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Huawei Matebook 13 (2020) review
Posted on 8-Oct-2020 16:33 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

Huawei Matebook 13 (2020) review

The new Huawei Matebook 13 is a stunner. The laptop design and materials sure turn heads, but it is what is under the hood that makes it such a great machine. The first surprise is how much power it can be packed on such a small device. 


Based on an Intel Core i7-10510U 10th Gen 1.8 GHz (Whiskey Lake) and with 16 GB DD3 RAM, the Huawei Matebook 13 also packed a 512 GB Western Digital PC SN730 NVMe SSD with incredible I/O performance. This is complemented with dual GPU - the Intel UHD Graphics 620 and an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2 GB RAM.


Out of the box the Huawei Matebook 13 surprises for its weight and size - only 1.3 Kg in a 286 mm x 211 mm x 14.9 mm package. There are two USB-C ports - the left one can be used for data transfer and charging, while the one on the right side is used for data transfer only. 


The wall charger uses a standard USB-C cable, so you can also use it for data transfer - plugging a phone, for example. And the 65 W wall charger can also be used to charge your phone, including support for HUAWEI SuperCharge phones such as the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro, HUAWEI Mate 30, HUAWEI P30 Pro, HUAWEI Mate X, HUAWEI nova 5 and HUAWEI nova 5 Pro.


Initial setup was pretty standard for Windows 10. Once you complete the setup I would recommend taking advantage of its fingerprint-enabled power button - the laptop starts and unlocks automatically with a single press of your finger. The laptop itself has a TPM chip, but it comes with Windows 10 Home installed - in my case I did a licence upgrade to Windows 10 Pro so that I could take advantage of the TPM and enable Bitlocker to encrypt the SSD completely.


The screen is really an amazing part of the design. With 13.1 inches (33.3 cm) and 2160 x 1440 pixels (3:2 ratio) 200 PPI, and support for 100% sRGB colour gamut, it is bright and clear - it's also a touchscreen so you can interact with applications by using gestures if wanted. The bezel is minimum on each side and just a bit thicker on top and bottom - the top housing a one-megapixel webcam that is almost invisible if you are not looking for it.


A Huawei supplied Display Manager app allows you to control blue light and colour temperature. The internal display supports HDR video streaming as well.


You can easily connect an external monitor using a USB-C cable. In my case, I plugged a BenQ 35" curved monitor with HDR support and the Huawei Matebook 13 performed really well, including HDR support for this external monitor and had no problems extending the desktop to the larger 3440 x 1440 monitor, driving both internal and external displays with ease.


Huawei provides a laptop with no bloatware - the only other app (in addition to the Display Manager) is PC Manager, which serves multiple purposes. PC Manager keeps your drivers up-to-date and perform hardware checks but also performs as your smartphone bridge - if you have a Huawei smartphone that is.


I've tested it with my Huawei P30 Pro. You can start by simply tapping the NFC area of your phone to the area marked with a "Huawei Share" sticker on the bottom of the keyboard. This will establish a Bluetooth connection between the phone and the laptop. The smartphone screen will appear on a window on your laptop and you can then remote control the phone using your keyboard and mouse. 


You can also copy photos and videos from the smartphone using this connection. As an option, you can even check an "Auto-sync" box to copy this content when your phone connects. You can also select photos, videos and documents on your phone and transfer these automatically by just tapping the Huawei Share area on the keyboard.


The internal SSD was a surprise too - testing with 4 GB files (CrystalDiskMark) it managed to reach 3.4 GB/s reads and 1.3 GB/s writes (3232 IOPS and 1205 IOPS respectively). These are very respectable numbers for a laptop - they are better than the PCI NVMe SSD on my desktop. 


The dark grey metal body is stylish and smooth to touch - and smudge resistant. The backlit keyboard has nicely spaced keys with short travel and very nice trackpad - something I wouldn't say I like using in most laptops but in this case, a pleasure to use. 


The Huawei Matebook 13 does not have an ethernet port, relying mainly on its Wi-Fi support for 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) with 2 x 2 MIMO - unfortunately with support for WPA, WPA2 and WEP only, no WPA3 yet. Bluetooth support goes all the way up to  BT5.0, being compatible with BT4.1, BT3.0 and BT2.1 + EDR.


Another interesting feature is the dual fan-based active cooling, making sure you can use all that CPU and gpu power for longer without having to resort to thermal throttling.


Overall the Huawei Matebook 3 is all you expect from a power machine but on a small package. 


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