Laptops

Huawei MateBook 13 review: 5 reasons to make the switch

And a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t

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Lots of tech reviewers, including myself, considered the MateBook X Pro as one of the best Windows laptops of 2018. It has the build quality, performance, and look that could easily take on the MacBook Pro.

Naturally, Huawei followed up this major release with a set of new notebooks in early 2019. These include an updated MateBook X Pro, MateBook 14, and finally, the MateBook 13 we have here.

Given its name and pricing — starting at US$ 999 for the Intel Core i5 variant — it’s a given that this is at the lowest end of the MateBook lineup. But don’t let any of those figures fool you; this is one solid product.

I can provide a few reasons why.

Smaller yet equally powerful

Having used the MateBook X Pro as a daily driver for several months now, switching to the MateBook 13 felt like a downgrade at first. I’d miss the quad speaker setup and larger screen, but those were the only losses in the grander scheme. If you took even a single glance at the MateBook 13’s specs sheet, you’d know that it still packs a punch.

The particular model I reviewed, which retails for US$ 1,299, comes with a Core i7-8565U, 8GB of memory, 512GB of fast storage, and a GeForce MX150 GPU. That’s loads of power for a slim laptop that’s only 14.9mm thick with a weight of 1.3kg. That’s also perfect for pushing the 2160 x 1440 pixels on the 13-inch display.

All the convenience is here

I was a little worried that Huawei would remove the fingerprint scanner as a way to cut costs, but fortunately for me and everyone who uses the MateBook 13, it’s still conveniently placed on the power button. Keep your finger on the sensor for a couple of seconds during boot-up, and you’ll go straight to your desktop.

Another handy feature is the fast charger the MateBook 13 comes with. At 65 watts, it can bring this laptop from zero to full in about 1.5 hours, which is similar to what Huawei does with SuperCharge tech on its flagship smartphones. As a bonus, the cable ends in USB-C, so it can quickly charge your handset, as well.

Huawei Share is surprisingly good

I admit, there was some skepticism at the beginning with the Huawei Share sticker placed on the lower-right corner of the notebook. I’ve seen multiple attempts at making syncing between a smartphone and laptop seamless for ages, but nothing has really made it worth the try over simply plugging the mobile device in.

To my delight, Huawei Share legit works. I tap my P30 Pro to the right of the trackpad, and it automatically pairs through NFC. From there, you can select photos, videos, or music you’d like to share between the two devices. The only downside, of course, is that you need a compatible Huawei phone to make this work, which would alienate tons of users.

A much better webcam placement

The biggest complaint of any MateBook X Pro user centers around the notebook’s awkward webcam placement. While the pop-up mechanism is cool, the videos you get out of it aren’t. It’s the lone downside of an otherwise perfect Windows laptop.

Huawei took notes and put the webcam where it belongs on the MateBook 13. It’s right above the display this time and doesn’t add much to the top bezel. It’s a shame that Huawei didn’t just apply this to all of its laptops from the start, but I do miss the privacy I got from the hidden placement of the MateBook X Pro.

Pretty much everything about the design

I believe that 14 inches is the sweet spot for ultra-slim laptops; it provides enough real estate while fitting well inside any sort of backpack. However, the MateBook 13 makes a strong case for why 13 inches is even handier without losing much work space. Because the bezels are still so slim, the display always feels bigger than it looks.

I’m also glad that Huawei didn’t make any comprises with the keyboard and trackpad. The clickiness and response of every backlit key is spot on, and although the trackpad may be a bit too wide for its height, the responsiveness is equally satisfying and it’s so easy to apply gestures on it, especially if you pick the non-touchscreen option.

But then…

As usual, there are a few downsides. The most glaring one is the absence of a USB-A port. One can argue that USB-C is the future — and the MateBook 13 has two of these — but if the MateBook X Pro can have a couple plus one USB-A, so should the MateBook 13. There’s a dongle for this, but being able to plug in straight away is miles more convenient.

As alluded to earlier, this laptop bears only two downward-firing speakers. They can get loud, but clarity is lost at the higher levels, and is totally muffled when placed on a soft surface. And because of the smaller overall heft, battery life takes a hit. I could get easily get over six hours of usage on one full charge, but that isn’t MateBook X Pro levels.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The MateBook 13 is best described as a more affordable MateBook X Pro that doesn’t compromise too much. In effect, it’s yet another MacBook competitor.

With the exception of video calls, there were several moments wherein I wished I’d been using the MateBook X Pro instead, specifically when binge watching shows and plugging in a flash drive.

Otherwise, for the price it commands, the MateBook 13 is one of the best in its class. I love how you can get high performance and a quality build in such a compact package.

The best alternatives here are the MateBook 14 for something a little bigger and Dell’s XPS 13 line, which had been the undisputed champ before the current-gen MateBook series arrived. Now, that crown has to be shared.

Computers

ASUS ROG launches Cool for School Promo

Exclusive bundles and discounts!

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The start of the new school year in the Philippines is right around the corner. With that in mind, ASUS ROG is offering plenty of devices on their lineup for exclusive bundles and discounts with its Cool for School promo.

Promo duration is from July 15 to August 31, 2021 and features laptops, desktops, smartphones that are available for up PhP 18,000 worth of discounts. Take a look at the bundles below.

ASUS Notebooks and Zenfones

  • All ASUS ZenBook — Nespresso Mini Essenza with free Coffee Capsules (PhP 7,500)
  • All ASUS VivoBook — Aviche M5 Wearable Air Purifier (PhP 2,500)
  • Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip — JBL Go 3 (PhP 2,300)
  • All ASUS X Series laptops with Intel Core i5 and i7 processors — PhP 2,000 discount
  • All ASUS X Series laptops with Intel Core i3 processor — PhP 1,000 discount

ROG

  • ROG Zephyrus S17 GX701LXS/LV, ROG Zephyrus S15 GX502LXS/LW, ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502LW/LU — Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit 9W, Google Nest Hub (PhP 18,000+)
  • ROG Flow X13 SuperNova Edition, ROG XG Mobile GPU with RTX 3080 — ROG Slash Cap, ROG Slash Sling Bag, Xbox Controller (PhP 8,500+)
  • ROG Flow X13 — ROG Slash Cap, ROG Slash Sling Bag (PhP 2,500+)
  • ROG Zepyhrus G14 GA401IVC — ROG Slash Cap, ROG Slash Messenger Bag, Chromecast 4K TV, Google Nest Mini (PhP 8,500+)
  • ROG Zephyrus G15, ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401IV/IU/IH/II — Chromecast 4K TV, Google Nest Mini (PhP 4,500+)
  • ROG Strix Scar 17 G732LXS/LWS/LV, ROG Strix Scar G532LWS/LW/LV — ROG Slash Cap, TUF AX3000 router, Xbox Controller (13,000+)
  • ROG Strix G17 G712LV/LU, ROG Strix G15 G512LV/LU/LI — Google Nest Mini, Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Bulb 9W (PhP 4,000+)
  • ROG Phone 5 Classic — ROG Cetra II Core (PhP 3,300)
  • ROG Ranger Backpack (RGB BP3703) — PhP 1,000 Discount
  • ROG Ranger Backpack (BP2500) — PhP 500 Discount

ASUS and ROG Desktops

  • ASUS Desktop S3401SFF — PhP 1,000 Discount
  • ASUS Desktop S500SA — PhP 1,000 Discount
  • ROG Strix G35DX-PH009T, ROG Strix G35DX-PH011T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
  • ROG Strix GD30CI(OPT.)-PH003T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
  • ROG Strix G15DH-PH014T , ROG Strix G15DH-PH002T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
  • ROG Strix GL12CM-PH019T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
  • ROG Strix GL10CS-PH042T , ROG Strix GL10CS-PH040T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
  • TUF Gaming FX10CP-PH004T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A

For the complete mechanics and list of participating products and stores, check out https://bit.ly/ASUSROGCoolForSchool2021.

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Computers

ASUS reveals PCs, laptops that can upgrade to Windows 11

Check if your laptop or PC makes the cut

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Windows 11 is official now, and more OEMs are jumping aboard to the new OS. For its part, ASUS is making it easy for consumers to know if their PCs and laptops can upgrade to Windows 11.

SEE ALSO: Windows 11 is official, here are the stand-out features

Consumers who brought recent ASUS laptop models can rest assured that theirs will get Windows 11. Users who revel on the latest ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED laptop, ZenBook Duo 14, ZenBook 13 Flip OLED, or even the  ZenBook 13 OLED can enjoy a much streamlined experience with Windows 11 later this year. As for other laptop lineups, ASUS got their backs too as Windows 11 will come as a free upgrade for ProArt StudioBook, Zenbook, and Vivobook laptops.

Meanwhile, gamers out there will be delighted to find that the new OS is coming to their ROG Strix, Zephyrus, and Flow gaming laptops and desktops as well as TUF Gaming ones. The same goes for business owners of ExpertBook laptops and ExpertCenter desktops.

Of course, there’s a full list of Windows 11-ready ASUS PCs which you may view here.

Ready for Windows 11

Users can download the latest PC Health Check from Microsoft to see if their PC meets all the necessary requirements for running Windows 11. It’s free — and you can download it directly from Microsoft. Compatible PCs will receive the update later once Microsoft rolls it out to the public. Users with these PCs may back up their files to OneDrive for ease and peace of mind.

ASUS PCs with Windows 11 right out of the box are also coming soon. Users may wait for new ASUS PCs later in the year to get the new OS for free and right out the box.

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Deals

Acer has massive discounts plus freebies on select devices

Get a free Acer tablet with every purchase of select models!

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Acer laptops can be your next purchase with its latest “Learn from Home” program. From June 16 to July 18, buyers can get up to PhP 40,000 worth of discounts plus some cool freebies when they shop Acer’s latest devices.

For this program, Acer laptops, desktops, monitors, and projectors now come with PhP 8,000 discount. This is a big deal, especially for higher-end models. But the deal doesn’t stop there. Acer is also giving away a free Android tablet on select models.

Consumer Notebooks & Desktops

SF514-55TA-54J7 — from PhP 59,999 to PhP 56,999 with free Acer tablet

A514-54G-77ZK — from PhP 49,999 to PhP 47,999 with free Acer tablet

A514-54G-51PU —  from PhP 37,999 to PhP 35,999 with free Acer tablet

Aspire TC-875 — from PhP 48,999 to PhP 44,999

Aspire XC-830 — from PhP 21,999 to PhP 18,999

Projector and Monitors

X1126AH — from PhP 18,999 to PhP 15,999

32HC5QR Z — from PhP 18,199 to PhP 17,199

Meanwhile, gamers who purchase the latest Predator gaming laptop, desktop, and AOPEN monitor can get up to PhP 40,000 worth of discount. A gaming chair is up for grabs too, provided that they buy the participating models.

Gaming Notebooks

PT515-52-73VZ — from PhP 199,999 to PhP 159,999 with free gaming chair and loot bag

PH315-54-723N — PhP 94,999 with free gaming chair and loot bag

PH315-53-5634 — from PhP 79,999 to PhP 64,999 with free gaming chair and loot bag

Gaming Desktops

Predator Orion 3000 — from PhP 69,999 to PhP 59,999

Nitro 50 — from PhP 49,999 to PhP 44,999

AOPEN Monitors

Predator XB253Q — from PhP 19,999 to PhP 18,499

Promoting this program are Acer’s ambassadors, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. To see the list of eligible models, visit Acer’s website today or shop through one of their stores or authorized retailers. Buyers may also follow Acer on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to day to catch up on the latest program updates.

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