Huawei's new MateBook 14 and MateBook X Pro PCs bring power – and some confusion

MWC 2019

Huawei is having luck with Windows 10 PCs as the company is following its recent MateBook 13 with a slightly larger MateBook 14 that features the brand-new NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU for some extra power.

Additionally, its trendy MateBook X Pro laptop from last year is getting a modest refresh with the latest from Intel and NVIDIA as well.

Here's all you need to know from Mobile World Congress 2019!

MateBook X Pro new and improved for 2019

The MateBook X Pro was a wildly popular laptop for Huawei last summer, and this year the company looks to continue to ride that trend. While there are no significant revisions the design, dimensions, and weight are all the same – there is some new hardware underneath for some extra processing power and a bit extra battery life as well.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Display13.9 inches, 3000 x 2000, 260 PPI, Touch
Aspect ratio3:2
Max Brightness450 nits
Size11.96" × 8.54" × 0.57"
WeightApprox. 2.93 lb
CPU8th Gen Intel Core i7 8565U8th Gen Intel Core i5 8265U
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2GB GDDR5
Memory8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
Ports3.5 mm jack, USB-C x2, Thunderbolt 3 x1, USB-A 3.0 x1
Fingerprint SensorYes (Power button)
CameraFront camera: 1MP
AudioDolby AtmosQuad Digital Microphones, Quad Speakers
ColorsSpace Grey, Mystic Silver (edited)

One of the significant changes Huawei is excited for is the Thunderbolt 3 port is now full 4x PCIe lane-enabled allowing more graphics data (40 Gbps) when used with an external GPU.

The extremely thin display bezels remain, and as a result Huawei still has that odd keyboard camera that pops out of the deck when needed. That privacy feature proved to be popular despite the resulting odd camera angle – something which Dell even moved away from recently.

New Intel "Whiskey Lake" processor options in Core i5 or Core i7 keep up with the competition, but there's also a new NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU too. However, we're told that users should only expect a modest 10-15 percent increase in performance over the already existing MX150 GPU used last year. Still, any boost is welcomed in such a thin and trim Ultrabook.

Huawei is adding a new Huawei Share 3.0 feature that uses NFC and Wi-Fi Direct to instantly transfer photos, documents, and data from the clipboard between the MateBook X Pro and any Huawei smartphone. The feature works by tapping the phone to the keyboard deck, and it does seem very fast and efficient, although that required NFC sticker is a bit of an eyesore. Huawei also has a new screen gesture for screenshots (three-finger swipe) and the ability to edit photos with your finger.

Oh, and yes, there's finally a new logo too - or rather, just Huawei's name, which is cleaner than last year's version.

Overall, the MateBook X Pro is more of the same from last year, but that's not a bad thing. The company admits it had trouble keeping them on the shelf due to aggressive pricing (which may not be matched this year) and some outstanding specifications that no other laptop manufacturer is offering including that excellent 3:2 "3K" touch display.

Can lightning strike twice? Huawei seems to believe so, and the new MateBook X Pro for 2019 looks to have most of the features people want these days.

Look for global availability starting in May and throughout the summer including the US and other major markets. No word on pricing, but there were hints it could go up from that $1,499 offering for last year's i7 model – which was one of the best values around.

MateBook 14 premium, but more affordable

Adding a bit of confusion to the mix is the MateBook 14 – basically a slightly larger MateBook 13, but with an HDMI port, larger battery, two Type-A ports, and slightly improved graphics.

The MateBook 14 doesn't deviate from the current design language of Huawei's other laptops – there's the silver or grey color schemes, metal chassis, and focus on thin display bezels for its 3:2 14-inch screen.

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Display14 inches, 2160 x 1440, 185 PPI
Aspect ratio3:2
Max Brightness300 nits
Size12.10" × 8.81" × 0.62"
WeightApprox. 3.28 lb
CPU8th Gen Intel Core i5 8265U8th Gen Intel Core i7 8565U
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2GB GDDR5
Storage256GB PCIe SSD512GB PCIe SSD
Memory8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
Ports3.5 mm jack, USB-C x1, USB-A 3.0 x1, USB-A 2.0 x1, HDMI x1
Fingerprint SensorYes (Power button)
CameraFront camera: 1MP
AudioDolby Atmos
ColorsSpace Grey, Mystic Silver

The MateBook 14 is even closer to the higher-end (and now refreshed) MateBook X Pro laptop, which is also 14-inches, but is slightly heavier by 0.35 pounds (160 grams), thicker, and lacks more premium features like Thunderbolt 3 and quad-speakers (just dual instead).

While that lack of Thunderbolt 3 is disappointing Huawei makes up for it a bit with a full HDMI port – something the MateBook X Pro doesn't have – for more display-out connectivity options (the Type-C port can also do display out).

The display while similar in size is only 2160 x 1440 (185 PPI) instead of the MateBook X Pro's 3000 x 2000 (260 PPI), but still brings touch to users.

Huawei is also introducing new screen-gesture support including three-finger swipe motion for screenshots and editing. Additional software includes Huawei Share 3.0, which is an NFC-initiated system for instantly sharing photos, clipboard, and documents between the PC and Huawei phone. That info is then transferred via Wi-Fi Direct for exceptional speed.

For charging, Huawei is including a custom extra-small 65W Type-C charger that can also be used for other Type-C devices including Android phones.

In using the MateBook 14 for a bit, the laptop has a lot of potential. The design, features, and 3:2 display should also resonate with consumers and those who need something for work.

The inclusion of GeForce MX250 for graphics, latest Intel 8th generation processor, touch display, and slim package all felt great to use.

The one issue Huawei may face is differentiation from its MateBook 13 and MateBook X Pro. While there are differences, Huawei seems to have a lot of overlap in its different tiers which may cause some confusion in the market place.

The MateBook 14 seems to be a solid choice for those who want premium but are on a more fixed budget.

However, at press time Huawei did not divulge exact pricing for the MateBook 14 though it will clock in at a lower price point that the MateBook X Pro and above the MateBook 13 so around $1,200 seems within range. Availability should begin later this spring in various global markets.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.