Hot on the heels of Microsoft announcing the Surface Laptop, Huawei is ready to unveil its first real Windows 10 notebook. It's called the MateBook X, and it might remind you of Apple's 12-inch MacBook. In fact, the resemblance is so striking that I could barely tell the two apart without glancing at their logos. Although it looks very similar to Apple's diminutive laptop, the MateBook actually has a few important (and useful) differences.
First of all, it has a fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button that not only makes it easier to sign into your profile, but is also more convenient if more than one person is a frequent user of your laptop. All someone has to do is sign in with their finger and the laptop will load up their profile.
Apple's butterfly keyboard was controversial for its basically travel-free setup, and even though I'm pleased with the typing experience on my MacBook, I'm glad Huawei managed to deliver keys with 1.2mm of travel here. It's a more traditional and familiar system that makes typing more comfortable. I also like the generously sized chiclet keys, and the only buttons that appear undersized are the up and down arrows. The keyboard is also splash-resistant so you don't have to worry about spilling a little water on it while you work.
Huawei also equipped the MateBook X with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 chip, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, which should promise speed performance. I've only used the laptop for light multi-tasking so far, but in general it keeps pace with my needs.
The MateBook X's battery is supposed to last a long time, too, with company touting up to 10 hours of 1080p video playback on a charge. Speaking of video, you might appreciate the multimedia experience, not only because of the MateBook's vibrant 13-inch 2K display, but also thanks to the Dolby Atmos-enhanced surround sound system. Unfortunately during my preview period, the display on my unit seemed dim in bright sunlight, but the audio was indeed immersive and loud.
Like the MacBook, Huawei's laptop adopts a minimal approach to ports, which is likely to put off some people. You'll only get two USB C slots, one of which feeds power to the device while you're left with the other for external connections. To alleviate the potential inconvenience here, Huawei is including a dock with each MateBook X that provides options for HDMI, USB A, USB C and VGA. Unfortunately, though, there's no microSD card reader.
Although the MateBook X basically stole its design from the MacBook, I still appreciate its skinny profile and light weight. I also dig its shiny chrome edges and the pink and blue color options available. Plus, Huawei has consistently been on point with its product aesthetics since the original MateBook 2-in-1 from last year, which sports an equally premium build and classy look. The MateBook X may look familiar, but I won't dock Huawei points for crafting something that ultimately feels elegant.
We don't yet know how much the MateBook X will cost, but we do know it's expected to go on sale in the US this summer. A larger, more powerful version called the MateBook D will also be available, along with the MateBook E -- an updated version of the company's 2-in-1. Huawei's first stab at a laptop comes with just one or two unique features, but at first glance it appears the MateBook X has the basics covered. Whether it will do well as a workhorse, though, remains to be seen.