Huawei Matebook - First Windows PC By Huawei
The Huawei MateBook 2-in-1 PC is the latest high-end convertible tablet to hit the market running Windows 10 Home. With clean lines, leather accents and a sharp 12 inch IPS TFT LCD display featuring a screen resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels, the MateBook will certainly turn some heads as will the $699
entry price point. That price point is lucrative as it is $200 less than the lowest priced Microsoft Surface 4! Huawei selected the Intel Core m3 processor for the base model that also sports 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
The Intel Core M3 should be powerful enough for normal day-to-day tasks, but there is a faster model with an Intel Core m5 processor for an additional $150 or with an Intel Core m7 processor for $700 more. If you want more storage and memory space you can go all the way up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD if you don't mind spending $1599 for the decked out model. That price sounds staggering, but you can purchase a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD for $2,699!
We'll be taking a look at the Huawei Matebook W19 that features the Intel Core m5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for $849. The Intel Core M5-6Y54 processor (more CPU info
) that our fanless test unit has features a 4.5W TDP, a base clock of 1.1 GHz, a boost clock of 2.7 GHz and Intel HD Graphics 515. The Intel Core M3/M5/M7 series of mobile processors are ideal for tablets as they don't need an active cooling solution (fan) and the system builder can configure the TDP of the processor up or down depending on the application.
If you like large tablets (278.8mm x 194.1mm x 6.9mm) you'll quickly fall in love with the Matebook's 12-inch LCD display as it looks great straight on or at an angle. We found that it provided realistic colors, had adequate brightness along with solid touch solution. The Matebook bezels are about 10 mm thick, which is enough room to hold the tablet, but not have your fingers in the way. The front of the tablet has a 5MP front-facing camera and it should be noted that there is no rear-facing camera whatsoever.
The overall construction and feel is excellent with an all metal and glass construction that puts the the MateBook at 1.41 pounds. You'd likely never know that this is the first PC that Huawei has ever released!
The optional MateBook Portfolio Keyboard is basically a must have, so factor in the $129 add-on cost if you plan on doing a bunch of typing. The Matebook doesn't have an integrated kickstand, so this magnetic dock is as good as it is going to get for your Matebook. The magnets were strong enough to keep the POGO connector where it needed to be when typing on a solid flat surface, but if you don't have it on a solid surface we found that it can get easily come apart. Huawei says you can use the stand at two angles, but our use found the magnets are only strong enough for one. The backlight on our keyboard also only stayed on for a number of seconds and wouldn't stay lit as long as we liked. The Portfolio Keyboard is a must for typing, but the keyboard felt flimsy, didn't make for a good stand as and the POGO connector magnet wasn't strong enough for anything except for flat surface use. For $129 we had were hoping for a better user experience.
The Matebook has a single USB 3.0 Type-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack and that is it. Huawei ships the tablet with a power adapter and one Type-C to micro-USB converter and that is all you get. Just above the USB Type-C port you can see one of the microphones that make up the dual-microphone solution that the Matebook uses.
The optional Huawei MateDock is available for $89 and adds two standard USB 3.0 ports, VGA & HDMI display outputs and a single hard wired Gigabit Ethernet port for spots where there is no wireless available. It also has a pass-through USB-C port so you can continue charging the Matebook while the dock is in use. These extra USB ports will come in handy as you can plug in a USB mouse, keyboard, storage device, network adapter, printer, or scanner that has your typical USB Type-A connector on it.
On the other end of the Huawei MateDock you'll find the HDMI and VGA connectors for connecting the tablet to a TV, projector or a monitor. The leather case for the MateDock looks okay, but the magnets weren't strong enough to keep it closed and the USB Type-C connector was always sticking out and getting caught on things in our bag when we traveled with it. We also would have really liked to see an SD card reader in the dock as we needed to pack our USB memory card reader when we used the MateBook.
Our Hauwei Matebook was shipped to us with only the European style wall charger, so we were quickly reminded that Type-C wall chargers are far and few between right now. We took the Huawei Matebook on a trip and left the charger behind because we thought we could charge it with the USB Type-C port on our Dell XPS 13 laptop only to find out that couldn't be done.
The Dell XPS 13's USB Type-C power doesn't provide enough power to charge the Matebook, so be prepared to travel with an additional charger if you plan on using the Matebook for an extended period of time. The MateDock charging port is rated at 0.9A for those that are curious. In our testing with the Matebook we got about 3.5-4 hours of battery life when playing 1080P HD movies and 5-6 hours of general web surfing on Google Chrome.
It's odd seeing no Micro SD card slot for storage expansion or file transfers from say a smartphone or a tablet, but at 6.9mm or 0.27-inches thick it is one of the slimmest tablets on the market.
Along the top edge you have two speakers and then to the far right you have the physical wake and power button. Around the corner on the right side you have the hardware volume rocker with a fingerprint reader in the middle of the rocker! You can use the fingerprint sensor if you'd like to enable Windows Hello
for faster Windows 10 logins.
The optional HUAWEI MatePen is a stylus designed specially for the HUAWEI MateBook, featuring 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity for pen-and-paper precision. This Bluetooth connected stylus is a must for artists and content creators! From the tip of the pin you have a dedicated erase button, right-click button and a laser pointer button.
The MatePen has an integrated lithium ion battery that provides approximately one month's usage after a one hour charge (assuming that the MatePen is used for 3 hours a day). You recharge the MatePen through a micro-USB connector that is hidden under the laser pointer.
Our Matebooks 128GB SSD came out of the box partitioned into one C: drive with 103GB of storage available. Other notables inside the Matebook would be the 4,430 mAh (33.7Wh, 7.6V) internal non-removable li-ion battery that is rated for up to nine hours of use. You also have an 802.11 ac dual-band wireless solution with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1.
Here is the HWiNFO results for the MateBook HZ-W19 that shows additional information for that that are curious about the hardware or BIOS version our tablet was running.
Now that we know the basics let's take a look at the general performance of the Huawei Matebook!
Huawei MateBook W19 - Intel Core m5 Performance
The Huawei Matebook W19 powered by the Intel Core m5-6Y54 processor scored 29.83 FPS on the OpenGL benchmark, 187 points on the multi-core CPU test and 95 points on the single-core CPU test.
Sandra 2016 SP1 showed that the dual channel 1866MHz DDR4 memory had 14-17-17 1T timings and was capable of 16.7 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
The processor multi-media benchmark test in Sandra 2016 SP1 showed that we were getting an aggregate multi-media native performance score of 95 MPix/s.
We ran the JetStream v1.1 JavaSctipt on Google Chrome 51 and found an overall score of 129.09 and we had no complaints with general web browsing performance.
The 7-Zip 16.02 benchmark test showed that the Intel Core m5-6Y54 Processor in this system had a total rating of 7580 MIPS and handled compression tasks well for being a dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading in a tablet.
We ran Handbrake 0.10.5 and used the Big Buck Bunny 1080P 60 FPS movie as our test file. We were able to complete the transcode with an average speed of 14.45 FPS in 43 minutes and 50 seconds.
A quick run of CrystalDiskMark v5.1.2 showed the performance of the SanDisk 128GB storage drive was pretty solid. Sequential read speed to be 410.1 MB/s and the sequential write speed was 193.6 MB/s. The Random 4K read speed was 35.37 MB/s and the 4K random write speed was 94.48 MB/s.
We tested the MateDock USB 3.0 performance using the Inateck FE2010 external USB 3.0 drive housing
with the ADATA SP550 240GB SSD
. We got 342 MB/s read and 355 MB/s write with regards to sequential read/write performance. Not bad, but it was up to 80 MB/s lower than what we got with the same setup on a desktop PC.
When it comes to wireless performance we used LAN Speed Test to check the performance of the included Broadcom BCM4356 SoC. This is Broadcoms first 5G Wi-Fi (802.11ac) 2x2 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) solution for the mobile market. This is a dual-band 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi solution has a theoretical peak speed rating of 867 Mbps. We used a desktop with Gigabit Ethernet to run LAN Speed Server that was hard connected to the ASUS RT-AC68U 802.11AC wireless router with Firmware version 184.108.40.206.378.9313. We tested the 5GHz performance with the router placed 10-feet away from the Matebook and ran performance tests with 1MB and 100MB packet sizes. The results showed that we were averaging 263-305 Mbps (Up to 38 MB/s) with regards to writes and 419-454 Mbps (Up to 57 MB/s) for reads on the 5GHz band.
Maximum wireless throughput for 1MB packets was found to be 525.7 Mbps read and 330.9 Mbps write, so wireless performance is good on the Matebook!
The back of the Matebook gets warm and after 15 hours of using the tablet off and on we found that the Intel Core m5 processor topped out at 74C on the CPU cores and 72C on the GPU cores. The back of the tablet does get warm during heavy period of use, but it doesn't burn `or anything crazy like that.
Since many Matebooks will be used in the living room we thought we'd take a second and look at a number of video types on the device and found nothing unusual. DXVA Checker found that the Core m5 processor with Intel HD Graphics 515 Graphics offers hardware acceleration for MPEG-2, VC1, H.264, HEVC, VP9 (8-bit only) and WMV9 file types.
Let's wrap this up!
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
After using the Huawei Matebook for a short period of time we found that the 12-inch tablet was a pretty damn good 2-in-1 for Huawei's first foray into the PC market. We were happy with the performance of the MateBook model that we tested with the Intel Core m5 processor as it was able to handle daily PC tasks with ease. We weren't doing heavy transcoding or crazy stuff like that, but basic image editing and web browsing with multiple tabs open was more than acceptable.
When it came to battery life we generally got 5-6 hours out of it on average and while the aluminum back of the Matebook got warm during heavy usage periods it was never too hot. It would have been nice to get closer to the advertised 9 hours of battery life, but that is something Huawei can work on for the next version. We also wouldn't mind seeing a multi-position kickstand and keyboard similar to what the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has!
Basically the tablet itself is great with regards to style and performance, but the MateDock and Portfolio Keyboard could most certainly use some refinements.
Price and Availability
The Huawei MateBook became widely available starting July 11th, 2016 and there are six configurations of the MateBook ranging in price from $699 all the way up to $1,599. The MateBook W29 series with the Intel Core m7 series is not yet available in the United States as Huawei is undecided whether it will ever be released here.
- MateBook W09 - Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD: $699.00
- MateBook W19 - Intel Core m5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD: $849.00
- MateBook W19 - Intel Core m5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: $999.00
- MateBook W19 - Intel Core m5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD: $1,199.00
- MateBook W29 - Intel Core m7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1,399.00
- MateBook W29 - Intel Core m7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD: $1,599.00
After you purchase the MateBook of your choice you then then need to add on all the accessories that you'd like to use with the MateBook. The Huawei MateBook Portfolio Keyboard is $129.00
, the MateDock USB-C multiport adapter is $89.00
and the MatePen stylus is another $59.99
. If you are purchasing the MateBook and plan on using it daily then the Portfolio Keyboard and MateDock are a must. The MateDock houses two USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port and HDMI and VGA Display output connections. If you use external hard drives for data storage/backup or want to connect multiple USB Type-A devices (memory card reader, flash drive, optical drive) the MateDock will make life with the MateBook easier as your primary PC.
The MateBook W19 (4GB RAM and 128GB SSD) that we looked at today with all the accessories would set you back $1127 if you bought it all on Amazon right now. Not exactly something you run out and buy on an impulse, but it's certainly worth looking into if you are in the market for a 12-inch 2-in-1 tablet running Microsoft Windows 10. Keeping in mind that this is Huawei's first Windows Tablet, they did pretty damn good for their first Windows PC. They most certainly got the tablet style down and if they would have nailed the accessories we could have seen the MateBook really challenging everything on the market today.
Legit Bottom Line:
The Huawei MateBook performs well, but it needs a redesigned keyboard and improved dock for it to do well on the 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet market.