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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) review: More powerful and practically perfect

Huawei didn't deviate from its winning formula with the MateBook X Pro, and that's just fine.

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In 2018, Huawei launched the MateBook X laptop and MateBook 2-in-1 tablet to critical acclaim. The MateBook X Pro took it up a notch with even thinner display bezels, a quad-core i7 processor, and a smart pop-up web camera. Combined with the $1,499 price point, the MateBook X Pro quickly became one of the best values in the premium Ultrabook range.

For 2019, the company is not straying far from that formula. Barring a complete hardware redesign, there was little from the original that needed improving. The new 2019 edition tidies up some loose ends.

Editor's note: The 2019 MateBook X Pro is not yet available at the time of publication, nor are pricing or availability specifics. We will update this post accordingly when we receive those details.

small changes add up

What's new in the 2019 Huawei MateBook X Pro?

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019

Put the 2018 MateBook X Pro next to the 2019 version, and you'll struggle to see anything different, except for an ugly NFC sticker. But there are a few notable changes, including at least one to the exterior that people have been asking for since last year.

Here are the most significant modifications:

  • Text-only logo; no more lotus flower.
  • New Intel Core i7 8565U quad-core processor.
  • New NVIDIA GeForce MX250 25-watt GPU.
  • Thunderbolt 3 now supports full four PCIe lanes for bandwidth.
  • NFC with Huawei Share 3.0 software.
  • New Shark Fin 2.0 cooling solution.

None of those are particularly huge advances, but without a massive redesign there is little Huawei could do with the MateBook X Pro to make it better. The quad-core Intel "Whiskey Lake" processor and GPU are the latest available, leaving few options for Huawei.

Top of the line

Huawei MateBook X Pro tech specifications

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019

The MateBook X Pro is your standard premium Ultrabook for 2019, but Huawei was able to combine many features that are usually spread across laptops into one excellent one.

CategorySpecification
Display13.9 inches, 3000 x 2000, 260 PPI, Touch
Aspect ratio3:2
Contrast1500:1
Max Brightness450 nits
Size11.96 in × 8.54 in × 0.57"= in
WeightApprox. 2.93 lb
CPU8th Gen Intel Core i7 8565U
8th Gen Intel Core i5 8265U
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620
NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2GB GDDR5
Storage256GB NVMe PCIe SSD
512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
1TB NVMe PCIe SSD
Memory8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
Ports3.5 mm jack, Two USB-C, Thunderbolt, USB-A 3.0
Fingerprint sensorYes (Power button)
CameraFront camera: 1MP
AudioDolby Atmos
Quad Digital Microphones, Quad Speakers
Battery57.4Wh
ColorsSpace Grey, Mystic Silver (edited)

Stand out features include the 3:2 display aspect, which is what Microsoft uses in its Surface line. That display also has a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is exceptional. Of course, that means you also get the industry's only pop-up web camera that is housed in the keyboard deck.

Likewise, for the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 for graphics – Huawei is the first to use it in a laptop we've reviewed.

The 2019 MateBook X Pro is truly a near-perfect laptop.

Quad-speakers are becoming more familiar, with HP leading the pack, but Huawei offers its audio package with Dolby Atmos-tuned ones.

The MateBook X Pro has an all-metal unibody design that is not damaged easily. Our version from last year has nary a ding or scratch. That metal adds up, though, and while the MateBook X Pro is far from heavy at under three pounds, it does feel heavier and denser than that. There's minimal flex to the chassis making this a very sturdy and solid-feeling laptop.

For user-upgrades, the screws on the bottom are easily removable, and with a simple pry tool you can access the innards. Not much can be upgraded, however, as RAM and the CPU are soldered to the board. Users can update the solid-state drive (SSD) if they wish, but they will have to remove the heat plate first, which is a bit cumbersome.

There is not much for input-output on the MateBook X Pro, but you get one USB Type-A port and two Type-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3.

What has not changed is the massive trackpad, which uses Microsoft Precision drivers. It's one of the best trackpads on a Windows PC, but it has a slight rattle that some may find unpleasant.

getting the basics right

Huawei MateBook X Pro screen, keyboard, and audio

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019

The MateBook X Pro 2019 nails what I call the "fundamentals" of any laptop: typing, display, trackpad, and audio. It's hard to find another laptop that gets as much right.

The touch screen can hit around 420 nits of brightness (claimed is 450 nits), which is very bright, as most laptops are about 300 nits, by comparison. Color accuracy is 100 percent sRGB and 75 percent AdobeRGB – both exceptional scores.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019

The keyboard delivers around 1.2 mm of travel, and while it is a bit shallow, it's enjoyable to type on, with a good backlighting system.

Audio is pushed through four speakers on the top deck (they flank the side of the keyboard) and can get quite loud. The included Dolby software lets you tune things for various audio profiles including for music, movies, or voice. Overall, this is an excellent audio experience that's unmatched by most competitors.

powerhouse Ultrabook

Huawei MateBook X Pro performance and battery

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019

Compared to other laptops in this class, the MateBook X Pro is a top performer. Manufacturers must decide how much power to deliver to the CPU to coincide with how effectively the device's thermals keep it cool. Huawei's 15-watt processor runs a bit higher than the competition, and it shows in the benchmarks.

The MateBook X Pro – when combined with an excellent Western Digital NVMe SSD and GeForce MX250 – results in one of the most potent 14-inch non-gaming laptops on the market.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Huawei MateBook X Pro (new)Core i7-8565U5,19216,757
Huawei MateBook X Pro (old)Core i7-8550U4,49112,825
Huawei MateBook 13Core i7-8565U5,33617,062
Surface Laptop 2Core i5-8250U4,20313,233
Surface LaptopCore i5-7200U3,7257,523
Surface LaptopCore i7-7660U4,7149,535
LG gram 14 2-in-1Core i7-8565U4,82913,889
LG gram 17Core i7-8565U5,16113,370
Lenovo Yoga C930Core i7-8550U4,78715,028
Dell XPS 13 (9370)Core i7-8550U4,68114,816
Lenovo Yoga C630 (ARM)SD8502,2877,215

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 CUDA (higher is better)

DeviceGPUCompute score
Huawei MateBook X ProMX25045,365
Huawei MateBook 13MX15048,430
Huawei MateBook X ProMX15041,730
Surface Laptop 2UHD 62035,473
Surface LaptopUHD 62019,256
Surface LaptopIris 64031,010
Samsung Notebook 9 15MX15048,536

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Huawei MateBook X Pro (new)3,416 MB/s2,779 MB/s
Huawei MateBook X Pro (old)3,012 MB/s2,085 MB/s
Huawei MateBook 133,436 MB/s2,553 MB/s
LG gram 14 2-in-1558.1 MB/s523.1 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga C9302,596 MB/s806 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 730 132,790 MB/s506 MB/s
Lenovo IdeaPad 730S3,450 MB/s1,463 MB/s
Lenovo IdeaPad 530S2,566 MB/s520 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga C630791 MB/s220 MB/s
ASUS ZenBook S550 MB/s512 MB/s
ASUS ZenBook 151,725 MB/s1,447 MB/s

Huawei uses a newer Western Digital SSD with good results. Our model has a 1TB drive with excellent speeds.

That GeForce MX250, though, is barely worth mentioning – at least compared to the MX150. NVIDIA only has a slightly higher clock on the MX250 and, otherwise, it is the same hardware. Our benches don't show much of an improvement, but that may be due to less mature drivers during our testing.

Similarly, it's worth pointing out the new MateBook 13, which we recently reviewed has nearly the same hardware as the MateBook X Pro and even beats it ever so slightly in benchmarks. Those differences are more academic than substantial, however.

Battery life is a solid 10 hours with the MateBook X Pro, which is notable for its Core i7 processor and "3K" display with GPU. It's perfect for this class and slightly better this year due to the improvement in efficiency from Intel's latest processor.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019

For thermals, Huawei improved the MateBook X Pro's capability. While there is still only one large fan (versus two smaller ones in the MateBook 13), the new Shark Fin 2.0 design results in a quiet and satisfying experience. The fan has a nice low audio profile with no high-pitched whining. Temperatures are always cool, thanks to that new heat plate on the bottom, and the fans only come on during heavy load.

The best

Huawei MateBook X Pro is nearly perfect

There were few things to not like about the MateBook X Pro in 2018, and there are even fewer this year. The new CPU and GPU were expected, sure, but the slight change to the logo, the full four PCIe lanes for Thunderbolt 3, and improved cooling shows that Huawei listened to user complaints.

The bigger stories are the new software solution with Huawei Share 3.0 and the screenshot capability. If you also use a Huawei phone like the Mate 20 X you can quickly share photos to the MateBook X Pro by tapping the Share stick on the laptop's deck. The system works by pairing via NFC and then using Wi-Fi Direct for transfers. It's a rapid system that lets you send media to your laptop for editing (or using). You can even post photos and video back to the phone using the same process.

Editor's note: The garish NFC sticker is needed to pass through the metal chassis of the MateBook X Pro; were you to remove the sticker you would likely kill the Share function.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019

Huawei introduced a new three-finger swipe display gesture for screen capturing. You can then have the text pulled out of the image and use it in your Word or Office documents. It works brilliantly, making it perfect for business or productivity.

While everything else is the same from last year, that's OK because the MateBook X Pro always excelled compared to the competition. The 3,000 x 2,000 touch-screen 13.9-inch display is stunning; the audio is excellent; typing is solid; and the MateBook X Pro gets all-day battery life while still giving that extra GPU boost from NVIDIA.

Even the price of the MateBook X Pro is very good, with the cost of last year's model going as low as $1,499 for the top-tier Core i7 model. (The i5 model does not have the GPU.) Huawei purposefully undercut the competition to make a name for itself in the U.S., and it worked. This time, however, the price may go up making the value play a bit harder to make. We'll have to wait and see until full pricing and availability are announced.

If you recently picked up the 2018 MateBook X Pro, this refresh is so mimor that you won't suffer for want of the latest and greatest.

I don't love the bland, Apple-clone design, but clearly, most consumers do not care. Putting those complaints aside and the MateBook X Pro is still the king of the Ultrabooks ... as long as you don't want inking support or a 2-in-1 convertible.

Pricing and availability

Huawei expects the new MateBook X Pro for 2019 to go on sale globally sometime in late April or May of 2019. Final pricing has not yet been disclosed. We'll update pricing info when Huawei shares those details.