18 months ago we got the chance to go hands-on with Huawei’s flagship laptop, the Matebook X Pro. The original device was very impressive with only a couple of faults we were able to pick. Now we’re taking a closer look at the latest iteration and it’s a very impressive piece of kit also, although many of the comments are quite similar to last years review.

Now, like the predecessor, it’s not a cheap offering at $2,999 (although you can pick up some pretty good specials) it’s a device you’re investing in, not an impulse buy. Thankfully, the specs at least tick all the right boxes for users to get years of productive use and entertainment from the Matebook X Pro 2021.

What is it?

This is a truly gorgeous laptop: Everything about the look and feel of it is premium. Even the specs are premium and it’s a delight to use. Today we’ll take a closer look at the specs, aesthetics and user experience.

Hardware and Design

The specs are sitting comfortably at the top end of laptops in the current generation. Offering the somewhat standard “grey” colouring is a clear message that these aren’t niche, they’re intended to compete at the high end of the market and it’s definitely portable at 1.33 kg.

Once set up the Matebook X Pro powers on in a matter of seconds. It uses a fingerprint sensor in the power button to log you in and is eagerly awaiting you after around 8 seconds very consistently.

Like the previous model, the screen to body ratio is fantastic with a very low profile screen bezel. The 13.9-inch touch screen runs at 3K at 260 PPI. In real-world terms, it’s a very functional size, is easy on the eyes and is delightful for video playback. That playback is complemented by surprisingly good audio for a laptop thanks to the four speaker setup. There is good audio range and volume allowing music, video and even some low level gaming enjoyment.

When it comes to interfacing with the laptop, the keyboard is pretty slick too. Interestingly, the touch is softer than last years model which makes it really nice to type on (if you like soft touch) but distances itself from any real gaming application although the machine is still capable.

The internals providing performance to the Matebook X Pro include 11th Generation Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, Intel Iris X graphics and a 1TB SSD. A 56Wh battery will give you plenty of battery for a full day of office use, if you’re hammering the CPU or video – you’ll see the battery deplete much faster. A wonderful item of note is that the charging brick is not a brick, it’s slightly larger than a standard phone adaptor and can serve all of your devices. Or, if you have an item like the Belkin GaN chargers – then you’re in luck there too.

The range of connectivity is as full and comprehensive as you can reasonably expect of any device including:

  • Wi-Fi 6 including WPA3 support
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • 2 x USB-C for Charging and Data including video output
  • 1 x USB-A port for older hardware connectivity
  • A headphone jack

Despite the feedback, the “hidden” camera remains a thing. It’s spring loaded between the F6 and F7 keys. Easily hidden away protecting your privacy, but the view others get isn’t flattering showing off double chins and whether or not you’ve trimmed your nose hair.

Performance in the real world and online realms

When it comes to daily use and what you can expect in terms of performance, the Matebook X Pro ticks nearly every box. Typically I run an array of communication apps, productivity, web and (when time allows) a few games during the week.

The Intel IrisX Graphics is pretty capable but on any FPS or MMORPG where the screen gets really busy, you’re going to get a lot of frame lag quickly. I tried out a few games and this was consistent for releases where the video is being pushed right from the get go. In some cases, the frame rate went from 40 – 45 FPS down to as low as 12 which is — being honest — unplayable. Provided you’re playing single player, or wind the graphics down, your game experience will be acceptable for the level of laptop you’re using.

The battery life is a real highlight of daily use with consistent delivery of over 8 hours of active use. This is with installed applications and web use, not high level processing items like rendering video, compiling code or graphically heavy use like video or gaming.

Huawei Share is — unsurprisingly — present on the updated Matebook X Pro. It’s a great feature that we summed up previously, so won’t cover old ground:

The feature allows you to fully control your phone from your laptop, drag and drop files between the two and real-time editing of files on your laptop. It’s so easy to use Huawei share and brings a feeling of integration between Android and Windows that I’ve not experienced at this level before.

Conclusion: Is a laptop worth $2,999.00?

I really want to say yes for a number of reasons including the design, aesthetics and specs making for a truly lovely machine to look at and use. The connectivity hits all of the marks that can be expected of a top flight laptop.

The sound output is good (not great, but it’s a laptop), the keyboard has a lovely touch as well as spacing and the screen is stunning. It’s a lightweight device that easily fits in your bag for the day ahead or can sit as a desktop replacement.

The problem remains the price

At $2,999.00 the price is just too much for anyone to pay for a laptop these days outside of a niche market. The back to school price of $2,199.00 would be attractive if the video was just that little bit better or, the price needs to dip under $2,000.00 for me to honestly recommend buying it.

This is a very impressive piece of hardware and isn’t your JB Hi-Fi throw away specials for basic email, web surfing and some streaming media. They’re for serious users in a corporate fleet, or users looking for a desktop replacement and have money to burn. Well worth it if you’re going to utilise the high specs, but clearly, not for everyone.

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At near on $3,000 for a laptop, the Intel lack-of-GPU display system is a serious let down. Even though the Nvidia and AMD GPU offerings in Lenovo business and SOHO laptops have not been the performance GPU chipsets, they are proper GPU chipsets. Huawei needs to realize this, and redesign accordingly. Everybody who was involved in giving the OK for a repeat of the keyboard camera needs to be shot, hung, and drawn and quartered. Phil, a connectivity question. The 3.5mm headphone socket. Is it a 3.5mm headset socket, or is it headphones only? Does this laptop have any RAM… Read more »