Huawei has just launched the MateBook 16S — its latest premium big-screen laptop for creative pros with 12th Gen Intel power at a reasonable price.
This higher end is starting to become quite a competitive space for Windows laptops, which is being dictated by the need to nail three essential things: strong specs, slick software and a premium user experience.
Let's see what Huawei is doing to accomplish these.
Stepping up to the MacBook Pro
The design looks quite similar to Huawei's cheaper alternative, the MateBook D 16, but there are plenty of premium upgrades here. The anodized aluminum has gone through CNC drilling processes for precise speaker holes on top, and while this one lacks the numeric keys of the D 16, the keyboard packs that same impressive travel and an upgrade to a far larger glass trackpad.
Under the hood, you're going to find up to an Intel Core i9-12900H CPU with Iris Xe graphic and while it won't match up with a dedicated graphics card, from my experience with the chipset it should absolutely deliver on rendering any creative work quickly. All that power is kept cool with dual copper pipes and two 75mm fans, alongside a thermally conductive film that means you can boost the i9 processor performance up to 115W (or i7 up to 80W).
For ports, you'll find a USB-C port, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.0 and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left, and two USB-A 3.2 ports on the right, which should be enough connectivity to cover any accessories and if not the best docking stations out there can expand things further via the Thunderbolt 4 or USB-C.
And of course, for any work, you need a good display. The 16-inch panel on the 16s rocks a 3:2 aspect ratio, a 2520 x 1680-pixel resolution, 100% sRGB color gamut, touchscreen support and support for low blue light for any late-night working sessions.
Finally, you are getting a comprehensive Huawei software suite that actually enhances your experience: a taskbar control panel that gives you quick access to key functionality. Read more about these in my Huawei MateBook D 16 hands-on.
Pricing and availability
The Huawei MateBook 16s is available in two variants: a Core i7 model for £1,299 and a Core i9 for £1,499 (roughly $1,600 and $1,825 respectively).
Based on the specs and capabilities, this is some seriously competitive pricing — made all the more impressive with the freebie offer, which gets you a free Huawei MateView GT 27 monitor if you snag one between July 13 and August 23.
The 16s takes its place atop the Huawei laptop mountain with peak performance, a giant, sharp display, a durable, utilitarian design and plenty of software smarts for working on the go.
And with the seamless integration between this laptop and the various Huawei earbuds, phones and tablets, it's clear that the company is gunning for the MacBook Pro with an ecosystem and enough capability under the hood for graphically intense work.
Whether this laptop is seriously worthwhile for creative pros, we'll leave that to our full review. But from first impressions, this seems to be quite the interesting flagship killer-esque system that's giving you a whole lot of horsepower in a premium shell at a reasonable price.
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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.