So, Huawei makes laptops now. Sure, it's dabbled in tablets in the past, and even released a single 2-in-1 Windows convertible last year, in the form of the original MateBook. But today Huawei showed just how serious it is about making real, actual computers, with the launch of three new MateBook devices at an event in Berlin, Germany. None of them runs Android, but the new product line demonstrates Huawei's growth
First up is the MateBook E, a direct successor to the 2016 model MateBook. While the design has been refined, and the internals upgraded, don't expect anything drastically different from that device.
Like the original MateBook, the new MateBook E can be used as a standalone tablet, but realistically you're going to want to use that folio case. Don't expect to casually one-hand the E like you would an iPad. Doing so is clumsy, a product of its shape and size as much as its weight.
The good news is that the leather folio is impressively sturdy, covering all the parts that need covering when the MateBook E is in a bag, with built-in, backlit chiclet keys that don't feel at all mushy. The hinge can now support the device at up to a 160-degree angle, allowing for more versatility when it's propped up. (Which, let's face it, will be most of the time.)
The MateBook X and MateBook D line up against Apple's MacBook (12-inch) and MacBook Pro series, through the X is the clear flagship of the trio, beating Apple on specs and coming close on build quality.
The bump in specs compared to Apple's notebooks (which are also passively cooled, but uses less speedy Core M-series chips) is made possible by what Huawei calls its "Space Cooling Technology," which uses unique materials in its heat pipe to more effectively dissipate heat. Questions remain over how well this kind of approach will handle extended heavy usage — eventually, you'll just have to ramp down the CPU — but that's a problem for another day. In every other sense, the MateBook X is a typical, well-designed Ultrabook.
There's liberal use of "diamond-cut" chamfers around the tapered aluminum unibody, which is flanked on either side by USB-C connectors — so you can plug in to charge on either side. It measures just 12.5mm thick, and weighs 2.31 pounds, putting it in the same "barely there" ballpark as the 12-inch MacBook, though with a larger 13-inch display.
Bottom line: Huawei is making clear progress outside of the smartphone space. And we'd sure like to see something like the new MateBook X running Chrome OS, or maybe even the rumored Andromeda OS, eventually.
Look for all three Huawei MateBook models to become available in China, Japan, the U.S., France, Italy and Saudi Arabia later this summer. For more on all three, check out coverage on Windows Central and the new iMore.