[REVIEW] HUAWEI Matebook 13 – The premium laptop at a non-premium price

Huawei has been making a lot of waves in the tech industry with their amazingly built phones (albeit now with the lack of google services, but that’s a conversation for another day). But did you know that Huawei also manufactures laptops? Huawei’s laptop are not your run of the mill cheaply built chinese laptops. They are serious about their product and it shows. Today we are going to look at their Matebook 13.


At first glance


The Huawei Matebook 13 Singapore version comes only in Space Grey, which is the same colour you can choose from Apple’s Macbook range. It looks great and the metallic look gives off the premium vibe. Despite the premium aesthetic, it’s a nightmare of fingerprint stains. Fingerprint marks on the laptop are easily made and visibly obvious. Though a quick wipe with a tissue can remove them, but it’s annoying to have to constantly wipe your laptop. It is recommended that you can use a skin or cover to protect your laptop if you have sweaty palms.

At approximately 1.3kg, this laptop is crazy light and portable, making it easy for you to slot it into a small bag and go meet a client or clear emails at your local cafe.


Display

Huawei Matebook 13’s screen resolution is at a whopping 2160 by 1440 pixels, that’s a 3:2 aspect ratio. Compared to the more traditional 16:9 display, Huawei Matebook 13 has more height in its display, which makes it a great screen for productivity. You are able to read your emails, browse sites or prepare your word documents/powerpoints with more screen space. In contrast to the advantages of the aspect ratio, the screen brightness however comes at a disappointing 300nits. Which is a shame for consuming content as the images just look more dull as compared to a brighter screen.

Another great feature is the touch screen capability. It’s an extremely useful feature when you are scrolling through pages or websites as if you were scrolling it on your smartphone. It’s easy to use and sometimes functions better than scrolling on the trackpad. 

Keyboard

The keyboard has a short travel time between pressing the keys and the keys being registered. It reminds us of Apple’s Butterfly keyboard, but way more comfortable. Definitely one of the best features of this laptop.

Trackpad

While the trackpad is sensitive to your finger movements and accurately tracks it, we personally did not like the feel of the track pad. It feels porous in texture with a noticeable resistance caused by friction when using it. Compared to the Macbooks or the Surface laptops, which are way smoother, Huawei Matebook 13 feels a little rough to the touch. We got a few colleagues to try but not all came to the same conclusion, so maybe it was just a few of us with a little bit more sensitive fingertips.

I/O Ports

Huawei Matebook 13 comes with 2x USB-C ports and 1x 3.5mm jack. Both USB-C ports are not Thunderbolt 3 enabled. Charging is only available on the left port and display output is only available on the right and both ports allow data transfer and peripheral. It would be even better if there are at least 1 or 2 USB-A ports available for an external mouse and external hard disk. We recommend that you get a USB-C Splitter/Dock so you can hook up your mouse and monitor display at your permanent work desk.


Security

Huawei’s Matebook 13 has a fingerprint reader that doubles as a power button, which is accessible and almost instantaneous. Occasionally the position of your finger might be off and it will take another try or two to unlock the laptop. Another thing to highlight is the lack of Windows Hello Feature, where the laptop camera scans your face to unlock the laptop. Though it’s not a big deal, it still feels like a lack of a feature.

Camera

A 720p Camera is featured available on the Matebook 13. It’s nothing much to shout about as almost every laptop in the market is keeping it that way. But it gets the job done for doing online meetings during this trying period of Work From Home. Still waiting for a laptop that has at last a 1080p camera for a better webcam experience. 

Hardware

THe most exciting aspect of Matebook 13 is how much power is packed into this small laptop. A 10th Gen i5-10210U CPU, 16GB LPDDR3 2133mhz RAM, Nvidia MX250 w/ 2GB GDDR5 VRAM and 512GB SSD. Compared to Razer’s Blade Stealth (which also happens to be a 13-inch Ultrabook), this laptop specs may feel lackluster, but the price difference for what Matebook 13 offers is quite a steal. Going at SGD$1,598 from Shopee, the 4 Core CPU with 16GB of RAM allows you to have multiple Chrome browsers opened for multi-tasking activity while still allowing the user to feel smooth usage. 

The Nvidia MX250 Discrete Graphics Card allows some light games to be played. I was able to run Overwatch at 60fps on 1080p Medium Settings and Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 20 odd fps on Low Settings at the given resolution. These are very playable frame rates for something so light and small. 

Battery

Impressively, Huawei Matebook 13 battery life is one to be well received. With a full charge, you can easily last the full work day doing productivity work and internet browsing. Our testing got us 8 hours of battery life when playing youtube videos non-stop.  

Huawei Share

If you are using a Huawei Phone, this function from all Huawei Laptop will be important for you. Huawei Share allows you to connect your phone to your laptop seamlessly through NFC. A window of an exact mirror of your phone screen will appear on the laptop display, which you can control with your mouse, copy & paste texts and also transfer images by dragging it to and fro form the mirrored display. 

Summary

Huawei Matebook 13 is a very value oriented laptop, that combines portability & performance at an affordable pricing. Though there are some minor flaws that stand out like low screen brightness and being a fingerprint magnet on the laptop shell, Matebook 13 is easy the most value-oriented laptop. Going at SGD$1,598 on Shopee, Matebook 13 is perfect for those who are always on the go or travel often, yet looking for a more powerful laptop, that can easily run last generation games or do simple video editing on it. We give Huawei Matebook 13, a BRUTAL APPROVED.

You can also check out our video review of the HUAWEI Matebook 13 here!

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