Does Huawei MateBook X Pro work with active pens or a stylus?

MateBook X Pro
MateBook X Pro (Image credit: Windows Central)

Does Huawei MateBook X Pro work with active pens or a stylus?

Best answer: No, the Huawei MateBook X Pro does not work with an active pen or stylus despite it having a brilliant touch display. For active pen functionality in a clamshell notebook, we recommend the Surface Laptop 2. For the best inking experience from a modular device, upgrade to the Surface Book 2.Microsoft: Surface Laptop 2 (From $999)Microsoft: Surface Book 2 (From $1,150)Microsoft: Huawei MateBook X Pro (From $1,200)

Surface Laptop 2 is compatible with the Surface Pen

Despite having a clamshell notebook design, the Surface Laptop 2's 13.5-inch touch display is compatible with the Surface Pen, which is sold separately for about $100. It's important to note that while you will get 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity for a natural inking experience, the Surface Laptop 2 does not feature tilt support.

This omittance coupled with the upright display and fixed hinge on the Surface Laptop 2 will likely turn away those who need a laptop for creativity and design. You can't lay the display flat on a tablet unless you turn it upside down with the main portion of the laptop stuck in the air, and there's also no magnetic attachment that lets you keep your Surface Pen nearby when not in use.

If you need pen support for the occasional notes or sketches, the Surface Laptop 2's clamshell design shouldn't be too much of a hindrance, but there are certainly laptops out there that will deliver a far better inking experience, like the Surface Book 2.

Surface Book 2 is a compromise between tablet and notebook

The Surface Book 2 is generally going to cost quite a bit more than the MateBook X Pro for similarly spec'd configurations, but it will deliver a stellar inking experience when coupled with the Surface Pen (also sold separately here).

The Book 2 is available in 13.5 and 15-inch configurations, it has available discrete graphics (GPU) depending on the size — NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU for the smaller model and NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU for the larger model — and it has a modular design that really translates well to drawing, sketching, and writing.

The display detaches from the keyboard and touchpad portion to become its own tablet, plus it can be put back together with the screen backward and the bottom portion acting as an adjustable stand for the display. This means you can use the Surface Pen while the tablet is in your hand, flat on a table, or attached at an angle to the base for extra comfort. While together, you get extra performance and battery life from hardware contained in the keyboard portion.

The Surface Pen and Book 2 combined get the same 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, but you also get full tilt support. The Book 2 also has a magnet built into the side that the Pen can snap onto, making it easier to keep tabs on it when it's not being used.

Altogether, the Book 2 is a much better choice for anyone who plans on inking regularly. It's more versatile thanks to the modular design, its ports more closely match those on the MateBook X Pro, and it has the performance hardware available to handle design and creative software.

MateBook X Pro still has a gorgeous display despite no active pen support

It might not work with an active pen, but the MateBook X Pro still has an unreal display. It has a 3:2 aspect ratio just like Surface devices, it has a high 3000x2000 resolution (which is the same as the smaller Book 2 and just short of the larger Book 2), and it supports regular touch function. It hits 99 percent sRGB and 77 percent AdobeRGB color reproduction for an accurate picture, and there's almost no bezel at all. If you don't think you need pen support after all, this is a great pick for an everyday Ultrabook.

Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 offer active pen support

If you're looking for a device with a clamshell notebook design and active pen support, the Surface Laptop 2 fits the bill. The Surface Pen offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, but the upright display that doesn't fold around might be annoying for those who frequently use the pen. For a more appropriate device, the Surface Book 2 is available in both 13.5- and 15-inch models. Here you get a modular notebook design with a tablet that can be removed from the keyboard portion and used on its own. Combined with the Surface Pen, it offers one of the best inking experiences available today.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.