Putting aside how you feel about Huawei as a company, I think we can all admit that the Chinese tech firm makes great hardware. Case in point: The Huawei MateBook 16s is an excellent notebook with a vibrant 16-inch touchscreen, and impressive speakers. It's great for office productivity, and light content creation. Not quite MacBook Pro levels of performance, of course. But the MateBook is a whole lot more affordable.
- 16-inch 2,520 × 1,680-pixel IPS screen
- Intel Core i7-12700H processor with 16GB system memory and 1TB SSD
- 84 watt-hour battery
Ever since Huawei ventured into notebooks, it's been obvious that the company has taken some design cues from Apple. For starters, the MateBook 16s has a huge touchpad that's just about as large as the ones in MacBooks. The keyboard isn't shabby either — ample space, and good key travel. The MateBook's solid metal body has that premium look and feel you associate with expensive MacBooks. There's barely any flex in the lid or keyboard. However, it also means that the MateBook isn't that portable. Its 2kg weight is closer to the MacBook Pro than recent 16-inch Windows laptops like the Acer Swift Edge.
Another highlight: The near-bezel-less display looks sharp, offers lively, accurate-looking colours, and is optimised for productivity with a 3:2 aspect ratio. However, its glossy finish makes it very reflective, which isn't helped by the screen's average brightness (300 nits). I also really liked the MateBook's stereo speakers, which, thanks to their location at the sides of the keyboard, come across clearly and cleanly. In short, the MateBook 16s is great for watching videos. And to some extent, playing games, though its Intel Iris Xe graphics is only good for casual games, like the ones in our list of top indie games. But the webcam above the display is only so-so with a fair amount of noise. It could also do with a privacy option like a physical shutter.
However, the MateBook is definitely very capable at office computing tasks. Its PCMark 10 score of 6,014 is similar to that of the AMD-powered Acer Swift Edge. Keep in mind that my review set uses an Intel Core i7 chip, while the only MateBook 16s model available in Singapore has a more powerful Intel Core i9 processor. The MateBook 16s has just about all the ports you'll need. It probably could do with a memory card slot for photographers, though. But I have no complaints about its HDMI, two USB-C (including a Thunderbolt 4), and two USB-A ports. If you have other compatible Huawei devices, such as the P50 Pro smartphone or the MatePad Pro tablet, you can link them to the MateBook to share files or take video calls.
The Huawei MateBook 16s has decent battery life for a 16-inch model. It lasted around 6 hours in our video-loop battery test at maximum brightness. As mentioned, the Huawei MateBook 16s sold in Singapore comes with an Intel Core i9 chip. That means it should be even faster than the Core i7 model reviewed here. And at S$2,298, the MateBook 16s is more affordable than similar premium big-screen laptops like the Acer Swift Edge (S$2,598) and LG Gram 16 (S$2,624). The MateBook 16s is available on Lazada, Shopee, and Amazon SG.
Note: Review unit provided by Huawei.
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