Lets Talk About Huawei MateBook7 The Surface Pro 4 With A Windows 10 Hybrid

As you know most of Hybrid devices – those that transform between being a tablet and a laptop – have seen a huge surge in popularity recently, spearheaded by the excellent Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface Pro 4. But there’s a new contender stepping into the ring at MWC in Barcelona this year: Huawei. The Chinese brand’s MateBook is its first Windows 10 product, and even though it's far from perfect, there’s plenty here to like.

Now, if you’re familiar with Huawei’s lineup of phones, you’ll know that they all get a big tick in the design department. The same goes for the MateBook. At 6.9mm, it’s ridiculously thin, although weighty enough to hold comfortably with two hands.

The aluminium body is machined to perfection, with those chamfered edges bearing a similar look to the iPad. The gold version I tried wasn’t too blingy, but there are black and grey options too for those who want something a little less eye-catching.

On the side of the MateBook you'll find a fingerprint sensor, which uses the same tech as Huawei’s phones and so hopefully should prove just as accurate and fast.

The keyboard is less impressive
Hybrids really live or die by their keyboard – after all, these devices are supposed to replace your laptop. Yet I was a little disappointed by Huawei’s effort.

The keys themselves are spongy and packed tightly together, and even though Huawei’s reps played up the amount of travel, I didn’t really feel there was enough movement. There also appears to be a few issues with the backlight, which doesn’t spread evenly across the keys. Instead, some are lit well, while others are dark.
Finally, there's no way to alter the position of the keyboard and its attached folio-style cover. There’s only one position, which in my opinion is limiting.

The keyboard attaches via a pogo pin connector on the bottom, so it doesn’t require pairing via Bluetooth every time you want to knock out a Word document.

A display to get excited about
At 12-inches, the display on the MateBook matches up to the Surface Pro 4 and is certainly the size you’d more commonly associate with a laptop rather than a tablet. It packs a 2,160 x 1,440 resolution – or quad-HD – with 85% sRGB colour gamut and a 84% body-to-screen ratio.
It’s really quite impressive, displaying plenty of brightness and accurate colours. Viewing angles are also impressive, thanks to the use of an IPS panel.

Plenty of power under the hood
Powering the MateBook is one of Intel’s fanless Core M processors, alongside either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. This is the same processor that powers Apple’s 12-inch MacBook and it’s certainly fine for taking care of regular day-to-day tasks – and even some slightly more power-intensive ones. While it isn't in the league of a Core i5 or i7, it’s more efficient and doesn’t require a noisy fan.

There's a choice of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options, and the 33.4Wh battery should be good for 10 hours of consecutive "general" use and 29 hours of music playback.

A nice array of accessories
Alongside the keyboard, Huawei will also be selling a couple of other accessories for the MateBook.
The first is a stylus with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity for accurate drawing. There are wo buttons on the pen and a novel laser pointer too. It doesn’t feel quite as high-end as the Surface Pen, but the plastic build is sturdy enough.

Also available alongside the hybrid is an adapter, which will connect to the MateBook through USB-C and then give you regular USB-A ports, an Ethernet connection, HDMI and VGA.
Availability for the Huawei MateBook is still under wraps, but pricing will begin at €799, rising to €1,799 for a 512GB model with a Core M7. It's going toe-to-toe with the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, which is now available in the UK for £850. Of course the MateBook works with or without the keyboard dock. And
The tablet is charged through USB-C, and this is the only port.

With the MateBook, Huawei has once again proved it knows how to design a sexy piece of tech. It’s a shame then that the keyboard seems to let the whole package down, with its spongy, tightly packed-together keys and uneven backlight.

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