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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2021) review

The MateBook X Pro is a decent laptop but fails at being a MacBook alternative

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review
(Image: © Rami Tabari)

Our Verdict

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 offers a bright 3:2 display and long battery life, but its lackluster performance and inflated price make it hard to love.

For

  • Bright, 3:2 display
  • Solid keyboard and touchpad
  • Long battery life
  • Fast SSD

Against

  • Middling performance
  • Scant on ports
  • Wonky webcam placement
  • Expensive

There was a time when the point of getting a Huawei MateBook was to buy something as good as a MacBook but at a cheaper price. However, the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 fails at the two things it was designed to do. It is still a decent laptop, but not a great one.

For €1.899 (roughly $2,265.91), the MateBook X Pro provides a gorgeous 13.9-inch, 3:2 display, a solid keyboard and touchpad experience, long battery life and a fast SSD. However, you'll be stuck with middling performance, very few ports and a webcam that stares up your nose.

Considering the price, you might as well buy a MacBook, but if you dislike macOS and want a Windows alternative, the MateBook X Pro is a decent choice, but it's not one of the best laptops.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 price and configuration options

Huawei MateBook X Pro specs

Price: €1.899
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 13.9-inch, 3:2, 3000x2000
Battery: 10:22
Size: 12.0 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.9 pounds 

I tested the European version of the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021, which costs €1.899 and comes with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The base model costs €1.399 and drops down to a Core i5-1135G7 CPU and a 512GB SSD.

There is a U.S. model that will be available sometime this year on Amazon. The U.S. pricing isn’t available yet, but if you translate the pricing exactly, our model would cost $2,265.91. That’s not a very appealing number, so I doubt it’ll be that expensive.

If you’re interested in checking out something more affordable, take a look at our best cheap laptops page.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 design

Most laptops go with either a black, gray or silver finish that has grown tiresome to look at over the years. While the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 does come in gray, it also comes in a refreshing Emerald Green color. I’m not a fan of the hue but it’s nice to have something different for once. The curvy lid is home to nothing but a glossy silver Huawei logo.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

The interior of the laptop looks like a MacBook and a Surface Laptop had a baby. There’s the sleek keyboard surrounded by two long speaker vents, a large touchpad below, and the fingerprint reader/power button just above. There are practically no bezels on this stunning 3:2 display. In fact, there’s not even a webcam. Instead, it’s in the keyboard, and you have to press its corresponding button to get it to pop up (yikes).

At 2.9 pounds and 12 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches, the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is remarkably slim and lightweight for a laptop nearing 14 inches. However, the Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020) (2.8 pounds,12.0 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches), Dell XPS 13 (Model 9310, 4K) (2.8 pounds, 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches) and Asus Zenbook 13 UX325EA (2.5 pounds, 11.9 x 8 x 0.5 inches) are lighter.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 ports

Similar to the notebook it tries to emulate, the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 doesn’t have many ports.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

However, it does feature two USB Type-C ports on the left side as well as a headphone jack, while the right side holds room for just one USB Type-A port.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

We recommend checking out our best USB Type-C hubs and best laptop docking stations pages if you need to connect more accessories or peripherals.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 display

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021’s 13.9-inch, 3000 x 2000-pixel display is bright and pleasant to use thanks to its 3:2 aspect ratio. And while it could be a little more colorful, it is within touching distance from its competitors.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

In the trailer for the cheesy Sci-Fi film “Cosmic Sin,” Bruce Willis’ orange exoskeleton suit stood out on the MateBook X Pro’s panel. In the establishing shot of a ship in outer space, the panel was bright enough to detail the ship, but the glossy screen still had significant glare. At the very least, Frank Grillo’s stubble looked plenty sharp on screen.

According to our colorimeter, the MateBook X Pro covered 74.7% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is short of the premium laptop average (85.1%). However, it’s not far off from the MacBook Pro (78.3%), Dell XPS 13 (76.9%) and Zenbook 13 (76.1%).

At 464 nits of brightness, the MateBook X Pro outshines the category average (393 nits) as well as the MacBook Pro (435 nits), the XPS 13 (442 nits) and Zenbook 13 UX325EA (370 nits).

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 keyboard and touchpad

Keep in mind that the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 model I’m reviewing is the U.K. version, therefore, it has a U.K. keyboard. If you’re trying to get this machine shipped over to the states, you may have some trouble adjusting to the keys. Despite that, the keyboard is clicky though somewhat shallow to type on.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

I managed only 67 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is far below my 78-wpm average. The spacing of the keys is fine, but what really threw me off was the oddly-shaped enter key on the right side of the keyboard.

What Huawei can boast over MacBooks is that the MateBook’s glossy panel is touchscreen-enabled. I was quite surprised with how smooth the glass was when I started doodling a little house and a janky green lawn with my finger.

The 4.5 x 3.0-inch touchpad is smooth and easy to use, but there’s some funky tech going on here. Huawei calls it the Free Touch touchpad, and you can basically click anywhere on the touchpad to feel a click. It doesn’t vibrate like a MacBook, but it does feel like a click.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 audio

For its size, the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021’s top-firing speakers are decently loud, but are missing some bass.

I listened to Masked Wolf’s “Astronaut in the ocean,” and I immediately noticed that the intro bass guitar sounded a bit muted, and it became even more difficult to hear when the other instruments kicked in. However, the vocals were crisp and loud. All of the other electronic beats sounded sharp, but couldn’t get enough oomph without the proper bass.

The MateBook X Pro doesn’t come with any audio software to tune the sound.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 performance

Packed within the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 lies an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with 16GB of RAM. It was able to juggle 30 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos without an issue.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

On the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the MateBook X Pro scored 4,191, falling short of the average premium laptop (4,421). The XPS 13's Core i7-1185G7 CPU (5,345), the MacBook Pro's M1 CPU (5,925) and the Zenbook 13's Core i7-1165G7 CPU (5,032) all performed much better.

The MateBook X Pro transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 17 minutes and 25 seconds on our HandBrake benchmark, slowing down against the category average (16:32). However, the XPS 13 (18:33) and Zenbook 13 (17:51) did slightly worse.

Huawei's 1TB SSD showcased a transfer rate of 1,146 megabytes per second, nearly doubling the premium laptop average (634 MBps). The SSDs in the XPS 13 (814 MBps) and the Zenbook 13 (584 MBps) were much slower, but the MacBook Pro's SSD still showed off record-breaking speeds, at 2,825 MBps.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 graphics

With an Intel Iris Xe Graphics chip, there's not a lot that the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 can do. On the Sid Meier's Civilization Gathering Storm benchmark, the MateBook X Pro averaged 18 frames per second, which looks shoddy compared to the premium laptop average (28 fps) and our 30-fps playability threshold. With an M1 GPU, the MacBook Pro hit 29 fps, but with the basic Intel integrated GPU, the XPS 13 and ZenBook 13 managed 15 fps and 21 fps, respectively.

On the 3DMark Icestorm synthetic graphics benchmark, the MateBook X Pro scored 4,129, once again falling short of the category average (4,788). It landed between the XPS 13 (3,756) and Zenbook 13 (4,407).

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 battery life

Since this is the European version of the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021, I did not get a U.S. power plug, so I aimed to finish this review before the battery died. It turned out I could.. On the Laptop Mag battery test, the MateBook X Pro survived for 10 hours and 22 minutes, just climbing over the 10:17 premium laptop average. The XPS 13 lasted only 7:32, but the MacBook Pro (16:32) and Zenbook 13 (13:47) surpassed the X Pro.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 webcam

The webcam pops up from the keyboard and stares up at my nose and my three chins. No thank you.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

This 720p shooter’s placement is awful, yes, but the quality is also bad. The colors looked fine but there was a ton of visual noise. The Fullmetal Alchemist wall scroll behind me was illegible and the nearby window was completely blown out due to the poor contrast. Surprisingly, the color was decent enough to capture the reds and blues in the Zelda calendar to my right. As someone who plays D&D online a lot, this webcam is not great. I recommend checking out our best webcams page.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 heat

It's relatively cool under the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021's hood. After streaming a 15-minute video, the underside reached 93 degrees Fahrenheit, which is safely below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and touchpad hit 87 degrees and 78 degrees, respectively. It did get warmer toward the rear left underside, hitting 97 degrees.

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 software and warranty

Huawei packs only one vital piece of software in the MateBook X Pro 2021 and it’s aptly called PC Manager. This lets you update any missing drivers on your PC or run checkups to ensure your hardware components are healthy. Surprisingly, there’s no Windows 10 bloatware installed on this device.

Since this product isn’t available in the U.S. yet, the warranty hasn’t been stated, but Huawei PC devices typically come with one-year limited warranties in the States.

Bottom line

The Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 is a decent laptop, but not necessarily a good MacBook alternative. Yes, it has a bright display, a comfortable keyboard, a fast SSD and long battery life. But its middling performance, limited ports, wonky webcam and high price are tough to overlook.

You might as well save some money and get the MacBook Pro, which has better performance, a great webcam and longer battery life. If you're more of a Windows 10 fan, consider the Dell XPS 13 or HP Spectre x360 14. 

If you really hate macOS, the MateBook X Pro is a fine choice, but you're paying more money for a less desirable experience.

Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is a Senior Writer for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.