Laptops

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: The MacBook of Windows

2018’s surprise hit

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As a long-time Windows user, I have to admit, I’ve always dreamed of having a Windows version of Apple’s MacBook. The Pro model in particular is an awesome fusion of sturdy hardware and precise software. Dell’s XPS line was often the best Windows had to offer, but they never quite hit every checkbox.

Surprise, surprise: Huawei came up with the closest thing to the MacBook of Windows yet. Yes, Huawei makes laptops; they don’t just specialize in smartphones and sick burns.

It’s called the MateBook X Pro, and it’s the successor to 2017’s MateBook X, which didn’t experience much fanfare outside of China. There was also a regular MateBook in 2016, but it was more of a Surface Pro competitor than a full-fledged notebook.

The MateBook X Pro has been available in select regions for a while now, garnering positive reviews and calls from fans to bring it to their shores. But why is it so coveted? Let me give you the reasons why, as well as some deeper-rooted cons.

Nothing beats its display

There’s so much to love about the MateBook X Pro, but I’m gonna go with the display as its best feature. The 13.9-inch 3K (3000 x 2000 pixels) touchscreen is enough to wow anyone who sees it. Even better: It’s got the highest screen-to-body ratio of any laptop today at 91 percent.

This is as bezel-less as it gets, and there’s no notch to interfere with the sleek design. Where does the webcam go then? Well…

Huawei picked the most unusual webcam location

If you’ve watched our hands-on video, you’d already know what to expect. The webcam pops up with the press of a button between the F6 and F7 keys. It’s innovative and totally bonkers. Check it out:

But as cool as it is — and trust me, I’ve wowed lots of people with this — I still would’ve preferred a top-mounted placement. I’d add a couple of millimeters on the top bezel to house a proper camera.

A login method I can get behind

Perhaps the biggest reason why I’m not a fan of the pop-up camera is that I can’t log in with my face the moment the laptop enters the lockscreen. It’s something I’ve enjoyed on every Windows Hello-enabled notebook I’ve used up until now, mainly those from ASUS and Lenovo.

To remedy that, Huawei integrated a fast fingerprint reader into the power button. If you leave your finger on the button a second longer when turning on the PC, it’ll bring you straight to the desktop — such a time-saver!

Keyboard and trackpad are top-notch

As someone who needs to write and edit articles on a daily basis, I consider the reliability of the keyboard and trackpad as priorities in a computer. Fortunately for me, this MateBook ticks both boxes with flying colors.

While not MacBook Pro levels of quality, the keyboard has just the right amount of travel and it’s so well-spaced — plus, there’s backlighting for when I work in the dark. The trackpad is massive for Windows laptop standards, and its use of Microsoft’s precision touchpad drivers means gesture control and navigation are easy peasy.

Speaker you wouldn’t expect from an Ultrabook

One of the first things normally given up when going for a slim form factor is the speaker setup. That’s not the case with the MateBook X Pro, which has some of the loudest units I’ve ever heard on an Ultrabook.

There are four in total, all Dolby Atmos-certified, making them loud and crisp. Combined with the immersive display, I’ve turned this into my go-to binge-watching machine.

No port problems here

A gripe of mine with newer laptops is the over-reliance on USB-C as the one, true port. Although I agree it’s the present and future of wired connectivity, I still want my USB-A on board.

That’s exactly the case with this notebook: It has two USB-C ports — one that allows charging and the other with Thunderbolt 3 support for plugging in an external GPU or monitor — and a full-sized USB-A for old flash drives and printers. It’s the best of both worlds, and there’s even a 3.5mm audio port so you won’t have to rely on the older Bluetooth 4.1 standard this MateBook uses for wireless headphones.

Performance is a strong point

At this point, there has to be some compromise, right? If you’re thinking that’s on the raw performance, you’d be absolutely wrong. My unit comes with Intel’s 8th-gen Core i7-8550U chipset, 16GB of memory, 512GB of SSD storage, and lo and behold, an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics chip.

It’s amazing how Huawei was able to cram all this power into the 1.33kg, 14.6mm-slim chassis. Admittedly, it does get quick hot under heavy load from games such as Fortnite and Overwatch, but not enough for me to turn the machine off. For everything else, such as photo and video editing, this configuration blazes through apps.

And battery life is surprisingly great

Again, Huawei somehow managed to avoid any glaring weakness in its best laptop to date. Yes, the MateBook X Pro has a 57.4Wh battery which I’m happy to report is designed to last.

If I avoid the overheating mentioned earlier while off the plug, I can get over seven hours of straight usage. It helps that this notebook charges quickly with its compact 65W adapter, which can also be used to top up my smartphones, so I need to bring only one charger on trips.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Since I began using the MateBook X Pro, I’ve found it tough finding faults, in the same way most Mac users feel about their laptops. There are minor hiccups here and there, but nothing deal breaking enough to avoid a purchase.

On that note, actually buying one may be the biggest hurdle. Even though it’s becoming increasingly easier to find through online retailers in different regions, it’s still nowhere near as easy to purchase as an Acer, HP, or even a MacBook.

It’s a shame, since more support for this product would mean a successor, though I think Huawei will produce one either way. Besides a specs bump and improved location for the webcam, I have nothing else on my wish list for next year’s MateBook X Pro Max Plus — or whatever it’s gonna be called.

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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