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Surface Laptop 2 vs. Huawei MateBook X Pro: Which should you buy?

Surface Laptop 2
Surface Laptop 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Surface Laptop 2 vs. Huawei MateBook X Pro tech specs

Surface Laptop 2Huawei MateBook X Pro
Processor8th Gen
Intel Core i5-8250U
Intel Core i7-8650U
8th Gen
Intel Core i5-8250U
Intel Core i7-8550U
RAM8, 16 GB DDR38, 16 GB DDR3
Storage128, 256, 512 GB
1 TB
256, 512 GB
Display size13.5 inches
Touch
13.9 inches
Touch
Display resolution2,256 x 1,504
3:2 aspect ratio
3,000 x 2,000
3:2 aspect ratio
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620Intel UHD Graphics 620 (Core i5)
NVIDIA MX 150 (Core i7)
PortsUSB-A 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
Surface Connect
3.5 mm audio
USB-C
Thunderbolt 3
USB-A 3.0
3.5 mm audio
BiometricsIR cameraFingerprint reader
Battery45.2 Wh57.4 Wh
Dimensions12.13 inches x 8.79 inches x 0.57 inches
(308.1 mm x 223.37 mm x 14.48 mm)
11.97 inches x 8.54 inches x 0.57 inches
(304 mm x 217 mm x 14.6 mm)
WeightFrom 2.76 pounds
(1.25 kg)
2.9 pounds
(1.3 kg)

Design and features

Huawei's MateBook X Pro and the Surface Laptop 2 are both clamshell notebook PCs, meaning they don't have lids that rotate around for tent, stand, or tablet modes. It's a classic design, but if you need a convertible, you'll want to look elsewhere. Both weigh about the same and have similar overall dimensions; they're both relatively light and thin, perfect for carrying around under your arm or in a backpack.

The MateBook X Pro closely resembles a MacBook Pro, with an aluminum body and a silver finish. It looks great, but you might want a bit of variety, which is where the Surface Laptop 2 excels. It's available in four different color finishes, including a new black color, and it has an Alcantara fabric finish around the keyboard and touchpad for a bit of extra comfort. Both laptops have a large touchpad (the MateBook X Pro's is slightly larger) with Precision drivers for the full range of Windows 10 gestures, and both have backlit keyboards that are easy to type on.

The Surface Laptop 2 has an IR camera above the display for quick Windows Hello logins, while the MateBook X Pro has a regular HD camera hidden in the F-row of keys on the keyboard. A press on the "key" pops it up, and when not in use it remains out of the way and unable to do any spying. The MateBook X Pro isn't incompatible with Windows Hello, though, thanks to a power button with a built-in fingerprint reader.

If you need a good selection of modern ports, the MateBook X Pro is the easy choice. It has two USB-C — one with Thunderbolt 3 capabilities — USB-A, and a 3.5 mm audio jack, while the Surface Laptop 2 is stuck with a single USB-A, Surface Connect, and 3.5 mm audio. The Surface Dock can be used with the Connect port to expand connectivity, but you're still missing out on the advantages that comes with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

Display

While Surface device displays are not to be ignored, Huawei has really outdone itself with the 13.9-inch display in the MateBook X Pro. It has a 3:2 aspect ratio just like the 13.5-inch display in the Surface Laptop 2, but it has a higher resolution at 3000x2000 compared to 2256x1504. Brightness hits about 450 nits compared to about 330 nits for a more brilliant picture (perfect for offices with harsh lighting or plenty of sunlight). The MateBook X Pro also has essentially no bezel around it, making it seem like the picture stretches from edge to edge. Comparatively, the Surface Laptop 2 has a lot of bezel. When it comes to color, both hit perfect sRGB reproduction.

The MateBook X Pro might have the larger display with higher resolution and almost no bezel, but the Surface Laptop 2 comes with active pen support for Windows Ink. Adding the Surface Pen to the mix will deliver 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity for precise drawing and sketching, but remember this is still a notebook form and you might find it a bit awkward to draw on an upright display. The MateBook X Pro does not have active pen support.

Performance

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Both of these laptops have available 8 and 16 GB DDR3 RAM options, and 8th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 processors (CPU). The 15 W Core i7 CPUs differ a bit in max boost speed (4.2 GHz in the Surface Laptop 2 and 4.0 GHz in the MateBook X Pro) and only the Surface Laptop 2's i7-8650U has vPro technology for remote management. The Surface Laptop 2 is available with up to a 1 TB SSD, while the MateBook X Pro tops out at 512 GB.

Performance across CPUs and RAM is going to be about the same, but the SSD in the MateBook X Pro is much faster than what's offered in the Surface Laptop 2. Huawei's Core i7 model also comes with a NVIDIA MX150 dedicated GPU with 2 GB of VRAM, enough for some medium gaming and a bit of help with multimedia editing. It will far outperform the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 found in all models of the Surface Laptop 2 and the Core i5 model of the MateBook X Pro.

As for battery life, the MateBook X Pro has a larger battery than the Surface Laptop 2 in terms of watt hours, but you'll get about the same amount of time from both. In either case, you should be able to easily get a full eight hours, enough to leave your charger at home when heading to the office.

Stick with the Surface Laptop 2 for active pen support

The Surface Laptop 2 is finely crafted and available in four different colors to help suit your style. Surface Pen support means you can get a stellar inking experience, something the MateBook X Pro does not offer.

Go with the MateBook X Pro for superior performance

Among other things, the MateBook X Pro is going to outperform the Surface Laptop 2 thanks to dedicated NVIDIA graphics and a speedy SSD. If you don't need inking support, it's an outstanding laptop that nevertheless has a killer display.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.