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Huawei MateBook D 16 hands-on preview

The next great affordable big screen laptop?

Huawei MateBook D 16
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The Huawei Matebook D16 is a decent big screen mid-range workhorse that could be a hit with students and workers who need a productivity machine on-the-go.

Pros

  • +

    Durable, utilitarian design

  • +

    12th Gen Intel power

  • +

    Comfortable keyboard with number pad

  • +

    Huawei’s software suite is really useful

  • +

    Decent webcam

Cons

  • -

    Display isn’t that bright

  • -

    Touchpad could be bigger

  • -

    Below average battery life

The MateBook D 16 is a new big-screen sibling in Huawei’s laptop lineup — bridging the gap between the ultra-premium 16S and the D series, to give you a sizable machine with value for the money.

Who is this for? Well with a durable chassis, 12th Gen Intel CPU, spacious keyboard with number pad, a big display and a 1080p webcam, this should be a good laptop here for students and workers with jobs that rely on plenty of data entry (finance, IT, etc).

But has Huawei pulled it off? We’ve got our hands on one to give you some early impressions.

Huawei MateBook D 16 price and compatibility

The Huawei MateBook D 16 (opens in new tab) starts at £749.99 (roughly $910) for the base model with 12th Gen Intel Core i5 — going up to £999.99 ($1,217) for the model we tested with i7. 

Pre-ordering kicks off on June 29 and if you grab one before July 12, you'll get a MateView GT 27 monitor for free!

I started as a deals writer in Laptop Mag and my 'good deals' senses are tingling. Seriously, a free 27-inch monitor!? Price wise, this puts the D 16 in cirect competition with similarly-specced competition like the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro.

Huawei MateBook D 16 design

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

Simple and utilitarian is how I’d describe this design. The aluminum shell and generic laptop frame doesn’t have any pomp or circumstance and, to be honest, I’m a fan.

Basic design or not, it’s an impressive size and weight, given the fact it’s a 16-inch laptop, at 14 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches and 3.7 pounds. That’s 15-inch laptop dimensions, so the fact Huawei has managed to cram a bigger display into it makes this a more portable package than it really should be.

Sure, it may not have the premium luxury of a bigger budget system, but it accomplishes the design tasks that matter: durable aluminium construction, smoothed edges that don’t cut into your wrists when you’re typing and some savvy space saving.

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

Huawei MateBook D 16 ports

The Huawei MateBook D 16 has enough ports for casual productivity. On the left side, you’ll find two USB-C ports (one of which is used for charging), HDMI 2.0 and the 3.5mm audio jack.

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

Flip over to the right and there are two USB-A — one is 3.2 Gen 1 and the other is 2.0. I would have loved to see an SD card slot and while the USB-C port that supports charging is clearly labeled, abeling the USB-A ports would take the guesswork out of it for users!

Huawei MateBook D 16 display

The name gives away the size of display you’re getting here: a 16-inch panel with a 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio (great for productivity). Huawei also claims  a 100% sRGB color gamut and a 300-nit peak brightness. 

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

With an impressive 90% screen-to-body ratio, Huawei has managed to cram this bigger screen into the typical body of a 15.6-inch laptop. Nice work!

Sharpness is passable, but it's the color where you will be pleasantly surprised — bringing a pleasant vividness to my Obi-Wan Kenobi binge watching experience and allowing me to do some photo editing with confidence in its accuracy. And if you get a late night surge to get stuff done, the panel has been TÜV Rheinland certified for its low blue light and flicker-free technology. 

But while this is all ideal for working indoors away from the sun, once you start to introduce some natural light, it becomes hard to see the activity on-screen. The matte coating over the display does help a little, but the brightness just isn’t there to combat working on this laptop next to a window on a bright day, or outside in direct sunlight.

Huawei MateBook D 16 keyboard and touchpad

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

Huawei has made the most of the extra space by packing a nicely-sized backlit keyboard with a numeric keypad too. The latter  is a rarity in modern laptops and makes this an ideal portable machine for any numbers-focussed work.

In use, the keyboard’s  one and only brightness level is enough for working in the dark. The 1.6mm of key travel gives you a nice tactile response, along with a nice cushion for the impact when you push fully down on each key. That’s ideal for reducing fatigue over longer typing sessions. 

The fact the QWERTY section is offset by the numeric keys takes a while to get used to, but once you’ve acclimated to moving further left, you’ll be touch typing in no time. In my 10FastFingers.com typing test, I hit 85 words per minute, which is on the higher end of what I normally get and emphasizes how ergonomically sound this board is.

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

The touchpad is a slightly different story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a slick surface, has a fast response time and multi-touch gestures are a cinch on this thing. But at 5.2 x 2.7 inches, it’s quite small given the size of this laptop. 

Given the productivity-friendly nature of the keyboard, I would have loved to see a bigger trackpad to glide across the screen with greater ease. As it is you may want to consider picking up a mouse to go with it.

Huawei MateBook D 16 audio

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

The stereo speakers on board are nothing to write home about, but they are good enough for conferencing and casual listening. You’re getting decent definition and a good clarity to the sound, as is proven when putting these to the test with the subtleties of Mac Miller’s “2009.”

But on the flip side, they are rather light on the bass, which leads to a lack of the 808 in the background, but chances are you’re not too surprised about a laptop having tinny speakers and will plan accordingly with wired or wireless headphones.

Huawei MateBook D 16 performance

Under the hood, Huawei has packed this with respectable specs: a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. 

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

I threw so much stuff at this machine, including Two Point Hospital running in the background as I edited a sizable image in Photoshop, multiple 1080p videos on YouTube and a Twitch stream. Even under such pressure, touch responsiveness didn’t lag and the system kept running smoothly. 

Is it as powerful as other systems? No, but  the super-intensive user is not the target audience for this laptop. It’s more for those  who dabble with the more casual side of multitasking. To prove it, the CPU hit an impressive Geekbench 5.4 multi-core score of 9,370. 

We’ll leave a proper opinion for when we’ve put this through all of our other rigorous tests, but from my hands-on time, the SSD is nice and speedy and any sort of processor-intensive tasks are dealt with at a respectable speed.

Huawei MateBook D 16 graphics

As for graphical prowess, the D 16 keeps it integrated with Iris Xe graphics. Don’t expect to do any hardcore gaming on this thing, but for the casual stuff, I was played Two Point Hospital on low settings at a slick 60 FPS.

Instead, this is enough for some of the lighter side of prosumer working — Photoshop and some light video editing. I will update once we’re able to properly test this with some 3D Mark benchmarks, but for now, I can confidently say this will hang with most casual workloads. Anything more graphically intense, you’ll need to look at laptops with a dedicated GPU.

Huawei MateBook D16 battery life

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

As you know, Laptop Mag has a sophisticated battery life test that automatically opens up a range of websites, to get what we believe is a fair result across the board to judge laptops by. We weren’t able to run that testing at this time,  so all I can do is give you my impressions on what the stamina is like. 

The 60Wh battery on board is able to last through several  hours of casual use — lasting from when I started my work at 9 a.m. (including multiple Chrome tabs, some light Photoshop work and a YouTube-filled lunch break), and managed to get through to about 2 p.m. That indicates a life of roughly 5 hours if you use this as intended, which is clearly not the longest battery life we’ve ever seen in a laptop.

Would I like a bigger power cell? Of course. While the support for 60W charging via the included small brick is nice for those clutch situations, it would have been much better to have a little more trust in the stamina with more watts and better power efficiency.

Huawei MateBook D 16 webcam

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve gotten so used to 720p potatoes that the MateBook D 16 legitimately surprised me. Kudos to Huawei, as the company has put some effort into its 1080p shooter with an 88-degree wide-angle lens and some nifty software working in the background to produce a good picture.

It does tend to lean towards over-exposure, which blew out the light coming in through my window here, but I’d rather take that with a decent amount of detail and clarity over the grainy mess you get on a lot of built-in webcams nowadays.

Huawei MateBook D 16 webcam

(Image credit: Future)

Plus, with quick options to turn on Follow Cam (Huawei’s version of Center Stage), drop in a background and implement AI to create eye contact with you and the camera even when you’re not looking, this is a decent video conferencing suite.

Of course, if you do need greater video fidelity, pick up one of the best external webcams. But it’s nice to know the one in here’s not too shabby.

Huawei MateBook D 16 software

The moment I saw just how much software Huawei had stuck on this thing, I got a little nervous about the possibility of bloatware. But it’s a lot better than I feared, to the point that the comprehensive software suite actually aids and enhances your experience.

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

It all focuses around a quick settings menu in the task bar, which gives you snappy access to a range of tools including taking screenshots, editing the picture produced by your webcam, tweaks to the noise cancellation if you’re trying to talk in a busy place, and the ability to connect your other Huawei devices together into a seamless experience.

This includes an AI search that’s able to browse files across all devices you have connected, a screen extension if you have a tablet, a seamless Wi-Fi hotspot with no interaction needed with your phone and an AirDrop-esque file sharing system.

Put simply, much like Apple, if you invest in the ecosystem, there’s a lot of benefits to unlock.

Bottom line

Huawei MateBook D 16

(Image credit: Future)

The Huawei MateBook D 16 is a strong mid-range laptop with a big, colorful screen, decent specs, a worker-friendly keyboard with a number pad and a durable build.

It’s not perfect, but the problems are what I’d expect from any mid-range system (except for the slightly small trackpad) — a display that’s not overly bright and a mediocre battery life.

But for what you get, this is a good laptop and an ideal option for anyone who doesn’t need the best specs but wants a large display experience.

Jason England
Jason England

 Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.