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.

Laptops

Lenovo launches new generation ThinkPads, ThinkVision displays

Up your business game with these new devices

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Business professionals have to stay on top of their game while at work. Whether it’s in the office or in coffee shops, a professional’s business skills has to be coupled with a performance-driving machine. For Lenovo, their next generation ThinkPad and ThinkVision devices hope to provide the level of efficiency and portability for modern-day businesses.

Lenovo Philippines launched five new ThinkPad devices for the Philippine business market. The next generation ThinkPad brings the company’s longstanding premium features and performance.


The new Lenovo T490 spearheads the lineup, with an 8th-gen Intel processor and an optional NVIDIA MX250 graphics card. This device also has a high memory capacity that expands up to 48GB of RAM to couple with a solid state drive up to 512GB.

All other ThinkPad devices contain features on portability and enhanced performance. The Lenovo X390 is a lightweight device packed with a battery that lasts for 18 hours and charges fast through its Rapid Charge feature.

Meanwhile, the Lenovo L390 features a 13.3-inch touchscreen display for a more interactive experience with complex data sets. Finally, the entry level Lenovo E490 and E490s feature performance boosting features like Intel Optane memory and an optional AMD Radeon 540X graphics card.

New ThinkVision displays

Lenovo did not stop there as they’ve also announced their new ThinkVision displays in the ThinkVision M14 and S24e-10. The Lenovo ThinkVision M14 is a portable monitor that will serve as a secondary display on the go. The Lenovo ThinkVision S24e-10, meanwhile is 1080p FHD display that will deliver clear, crisp image quality fit for business presentations.

The new Lenovo ThinkPads start at PhP 43,990 (US$ 864), with the Lenovo 7490 starting at PhP 73,990 (US$ 1453). Meanwhile, the Lenovo ThinkVision displays start at PhP 8,990 (US$ 177) for the ThinkVision S24e-10 and PhP 13,990 (US$ 275) for the ThinkVision M14.

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Computers

Apple discontinues the 12-inch Macbook and 2017 Macbook Air

Both models are gone from Apple’s online store

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Apple is discontinuing the 12-inch Macbook which was announced and sold by Apple four years ago. The company is also killing off the 2017 Macbook Air.

The 12-inch Macbook was introduced in 2015. The controversial and highly-divisive laptop features a 12-inch Retina display, an Intel Y-series processor, and a single USB-C port. Meanwhile, the 2017 Macbook Air was a refresh of the second-generation Macbook Air featuring a 13-inch non-Retina display, an Intel 5th-generation processor, and USB-A ports with a MagSafe connector.


As it stands, both the 12-inch Macbook and 2017 Macbook Air are not available anymore at Apple’s online store. The move by Apple follows its recent revamping of its Macbook lineup. Following the recent revamp, both the third-generation Macbook Air and Macbook Pro receive substantial updates and lower price tags.

Starting today, only the third-generation Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro is available to purchase from the online store. However, Apple authorized resellers and physical stores might still sell the discontinued products until their supplies last.

SEE ALSO: MacBook Air and MacBook Pro get updates

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Deals

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro get updates

There’s a back-to-school promo!

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Apple’s latest updates on its MacBooks stream lines their laptop line which may have appeared confusing for a time. The 12-inch MacBook is now officially dead and refreshes to both the MacBook Pro base model as well as the MacBook Air creates a clearer distinction between the notebooks.

The Touch Bar Line

Beginning with this refresh all MacBook Pros will now feature a Touch Bar as well as Touch ID. These were only previously available to Apple’s higher end MacBook Pro models. The new entry-level MacBook Pro now offers a 1.4GHz quad-core 8th Gen Core i5 chip (upgradeable up to 3.9GHz) from Intel’s Coffee Lake lineup.


If you’re yearning for more ports, you’ll be disappointed as this model will continue to have only two USB-C ports instead of four that’s found on the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

MacBook Air’s new display

Apple has also updated the MacBook Air adding the True Tone display technology to keep it in line the company’s other devices. The tech automatically adjusts the display’s colors based on ambient light to achieve more natural colors. The specs remain the same meaning the MacBook Air will continue to be powered by Intel’s dual-core 8th Gen i5.

Student Promos

Both devices are part of Apple’s back-to-school promotion that can be availed by higher education students, their parents, faculty, staff and home-school teachers through the Apple Education Store. The promotion includes a pair of qualifying Beats headphones with the purchase of any eligible Mac or iPad, as well as education discounts on qualifying Mac, iPad, AppleCare, select accessories and services.

As part of the promo, the MacBook Air will start at US$ 999 and SG$1,449 in Singapore. Meanwhile, the base model MacBook Pro will start at
$1,199 in the US while it’s priced at SG$ 1,749 in Singapore.

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