Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: A laptop with all the sauce

Little change year-on-year for the X Pro, but stylish laptops never go out of fashion

Editor's Choice
Price
£1,694 inc VAT
  • Beautiful design
  • Stunning display
  • Fantastic keyboard
  • Low-quality webcam
  • Low battery life

Being dropped by the UK government and the outbreak of a deadly pandemic hasn't stopped Huawei from releasing new hardware. The launch for its refreshed MateBook X Pro was hampered due to the coronavirus shutting down MWC, but the Chinese firm still managed to unveil it with the now de rigueur virtual event.

The general consensus is that as we move into this new normal, remote working will become more pronounced, for the time being at least. So investing in the best quality gear is more important than ever - and the Huawei MateBook X Pro could be a good candidate for your money.  

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: Design

Despite being relatively green in the laptop market, Huawei has built a stylish brand in the MateBook X Pro. The 2018 version was both elegant and eye-catching and that's probably why its design hasn't changed in two iterations. 2020's model is sleek and svelte at just 14.6mm in thickness and 1.3kg weight. It has edges that are all subtly rounded and decorated with slim, mirrored trimming, as is its logo, which catches the light perfectly. This is not just another laptop, it's a fashion accessory to boot.

Apple's MacBook will always spring to mind when thinking about Huawei's premium laptop, partly because it's on that level for design quality, but also because they gave it a very similar name. This may be a poor decision in the long run as you'll always remember MacBooks and their iconic designs, but probably not Huawei's flagship device. Which is a shame, because the MateBook X Pro is a genuinely stunning machine. 

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: Display

The X Pro's display is a good place to start when weighing up its qualities as its 14in LTPS screen is both bright and bold. It has a resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 and, like Microsoft's Surface range, a 3:2 aspect ratio. This does leave fairly prominent black bars above and below the screen when streaming, but that's just a minor gripe, really.

In our tests, the X Pro scored 96.2% for sRGB colour gamut coverage, with its colour accuracy also excellent. For its price, very few machines can beat this. HP's Elite Dragonfly is just a tiny bit cheaper and also just slightly better, according to its gamut score. The X Pro's display holds up well in bright sunlight too, with its peak brightness 533cd/m2. Its colour rating and brightness scores are only small increases, with last year's model hitting 95.9% and 531cd/m2 respectively, but the newer device has been launched for almost £1,000 less than the 2019 version

Both test scores also fared well compared to Apple's 16in MacBook Pro, but if you need further convincing that this is your machine, it's also a touch screen display - and a good one at that. Whether you use it will come down to whether you want to get finger smudges over that glorious display. 

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: Keyboard and trackpad

When you pull the lid up on the MateBook X Pro, you'll see an almost perfect back-lit keyboard with well-laid out keys that are fairly large and finished in black. Typing is a joy with plenty of travel and a delicate clack sound with each keystroke. 

There is a central trackpad, placed below the space bar. It's not too big, but it offers remarkable reach across the screen. It's worth remembering, as we noted above, this is a touchscreen as well, but the trackpad is so good that you'll rarely need to use it.

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: Hardware and performance

Inside the X Pro is where the big changes are. The 2019 model's eighth-gen chip has been upgraded for a tenth-gen Intel Core i7-10510U processor. Huawei has kept the same NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card that's in 2019's X Pro, but it is backed up with 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage. In theory, this should equate to faster performance and longer battery life, but only one of those has proved correct.

In our CPU tests, the X Pro notched up a score of 78, which is a bump up on the 2019 model. It doesn't necessarily beat any rival machines - the score is exactly the same as the HP Dragonfly - but that is a good machine to be compared with. It also fared well in Geekbench 5, hitting 1,075 for single-core and 2,826 multi-core tasks. 

From our own experience, the machine is seamless and smooth with absolutely no lag or sluggishness with whatever tasks we put before it. The only area in which it came out poorly was its battery, which lasted just 7hrs and 55mins. That's not great, especially as most of its competitors reach closer to ten hours, but it does seem to handle an eight-hour shift with no problems. However, over time that might become more of an issue. 

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: Ports and Features

There is a decent selection of ports on the X Pro, including some quite surprising additions considering its size, however all of them featured on 2019's model. On the left is a pair of USB-C ports for data sharing and charging, one of which is Thunderbolt-3 enabled. On the right, somehow squeezed into this slim frame, is a good old fashioned USB-A 3.0 socket. This retro option goes along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

As for features, the cute, button popup camera is back, but the novelty has worn off as we're all deep into home working and video conferencing. It's far too low on the device and with most folks already using at least three good-sized books to raise laptops to eye level for webcams that are at the top of the screen, the X Pro shows everyone your nostril hairs. Worse, it's just one megapixel, so you'll look fuzzy at best. 

The home button with fingerprint sensor also makes a welcome return as does the NFC tag that supports Huawei Share. While this is a very useful feature, enabling users to seamlessly share content from phone to laptop and vice versa, it's still just a Huawei-exclusive feature, meaning you need a Huawei smartphone to go with the laptop. That's a big ask now that it doesn't have full access to Google's app ecosystem.

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) review: Verdict

With little changing year-on-year, it's difficult to recommend the 2020 X Pro to anyone that has 2018 and or 2019's models - particularly as its battery isn't better. However, it is a faster machine and does have that beautiful display. 

Sp for those looking for a new laptop, or interested in changing brands, we can fully endorse the MateBook X Pro 2020. You'll look amazing with it under an arm, or in a coffee shop (hopefully from a distance of at least two metres). It runs like a dream, it doesn't feel like much when carried in a bag and it's fairly affordable (by premium laptop standards, at least) at £1,699.99 inc VAT. This is a business machine, but it's also a fashion statement. 

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2020) specifications

Processor

Intel Core i7-10510U

RAM

16GB

Additional memory slots

No

Max. memory

16GB

Graphics adapter

Intel UHD Graphics / Nvidiea GeForce MX250

Graphics memory

Shared

Storage

1TB

Screen size (in)

14

Screen resolution

3,000 x 2,000

Pixel density (PPI)

260

Screen type

IPS

Touchscreen

Yes

Pointing devices

Touchpad

Optical drive

No

Memory card slot

No

3.5mm audio jack

Yes

Graphics outputs

USB Type-C

Other ports

1 x USB Type-c,1 x USB Type-A

Web Cam

720p

Speakers

Quad

Wi-Fi

802.11ac

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 5

NFC

Yes

W (mm)

304

D (mm)

217

H (mm)

14.6

Dimensions, mm (WDH)

304 x 217 x 14.6mm

Weight

1.33

Battery size (Wh)

56

Operating system

Windows 10

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