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.
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.
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For the content creators!
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Lenovo launches the ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15
Perfect for enterprise users
Months ago, Lenovo launched a new series of laptops — the ThinkBook. Compared to the ubiquitous ThinkPad, the ThinkBook caters to the enterprise market. The series’ launch opened with two new laptops, the ThinkBook 13s and the ThinkBook 14s. Without missing a beat, Lenovo has already expanded the ThinkBook family. Meet the newest members — the ThinkPad 14 and the ThinkPad 15!
Like the ThinkBook 14s, the ThinkBook 14 has a 14-inch narrow-bezel FHD screen. Inside, the laptop carries up to a 10th-generation 6-core Intel Core i7 processor and an AMD Radeon 620 GPU. It has 4GB of DDR4 memory optimized with Intel Optane. For storage, it has up to 1TB of PCIe SSD and 2TB of HDD storage.
Additionally, the ThinkBook 14 features a backlit keyboard with Skype for Business hotkeys. For security, it offers Smart Power On and a ThinkShutter cover for the webcam. The laptop’s 57Wh battery can last up to 12 hours. Alternatively, a 45Wh variant comes with Rapidcharge.
On the other hand, the ThinkBook 15 offers much of the same features as the ThinkBook 14. However, the laptop comes with a larger 15-inch narrow-bezel FHD screen. Because of its larger size, the keyboard fits in a number pad. Also, instead of an AMD Radeon 620 GPU, the laptop features a slightly upgraded AMD Radeon 625 GPU.
Lenovo reveals new Yoga lineup at IFA 2019
A Yoga for everyone
IFA 2019 is underway in Berlin, and Lenovo has more to offer than ever before. Apart from their revamped lineups of devices, they are also proud to introduce new additions to their famed Yoga lineup. These devices now bring an increase of power and performance, brighter and more colorful displays — all in a portable design.
Headlining the new additions is the Lenovo Yoga C940, the powerhouse 2-in-1 designed for creators and creative professionals. The Lenovo Yoga C940 comes with up to a 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor, supercharging workflow and performance. There is an option to get the device with the NVIDIA GTX 1650 to boost overall graphical performance, especially for video editors. Along with a 4K VESA DisplayHDR display, you can expect more accurate and vibrant colors, as well.
Along with the Yoga C940, Lenovo also revealed the Lenovo Yoga S740, a more all-around 2-in-1 device. Unlike the Lenovo Yoga C940, this device caters to those looking for everything compacted in a ultra sleek form. It offers the same features and hardware options as the Yoga C940, but centered around productivity and gaming.
Finally, IFA 2019 will also see the launch of the Lenovo Yoga C640 and C740 for professionals and productivity users. These two devices focus heavily on delivering top-grade performance to perform a multitude of tasks. What also sets these two apart is the inclusion of a physical privacy shutter for smarter security options — especially when you’re scared of the deep web.
As of writing, there are no pricing options and release dates yet for all of these devices.
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