least a couple of considerations to make. The first relates to the price of competing products which, in the same configurations, is in any case aligned to that of MateBook X Pro. The second relates to the street price: just think that after even 24 hours from launch, the model with Core i7 is already in promo with 200 euro discount on all retail. This morning Amazon then surprised us with a drop of another 100 euros which place it at 1699 euros, a price to which it will probably return often over the next few months.
PROS AND CONS