Huawei may be a relative newcomer to the laptop scene, but their notebooks have impressed me with their build quality and clean design. The Huawei MateBook 14s further builds on this with its good-looking design and solid performance. It's compact and portable, too, with great battery life. Meanwhile, the few flaws (no webcam privacy shutter and shallow keyboard) are minor, though I think the S$2,000 retail price could be more competitive.
- 14.2-inch 2,520 x 1,680-pixel screen, 90Hz refresh rate
- Intel Core i7-11370H processor with 16GB system memory
- 1.43kg, 16.7mm thick
- HDMI, 2x USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
Like older Huawei notebooks, the MateBook 14s reminds me of Apple MacBooks. For starters, the MateBook has a similar minimalist and premium all-metal chassis. There's also a notch at the front lip that makes it easy to open the laptop. I really like the solid and sturdy feel of the lid and the hinges. Unlike the MacBook, you get a touchscreen on the Huawei. In addition, this display, which goes up to a bright 400 nits, has a 90Hz refresh rate. You can manually toggle between 90Hz and the usual 60Hz via a handy Fn+R shortcut. The laptop will also switch to 60Hz to save power in some instances, such as when viewing videos or during standby. It's a nice feature, even if its target audience — mobile knowledge workers — are unlikely to appreciate it fully.
What will likely appeal to these users is the MateBook's crisp 2,520 x 1,680-pixel resolution. Coupled with the 3:2 aspect ratio, this notebook is well suited for those who mostly work with documents and spreadsheets. And while you can definitely do some light photo and video editing on the MateBook, its integrated Intel Xe graphics isn't going to cut it for content creators. To be fair, my MateBook review set comes with an Intel Core i7-11370H processor that is a tad more capable than the lower-power Intel chips found in ultrabooks. Its 4,965 PCMark 10 score, for example, is slightly higher than that of the HP Spectre x360 14 (4,720). Other points in the MateBook's favour are the decent port selections (two USB-C, USB-A and HDMI) and both face and fingerprint authentication. I would have liked a bit more key travel, but at least the keyboard is spacious and comfy.
Like Apple, Huawei wants to make its devices work well together. It takes but a few clicks to connect the MateBook to a compatible Huawei smartphone or tablet via the Multi-screen Collaboration feature. You can then easily drag and drop to copy files from one device to the other. I found the file-sharing feature to be especially convenient while the option to extend or mirror my laptop display on a Huawei MatePad tablet has its moments. However, the user experience can be jarring as the tablet's Android system is still present underneath. Some things like the position of the second screen must be set via Huawei's PC Manager app instead of the usual Windows settings. In short, it could be more intuitive.
The Huawei MateBook 14s comes with a good-sized 60 watt-hour battery. It lasted 7hr 43min in our usual video-loop battery test at maximum brightness, which is excellent. At just under S$2,000, the MateBook 14s is a fair bit more expensive than the MateBook 14 (S$1,298) that I tried previously. Of course, the 14s has slightly better specs. However, you'll still get a similar experience with the MateBook 14, like the Multi-screen Collaboration feature. Personally, the MateBook 14s' webcam, which is above the screen, works better than the pop-up version on the MateBook 14. You can get the MateBook 14s from Huawei's official store on Lazada and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Huawei.
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