Let’s talk about the Huawei MateBook X Pro — arguably one of the best laptops of the year that (most of) you can’t even buy. But U.S. sales restrictions be damned, it’s an incredible system through and through, and I feel like rubbing it in a little.
Why do I say this? Well it comes down to three things: the visually striking design, its impressive usability and performance for an ultrabook, and that touchpad. I never thought I’d get so excited about using a pointing device as I did with the graceful surface.
I actually reviewed the 2023 X Pro during my time at Laptop Mag, but when it comes to all round experience, nothing has come close during my time at Tom’s Guide to this portable powerhouse. Allow me to explain why.
Ticking (almost) all the boxes
So let’s start with that drop dead gorgeous matte finish in Ink Blue — just the right shade of my favorite color that doesn’t look too bright and not basically black. Even better is that oh-so smooth CNC-milled magnesium alloy that is graced by a soft touch coating. It’s resistant to scuffs and fingerprints (like actually resistant…looking at you Space Black MacBook Pro), and it feels fantastic to the touch.
Open it up and you’ll find the 14.2-inch LTPS display with a productivity-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio and a 2K resolution. I know in saying this, our OLED master Dave will probably want to take a train down to give me a stern talking to, but I honestly thought this was an OLED panel when I first used it. The colors are mightily impressive, the contrast ratio paired with HDR makes for a ton of depth to each picture that is unheard of in LCD technology, and everything feels buttery smooth with a 90Hz refresh rate.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have some flaws. Given how thin it is (0.6 inches), this machine does heat up pretty quickly, the webcam up top is a bit of a potato, and given it is an ultrabook, you’re getting a rather restricted port array. But they quickly fade into the background because of two key reasons that make the user experience of the Matebook X Pro head and shoulders above any Windows machine I’ve used.
Touch it, bring it, babe
When it comes to a good keyboard and touchpad, my absolute favorite has always been the 14-inch MacBook Pro… That was until I picked up the Huawei Matebook X Pro — and it is the captain now. It's a true love story, better than Love Actually (the Prime Minister story, not the one that made me hate Alan Rickman for a while).
The chiclet keyboard with 1.5mm of travel has a great soft landing design, which is perfect for a forceful typist like myself and protecting my finger pads from utter devastation. Not only that, but the key caps themselves are nice and large for you to get used to and explore.
But that’s not the main attraction here, so let’s gaze our eyes further down to that massive touchpad — bigger than the MacBook Air’s at that. Multi-touch gestures and a smooth surface are all good and everything, while the haptic motor in the solid state construction gives a satisfying tactile sensation to every click. Then, I moved my finger along the edges and felt a short, sharp rapid fire of haptic vibrations.
At first, I was terrified that I’d just broken the laptop, but Huawei has pulled an absolute blinder here and implemented system controls into the edges of the touchpad itself. Moving your finger up and down the left side controls the volume, the right for brightness, and across the top to scrub through videos.
It feels almost Apple-like in user-friendliness, and far outstrips every single Windows laptop I’ve used in this field. You won’t find anything like this anywhere else.
Performance where it matters — give me Meteor Lake!
Currently, the Matebook X Pro sports an Intel Core i7-1370P, 16GB of LPDDR5 and a 1TB SSD. It’s a small spec bump over last year’s model, but it does make for an impressive upgrade over the M2 MacBook Air. Of course, it doesn’t hold a candle to the M3 models, but that’s not what this machine is built to do.
Instead, it’s rather the one for nailing all the essential tasks, while handling some of the more intensive tasks with relative ease. The X Pro does do this all handily, but come on now. Meteor Lake is here, and while using these chipsets for anything other than AI is a bit meh, there are some improvements in graphics and small gains in multicore performance.
So Huawei, if you can hear me, give me a new version of the Matebook X Pro — at least to give me another reason to brag to my U.S. colleagues.
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Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, 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.
1,000% this. I’m still loving my i7 8th gen Matebook X Pro everyday, absolutely solid. I’ve had to dust off the internals a couple of times, and the fingerprint sensor finally died, and I’d replace it in a heartbeat with the coming release, if only I could. On Amazon they’re still asking 800 USD for the same model used. A great reliable and sleek code-anywhere machine.Reply