Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 Review: Stylish performer

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 Review: Stylish performer

Launched last month, the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is essentially a refresh of last year’s model as its name suggests.

If you put the 2020 model and this year’s model side by side, you would not spot any difference. The upgrades are all in the inside.

SPECS
PRICE: S$2,598, available in Lazada and Shopee
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce MX250, Intel Iris Xe Graphics
DISPLAY: 13.9 inches touchscreen, 3:2 (3,000 x 2,000 pixels)
RAM: 16GB
STORAGE: 1TB SSD
BATTERY: 56Wh
WEIGHT: 1.33kg

These upgrades include the latest 11th-generation Intel processor, a new dual shark-fin fan design for better heat dissipation, a trackpad with more sensors and a larger Huawei Share sensor.

However, to celebrate Huawei’s fifth year in the PC business, a green variant of the MateBook X Pro is launched for the first time in Singapore. The classic grey variant is also available, but we reviewed the green variant.

DESIGN
Looking at the MateBook X Pro 2021, you can forgive Huawei for not making any design changes. Why fix anything when it is not broken?

Its emerald green metallic body is as sleek as it gets. It is a much needed departure from the usual laptop colours of space-grey, black or silver.

The review MateBook X Pro 2021’s emerald green is a great colour for a laptop to have, other than the usual grey and black colours. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Running your fingers on the smooth sand-blasted finish of the laptop is a treat on its own. And surprisingly, it does not leave as much fingerprints or smudges as some of its competitors.

FOR
+ Great overall performance
+ Gorgeous touchscreen display
+ Sleek design
+ Sturdy build
+ Responsive keyboard and large touchpad

AGAINST
– Pop-up webcam gives unflattering angle
– Limited port options
– Cannot play graphics-intensive games

Although its aluminium body is quite lightweight at only 1.33kg and measures only 14.6mm thick, the build is pretty sturdy. There is no flexing when you put your wrists on the laptop.

In addition, I like the large and sensitive touchpad that makes it a breeze to move files and folders across the screen.

The backlit keyboard is one of the best I tried for a Windows laptop. Spacing between keys is just about right, while the key travel is spot on. I also like the great tactile response the keys offer. The standard keyboard layout means I can type with few errors.

The keyboard of MateBook X Pro 2021 is one of the best on a laptop right now. (Photo: Huawei)

Above the keyboard on the top right hand corner is a power button. It is also a fingerprint sensor for you to unlock the laptop securely.

Plus, there is pop-up webcam sited between the F6 and F7 key. This ensures extra security, so no one can see you unless you want them to. While secure, the pop-up webcam might give you “double chin” and definitely will showcase your nostrils during your web conferences.

The “nostril” view that you get when you use the pop-up webcam. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The 13.9-inch touchscreen display with its thin bezels is gorgeous though. Its 3:2 aspect ratio makes viewing of any content much better, as it offers more coverage. In addition, I find that I can easily put a document and a browser side by side for increased productivity.

However, this laptop does not have a lot of ports. There are two USB-C ports (for both charging and data transfer) and a 3.5mm headphone jack on its left, while a sole USB-A port is found on its right. There is no HDMI port or SD card reader.

PERFORMANCE
In terms of performance, it scored 4,829 in the benchmark software PCMark 10 Benchmark test. Easily out-scoring last year’s MateBook X Pro’s score of 4,162.

Interestingly, its score is actually slightly lower than that of the cheaper MateBook 14 (4,981). But it might be a case of its AMD Ryzen 5 processor being more powerful.

I tried playing the graphics-hungry Cyberpunk 2077 at the display’s highest resolution with graphics setting at the lowest. But it was unplayable with frame rates at an average of 3 frames per second (fps). However, once I reduced the resolution to full high-definition, it was a more playable 15 fps on average.

Playing Cyberpunk 2077 is a drag on this laptop. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

On the other hand, I can play Football Manager 2020 at 60fps in its highest resolution glory. In any case, this is not a gaming laptop.

In real life scenarios though, the MateBook X Pro does all tasks quickly and responsively. You will have no issues opening 10 tabs on the Edge browser, while working on your client proposal.

The laptop also supports Huawei Share, which allows Huawei laptops and phones to connect wirelessly and effortlessly. You easily transfer files between smartphone and laptop, or edit files on the smartphone directly from the laptop. A plus if you are a Huawei smartphone user.

BATTERY LIFE
In our video-loop battery test whereby we loop a video with the display on full brightness, we found it lasted 7 hours 5 minutes. This is 10 minutes less than its cousin, MateBook 14.

Still, this is considered to be pretty good. By comparison, the best timing thus far for this battery test is around 9 hours.

Plus, the laptop supports 65W charging and comes with a 65W charger. When used with it, the laptop gets fully charged within 2 hours.

A stylish performer, the MateBook X Pro is. (Photo: Huawei)

VERDICT
The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is an ultra-portable laptop that will serve you well in terms of both productivity and leisure. But if you want to game, you probably might have to look at other options like the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro. If not, the MateBook X Pro 2021 is a fast and stylish laptop to get for your work from home setup.

RATINGS
FEATURES: 8/10
DESIGN: 8/10
PERFORMANCE: 8/10
BATTERY LIFE: 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10
OVERALL: 8/10