Huawei MateBook Hands On
Huawei’s MateBook is a Windows 10 tablet with a productivity and artistic focus. We went hands-on with the device.
Huawei took an interesting step at this year’s Mobile World Congress, choosing to make the centrepiece of its launch not a phone or a wearable, but instead a Windows 10 hybrid tablet device, known as the Huawei MateBook. With a name like that, you could be forgiven for thinking that Huawei has the Australian market in mind.
Huawei MateBook: First impressions
At Mobile World Congress, I had the chance to have a little hands-on time with the MateBook and its accessories. As a tablet, the MateBook bears more than a passing resemblance to the iPad Pro, although with only a 12 inch display it’s actually slightly smaller. Still, it has the same pleasant rounded edges and feels quite good in the hand as a regular tablet.
The tablet itself boasts and IPS display with a resolution of 2160x1440, which is nice and sharp whether you’re watching video or preparing files, bearing in mind that this is a full Windows 10 laptop. The fingerprint sensor on the side gives it a nice point of differentiation; while I wasn’t able to enrol a fingerprint for the purposes of demonstration, as a simple unlock mechanism that many will be familiar with from smartphone use it could have some solid appeal.
The MateBook charges and connects via USB C, which gives it both some future-proofing and some right-now-connectivity issues, because you’d need to buy adaptors for a lot of existing Windows-compatible peripherals. As a straight small hybrid Windows device the MateBook certainly appears powerful enough for mid-range tasks. It's not quite a Surface Pro 4, but then it's not exactly priced that way either.
I can’t say at first glance that I was quite as taken with the keyboard and stylus accessories. That’s firstly because they are just accessories, not standard in the box. There’s no specific word on Australian pricing or availability, although Huawei Australia does appear to plan to release the MateBook in Australia at some point. In the US it will cost from USD$699 depending on your processor choice, all the way up to USD$1599 for the top spec model. The stylus pen, keyboard and accessory dock are separate, and all stack on top of that asking price if you want them.
The second issue, at first glance that I had with the accessories I was able to test -- the keyboard and the stylus -- is that while they were functional, they felt a little light to use, both in keyboard response and pen weight. I’m no artist by a very long stretch of the imagination, but I could imagine those that are used to digital pens from the likes of Wacom finding the MateBook’s stylus just a little wanting.
Huawei MateBook: Hit or miss?
It’s hard to fully judge a product from a demo booth, but my initial overall impressions of the MateBook are reasonably positive. The build quality, especially of the screen is spot-on, and unlike the iPad Pro that it resembles, it’s a full Windows device with app compatibility and a moderately powerful Intel Core M processor under the hood, which could give it a lot of flexibility for those with moderate computing needs.
|Processor||Intel Core M processor: Core M3, up to Core m7|
|Camera||5MP (front only)|