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April 14, 2018

Huawei MateBook X Pro vs. MacBook Pro

by John_A

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Huawei is a major Chinese company that’s best-known in the U.S. for its smartphones. But that’s not all it makes — the company is also trying to make inroads into the PC market, with its first two efforts going after the Surface Pro with the MateBook detachable tablet and the 12-inch Apple MacBook with the MateBook X.  Huawei’s latest effort is the MateBook X Pro, a larger notebook that appears aimed mostly at the MacBook Pro 13, although the company seems to have widened its range a bit with its newest offering.

To the extent that Huawei is going after the MacBook Pro, it’s biting off a lot, of course. The MacBook Pro is a great machine with excellent build quality, great support, and of course, it’s what you’ll choose if MacOS is your platform. Today’s model has the same understated elegance as always and confirms Apple’s reputation for outstanding quality.

So, which one of these premium notebooks is worth your hard-earned money? We compared the Huawei MateBook X Pro against the MacBook Pro 13 to find out.

Specifications compared

Huawei MateBook X Pro

MacBook Pro 13

Dimensions
12 × 8.5 × 0.57 (in)
11.97 × 8.36 × 0.59 (in)

Weight
Starting at 2.93 pounds
3.02 pounds

Processor
Up to 8th-generation Intel i7
Up to 7th-generation Intel Core i7

RAM
Up to 16GB RAM
Up to 16GB RAM

Display
13.9-inch FullView display
13.3-inch IPS display

Resolution
3,000 x 2,000 or 259 PPI
2,560 × 1,600 or 227 PPI

Storage
Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
Up to 1TB PCIe SSD

Touch
Touch display
Touch Bar

Ports
1 x USB-A 3.1, 2 x USB-C (1 x Thunderbolt 3), 3.5mm combo headset
Touch Bar: 4 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3)
Non-Touch Bar: 2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3
3.5mm combo headset

Webcam
720p HD
720p FaceTime HD

Operating System
Windows 10
MacOS Sierra

Battery
57.4 watt-hour
Touch Bar: 49.2 watt-hour
Non-Touch Bar: 54 watt-hour

Price
 TBD
$1,199+

Review
3.5 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars

Design

Apple last updated the basic design of MacBook Pro line in late 2016, building on a mostly unchanged silver aluminum chassis with the usual Apple elegance and conservative aesthetic — albeit with smaller bezels and therefore a more modern look. Thus, the MacBook Pro still looks good in a coffeehouse or a conference room, and you’ll enjoy the typical Apple fit and finish and solid-as-a-rock build quality.

We find the MateBook X Pro to be reminiscent of the MacBook Pro, but not a direct copy. It’s an all-metal design a silver color scheme with black keys and speaker grills that are a lot like those on Apple’s notebook. But oddly enough, we found the MateBook X Pro to be even more attractive while being so similar, and although it doesn’t have quite the same solidity it’s still a well-built notebook. The MateBook X Pro’s display bezels are even smaller and more modern, and its design strikes us as more functional overall.

The notebooks are just about the same size and weight, although Huawei manages to pack in a larger display. Overall, we think these two notebooks are evenly matched even while they’re not clones of each other.

Winner: Tie

Performance

The MacBook Pro 13 is still using Intel’s seventh-generation dual-core Intel Core processors with stepped-up Iris Plus GPUs for slightly improved graphics. The MateBook X Pro, on the other hand, is built around Intel’s eighth-generation Core CPUs, which are quad-core models and therefore much faster at multitasking while also managing to sip power for more mundane tasks. Just as important, Huawei has opted for a discrete GPU, the entry-level but still capable Nvidia GeForce MX150 that promises significantly faster graphical performance.

When it comes to storage, both notebooks utilize very fast PCIe NVME solid-state drives (SSDs) that provide great performance when reading and writing information. They both deliver in benchmark tests, and you won’t find any slowdown with either notebook when working with large files and demanding database applications.

Huawei has faster graphics and a CPU with significantly better performance. It wins this round handily.

Winner: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Keyboard, Mouse, and Pen

The MacBook Pro 13’s butterfly keyboard design, created to fit into the thinnest possible chassis, tends to evoke either love or hate from most users. Compared to past MacBook keyboards, which were considered the ultimate in typing perfection, today’s version is very clicky (and loud) but it also has extremely short travel. The touchpad, on the other hand, is among the largest you’ll find on notebooks today and it probably remains the most responsive touchpad around.

Of course, there are two versions of the MacBook Pro 13, one with the OLED Touch Bar strip along the top of the keyboard and that adds in task-specific touch input and one without it. The Touch Bar version also adds a Touch ID fingerprint scanner for logging in without a password.

The MateBook X Pro’s keyboard is much more like the old-school MacBook Pro’s, with plenty of key travel and a comfortable feel, although we did find its bottoming action to be a bit vague. Nevertheless, if you’re in the “I hate that typing-on-wood feeling” camp regarding Apple’s latest keyboard, then you’ll find Huawei’s version a better fit. The notebook’s touchpad is also very good, with a surface area that’s almost as large as the MacBook’s and with strong Microsoft Precision touchpad support and Windows 10 gestures. Finally, a fingerprint embedded conveniently in the power button provides Windows 10 Hello password-less login support.

If Huawei intended to evoke fond memories of how great MacBook keyboards used to be, then it’s mostly succeeded. It wins this round. Oh, and we’ll add that the choice to embed the webcam into the keyboard and make it easy to physically hide from prying eyes is an interesting one, although it does result in an up-the-nose videoconferencing perspective. The MacBook Pro has the better webcam and touchpad, while we prefer the MateBook X Pro’s keyboard.

Winner: Tie

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Connectivity

Apple’s latest MacBook Pros don’t even pretend to support legacy peripherals without needing to purchase and plug in a dongle. The MacBook Pro 13 offers only USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support, with four of them on the Touch Bar version and two the version without the Touch Bar. Then there’s a 3.5mm combo audio port to go with the usual 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.

The MateBook X Pro is a little more connected, with a single USB-A 3.1 port for legacy devices, a USB-C 3.1 port, and a USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 support. Add in a 3.5mm headset jack, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and that’s your connectivity configuration.

We like the fact that we can connect a USB-A device without a dongle to the MateBook X Pro, and we also like that there’s at least one Thunderbolt 3 port. Huawei wins this round as well.

Winner: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Display

Simply put, Apple’s MacBook Pro has one of the best displays around. It’s a 13.3-inch display with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution (227 PPI) that’s also bright, offers up a wide color gamut with superior accuracy, and has strong contrast. While it’s not a 4K display, it’s very sharp and is an excellent panel in particular for photo editors.

Huawei went in an interesting direction with the MateBook X Pro, building in a 3,000 x 2,000 display that’s in the same productivity-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio as Microsoft’s Surface line. In fact, it’s the same resolution as the Surface Book 2 13.5-inch version, although it’s a bit larger at 13.9 inches. It’s also just as incredibly bright as the MacBook Pro 13’s display and it has even better contrast. It doesn’t match the MacBook’s color gamut or accuracy, however.

It’s tough to call a winner in this category. If you edit photos for a living, then you’ll appreciate the great colors on the MacBook Pro 13. But if you do productivity work, then the MateBook X Pro’s higher resolution and 3:2 aspect will win you over. Ultimately, we give the nod to Huawei for providing a high-quality display that’s ultimately more useful to more people.

Winner: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Portability and Battery Life

The MacBook Pro 13 and the MateBook X Pro are almost the same size. Only fractions of an inch and a few ounces separate them, in spite of the MateBook X Pro building in a larger display. That makes them both equally easy to toss into a backpack and carry around.

However, Apple decreased battery life in its redesign, in an effort to make the machine even thinner. The Touch Bar version, in spite of adding in its powered OLED strip, actually has the smallest battery capacity at 49.2 watt-hours. The non-Touch Bar version enjoys more, at 54 watt-hours. Unsurprisingly, the MacBook Pro 13’s battery life is good but no longer dominates as it once did.

The MateBook X Pro has slightly more battery capacity, at 57.4 watt-hours, while enjoying a more efficient CPU. We don’t run all of the same tests on MacOS as we do on Windows, and so our benchmarks are hard to compare. The one common test, looping a local video, just slightly favors the MateBook X Pro, while the Huawei competes fairly well against other Windows notebooks.

Both notebooks will last most of a full working day, and they’re almost identical sizes. This category is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Availability and Price

The MacBook Pro 13 is undoubtedly a premium machine. The Touch Bar version starts at $1,800 and comes with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Pricing goes all the way up to $2,900, which nets you a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. The non-Touch Bar version is a less expensive option (and the one we prefer), starting at $1,300 for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.

We don’t yet have confirmed pricing on the MateBook X Pro, as it hasn’t yet been officially released in the U.S. If we look at European pricing, though, and extrapolate to dollars, then the MateBook X Pro should start out at around $1,850 and top out at $2,090.

If the MateBook X Pro’s pricing ends up where we expect, then it will be significantly less expensive at the high end than the MacBook Pro 13 while starting out at more of a premium. However, Huawei’s notebook isn’t yet available in the U.S., and so it’s essentially disqualified.

Winner: Apple MacBook Pro 13

Huawei’s MateBook X Pro brings more power and better input options

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

One day soon, Apple should introduce a revamped MacBook Pro 13 with eighth-generation Intel processors and hopefully some other upgrades that will make it a more competitive option. As it stands, though, it suffers when competing with today’s best Windows notebooks.

The MateBook X Pro is an example of just such a machine. It’s faster, offers a better keyboard, is more productivity-friendly, and last as long on a charge. There’s not a ton of room separating these two notebooks, but overall Huawei takes the win.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Huawei MateBook X Pro review
  • Huawei MateBook X Pro vs. Dell XPS 13
  • MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro 13 (non-Touch Bar)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon vs. Apple MacBook Pro 13
  • Dell XPS 13 vs. MacBook Pro 13


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