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.

Deals

ASUS ROG laptops will come with freebies

Plus up to PhP 25,000 discount on some models

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Buying a new laptop can be frustrating at times. Luckily, ASUS’ new promo for ROG laptops will make deciding easier. With every purchase of ROG laptops, customers can snag big discounts and great freebies.

This July, select ROG laptops will come with ASUS gaming monitors as a freebie bundle. On top of that, some of these laptops will come with up to PhP 25,000 discount. Laptops that will join the promo include the top-of-the-line ROG Zephrus S and Strix Scar.

Zephyrus S

  • GX531GX (15-inch 144Hz FHD, i7-8750, 1TB SSD, RTX 2080) — from PhP 189,995 to PhP 164,995 + free VA326H gaming monitor, ROG Impact gaming mouse and ultra slim sleeve
  • GX701GV (17-inch 144Hz FHD, i7-8750H, 512GB SSD, RTX 2060) — from PhP 139,995 to PhP 129,995 + free VG258Q gaming monitor and ROG Gladius gaming mouse
  • GX531GW (15-inch 144Hz FHD, i7-8750, 512GB SSD, RTX 2070) — from PhP 149,995 to PhP 139,995 + free ROG Impact gaming mouse and ultra slim sleeve
  • GX501GI (15-inch 144Hz FHD, i7-8750, 1TB SSD, GTX 1080 Max-Q) — from PhP 149,995 to PhP 129,995 + free ROG Impact gaming mouse
  • GX531GM (15-inch 144Hz FHD, i7-8750, 512GB SSD, GTX 1060) — from PhP 104,995 to PhP 89,995 + free ROG Impact gaming mouse and ultra slim sleeve

Strix Scar

  • GL704GW (17-inch 144Hz FHD, i7-8750H, 1TB SSHD + 256GB SSD, RTX 2070) — from PhP 134,995 to PhP 129,995 + free VG248Q gaming monitor, ROG Gladius gaming mouse, and ROG backpack
  • GL504GW (15-inch 144Hz FHD, i7-8750H, 1TB SSHD + 256GB SSD, RTX 2070) — from PhP 129,995 to PhP 119,995 + free VG248Q gaming monitor, ROG Gladius gaming mouse, and ROG backpack

Individuals who need a work and gaming laptop in one should really look no further than ASUS’ ROG laptops, especially with the big discounts and freebies. Hurry though, since the discounts and freebies are available only on all ASUS stores nationwide until supplies last.

For more information about ASUS ROG’s latest promo, visit their Facebook and Twitter page.

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Laptops

Apple: Don’t cover your MacBook webcams

Might damage your screen

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Lately, the conversation surround cybersecurity has ramped up. Users are making sure that no one is spying on them through their favorite devices. One of the most popular ways of doing so is placing a cover on a laptop’s built-in webcam. However, Apple has issued an official warning against the obscuring method.

Reported by MacRumors, Apple has posted a new support page on its official website about closing a MacBook with a cover attached. Apparently, doing so can severely damage your screen. The laptop wasn’t designed for such use, Apple says. Further, covering your webcam can affect the different sensors on the device.

In lieu of a physical cover, Apple is asking users to trust the green indicator light instead. According to the page, “the camera is engineered so that it can’t activate without the camera indicator light also turning on.”

Of course, trusting a device’s hardware isn’t always the best option. If absolutely needed, Apple has issued a few criteria for appropriate covers: thinner than 0.1mm (or about the thickness of a piece of printer paper), no adhesive residue, and removing the cover whenever closing the device.

With camera covers becoming all the rage, issuing some safety tips might be the best course of action for the MacBook maker. Certainly, people will still cover their devices despite warnings. And more certainly, people will still remain wary about malicious parties spying on their cameras.

SEE ALSO: Apple will stop using Intel in MacBooks next year

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Deals

ASUS VivoBook S goes on sale

Making it a compelling laptop for students and teachers

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The start of a new school year is just a month away and distance learning is the new normal. As such, students and teachers need a reliable laptop for this paradigm shift. That’s where this ASUS Vivobook S sale comes in.

ASUS Philippines is offering various discounts and price promos for its popular VivoBook S laptop series. Buyers can snag discounts of up to PhP 25,000 on select models. These include the VivoBook S15, S14, and even the slim-and-light S13.

VivoBook S15

The VivoBook S15 features a 15.6-inch screen so students and teachers can view lessons with ease. On top of that, all VivoBook S15 models have Intel Core processors to meet the demands of online education.

The ErgoLift hinge, meanwhile, ensures that students won’t tire their hands when typing long documents and files.

  • S531FL-BQ071T / S531FL-BQ072T / S531FL-BQ073T (15-inch FHD, i7-8565U, 8GB / 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD, MX250) — from PhP 60,995 to PhP 55,995 (promo price of PhP 50,995)
  • S531FL-BQ289T / S531FL-BQ290T / S531FL-BQ376T / S531FL-BQ377T / S531FL-BQ378T (15-inch FHD, i7-8565U, 8GB / 512GB SSD, MX250) — from PhP 56,995 to PhP 51,995 (promo price of PhP 46,995)
  • S531FL-BQ001T / S531FL-BQ002T / S531FL-BQ003T / S531FL-BQ004T / S531FL-BQ005T (15-inch FHD, i5-8265U, 8GB / 512GB SSD, MX250) — from PhP 49,995 to PhP 41,995 (promo price of PhP 40,995)
  • S530 (15-inch FHD, i7-8565U, 8GB / 1TB + 256GB SSD, MX150) — from PhP 64,995 to PhP 51,995 (promo price of PhP 46,995)

VivoBook S14

There’s also a VivoBook S14 for students who want a laptop with a smaller screen, but packs decent performance overall.

All VivoBook S14 models come equipped with NanoEdge displays, ensuring immersive viewing experience for multimedia files. Plus, each model weight under 1.4 kilograms, making it easy to carry around at home or at school.

  • S431 (14-inch FHD, i5-8265U, 8GB / 512GB SSD, MX250) — from PhP 49,995 to PhP 44,995 (promo price of PhP 40,995)
  • S430FN-EB059T / S430FN-EB060T / S430FN-EB061T (14-inch FHD, i7-8565U, 8GB / 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD, MX150) — from PhP 64,995 to PhP 51,995 (promo price of PhP 46,995)
  • S430FN-EB056T / S430FN-EB057T / S430FN-EB058T / S430FN-EB062T (14-inch FHD, i5-8265U, 4GB / 1TB + 256GB SSD, MX150) — from PhP 51,995 to PhP 39,995 (promo price of PhP 35,995)

VivoBook S13

Students who need an ultraportable laptop should look no further than VivoBook S13. This laptop is even lighter than VivoBook S14, weighing only 1.2 kilograms.

While it is light, ASUS didn’t skimp on features for the VivoBook S13. It comes with the latest Intel Core processors and up to 8GB of RAM. Plus, each model comes with an 89% screen-to-body ratio, focusing more on the content at hand.

  • S330FN-EY006T / S330FN-EY005T / S330FN-EY004T (13-inch FHD, i7-8565U, 8GB / 256GB SSD, MX150) — from PhP 62,995 to PhP 46,995 (promo price of PhP 42,995)
  • S330FN-EY002T / S330FN-EY001T / S330FN-EY003T (13-inch FHD, i5-8265U, 8GB / 256GB SSD, MX150) — from PhP 56,995 to PhP 41,995 (promo price of PhP 37,995)
  • S330UN-EY002T / S330UN-EY001T (13-inch FHD, i5-8250U, 4GB / 256GB SSD, MX150) — from PhP 50,995 to PhP 40,995 (promo price of PhP 36,995)
  • S330FA-EY005T / S330FA-EY009T / S330FA-EY008T (13-inch FHD, i5-8265U, 8GB / 256GB SSD) — from PhP 51,995 to PhP 39,995 (promo price of PhP 35,995)
  • S330UA-EY023T (13-inch FHD, i5-8250U, 4GB / 256GB SSD) — from PhP 45,995 to PhP 34,995 (promo price of PhP 31,995)

To avail of ASUS’ VivoBook laptops, head over to their Lazada, Shopee, and official online store. You may also buy these discounted laptops at any participating ASUS physical stores nationwide.

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