Huawei MateBook 13: ultra thin and powerful

Apple may have set the benchmark for the ultra-thin laptop with the MacBook Air, but their specs don’t always bring a big smile when compared to the price (emphasis on Apple’s recent refresh that updated the specs to newer processors and adding a Retina display). Want higher specs? You’d have to move up to the MacBook Pro family.

When it comes to ultra-thin laptops, it’s always a compromise between high-performance (which hampers battery life hence more heat) or power-efficient (lower spec components that give you longer battery life). It’s hard to get something in-between while keeping the same display dimensions and chassis. Taking up the challenge, Huawei unveiled the new MateBook 13 just a day before the start of CES 2019.

Under the ultra-thin chassis

You would think that the hardware specifications for the MateBook 13 would be inferior but you’ll walk away surprised and eager to get one of these. For a quick breakdown of the different specifications, here’s a brief table outlining them.

Base ModelPerformance Model
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8265U (Whiskey Lake)Intel Core i7-8565U (Whiskey Lake)
RAM8GB LPDDR3 @ 2133 MHz8GB LPDDR3 @ 2133 MHz
Storage256 GB512 GB
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620NVIDIA GeForce MX 150 with 2GB VRAM

When comparing the specifications of the MateBook 13 to the MateBook X Pro, it takes a few steps forward and few steps back; yet it’s still a compelling product for its form factor that gives a better price-to-performance ratio compared to the MacBook Air.

The MateBook 13 sits between the lower-end MateBook D and the higher-end MateBook X Pro, and still packs plenty of features that justify its existence.

Huawei MateBook 13 at CES 2019
Huawei MateBook 13 at CES 2019

The display is also a touchscreen with a 2160×1440 resolution with 200 ppi (3:2 aspect ratio), and the entire keyboard is spill-resistant. Apple may have pushed for the fingerprint reader to double-up as a power switch, and the same concept is also present here with the MateBook 13 that’s been carried over from the MateBook X Pro. Both the base and performance model weigh ~ 1.3kg

The laptop comes with 2 USB-C ports, with one supporting faster data and charging and the other one supporting data and DisplayPort support. Rather than spending extra for a dock, Huawei has courteously bundled a small dock with a few ports to ensure compatibility. There’s also the standard 3.5mm headphone jack so you won’t have to worry about getting a dongle adapter at all.

Huawei is releasing the MateBook 13 first in the US on January 29 and then bringing it to other markets worldwide.

Author: Yasser Masood

Think of me as a grassroots community evangelist. Juggling social media while covering technology/digital trends across the Middle East and crossroads of society and culture, while unearthing other perspectives that pique my interests.

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