Huawei’s new MateBook X is another spin on a modern MacBook Air

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The MateBook was Huawei’s first shot at building a Windows 10 laptop, but it largely missed the mark on several aspects. But Huawei is back with a trio of new laptops that look to build out the company’s computer offerings while addressing the issues from its first attempt.

First up is the MateBook X, a 13-inch Windows 10 ultraportable that fixes a lot of the problems users had with the original MateBook. It features a traditional aluminum clamshell design instead of a 2-in-1 configuration, has Intel Core i5 and i7 processors instead of the less powerful Core m series, and can allegedly last up to 10 hours while watching 1080p video on a single charge.

The rest of the MateBook X’s hardware is similarly impressive — the 13-inch display offers a 3:2 aspect ratio at 2K resolution with a 4.4mm bezel (it is not a touchscreen, however), storage comes in either 256GB or 512GB SSD options, while the power button doubles as a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader. The only qualm I have is RAM, which will come in 4GB or 8GB options, but given the portable-focused nature of the MateBook X, 8GB should be enough for the average user.


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Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

The MateBook X uses USB-C, and offers a pair of ports — one for charging, and one for data transfer. But to make the transition easier, Huawei is including a MateDock 2.0 USB-C dongle in the box in some markets, which offers a regular USB Type-A port, DVI, HDMI, and a second USB-C port for pass-through charging.

Huawei is also partnering with Dolby for what it calls the Atmos Sound System, which combines hardware and software elements from Dolby to offer a better sound experience. Having briefly demoed the feature, the MateBook X certainly sounded good (along with some fun 3D audio tricks), but given the lackluster nature of most laptop speakers, it’s not a high bar to clear.

I only had a few minutes to try out the MateBook X, but it made a great impression. It’s thin, light, fast, and if Huawei’s promises about battery life hold up in real-world testing, then the MateBook X could be a really good portable laptop option that could offer a legitimate challenge to Apple’s languishing MacBook Air line. Of course, that will also largely depend on price, which Huawei didn’t offer in advance of the announcement.


Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

Next is the MateBook E, which is an updated version of the original MateBook. It offers the same basic design (including the leather folio keyboard), but upgrades the screen to a 2K panel from 1080p and improves the magnets connecting the folio to the table. Most importantly, Huawei claims that the MateBook E offers up to nine hours of battery life, which would be a significant improvement over the original, assuming it holds up.

Lastly, there’s the MateBook D, which Huawei didn’t have available to demo in advance. The MateBook D is a 15-inch computer targeting a wider, midrange group of customers. Specs are less interesting on the MateBook D — a 1080p display, configurations offering Intel’s i5 and i7 processor, 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of RAM (depending on how much you’re willing to pay), and a choice between a 1TB hard drive by itself or supplemented with an additional SSD. Some models will also offer a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940 MX graphics card, which should be good for casual gaming.


Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

That said, despite its more mainstream ambitions, Huawei notes that the MateBook D still offers a thin, all-metal design and the same Dolby Atmos Sound System as the MateBook X, which the company hopes will set it apart from similarly specced laptops.

The three new MateBooks are expected to ship this summer.

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