Huawei hit the stage at the MWC this year with a device which probably many wouldn't have expected from the smartphone maker. Instead of the much coveted flagship Huawei P9, the Chinese company came up with a Window 10 based 2-in-1 dubbed the Matebook, thereby emphasizing the importance of the booming 2-in-1 segment.
Due to the popular demand for a multipurpose portable slate and recent launches by Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and Alcatel in the form of the TabPro S, iPad Pro, Surface Pro 4 and Plus 10 2-in-1, the Chinese smartphone maker decided to venture into a completely unknown territory.
Well, thanks to our hands-on experience at the Huawei stand we are at a position to state that Chinese company has indeed pulled off a quite solid convertible in the form of Matebook. But can it compete with the other heavy weights in the market, especially the Surface Pro 4 (hands on) from the Redmond giant?
Powered by 6th gen Intel Core M chips
Huawei Matebook's design is clearly inspired from the company's tablet lineup - rather it would be justified to say that Huawei's experience in the industry has helped it to come up with a clean design. Powered by the latest gen Intel Core M series processors namely the M3, M5 and M7; coupled with Windows 10 (Home/Pro) the Huawei Matebook packs just enough power to satisfy enterprise or business targeted users. Huawei Matebook is being offered in 4GB and 8GB RAM variants along with customizable storage options ranging from 128GB to 512GB SSDs.
Surely not the sharpest around
The convertible PC from Huawei sports a 12 inch QHD display touting a resolution of 2560x1440p. While it might not be as sharp as the one found on the Surface Pro 4 (2736x1824p) or the iPad Pro (2732x2048p) but it surely gets the job done and that too in a good way. Huawei Matebook is also being touted as the lightest 12 inch slate around at just 635g. Oh well, it's worth noting that it is in fact one of the slimmest around thanks to the 6.9mm profile.
Leather wrapped keyboard adds to the premium appeal
As expected the slate comes with a leather wrapped keyboard case which is backed by a glass trackpad and backlit keys which according to our opinion is quite nicely built. But just in case you are one of those kinds who is always banging their fingers mercilessly on the keyboard, then the chiclet keys might be too weak for. Besides the closely placed keys don't help either and gets some time getting used too.
It would however be unfair to state that the spill-resistant keyboard cover isn't good enough, it's just that the Microsoft Type Cover for the Surface is ever so slightly better. The keyboard which comes in four colours namely black, brown, orange and beige is fortunately powered directly from the tablet itself, so you needn't worry about charging it.
9-10 hours of battery life to suffice most business users
The lower resolution display backed with ever so less power hungry Intel Core M processor reportedly helps the Huawei Matebook to generate 9-10 hours of battery life from the 33.7Wh high density Lithium battery. And just in case you run short of power you can always charge the slate from 0-100% in 2.5 hours using the USB Type-C port. Even a single hour of charge can take the battery inside the Matebook from 0-60%.
A Pen that fortunately comes with an 'Eraser'
To compete with the 2-in-1s from other reputed players in markets, including the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro the Matebook from Huawei comes with a stylus which the company fondly refers to as the Mate Pen. The Mate Pen thanks to its 2048 pressure points mimic the functionality of the Surface Pen and the Apple Pencil. Oh well, unlike the Apple pencil it comes with a 'eraser'! It features two buttons - one makes it function like a clicker for PowerPoint presentations while the other turns into an eraser.
Mate Dock empowers the slate to replace your conventional laptop
Oh did we mention presentations? Well, one of the probable questions circling in your minds is on how to deliver a presentation on a device with comes with just an USB Type C port! Huawei fortunately has you covered as they have launched a Mate Dock alongside the Matebook as an added accessory which is basically an USB Type C extension with two standard USB ports, Ethernet jack, VGA and HDMI output. It worth noting that the Mate Dock just like the Mate Pen will be available only as an added accessory which will come at an added premium of $59 (Rs 3,835 approx.) and $89 (Rs 5,785 approx.)
The Huawei Matebook also comes with a Fingerprint Scanner which much to our delight was on the power button itself - so it's time you stopped searching for its elsewhere. Incidentally the Huawei Matebook comes with just a single camera upfront and that too with a 5MP resolution. This stance from the Chinese company is quite strange, well a few Apple fanatics may already be shouting out at this iPadish stance from Huawei (just in case you are unaware the iPad never came with a decent rear camera).
Huawei needs to 'Mate' the specs of the Matebook with the right price
With the steep competition in the budding 2-in-1 segment from the likes of Surface Pro 4 and the TabPro S, the Huawei Matebook may face some tough times ahead despite being a solid convertible PCs. Well, an area where this Chinese brand devoid of the 'premium' swag can cut its competitors in it the price and so far it seems that the company is on right track. Huawei has announced that the Matebook with the 6th gen Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD will go on sale starting at $699 i.e. roughly Rs 45,500 in US. For a detailed information regarding the price do refer to the chart below.
Huawei has stated that they will soon launch their 2-in-1 Matebook in Asia, Europe and North America next month. The company wasn't quite eager to commit on an exact launch date, and they kept the pricing information for the Asia market under wraps too. With the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with an Intel i5, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD priced at 89,990 in India, the Huawei Matebook can buy itself a great opportunity to flourish in the competitive value centric market if the Chinese brand succeed in pricing it under Rs 50,000. While the Intel Core M may look like a compromise when compared with a Core i5 on the Surface, it worth keeping it mind that you are paying nearly Rs 40,000 less!