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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Incredible 3K screen
Slim and sleek build
Sizable 512GB SSD
Terrible camera angle
Meager gaming power
Value concerns and odd quirks aside, the Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition is an impressive ultra-thin laptop and a joy to use.
Huawei has recently seen its Western fortunes decline thanks to a conflict with the United States government, significantly hobbling its Android phones due to a lack of Google services. But when it comes to Windows PCs, you can still find Huawei’s MateBook line on the market. And one thing is for sure: the Chinese giant can make one seriously impressive Apple MacBook knockoff.
What the Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition lacks in originality it makes up for by being an incredibly polished and well-crafted laptop, featuring one of the best screens we’ve seen on any notebook paired with a great keyboard and decent battery life. It’s essentially the Windows version of a MacBook Pro, which is great for those looking to make the leap away from macOS—or Windows die-hards who have long been jealous of Apple design. I tested the Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition for more than 40 hours as an everyday work computer, as well as for gaming and streaming media.
It hardly seems unfair to call the MateBook X Pro Signature Edition an off-brand MacBook. The inspiration is absolutely clear, through and through, from the angles to the size and positioning of elements, not to mention the materials. Huawei makes small tweaks to the formula, some for the better, but the vast majority of the design feels like it was cribbed from Apple’s recent batch of laptops, including the now-discontinued core MacBook and the MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar.
That does take a little something away from the allure of the laptop, but it’s mostly balanced out by the fact that Huawei has done an excellent job of replicating Apple’s familiar design aesthetic. It’s uncanny, and as a longtime, everyday MacBook Pro user, my transition to the MateBook X Pro has been pretty seamless. Even the physical dimensions (11.97 x 8.54 x 0.57 inches), including weight (about 2.9 pounds), are nearly identical to the current 13-inch MacBook Pro.
As a longtime, everyday MacBook Pro user, my transition to the MateBook X Pro has been pretty seamless.
The MateBook X Pro has the same kind of slim, dense, and sturdy-feeling brushed aluminum frame, here with some nice chamfered edges and angular openings along the right and left sides on the bottom. On the outside, the glossy Huawei logo in the middle is a clear swap for Apple’s iconic logo, while the black rubberized footpads are likewise identical.
On the inside, Huawei definitely trims off a lot of the bezel from current MacBook models and has a taller 3:2 display. The selfie camera is tucked into what looks like a keyboard key right above the “7” key, and it flips up like a headlight on a sports car. You can’t use it for Windows Hello biometric security since it’s not always up, but the MateBook X Pro Signature Edition has a speedy fingerprint sensor on the power button in the upper right above the keyboard. Elsewhere, from the tiny pinpoint speaker grates on either side of the keyboard to the touchpad positioning, it’s pretty much all Apple influence in sight.
The keyboard itself feels great, and coming from a 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro, the difference is clear. Huawei’s keys are much less shallow, and while there isn’t enough space for a significant amount of travel, they feel nicely responsive. I haven’t struggled with Apple’s laptop keyboards as much as some other notebook users, but I could immediately feel the improvement on Huawei’s keyboard.
The MateBook X Pro’s touchpad is sizable and responsive, although not quite as large as that of recent MacBook Pro models. Size isn’t the issue, however: the MateBook’s touchpad oddly feels loose, as light taps on it yield a bit of uncommon travel that doesn’t register as a click. It immediately put me off the MateBook X Pro, and looking around the internet, it seems to be a very common issue; there are many DIY fix options for those willing to open up the chassis. I didn’t do that, but the sensation admittedly wasn’t as jarring as I logged more and more hours with the laptop.
The MateBook’s touchpad oddly feels loose, as light taps on it yield a bit of uncommon travel that doesn’t register as a click.
The aforementioned pop-up camera is a clever solution to assuage any fears about privacy, but the positioning is terrible in execution. The upwards angle is seriously unflattering, especially if you have the MateBook X Pro in your lap, and it’ll mainly show your fingers if you’re typing while on a video call. It was a nice idea on paper, but the trade-off isn’t worth it.
The Signature Edition model that I reviewed comes with a hearty 512GB SSD within, providing a huge amount of speedy storage to work with. What you see in the photos is the Space Gray edition, although Huawei also sells it in a lighter Mystic Silver. The laptop has a pair of USB-C ports on the left, one of which doubles as a Thunderbolt 3 port, as well as one USB-A port on the right side. It also comes with a USB-C dongle that adds a few additional ports: USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, and VGA.
There’s nothing out of the ordinary about the setup process for the Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition. As a Windows 10 laptop, the process is straightforward and exactly like that of other current Windows notebooks. Simply follow the onscreen prompts to log into a Wi-Fi network and a Microsoft account, as well as agree to terms and conditions and choose from some settings, and you should be to the desktop in 10-15 minutes.
Here it is: the shining star of the MateBook X Pro experience. The 13.9-inch screen is one of the best I’ve ever seen on a laptop. It’s incredibly crisp at 3000x2000 (3K) resolution, even beating the MacBook Pro’s 2560x1600 screen for that matter, and the 3:2 aspect ratio means it’s a fair bit taller than your typical 16:9 or 16:10 laptop screen. Thankfully, this LTPS LCD screen is also super bright, with Huawei advertising a peak brightness of 450 nits, and the coloring and contrast are excellent.
As great as Apple’s laptop screens are, Huawei’s are even better. It’s also a touch display, which you may or may not find useful. I never have a good reason to touch my screen on a standard, non-convertible laptop, and that definitely didn’t change with the MateBook X Pro.
The 13.9-inch screen is one of the best I’ve ever seen on a laptop. It’s incredibly crisp at 3000x2000 (3K) resolution.
The Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition is solidly-equipped on the power front, packing a quad-core, 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor with 16GB RAM. Everything was speedy in my experience, from startup to browsing the web across numerous tabs and loading various apps and games. This particular laptop has been on the market since 2018, however, so the processors found in newer premium laptops show a numbers advantage in benchmark tests.
I registered a score of 3,272 points on the PCMark 10 benchmark, which is less than the current Razer Blade 15 gaming computer (3,465) and MSI Prestige 15 (3,830). Likewise, Cinebench provided a score of 1,135 points for the MateBook X Pro, while the MSI Prestige 15 hit 1,508 and the Razer Blade 15 went even higher at 1,869 points. In everyday usage, you probably won’t notice a difference. However, if you’re planning to use resource-intensive apps, you might look for a newer laptop with a speedier chip onboard.
The MateBook X Pro isn’t built for heavy-duty gaming, either, but it at least doesn’t rely on an integrated graphics chip. The Signature Edition’s GeForce MX150 is definitely a step above the Intel UHD Graphics 620 in the entry-level edition, and it gives you a bit more power for modest 3D gaming. I managed to run Rocket League at nearly 60 frames per second by turning off anti-aliasing and cutting a couple of visual effects, while getting Fornite to run at that frame rate required a lot more graphical trimming. It was still pretty solid, though.
That’s about the best it can muster, however. A graphically-intensive open-world game like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey managed to hit 30 frames per second in its benchmark test, but only at 1280x720 resolution and low graphics settings. And the actual in-game average was below that. It’s playable, but it’s not an especially great experience on the Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition. This isn’t the laptop to get if you’re planning any serious PC gaming now and especially into the future.
Enhanced by Dolby Atmos, the MateBook X Pro Signature Edition’s speakers produce impressive playback that sounds big and full. Such tiny speakers deliver some serious sound here, and there’s also a 3.5mm headphone port on the left for when you want to plug in and tune out.
The Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition can connect to 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi networks, and everything seemed plenty speedy no matter where I connected, whether at home or a coffee shop. I saw speeds between 60-90Mbps on my home network, which is typical, and upload speeds in the range of 10-15Mbps.
The MacBook Pro comparison holds true on the battery front, as well, as I saw similar results on the MateBook X Pro Signature Edition. During my everyday work routine, which is a mix of writing articles, browsing websites, chatting in Slack and Discord, and streaming a bit of media, I typically got about five hours of uptime at 100 percent brightness—nearly identical to the current 13-inch MacBook Pro. You’ll be able to stretch that out further by trimming down the brightness, naturally. In our video rundown test, in which a movie is continuously streamed via Netflix at max brightness, the MateBook X Pro lasted longer at 6:32 as opposed to 5:51 on the MacBook Pro.
Aside from a couple of preinstalled Candy Crush games that you can quickly delete if desired, the MateBook X Pro Signature Edition comes with a pair of Huawei utilities. The PC Manager checks to make sure that all of your hardware components are working as expected and more useful checks to see if you need to update any drivers. There’s also a Display Manager tool that lets you adjust the color temperature of the screen and enable an “eye comfort” mode that minimizes blue light.
The MateBook X Pro Signature Edition has been discontinued, so it’s not as widely available as it was before, but we have seen it sold on Amazon recently for about $1749. That’s a pretty penny to pay for a laptop, although it’s one that comes with a large 512GB SSD that might require a sizable upgrade fee with some other laptops. That said, while the MateBook X Pro is a great, ultra-premium laptop, you can find a Windows notebook with much more graphical power and/or battery life for less money.
The MSI Prestige 15 (view on Amazon) is one of those competing Windows 10 laptops that comes ahead of the MateBook X Pro in a few key ways, with higher benchmark scores, improved gaming performance via the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650 (Max-Q) card, and longer battery life. Huawei’s laptop has a much better screen (although the Prestige 15’s is larger) and sleeker build, while they both have a 512GB SSD. At $1,399, though, the MSI Prestige 15’s price savings could factor into your decision.
A fab facsimile of a Macbook.
As a MacBook fan, I loved using the Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition. While the jittery touchpad is unnerving and the camera placement is terrible, the overall usage experience is otherwise expertly executed, capturing the essence of Apple design within a Windows PC. Given the price and age, you can find better deals elsewhere in the Windows space, which has a very broad array of options. Still, if you’re looking for this particular combination of elements and don’t mind paying the equivalent of the so-called “Apple tax,” it feels great to use.