back to article Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020: Nothing too crazy but at least it's more fixable and cheaper than comparable Apple wares

The 2020 Huawei Matebook X Pro faithfully follows its predecessors in form and function. At its heart, it's a well-rounded but pricey ultrabook. No new ground is broken, but the Matebook X Pro gets the fundamentals right. Poking around, you spot the occasional delight. The inclusion of a standard USB-A port is hugely welcome …

  1. Lee D Silver badge

    I recently bought a laptop for the same price.

    It has a 17" 240Hz screen and a proper graphics card (RTX2060). It has more ports, and a Thunderbolt. The same wide touchpad. Double NVMe. Effectively the same processor, RAM, etc.

    It just doesn't have touchscreen, but quite why you'd want that on a 13" laptop I can't fathom. Laptops break at hinges (always). So you're gonna stab the glossy thing you need to look at with a smudgy finger.

    Oh, and it opens with ordinary small Philips screws, because I did that already to change the Wifi/Bluetooth and the NVMe's.

    I'm sorry but who is paying this amount of money for a 13" business laptop? Are they suffering from Surfaceitis? Or Macbookavirus?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      These machines are very similar to MacBooks, hence the comparable prices. One thing you should note re. the screen is the resolution. I don't know what your 17" has, but these are all very high-res which pushes up the cost. But you are also paying for power/weight: who wants to lump a 17" machine around? These devices weigh around 1.2 kg and will give you a day's use from the battery.

    2. kernel_panic

      Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

      The "business laptop" category is widely understood in the industry. From the moment you compare a 17" laptop with a business laptop it tells me how little business travelling you must have done. The two are just not comparable.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

        Well you say that.

        But I just bought a watermelon for half the price of an apple. It has pips, just like the apple, and it also has a green outside just like the apple. The watermelon is a decent 17", and unlike your overpriced apple I can eat it all day without it running out of juice.

        So you apple-loving sheeple go ahead and pay your malus tax, we watermelon eaters will continue to think you're crazy, and will wittily demonstrate this by throwing in an out-of-context "you're holding it wrong". For japes.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

          To continue your somewhat irrelevant point. How often have you heard of a football team having watermelon at half time. Try comparing Apples with Oranges not Watermelons.

          You're replying to it wrong. :D

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

            Maybe he is an apple lawyer and get's confused at similar shaped fruit.

            1. Snowy
              Joke

              Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

              In that case it would be a pear not a mellon?

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

          I'ld like to see you go jogging with a water melon…

          1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

            Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

            Of all the forums I would expect to see a reference to Dirty Dancing, I wasn't expecting it to be El Reg. Well, nobody puts Baby in a corner.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

            Or put a (whole) watermelon in your lunch box...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

          You're twisting my melon, Man.

      2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

        I've up voted your post because in the main I concur. However, I do always question how well the industry understands business use given that 99% of laptops have a screen aspect ratio designed for watching DVDs. Thankfully Huawei, Microsoft and Apple understand that shape is sub-optimal for many tasks.

      3. DS999

        Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

        I've done a ton of traveling in the past with a 17" laptop - back when that meant one that weighed 6.6 lbs. I consider a 12 or 13 inch screen unusable for business use.

      4. Snorlax

        Re: Like comparing an apple with a watermelon

        "The "business laptop" category is widely understood in the industry. "

        Businesses don't buy Huawei laptops.

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      "because I did that already to change the Wifi/Bluetooth and the NVMe's."

      So you bought a new laptop, but instantly found it lacking.

      Interesting.

      1. englishr
        Happy

        Buying a new laptop and popping in a 16GB SODIMM and 1TB NVMe drive from somewhere like Amazon is vastly cheaper than purchasing that spec. from the manufacturer.

        You also get a clean crapware-free installation of Windows/Linux on the new drive, and can quickly replace the original vendor drive if required by technical support.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I notice you didn't even name this fabled laptop so I'll have to discount this post entirely as User Didn't Supply Enough Information

      1. SuperGeek

        Ha. Says an Anonymous Coward! Where's your name?

  2. Steve K Silver badge

    Screen rotation

    I agree that a MX250 is stingy at this price, but you might find that the 90 degree rotation you want for tablet-like functionality can be enabled in the nVidia driver.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Screen rotation

      I think the author meant folding the screen over the back so it's physically like a tablet, not an open laptop.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much storage in the review unit?

    I've looked and see a storage value for the comparison with the macbook & the matebook i5 compared has half the storage of the i7 but no value for the storage in the review unit.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Joke

    Ok... Just don't try taking it into the USA

    Trumpo's Border Cops will think that you are a Chinese Spy.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Ok... Just don't try taking it into the USA

      But if it has writing on it they will think you are one of those intelktual terrorists - so safest to remove all the keys except U, S and A

    2. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Re: Ok... Just don't try taking it into the USA

      So what? I'm boycotting the States. And I work for a company that doesn't even export to the States

      Yes I know.. Stop bragging.

      But there's more to laptops than Trump you know!

  5. hairydog

    I have a previous version of this laptop, and after a couple of years of use, I would say that it is nothing less than wonderful. Way cooler-looking than a Surface or a Mac, but also better in performance and usability.

    The fingerprint reader is superb. Always works first time.

    The battery life is stunning.

    It charges really fast using USBC. The second USBC port also does Thunderbolt, I understand, though I've never used it for that.

    The screen is amazing: It is 3000x2000 though I generally run it scaled.

    It happily drives three other monitors at the same time, as well as ethernet and power in, all using one USBC plug (though the included adapter doesn't have ethernet).

    I don't have much to say about its actual performance, because I don't play games. For business and multimedia, it is always way ahead of the load. I've never had to wait for it to do anything.

    Yes, the webcam is a silly setup, but at least it is easy to switch off.

    There is only one thing I dislike about this laptop: it has no page up, page down, home or end keys on the otherwise superb keyboard. I can live without them, but after two years, I still mourn their omission.

    1. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      Very useful post that's done more to turn my eye than this review. I almost bought the last iteration but alas we will cover why..

      I suppose one could fix the keyboard issue via a USB accessory. How are the keys, is the travel satisfying?

      And as good as battery life may be, do you find sourcing and replacing a battery to be reasonably possible? Eg, I've replaced screens on my own laptops, and expect battery placement to be easier (in the interests of lowest common denominator ability)

      And dear Sir. The port situation? Any niggles such as awkward placement?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      The webcams are getting closer and closer, first under the screen, then buried in the function keys, one day they'll be at the front of the trackpad pointing directly upwards.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Word and Slack...

    ... those paragons of office productivity.

    Shirley a steal at £1700 ....

    1. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

      Re: Word and Slack...

      Wack.

      Slurred.

  7. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    I prefer melons.

    (we wouldn't recommend anyone buys a Mac right now, given that Apple Silicon is just around the corner, but that's by-the-by)......

    Should have stopped at the first comma.

    1. CRConrad

      Re: "Should have stopped at the first comma"

      Or two words earlier.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complete ?!?

    "For the sake of completeness [..]"

    LOL. Come on El Reg, why miss the single most important question for any hadrware that is by default infested with Windows: does it also run Linux? I'd add FreeBSD, but that might go too far.

    Microsoft has gone to great lengths with all sorts of shenanigans to reward vendors by fleecing charging them less if they make the installation of other, some would argue better, operating system as hard as possible, so it's always good to know who has NOT accepted the bribe.

    Does that mean one has to install Linux? Of course not, but there are a great many with a deep technical background who are interested in Machines That Can and supporting both platforms mean simpler purchasing and spares management for the bigger companies without forcing the capable onto Windows.

    So please, add such important details. There's more out there than just Microsoft.

    Marketing people from Redmond and their Scientologist brethren, the downvote button to stab in righteous anger is the righthand one :)

    1. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

      Re: Complete ?!?

      Fair point. I dual boot my lappy at present and it would be good information.

      Not even expecting them to try it, if it's a review model.. Just a sentence of possibility or not would cover it.

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Complete ?!?

      Very much agreed. I won't buy and device unless I am assured it will run Linux.

      1. cdegroot

        Re: Complete ?!?

        Which is why I'm typing this on a Dell XPS15. They sell them (still, I think) with Linux preinstalled in the States. One of the simpler installs I did, the only driver hunt was for the fingerprint scanner but I see that as entirely optional anyway.

    3. Guevera

      Re: Complete ?!?

      I've got the 2018 version (bought new old stock at end of 2019 for about $1100, which would be what, maybe 800 pounds?). I spend probably 2/3rd of my time on it working in Linux and 1/3rd in Windows. Runs Linux great, no problems with hardware.

      You can't scale display as precisely in Linux as you can in Windows, but that's a Linux software thing I think -- I haven't dug into it because the scaling presets work fine for me. Battery life is maybe 20% shorter in Linux. Best trackpad I've used that wasn't on a Mac, biggest frustration is my bluetooth mouse has to be repaired every time I switch OS.

  9. Snorlax

    £1,699.99

    It's a nice laptop, but is it worth dropping 1700 quid on?

    It's not a premium brand by any stretch of the imagination, and the Trump government's anti-Huawei propaganda hasn't done the name any favours...

    Also - at least a similarly-priced MacBook will have some resale value in 3 or 4 years...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £1,699.99

      My downvote is not due to the question but the weird presumption any equipment I own will ever, ever be at the mercy of Trump's customs agencies.

      1. Snorlax

        Re: £1,699.99

        "...the weird presumption..."

        Your logic is somewhat flawed, my anonymous friend, and the only weird presumption I can see is yours. I'm sure you'll understand that I don't really care what brand of hardware you spend your money on.

        The observation was that the US has deemed Huawei to be a threat to domestic companies, to the extent that the government has banned US companies from doing business with them - ultimately hurting their sales figures in that part of the world.

        1. Giles C Bronze badge

          Re: £1,699.99

          Can someone explain to me that Huawei is banned from dealing with US companies but this is running an Intel chipset so how are Intel legally selling chips to them?

          1. Snorlax

            Re: £1,699.99

            "Can someone explain to me..."

            They bought a shitload of components before the US sanctions were enacted:

            https://www.techspot.com/news/85439-huawei-has-spent-billions-2-year-stockpile-american.html

            Presumably the same goes for their Windows licenses.

            Or maybe they can sidestep the ban by using an OEM like Foxconn or Clevo to build their laptops...but probably not.

            They're currently knocking out (ARM?) desktop processors in the Chinese market under the HiSilicon brand, so you'll probably see more of that if the Apple ARM thing takes off and people realise that x86 isn't the only game in town.

            https://www.techspot.com/news/86330-huawei-24-core-kunpeng-desktop-cpu-faster-than.html

  10. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge
    Flame

    Seems good but..

    I strongly suspect my next lappy will be a Thinkpad Carbon.

    But.. All that depends on my old T430! A tank of a Thinkpad. I've had it about seven years and even then I bought it refurbed with a new IPS screen. Treated it to some more memory and it's loving Linux Mint as the old Windows 10 install rots away - Mint alone convinced me there's more life in the old dog yet. Windows 10 is a slurping, CPU-hungry nightmare.

    So. Yes, very interested. I'm happy to see a new edition of this laptop.

    I just, I fully admit I've gone a bit off topic, but I don't quite see what will budge me from my Thinkpad brand loyalty.. Especially when I'm obsessed with things such as the standard of keyboard and ports and replaceable parts.

    Fair dos though this machine sounds like it's relatively easily opened - a vastly underrated concept, and for that reason any folk disagreeing due to I HAVE A MACBOOK will be ignored as let's face it, they tuned out at "reapplying thermal paste".

    1. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge
      Happy

      Re: Seems good but..

      Oh, and in the interests of getting myself a wee bit back on topic:

      I clicked on this welcome review as I do find this line seriously gorgeous.

      I'm not saying Macbook Air it into being untweakable due to the cost of beauty - but a happy middle ground is vastly appreciated.

      What put me off the last iteration though is battery.

      I looked a mere year ago for replacement batteries as I suspected it would be my future if I bought one. All that turned up was Reddit questions... Always a bad result, no?

      And lo, the same question is begged.

      1. Snorlax

        Re: Seems good but..

        ” What put me off the last iteration though is battery.”

        Batteries are very easy to replace on pre-2018 MacBook Airs, and moderately easy to replace on post-2018 models:

        https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Air+13-Inch+Retina+Display+2019+Battery+Replacement/135254

        1. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

          Re: Seems good but..

          Thanks but I meant on the Matebook line..

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost / benefit analysis

    "Those tiny bezels come at a cost, however, as the webcam is based within the function keys. "

    The whatcam? The camwhat? This is, if anything, a benefit - as it's not a negative I even remotely care about.

    Also sounds a bit easier to keep a lump of Blutack on than a vertical arrangement.

  12. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Angel

    Nunc Dimittis

    A free mouse !

  13. Steve Todd Silver badge

    Wrong competition

    4000 series Ryzen mobile CPUs give the 10th gen Intel mobiles a good run for their money in the productivity space (they are a smidgen slower in gaming, but these are not gaming machines), last longer on the same amount of power and are cheaper for a similar config. This Huawei really doesn’t seem to have any advantages over, say, a HP ProBook 445 which can be configured with discrete graphics, 16GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, Ryzen 7 4750U 8 core CPU and 14” full HD display (Ok, so this is 16:9 rather than 3:2) for $1099, which even gives you change for the $399 Thunderbolt dock with audio conferencing.

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