Huawei MateBook 16 Review

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The Huawei MateBook 16 is described by Huawei as a “Creative” laptop in a thin & light aluminum chassis that looks classy in a boardroom or any customer-facing activity.

It is very potent for some types of Creative applications such as light Photoshoping and excels at multimedia and entertainment activities. In this review, we’ll show you its strengths and weaknesses in a highly competitive market.

Note: the Ubergizmo definition of a Creative laptop is one that’s capable of taking advantage of heavy graphics tasks, such as video editing and compression. Graphics processors highly accelerate this.

Specifications highlights& configurations

As usual, Huawei’s configuration options are straightforward. The main variation lies in the CPU selection, where you can pick an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or the more powerful AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU (like our test unit). The 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and display are identical to all MateBook 16.

The downside of this simplicity is that Huawei might not satisfy niches where users might want 32/64GB of RAM or 1/2TB of storage. I’ll guess that Huawei’s target user profile is the person who wants a classic 15.6-16 inch thin & light productivity computer, and for that, these options are acceptable.

Design

The Huawei MateBook 16 uses a variant of the proven MateBook design language, as seen recently in the MateBook X Pro, which we previously reviewed. It looks great and is probably the poster child of corporate boardroom-friendly designs.

The chassis is made of CNC aluminum which makes it extra rigid while having a thin profile (17.8mm) but at the expense of weight (4.38 Lbs / 1.99 Kg) when compared to computers like the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen4 (3.99 Lbs) or the MacBook Pro 16 (3.5 Lbs).

“THE POSTER CHILD OF CORPORATE BOARDROOM-FRIENDLY DESIGNS”

The aluminum surface treatment feels good to the touch and is quite resistant to fingerprint smudges, making the laptop look clean at all times. At the moment, “Space Grey” is the only color available.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard seems identical to the MateBook X Pro in terms of width and key sizes, but the key travel seems slightly longer, and some users might appreciate that. The keyboard has agreeable tactile feedback that is firm and bouncy in the right amounts.

The oversized glass trackpad looks impressive, is ultra-smooth, and is ideal for large scrolling motions or complex 3-4 finger Windows gestures for optimum productivity. There are no physical trackpad buttons, but you can use a two-fingers press to emulate the Right mouse button if you don’t like going to the lower-right corner for a one-finger click.

I find the inputs to be very comfortable and fit for extensive typing, but I wished that the keyboard’s backlight was brighter.

Ports and connectivity

Due to its size, the MateBook 16 has a better port selection than its 14-inch cousin. You can find two full-size USB ports on the right side. There are two USB-C (+power), a full-size HDMI, and the 3.5mm audio connector on the left side.

2x USB-C (Power, Data, DisplayPort)
2x USB 3.2 Gen1
1x Full-size HDMI
1x 3.5 mm headset and microphone 2-in-1 jack

The lack of a full-size SD card reader signifies that Creative users are not the primary target, even though this computer is fast with CPU-heavy creative apps like Cinebench.

The USB-C ports don’t support Thunderbolt as it is an Intel technology not available on this AMD-powered platform. That said, unless you plan to use this computer as a desktop replacement (with a cool laptop docking station), it shouldn’t be a practical issue.

Wi-Fi 6 (2×2 MIMO) and BT 5.1 ensures near-universal connectivity, but keep in mind that some competitors now feature Wi-Fi 6E, which is more future-proof if you upgrade your router in the next few years.

On a 1000 Mbps symmetrical connection, we reached real-world Wi-Fi speeds of 205/434 Mbps in downloads and uploads, respectively.

Sound quality

This 16-inch chassis leaves ample room for the stereo speakers placed on either side of the keyboard. The two speakers are powerful and output excellent-quality audio, something that Huawei has worked hard to include and preserve in all their more expensive laptop designs.

Watching movies or listening to music is very pleasant, and you can turn the laptop into an impromptu mobile speaker for a small outdoor gathering if you need to.

Display

The 16-inch 3:2 aspect ratio display is remarkable because it offers nearly ~9 inches of vertical usable space instead of the ~7 inches for a classic 15.6-inch (16:9) laptop display. The extra surface makes any computer activity more “productive.” I love this, but I also wish there was multi-touch support.

The 2520×1680 resolution is not impressive, but I find it adequate for office-type work, multimedia entertainment, and optimal battery life, which is the primary goal. There’s no 4K option.

The 360 NITs of brightness we measured is average as there are laptops capable of reaching as high as 600 NITs. Since this screen has a glossy surface, you’ll have to orient the display to avoid as much glare as possible, especially outdoors. If you often work in that type of environment, it’s something to think about.

“THE IMAGE QUALITY IS EXCELLENT WITH HIGH COLOR GAMUT AND COLOR ACCURACY”

That said, the image quality is excellent with high color gamut and color accuracy. Therefore, the display also works for web development, light Photoshop, and other activities where you need color-accurate visual content.

The camera is hidden in a keyboard key between the F6 and F7 keys as usual with Huawei. Hiding the camera allows for a beautiful top bezel, but the lens location isn’t ideal for making you look good during video calls.

Camera location aside, the image quality is average and nowhere as good as Huawei phones’ selfie cameras, but it’s pretty standard for PCs, unfortunately.

Huawei ecosystem

As you know, Huawei also makes smartphones and tablets. The company has created an ecosystem with Huawei Share, a platform to connect different types of Huawei devices. Connecting laptop and tablet is done over BT and is both easy and secure.

With it, you can quickly transfer files between Huawei mobile devices and the laptop or remote-control the phone to interact with mobile-only apps without having to reach for the handset all the time.

It’s also possible to mirror or extend the Windows desktop onto a Huawei tablet, thus turning it into an external monitor. I like this idea because the tablet you carry during a flight becomes your monitor in the hotel, making it even more helpful (and worth carrying).

The screen’s content is shared over Wi-Fi, so there’s a little bit of lag but I find it to be acceptable for office use. If you own both devices, the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 makes for an excellent display and with the E-Pen you could even create a very interesting Photoshop sketching setup.

I would suggest using the tablet’s USB-C input for the HDMI signal over a wired connection in the future (in addition to the Wi-Fi connection).

Finally, it’s also possible to use a Huawei phone to record the computer’s screen for demo purposes. Overall, Huawei share can help keep customers within the same ecosystem.

Huawei MateBook 16 Performance

Our MateBook 16’s AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (35W) shows comparable CPU performance to the Intel Core i7-11800H found in many high-end laptops such as the new ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen4. Benchmarks such as Geekbench 5 or Cinebench show this clearly.

For the price you pay, the Huawei MateBook 16 has very good CPU performance and our Geekbench/Price chart demonstrates this very well. That’s precisely why AMD CPUs have been all the rage recently, but Intel is fighting back, at least on Desktops.

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU’s performance is comparable to mobile workstations running on Intel Gen11
For the price, the CPU performance is great

Below, the PCMark 10 “Creative” sub-score tends to be CPU (+Disk) heavy, which is why the MateBook 16 score is comparable to the ACER Predator Triton 300 SE which has much faster graphics, as demonstrated by 3DMark.

“FOR THE PRICE YOU PAY, THE HUAWEI MATEBOOK 16 HAS VERY GOOD CPU PERFORMANCE”

The CPU speed, paired with very decent SSD performance, yields a high PCMark score that confirms this laptop’s status as an excellent productivity laptop.

However, a lack of discrete GPU makes GPU-intensive tasks (like gaming or GPU video editing) less performant than computers equipped with an RTX 3050 Ti (and above). It’s not a problem for many people who don’t need such graphics speed, but other “Creative” laptops have better GPUs if you use graphics-heavy apps.

Huawei MateBook 16 Battery Life

With an 84 Wh battery capacity, the MateBook 16 takes advantage of its size to pack plenty of energy reserves that can be replenished with the 135W USB-C power supply.

In our office productivity tests, the laptop scored 16 hours of battery life, one of the highest endurance we’ve seen to date. The chart also shows the battery life difference with laptops designed to achieve higher peak graphics performance, like workstations or gaming laptops.

The battery charge speed is okay as you’ll get about 27Wh worth of energy in 30mn of charging. Some laptops can do much better, but this is a typical charging speed.

Conclusion

The Huawei MateBook 16 (official page) is a classy computer that would be an excellent choice for office productivity and light creativity users who want a large display. I like the great industrial design and build quality. The laptop is very agreeable to use, even if you work many hours with it daily.

From a specifications/price standpoint, there are potent competitors such as the Dell Inspiron 16, Lenovo’s Legion 5i, or the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE. But in this style of CNC-aluminum chassis, the MacBook 16 could be an alternative for those willing to switch over to macOS and pay much more.

“HAVING EXCELLENT CPU PERFORMANCE AND LONG BATTERY LIFE IS A RARE COMBO”

The Huawei MateBook 16 retails for 1199 Euros (~$1385), nearly half the cost of the cheapest MacBook 16 ($2499). That’s a massive difference in value for the use case we’ve described.

This laptop could be very interesting for Creative users who mostly require high CPU performance (Cinebench) because the Ryzen 7 5800H CPU can compete with Intel’s Core i7-11800H at a significantly lower price. Having excellent CPU performance and long battery life is a rare combo.

Filed in Computers >Reviews..



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