We have tested several Huawei laptops over the years and recommended most of them, e.g. B. the compact MateBook 13 and the inexpensive MateBook 15.
However, we have never properly tested your flagship MateBook X Pro series until we had to spend time on the updated 2020 model.
In short, this year 2020 is a 2019 model hardware bump, and that means that it is still an excellent all-day ultrabook with a nice-looking and sturdy case, a bright and punchy 3: 2 display, and a fast and quiet keyboard and is the power and battery life to cope well with daily activities. At the same time, however, this still has problems with demanding loads or games, mostly due to the unusual thermal design. That’s why I recommend the cheaper Core i5 versions with Intel graphics.
However, our test model is the parent i7 configuration with Nvidia MX250 graphics and was sent by Huawei for this test. This does not affect our results, which we have gathered below with the strengths and quirks.
Technical data as checked
|Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 model
|screen||13.9 inches, 3000 x 2000 pixels, 3: 2 aspect ratio, IPS, touch, glossy, JDI LPM139M422A panel|
|processor||Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10510U-CPU, 4C / 8T|
|Video||Intel UHD 620 + Nvidia MX250 (GeForce 446.14)|
|memory||16 GB LPDDR3 2133 MHz two-channel (soldered)|
|camp||1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD (80 mm – Samsung PM981 MZVLB1T0HBLR-00000)|
|Connectivity||Wireless 5 AC (Intel AC 9560) 2 × 2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||1x USB-A 3.0, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, microphone / headphones|
|battery||56 Wh, 65 W USB-C charger|
|size||304 mm or 11.96 inches (W) x 217 mm or 8.54 inches (D) x 14.6 mm or 0.57 inches (H)|
|Weight||2.33 lbs (1.33 kg) + 0.44 lbs (0.2 lbs) charger and cable, EU version|
|Extras||Backlit keyboard, HD webcam, quad speakers and quad microphones, finger sensor in power switch, connection adapter included|
Design and a first look
The MateBook X Pro is one of the few ultrabooks with a 3: 2 screen. It is a compact product, but slightly larger than the standard 16: 9 14-inch notebook in its class. As a result, the design allows for a spacious armrest, a large clickpad and a full-size keyboard, as well as a four-speaker system that slides through grilles flanking the keyboard and some side cuts in the bottom panel.
Nevertheless, the X Pro is about the same size as the MacBook Pro 13 (13.3-inch 16:10 display) and only slightly larger than the ZenBook UX425 (14-inch 16: 9 display), but it does over a larger screen thanks to the smaller bezels.
Huawei hasn’t changed the design of the X Pro for this 2020 generation in any way. This means that the camera is still a nose cam implemented in the keyboard (between the F6 and F7 keys) and there is no IR support. You get a pretty good finger sensor burned into the power switch.
Apart from the format, this MateBook X Pro is also one of the most robust and best-built Windows Ultrabooks on the market. It has a robust unibody interior and a strong screen housing that does not bend or bend even when misused. The plate is also covered with a protective glass layer and supports the touch.
I also think this is a good looking laptop, with a wipe-friendly dark gray surface, a clean interior design with no annoying lights, and the Huawei branding under the screen and on the lid. Perhaps these could have been a little more subdued, especially the shiny ones under the screen.
The product also meets most ergonomic requirements, but the nitpicker in me has room for improvement. The screen is held in place by a smooth hinge system that enables simple one-hand operation and settings. However, it can only go back to about 150 degrees and is not quite flat, as I would expect from an Ultrabook. Huawei could have implemented gripper rubber feet, and I would have liked a slightly friendlier front lip design. With the beveled edge and the sharper part around this notch under the clickpad, it can bite your wrists uncomfortably.
The I / O is lined on the edges. On the left are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support. There is also a full-sized headphone jack and a USB-A slot on the right. Huawei bundles the laptop with a USB-C port extender that adds VGA, USB A / C and HDMI, pretty much everything you’d expect from such a laptop, except maybe a card reader. With the included Huawei Share function, which allows you to transfer content from compatible Huawei phones directly to the laptop with a simple touch that is activated via NFC. The app also allows the phone / tablet to be used as a secondary PC screen, but only works with Huawei phones, and I cannot recommend this given the current situation with Google services.
Finally, I would like to go into the cooling design from Huawei. As with most notebooks with similar hardware, there are no inlet cuts on the bottom, and both the inlet and the outlet are made using a few thin grills hidden under the hinge on the back. This implementation is confirmed by the thermal design and the low-noise fan profile and is suitable for everyday use. However, the X Pro has to deal with heavier multitasking and demanding loads, as you’ll see below.
Keyboard and trackpad
Huawei has implemented a full-size standard chiclet keyboard on this laptop, which is among the best in its class. However, it is mainly tailored for fast touch typers and those who like this type of short stroke implementation.
With limited drag, soft feedback, and short travel, this becomes very quick once you get used to the feedback. However, those of you who come from a desktop computer might have trouble at first, and I also expected this to be quieter than it is.
The layout is simple and mostly okay, and the buttons are plastic and flat. There are no dedicated PgUp / PgDn / Home / END keys, not even as secondary keys tied to the arrow keys, the kind that professional users might appreciate, and the kind you find on other 14-inch notebooks these days . The 3: 2 format leaves no space for an additional key column on the right.
I’m also not a big fan of Huawei’s keyboard backlight. They were used with black keys with white writing and lighting, so the contrast and visibility are as expected. However, the included LEDs are quite weak, and even with a flat profile, some light creeps out from under some keycaps. There is also no physical caps lock.
The ClickPad, on the other hand, is one of the best that you can find on a Windows laptop. It is a glass surface with precision drivers and large enough to accommodate daily swiping movements and gestures. It also contains gentle and satisfactory physical clicks, and I can only complain about the slight rattle when I tap this firmer one in the lower half.
In terms of biometrics, a finger sensor is integrated in the power switch, but no IR cameras.
The MateBook X Pro also has one of the best displays you can find on any ultra-portable laptop.
First of all, it’s 3: 2, which is bigger and more practical than the standard 16: 9 or 16:10 screens, with more vertical space for content. This alone brings the X Pro to your card and is supported by a panel of excellent quality with more than 600 nits of brightness, a contrast ratio of 1800: 1, wide viewing angles and a translatable resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels in razor-sharp images and text.
We received the following in our tests with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel Hardware ID: JDI LPM139M422A;
- Coverage: 96.8% sRGB, 67.5% AdobeRGB, 69.4% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.21;
- Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 626.53 cd / m2 with power supply;
- Min. Brightness in the middle of the screen: 12.86 cd / m2 with power supply;
- Contrast at maximum brightness: 1834: 1;
- White point: 6800 K;
- Black at maximum brightness: 0.34 cd / m2;
- PWM: No.
The panel is immediately ready for use and by further calibration with our sensor, the maximum brightness is reduced by approx. 10%.
There is still a good amount of variation in the direction of the corners and not the best color uniformity on the entire left side of our product. It is not the kind that you will notice to the naked eye, but the kind that could affect those who are interested in a color accurate display for the work you can expect from this 600+ nits and 68% sRGB panel. The MateBook X Pro’s professional uses are also affected by the platform’s performance under these demanding loads, as you’ll learn in our next section.
Hardware, performance and upgrade options
Our trial version is a faster configuration of the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2020 with the Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10510U processor, 16 GB LPDDR3-RAM, 1 TB fast SSD storage and two graphics, with the Intel UHD integrated into the Core U Platform and a dedicated Nvidia MX250 chip in the efficient 10W 10DE 1D52 implementation for ultra-portable laptops.
We are also carrying out our test with the software available from the end of June 2020 (BIOS 1.07, PC Manager 10.0.5.36, Nvidia GeForce 446.14 driver). The minimalist PC Manager software offers very little control over this laptop, without performance, battery and screen profiles.
The SSD is the only updatable part of this laptop, but it’s a complicated task that will void your warranty. Opening the back of the laptop isn’t much, but once you’re inside you’ll find the SSD is hidden behind the heat module. You also need to take it out to get there and then reinsert the CPU / GPU. Complicated, so I would only recommend getting the configuration you want from the start.
Huawei only offers two variants: this higher-ranking i7 / MX250 model with 16 RAM and 1 TB memory or a cheaper i5 model with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB memory and Intel UHD graphics. This is perfect for everyday activities, and it’s also nice to see 16 GB of memory on the lower-level model, even if it’s still the slower version of LPDDR3 at 2133 MHz.
Don’t expect a lot of performance in terms of demanding loads. This laptop is designed for everyday multitasking and casual use, but suffocates when doing serious work. In these situations, both the CPU and GPU are shutdown, and the limited heat module is the culprit here. Huawei tries to keep temperatures and noise levels down, normal expectations for this type of computer, but that is only possible with a performance impact.
We will first illustrate this with our standard Cinebench R15 loop test. The i7-10510U is only operated under continuous load with 12 W power, which leads to low frequencies, low values, cool temperatures in the 1960s and very quiet fans. This is a much too aggressive profile, and based on these findings, the laptop could be operated with at least 15 + W under sustained load.
Undercutting with throttle stop is a trick we can usually use to increase the performance of these Core U laptops. However, nothing has been done in this example.
For comparison, the same i7 stabilizes at 15 to 25 W in other 14-inch laptops that we recently tested, with a significant increase in performance and a slight increase in noise.
In addition, the 6Core Intel platforms and the full range of AMD Ryzen 4000 U devices smoke the X Pro in this test.
We then tested the CPU performance in the cruel Prime95 stress test. In this case, it stabilizes at 10+ W and frequencies below inventory.
But how about combined CPU + GPU loads? First of all, this does not pass the 3DMark stress test, in which the same scene is repeated 20 times and performance losses when the components are heated are logged. That is exactly what is happening here. Regarding the Luxmark test, in which both the CPU and the GPU are under maximum load, the system quickly throttles the processor at only 0.9 GHz, but lets the GPU run at full power, which indicates imbalances and potential jerking, caused by the low power. clocked processor.
Next, we ran the full suite of tests and benchmarks for the default profile for best performance in Windows.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 2495 (graphic – 2708, physics – 5537, combined – 1034);
- 3DMark 13 – Night Raid: 8778 (graphics – 11752, CPU – 3607) ;;
- 3DMark 13 – time spy: 864 (graphics – 784, CPU – 2082);
- AIDA64 memory test: Write: Read: 28876 MB / s, Read: 31608 MB / s, Latency: 78.2 ns;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 1929;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p coding): 16.28 average fps;
- Minimum score: Rating: 3994 (CPU brand: 9332, 3D graphics brand: 2214, hard drive brand: 25431);
- PCMark 10: 3452 (Essentials – 7298, Productivity – 6518, Digital Content Creation – 2348);
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single core: 5584, multi-core: 17250;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single core: 1184, multi-core: 2945;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 621 cb, CPU single core 178 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 1266 cb, CPU single core 413 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 153.42 fps, Pass 2 – 33.38 fps;
- x265 HD benchmark 64-bit: 107.82 s.
We also ran some of these tests on the live CPU profile of -60 mV without noticing any changes. For some reason, we couldn’t beat this throttlestop laptop, which is pretty much a fist in many years.
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 1913;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single core: 1182, multi-core: 2964;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 618 cb, CPU single core 178 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 1184 cb, CPU single core 397 cb;
- x265 HD benchmark 64-bit: 108.44 s.
We also performed some workstation-related loads:
- Blender 2.82 – BMW car scene – CPU Compute: 11m 52s;
- Blender 2.82 – Classroom Scene – CPU Compute: 39 m 5 s;
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: 5529.
Then we released a few DX11, DX12 and Vulkan titles in the Best Performance profile. We have the following:
|Core i7-10510U + MX250 10W|
|Bioshock Infinite (DX 11, low default) – 1920 x 1080 px||67 fps (50 fps – 1% low)|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, low default, no AA) – 1920 x 1280 px||18 fps (14 fps – 1% low)|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, lowest default) – 1600 x 1200 px||22 fps|
|Need for Speed: Most Wanted (DX 11, low settings) – 1920 x 1080 px||60 fps (48 fps – 1% low)|
|Rise of the Tomb Raiders (DX 12, lowest preset, no AA) – 1920 x 1080 px||17 fps|
|Weird Brigade (Volcano, Low Preset) – 1920 x 1080 px||30 fps (22 fps – 1% low)|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, low preset, Hairworks Off) – 1920 x 1080 px||21 fps average (14 fps – 1% low)|
- Battlefield V, The Witcher 3, Dota 2 – recorded with MSI Afterburner in game mode;
- Bioshock Far Cry 5, Middle-earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included benchmark utilities.
Older games like NFS: Most Wanted or Bioshock can be played on this notebook, but newer games cannot, or you have to reduce the resolution to 720p. Nevertheless, the performance does not meet the hardware expectations, since both the CPU and the GPU are operated with relatively low performance. The GPU in the less demanding games averages 1.2 GHz, but drops back to 0.8 GHz in Witcher 3, a good deal less than the maximum possible Turbo clocks of 1.6 GHz.
Also, keep in mind that older titles may not support the 3: 2 aspect ratio of the higher resolution screen. This means that in most cases you will have to accept stretched images or at least some black bars around the content. This aspect, which is confirmed by the limited performance and high outside temperatures, makes the X Pro generally unsuitable for gaming and demanding CPU + GPU tasks compared to better implementation of the same type of hardware. Given Renoir Ryzen’s excellent ultraportables, but also the Intel / AMD devices with the updated and more competent MX350 graphics chips, not even the total value of this platform is discussed here
Noise, heat, connectivity, speakers and others
The thermal design looks complex, with a fan and multiple heat pipes covering most of the motherboard. On closer inspection, however, it would turn out that these heat pipes are not connected to radiators. Instead, they mostly provide passive cooling, and the fan provides airflow between the motherboard and this heat module.
This kind of strange design turns out to be inefficient for the type of hardware in this laptop, especially since Huawei also tries to compensate with cool inside temperatures and a quiet fan. This is almost inaudible in daily use and increases to 41-42 dB in games.
Despite these compromises, much of the internal heat is distributed to the outer chassis, with much of the interior going over 50 ° C during games and running between 35 and 40 degrees with daily use, which is fine. but still a little warmer.
* Daily use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, better battery profile, fan at 27-33 dB
* Gaming – Play Shadow of Mordor for 30 minutes, best performance profile, fans at 41-42 dB
For connectivity, there is still only one WiFi 5 Intel 9560 radio module with Bluetooth 5.0 in this laptop and not the AX solution of most modern ultrabooks. I wouldn’t worry much about that, but it’s still a fast and reliable wireless implementation, both near the router and 30 feet away with obstacles in between.
The speakers are filed through the cuts around the keyboard and side panels, and they’re fine, but not great. We measured volumes of up to 74-75 dB at head height and medium sound quality, with a good piece missing at the lower end.
The MateBook X Pro has a 720p camera, which is located behind this key between F5 and F6. I think that seemed cool at launch, but it is poorly positioned and impractical in real life and takes blurry and muddy pictures. A correct FHD camera at the top of the screen is the right way, and yet nobody does it.
This Matebook X Pro has a 56-Wh battery that’s suitable for a 14-inch computer, even if it’s not the largest in its class. The high-resolution screen takes its toll, but still it takes a fair bit for a fee.
We got the following on our test device: The screen brightness is set to about 120 nits (~ 50 brightness).
- 9 W (~ 7 h use) – Text editing in Google Drive, better battery mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 6.2 W (~ 9 + h useful life) – 1080p full screen video on Youtube in Edge, better battery mode, 50% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
- 6 W (~ 9-10 h use) – Netflix full screen in Edge, better battery mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11 W (~ 5-6 h use) – Surf in Edge, better performance mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON.
Huawei combines the MateBook X Pro with a compact 65 Wh USB-C charger that is suitable for the hardware inside.
Price and availability
This 2020 Huawei MateBook X Pro is available in most regions in mostly two configurations:
- Core i5-10210U, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD
- Core i7-10510U and Nvidia MX250, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD
However, both are expensive. At the start we see 1600 EUR / 1400 GBP for the i5 model and 1900 EUR / 1600 GBP for the i7. However, currently no word on US pricing.
Follow this link to get updated prices and configurations at the time of reading the article.
When Huawei launched the original MateBook X Pro two years ago, it was ahead of its time and superior to many of its competitors. The fast lead up to 2020, the robust craftsmanship, the excellent 3: 2 display, the fast and comfortable keyboard, the good everyday performance and the battery life are still the main selling points, but the limited thermal design and the performance with demanding loads will become confirms the steep prices, eat in its total value.
If you choose one of these models, I will stick with the i5 models. It makes no sense to install the i7 and MX250 GPU on this device.
In addition, a lot has changed with the competition over the years. The Surface Laptop, the XPS 13, the Elite Dragonfly, the X1 Carbon or even the updated ZenBooks and ExpertBooks are much more competitive products these days and most of them are cheaper than the X Pro. The MateBook still offers an important advantage in most markets (where the Surface Laptop is not available): the excellent 3: 2 display. However, it may not be enough to justify the higher prices, especially when cheaper 3: 2 notebooks are available days like Huawei’s own MateBook 13 or even the Acer Swift 3.
Overall, I still find the 2020 MateBook X Pro to be one of the better premium ultrabooks on the market, but I’m not entirely convinced that it’s worth the money that Huawei is demanding these days, given its quirks and the amount of solid competition out there. Thoughts?