Huawei MateBook X Professional 2021 overview: Nonetheless a chic ultraportable, however points stay Evaluation

Huawei’s difficulties within the smartphone enterprise have acquired quite a lot of consideration, making it straightforward to miss the corporate’s laptops. Final yr I discovered the MateBook X Professional (2020) very enticing regardless of a few niggly annoyances. The MateBook X Professional 2021 is dear at £1,599.99, however the Eleventh era Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD is likely to be sufficient to justify that. However what else does this elegant 13.9-inch laptop computer have in retailer? 

There is only one MateBook X Professional 2021 mannequin, and it is supposed to be a greater than competent all-rounder, from the chassis design to the interior parts. And there actually is quite a lot of goodness right here. 

The 2021 MateBook X Professional runs on an Eleventh-generation Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Its 13.9-inch show is vibrant (450 nits) and sharp (3000 x 2000 pixels).


Photographs: Huawei

The MateBook X Professional 2021 is out there in two colors, and I used to be barely disillusioned to be despatched the House Gray model to overview. It seems to be glossy sufficient in a MacBook Professional kind of approach, the chassis is hard, and the lengthy divot lower into the centre of the underside part makes it straightforward to carry the lid one-handed. However the different color, Emerald Inexperienced, would have made a change on the overview bench, and I believe it will be one thing of an eye-catcher out in the actual world. 

Whereas the first color is matte, there are vibrant, shiny silver bezels across the base and lid which add slightly panache. On the underside, 4 moderately properly sized round ft assist to anchor the MateBook X Professional 2021 to a desk or desk. 

The MateBook X Professional 2021 homes a 13.9-inch display in a chassis that is deceptively small and gratifyingly light-weight, though it is price noting that not a millimetre or a gram have been shaved off final yr’s dimensions of 304mm broad by 217mm tall by 14.6mm thick and 1.33kg. Equally, the speaker grilles flanking the keyboard and the round energy button within the high proper nook of the keyboard, which includes a fingerprint sensor, are additionally unchanged. 

The display is one other space that is seen little change. It is the identical 3,000-by-2,000, touch-responsive LTPS panel as earlier than, with minimal bezels leading to a 91% screen-to-body ratio. The three:2 side ratio actually comes into its personal once you’re engaged on paperwork and huge spreadsheets, though you’ll be able to anticipate some letterboxing when watching video. The ambient mild sensor that I discovered irritating final time spherical appears to be mounted, adjusting display brightness properly. Viewing angles are good, and for those who do quite a lot of display capturing, the power to brush three fingers down the display to take a screenshot would possibly show helpful.  

High ZDNET Critiques

A great show like this deserves good audio system. There are 4 right here, throwing sound out from the edges of the keyboard. Most quantity is not all that prime, however there isn’t any distortion when it is maxed out. Nonetheless, bass tones usually are not as robust as they need to be, which is slightly disappointing. 

In case you use a Huawei telephone (some fashions), you’ll be able to benefit from Huawei Share to create a connection between the handset and the MateBook X Professional. Make a hyperlink and the telephone’s display could be seen on the laptop computer, from the place it may be managed. You possibly can share recordsdata between the 2 units as properly. 

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As within the 2020 mannequin, the webcam is embedded within the keyboard, popping up prepared to be used once you press the digital camera key. This placement makes for an unflattering digital camera angle on video calls.


Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The tiny high display bezel signifies that, simply as with final yr’s mannequin, there isn’t any room for the webcam in its conventional location. So the MateBook X Professional 2021 reprises the association utilized in its predecessor, housing it within the centre of the Fn key row: press down on the important thing marked with a digital camera icon, and the webcam pops up prepared to make use of. Though this implies there isn’t any want for a privateness cowl, the viewing angle is horrible: no-one desires or deserves the up-the-nose view it presents. Having spent many hours within the final yr on video requires work, household and enjoyable I can say that an exterior webcam could be a must have for me if this had been my on a regular basis laptop computer.  

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The keyboard, flanked by speaker grilles, delivers a wonderful typing platform.


Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

The keyboard could be very rewarding to make use of. Springy, well-spaced keys behave as in the event that they wish to be tapped, and there is nearly no aural suggestions, making this a really perfect laptop computer for working in quiet areas. All of the keys are giant, with the arrow and Fn keys benefitting in addition to the QWERTY array. I discovered it straightforward to realize my full contact typing velocity, and there is a two-stage backlight for working in low mild circumstances. The touchpad is gigantic and you may simply sweep the cursor throughout the display in a single single movement. I had no points with gestures, and the entire navigation expertise was easy and trouble-free. 

The MateBook X Professional 2021 runs on Home windows 10 Residence and is available in only one specification, powered by an Eleventh era Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with built-in Iris X graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. It is nice to see such a lot of storage supplied by default. 

There’s solely a minimal collection of on-board ports: two USB-C, one USB 3.2 and a 3.5mm audio jack. The USB-C ports do not record Thunderbolt help within the on-line specs, though it is acknowledged that they help two 4K displays at 60Hz and might deal with information throughput as much as 40Gbps, which is bang on for Thunderbolt 3. 

Huawei charges the MateBook X Professional 2021’s 56Wh battery nearly as good for 10 hours of native video playback, whereas final yr’s mannequin was quoted at 13 hours with the identical battery capability. In my battery rundown check, which includes a mixture of doc creation, video and music streaming, the MateBook X Professional 2021 battery went from full to 56% in three hours (~7h battery life), in comparison with 66% final yr (~9h battery life). A day’s work was achievable with the 2020 MateBook X Professional, however I am not so positive about that with this yr’s mannequin. 

Conclusions 

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Picture: Huawei

Huawei’s MateBook X Professional 2021 seems to be similar to its predecessor, with the Eleventh-generation Core i7 CPU being the principle improve. In some ways in which’s completely acceptable: construct high quality, display and keyboard had been all nice in final yr’s mannequin, and stay so. 

Nevertheless, the audio system nonetheless depart one thing to be desired, which is extra noticeable when the display is so good. This isn’t the principle failing, although: battery life appears to have gotten worse since final yr, and that keyboard-embedded webcam actually wants a rethink. Lack of bezel house does create a difficulty right here, however the unflattering digital camera angle is not acceptable (if it ever was) on this period of widespread video communication. 

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