Whatever you think of Huawei, Apple is certainly facing some steep competition in what I previously called the “XPS killer.” With two of the best laptops you can buy right now in the ring, this bout is going to get ugly.
The new MacBook Air builds on what worked with the fanless ultraportable from 2020 with a dramatic redesign. Meanwhile, the MateBook X Pro got a significant redesign, too — both inside and out. So, which one should you buy? Let’s find out.
Huawei MateBook X Pro vs MacBook Air M2: Price and value
These are both pricey machines, but it should come as absolutely no surprise that when comparing a MacBook to a Windows laptop, the Huawei machine offers better value for money when you take UK pricing into account (given it’s not available in the US).
Sure, when you look at the entry price, the base MacBook Air M2 sets you back £1,249, whereas the MateBook X Pro costs £1,799. But all you have to do is look at what each of these offer for the price and you’ll change your tune on the better value.
For the cost, the MateBook packs an Intel Core i7-1260P processor, 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and a 1TB SSD. To get a similarly specced MacBook Air, you must shell out £1,949 because let’s be honest: 256GB of storage inside the base model is not enough.
It’s also worth noting that Huawei is running a helluva good deal — £100 off the laptop and a free 28-inch 3:2 aspect ratio MateView monitor.
Winner: Huawei MateBook X Pro
Huawei MateBook X Pro vs MacBook Air M2: Specs compared
|Spec||Huawei MateBook X Pro||MacBook Air M2|
|Price||£1,799||£1,249 (starting); £1,949 (as tested)|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1260P||M2|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe integrated||M2 integrated|
|Storage||1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD||1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||14.2-inch, 3120 × 2080-pixel touchscreen||13.6-inch, 2560 x 1664p Liquid Retina|
|Ports||Thunderbolt 4 x2, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C x2, headset/mic jack||MagSafe, Thunderbolt/USB 4 x2, headset/mic jack|
|Dimensions||12.2 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches||12 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches|
|Weight||2.9 pounds||2.7 pounds|
Huawei MateBook X Pro vs MacBook Air M2: Design
Both of these are seriously sleek and sexy laptops. Whatever you pick, you’re going to be happy with it, but that’s not the point of a face-off. I have to pick, and to me, the Huawei MateBook X Pro reigns supreme.
That’s not to say the MacBook isn’t a looker. Apple’s decisive move to make the Air look like a MacBook Pro gives it a uniform thickness and utilitarian aesthetic that I rather enjoy. Opening the lid, you’ll see the full-sized backlit keyboard at the top of the Starlight keyboard deck in a slight recess. Directly below sits a rather large trackpad.
As for the MateBook, Huawei took a huge leap over the previous generation X Pro with a gorgeous looking (and feeling) system. From every angle, it’s unmistakably premium. The slender curvature and perfect balance of the internal weight distribution. The CNC-milled magnesium alloy frame, adorned with a fabulous soft touch coating that doesn’t show scuffs. All of it screams “luxury.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this Ink Blue finish is my favorite implementation of my favorite color, which doesn’t scuff like the MacBook Air’s navy colorway does.
But while they both go for different looks, the specifics are very similar. The MateBook is slightly larger and heavier at 12.2 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches 2.9 pounds (the MacBook Air has dimensions of 12 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches and weighs 2.7 pounds).
Both offer distinctly different aesthetics, and while they are unmistakably premium in construction, I do prefer the vibe of the X Pro.
Winner: Huawei MateBook X Pro
Huawei MateBook X Pro vs MacBook Air M2: Ports
The M2 MacBook Air does improve slightly on its predecessor by moving charging over to a dedicated MagSafe port, which leaves two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports free alongside the 3.5mm headphone jack.
But in terms of raw volume, Huawei is running circles around Apple with a pair of USB-C ports in addition to its duo of Thunderbolt 4 ports and 3.5mm headset jack. Need more ports? Check out our best USB Type-C hubs and best laptop docking stations pages.
Winner: Huawei MateBook X pro
Huawei MateBook X Pro vs MacBook Air M2: Display
In both the Huawei MateBook X Pro and MacBook Air, you’re getting gorgeous, spacious screens with small bezels. But let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details:when it comes to real estate and usability, Huawei pulls ahead.
The MacBook Air boasts a 13.6-inch, 2560 x 1664p Liquid Retina display compared to its predecessor’s 13.3-inch panel. The aspect ratio is technically 3:2, but with the notch up top forming part of the task bar, you actually get something closer to a 16:10 working area.
When put through our lab testing, the Air registered 75.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut alongside an impressive average brightness of 489 nits. In real-world use, as expected, the M2’s screen is an explosion of color with sharp details, which is enhanced with Apple’s proprietary TrueTone technology.
Meanwhile, the MateBook X Pro comes with a 14.2-inch, 3120 × 2080-pixel touchscreen display with a 90Hz refresh rate and 3:2 aspect ratio. Huawei claims the system emanates 500 nits of brightness and offers dual color-gamut compatibility: DCI-P3 and sRGB.
With an LTPS panel (an LCD technology), I anticipated decent color reproduction with a relatively lacking contrast ratio. However, while I’m sure there will be a noticeable difference in the numbers, to the average human eye, you’d struggle to tell the difference between this and an OLED display — the colors really pop.
Winner: Huawei MateBook X Pro
Huawei MateBook X Pro vs MacBook Air M2: Keyboard and touchpad
Both offer strong typing and clicking experiences, but picking between them is incredibly difficult. You see, the MateBook X Pro has a superior trackpad, but the MacBook Air packs a better keyboard.
The Magic keyboard in the Air is just that –– magic. The backlit keyboard (with full-size function keys) is firm with springy feedback. It’s also gloriously quiet, which definitely comes in handy in an office or coffee shop. The backlighting allowed me to work in just about any environment, whether I was in my darkened bedroom or outside in my backyard pop-up canopy at night.
The glass solid state trackpad is, predictably, massive. It’s slightly smaller in height, but wider than the one you find in the M1 Air at 4.8 x 3.1 inches. It gave me plenty of room, allowing me to navigate web pages and documents with ease as well as perform multitouch gestures.The bottom corners of the pad gave a sturdy click when pressed.
But the MateBook X Pro’s touchpad is bigger still. Sporting dimensions of 4.8 x 3.4 inches, extending out to the very edge of the bottom deck, allowing plenty of space for swiping and tapping. I tested Windows 11 gestures, including two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing — they were all efficiently responsive, and the haptic feedback of each click had a crisp response.
Meanwhile, the keyboard has full-sized keys where it matters, but the function keys are only half-size. The island-style keyboard sports decent backlighting that is adjustable. It’s rare that you see any chiclet keyboards and touchpads beat out the prowess of Apple. But contrary to the norm, Huawei does beat the company on the touchpad front, which means this is a tie.
Huawei MateBook X Pro vs MacBook Air M2: Performance
Now for the section that some of you will have probably scrolled to first. How does the notebook-centric M2 chipset match up to similar competition like the Intel Core i7-1260P? The answer may surprise you — unless you read the Acer Swift 5 vs MacBook Air M2 face-off.
On the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the MateBook absolutely stormed ahead with a huge multi-core score of 11,142, rocketing past the average premium laptop (5,956). Meanwhile, the M2 Air also performed great during our synthetic benchmarks, but fell behind in raw power with a Geekbench result of 8,919.
It’s not consistent, though, as can be seen with our HandBrake benchmark. The Matebook transcoded 4K video to 1080p in 8 minutes and 33 seconds while the Air took 7 minutes and 52 seconds.
Looking at graphics, both have integrated GPUs, which isn’t as bad as you may fear. We don’t have like-for-like testing to compare the two, but I can confirm that the Air is able to run the Sid Meier's Civilization VI benchmark at 40 frames per second. Meanwhile, the MateBook is able to play Two Point Campus running at a steady 70 frames per second (fps) with graphics settings turned to medium.
In real-world use, both of these are stellar systems for work and casual play — handling multitasking with ease. But while the MacBook Air performs better in certain areas like content creation, we have to compare each system as a whole, in which the MateBook is going to be that little bit faster for your productivity needs.
Winner: Huawei MateBook X Pro
Acer Swift 5 vs MacBook Air M2: Battery Life
The final round sees the M2 MacBook Air come out of the corner with some serious heavy hits to the MateBook X Pro. As you may already have predicted by Apple’s legendary laptop battery life with any system featuring its own silicon, the Air is a stamina king.
It may be slightly shorter than the M1 MacBook Air, but at 14 hours and 6 minutes, it offers outstanding longevity for any commutes or even long haul flights. Meanwhile, while we haven’t put the X Pro through this lab testing, based on my own experience, it doesn’t have the same stamina for all-day usage.
Winner: MacBook Air M2
Just to remind you, none of this is to say one laptop is good and the other is bad. As you can see from our reviews, you’ll enjoy using either the MacBook Air or the Matebook X Pro, so if you do have a specific OS allegiance, you’ll be happy whichever way you go.
However, it’s clear that for all the good packed into Apple’s laptop Air, Huawei has created something really special in the MateBook X Pro. The notebook-centric P processors in the 12th Gen Intel lineup are performance beasts with some decent stamina too — made even better in terms of sustained performance with proper thermal management.
But while the MacBook Air pulls ahead with stronger battery life and a superior keyboard, Huawei takes the crown with an improved port array, display, and (unsurprisingly) value for money.
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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.