Technology

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review: our opinion –

In recent months, all manufacturers have been upgrading their machines with more recent components in version 2021. Whether it is new processors, a little more storage or more recent wireless connection means, the models are evolving. sometimes without revolution but in an appreciable way.

And Huawei is no exception to the rule since it has been offering a more recent edition of its Matebook X Pro since May 2021, which had obtained a very good rating. Last year. Before we go any further in this test, let’s do the owner’s whole thing to see if any changes have been made to the design and design.

If the contents of the package do not change with the usual standard charger for Huawei devices and the presence of a multi-port hub, we are pleasantly surprised by this emerald green variation of the most beautiful effect. Last year only the gray model was available for sale as is currently the case on merchant sites for this 2021 version, hopefully the manufacturer will offer it later this year.

If on the cover side the letters of the Huawei logo reflect a good tone, there is absolutely nothing under the device. It is rather a good point, because it can be used on the knees without hindering neither the diffusion of the sound, nor the cooling. This is done via the side vents on each side of the device.

Air vents

On the left, no change, we find the two USB-C ports which are not Thunderbolt but which are capable, in addition to supplying the computer, of rendering 4K in 60Hz at 3840 x 2160 pixels according to Huawei specifications.

USB-C ports

Ditto on the right, we find our classic USB-A port in 3.2 which will be very useful for peripherals such as a storage disk or a mouse. Note that the supplied Hub also has a USB-C port, an HDMI port, a VGA and a USB-A port.

USB-A ports

Upon opening, we discover a well-designed keyboard that is pleasant to type, with additional backlighting, as well as a trackpad large enough to navigate comfortably in the interface. The speakers are discreetly integrated on each side, while the power button, which also acts as a fingerprint reader, overlooks the whole.

Keyboard and trackpad

It may not be seen as well in a photo, but the design is very pleasant with little shiny touches on the beveled angles that send reflections depending on the ambient light. The edges of the screen are very thin and the whole exudes quality. This cannot be denied when you turn on the device. Huawei has chosen its default wallpaper which emphasizes the quality of the screen. Even if we are not a fan of the glossy coating, the overall rendering makes a good impression and the brightness, which can go up to 450 nits, compensates well in very bright environments.

Front view

So in the end what changes on this Huawei Matebook X Pro 2021 compared to the 2020 version? Outside, nothing, and from this point of view the result remains pleasant. You will have to dig into the characteristics and components to see changes.

We learn that the i7 processor has been replaced by a latest and 11th generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 model (there is also an i5-1135G7 version), while the Nvidia MX250 graphics card has disappeared in favor of the integrated Intel solution. Iris Xe Graphics. And that’s not all, the Bluetooth generation goes from 5.0 to 5.1, but it is especially at the level of Wifi that we appreciate the change, for a Wifi 6 card.

The camera itself does not evolve and always takes place in a button on the keyboard. If this is an advantage for privacy, and this allows Huawei to offer very thin screen edges to highlight its screen which offers a very beautiful display of 3000 x 2000 pixels with a 1500: 1 contrast, the The angle of the camera is not the most suitable for highlighting faces.

Retractable webcam

The fingerprint scan button is still as responsive when starting or waking up, the latter is almost instantaneous and Windows 10 startup is not much less responsive. From the first minutes, we discover a novelty that we had not noticed when getting started. The trackpad no longer has the mechanical click of the old model but simulates the click, very effectively by the way, thanks to haptic feedback.

On the desktop we discover some links already in place and a video file that explains how to use the multiscreen with your phone thanks to Huawei Share. In the previous edition it is a label stuck near the keyboard which acted as a sensor to make the link with the phone, this time it is placed under the trackpad. What does not change is that this very practical feature is reserved for smartphones of the same brand, ie Huawei and Honor.

There is also a shortcut to Huawei’s “PC Manager” software which will be useful for updating drivers directly. The interface is very clear and simple, a pretty nice addition from the manufacturer. No bloatware and the machine updates without difficulty to the latest version 21H1 of Windows 10.

Windows desktop

In terms of benchmarks we could expect better performance than with the 2020 edition. And indeed, thanks to the Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, Novabench displays 2181 points, 10% more than with the older generation. . Geekbench displays 1482 in single-core, 5010 in multi-core and 18628 on the GPU side. It is therefore on par with the Acer Swift 5 or the Dell XPS 13, which seems rather logical given that they share the same hardware configuration.

Benchmark

It is therefore our autonomy test that will decide between them. By launching Wi-Fi streaming with Netflix (40% audio, 50% brightness), we expected the next-gen Matebook X Pro to outperform the older model. And the reverse has happened. The most astonishing being the significant difference noted since the 2021 edition held only 7:30 am instead of 10 am.

It is all the more unfortunate that the competition has been able to be much more aggressive on this side. The Dell XPS 13 held up almost double, for 14 hours and the Acer Swift 5, champion in all categories of all our tests, it is close to 16 hours. Given its lower price, it is he that we would recommend as an alternative, it is also currently on sale at 999 euros at Fnac / Darty. For those who would prefer to stay with Huawei, the brand offers an Intel version of the Huawei Matebook 14 as powerful and cheaper, which takes 10 hours to our autonomy test, at 1099 euros with a Core i7.

If our first impressions were rather good for this new version, we regret that Huawei did not take a little more care of optimizing the battery for its ultraportable. At 1799 euros, even if a screen is offered alongside that, the brand takes the risk of seeing potential buyers prefer other more enduring models, and less expensive.

It has all the same arguments which weigh in its favor, the design is always impeccable, as the display quality, and the device is perfectly cut for mobility thanks to its contained weight and its smoothness. The performance is up to par and Wifi 6 is present. It will therefore be of interest to those looking for a quality 14-inch display but also owners of Huawei or Honor smartphones who will be able to enjoy the display of their smartphone screen thanks to Huawei Share. This model is still available on the website of Huawei, Fnac and Darty with a 24-inch Huawei monitor offered at its launch.

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