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Huawei MateBook X Pro 2019 Hands-On: Last Year’s MVP Came Back More Refined

Photo: Ben Sin

With its sleek design, unbeatable screen-to-body ratio, and a price point that was lower than what Apple or Dell charges for their laptops, Huawei’s Matebook X Pro won many accolades last year. The Chinese tech giant is back with a 2019 update, and while it is a minor upgrade, it might just be enough to take the crown this year again.

In terms of aesthetics, design and build quality, the 2019 MateBook X Pro looks virtually identical to last year’s model, with the only noticeable visual change coming from a more minimalist logo. Everything else: that 14-inch, almost bezel-less 3K display; the power button with a one-touch fingerprint scanner; the Dolby Atmos surround sound speakers; the metal uni-body finish; are all exactly the same as before.

All the improvements are internal: in addition to the usual spec bump that you’d expect from a new PC — the MateBook X Pro 2019 runs on either 8th-gen Intel Core i5-8265U or Core i7-8565U Whiskey Lake processors with the upper tier i7 model getting an Nvidia’s MX250 graphics card — there are some software improvements, chief among which is a new “Huawei OneHop” file transfer system that uses NFC to transfer files between Huawei phones and the MateBook X Pro with just one tap of the phone to the bottom right part of the laptop’s base.

From my testing — which you can see in the video below — the transferring of small files such as photos and word docs is just about immediate. Transferring video files will take a bit longer, not unlike AirDrop with Apple devices. OneHop also allows a Huawei phone to grab a screen capture of the laptop’s screen via a similar tap gesture.

The new MateBook X Pro gets rid of the flamingo Huawei logo in favor of just the word “Huawei”.

In terms of connectivity, the MateBook X Pro 2019 brings back the ports from last year: two USB-Cs, a USB-A 3.0, and a headphone jack. That Huawei is sticking with the USB-A is great news, as most consumers still have gadgets/thumb drives that require a traditional USB port. One of the USB-Cs have been upgraded this year to a Thunderbolt 3 for faster data transfer.

The laptop charges via USB-C too, and the included 65W charging brick is relatively small for a laptop charger and can efficient. You won’t need to use it much too, as the MateBook X Pro is good to last an entire eight to nine hour work day easily. In fact, Huawei says you should be able to watch movies on this up to 11 hours. I haven’t tried it yet, but Huawei’s proven to be highly efficient at building battery tech.

USB-A!
… and two USB-Cs.

As for that display — what more is there to say? The 3000 X 2000 panel is ultra sharp; color accuracy and viewing angles are excellent. In terms of hardware, there’s not much to complain here other than that pop-up camera that carries over from last year. To see why the pop-up camera is problematic, please watch the video first look.

In terms of pricing, Huawei’s selling the base model of the new laptop, with that Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage, for 1,699 euro (that’s about US$1,800). The top tier i7 model has double the RAM and storage, and is priced at 1,999 euro (US$2,200). We’ll have a full review of this laptop in a couple of weeks. But so far, it’s looking good.