While Huawei started 2018 off strong, its low ranking in this year's brand scorecard shows the perils of being a one-hit wonder. We love the 2018 MateBook X Pro for its value, performance and design, but outside of that, its limited selection and frustrating tech support led the brand to debut in our Best and Worst Brands showdown at No. 10 out of 12.
Huawei's even 4 points below Apple, the company it aped to find limited, early success.
Huawei's Key Strengths
- Building a better MacBook Pro: While many wait for Apple to fix its Butterfly keyboard switch issue, Huawei debuted the MateBook X Pro, which we love to type on.
- GPUs for all: Huawei doesn't force anyone to rely on the underpowered integrated graphics chips, providing the power of discrete GPUs.
Huawei's Key Weaknesses
- A lack of depth and value: Three laptops are barely a lineup, and its cheapest machine is still above $500.
- An attack of the clones: Huawei's design skills are in need of some identity, and making it a bit too obvious that their influences are from Apple.
- Tech support that doesn't help: Its phone agents provided inconsistently reliable solutions, revealing a lack of knowledge about their own stuff.
Top-Rated Huawei Laptops
Huawei is a relative newcomer to the U.S. market, yet the Chinese company is already making waves. Two of the three Huawei laptops we reviewed scored a 4 stars or higher, with the MateBook X Pro gaining our Editor's Choice Award and landing on several best laptop pages. Huawei made only one slip-up this year that brought its average review score down to 3.8 stars.
The highlight of Huawei's limited selection of laptops is the MateBook X Pro, which we gave a 4.5-star rating for its gorgeous display, fast performance and slim chassis. We were also surprised by the laptop's excellent value, though it can be hard to get your hands on one. Regarding value, Huawei's MateBook D offers solid performance and an aluminum chassis for under $600.
Huawei has proved itself quite the mimic, going full throttle in copying Apple. The aluminum-clad systems even use the same color as the Cupertino company. It's a smart decision by Huawei, since MacBooks are so popular. But honestly, as nice as the MateBook X Pro, MateBook D and MateBook 13 look, the MacBook clone thing is getting pretty old.
There are some differences, of course, as both the Pro X and 13 have smaller bezels and better keyboards than the laptops they're trying to emulate. But we're hoping Huawei will develop its own design language going forward.
Support and Warranty (13/20)
Huawei's phone-support agents might be fast, but our undercover reporting found that incorrect suggestions or options are a frequent occurrence. We also found mixed quality online, with support agents on Facebook and email giving both correct and incorrect answers, and taking a while to do so.
Huawei provides a VIP Service Package to those buying select MateBooks, a package that includes overnight express delivery and a free replacement for a damaged screen (for the first month). Any alterations you do to the device's internals, though, voids its warranty.
As an upstart in the laptop category, Huawei has introduced a few noteworthy innovations. These include the Matebook X Pro, which was one of the first ultraslim notebooks with a dedicated GPU. The system also benefits from Huawei's Shark Fin 2.0 cooling system, so you can enjoy performance without enduring sweating-hot temps.
Other highlights include Huawei's Share 3.0 software, which makes it easy to transfer files between your Android phone and the company's laptops.
Value and Selection (10/15)
With Huawei's limited selection of laptops, the company focuses on making MacBook-esque products that sell for less than Apple devices.
Priced at $621, the MateBook D 14-inch (AMD) is a revelation, offering premium qualities like great graphics performance, a clicky keyboard and long battery life, all packed into an aluminum chassis. We were less impressed with the MateBook 13 ($899, starting), due to its short battery life, but it does feature a speedy Core i7 processor and a vivid, 2560 x 1440 display. However, we practically fell in love with the MateBook X Pro ($1,020 starting), because it has everything we liked about the 13-inch machine but with a higher-res display (3000 x 2000) and longer battery life.
MORE: Best Huawei Laptops
Huawei is focused on making its products relatively affordable, which is great, but we would like to see a sub-$500 laptop or even a souped-up workstation alternative.