The Huawei MateBook 14 comes with a leather backpack for pre-orders, the light-for-its size machine is meant to be lugged around. Yet we are in a pandemic and mostly working for home, so this notebook will be judged by how well it can deliver and keep its cool in the corner of my home office.
In my case, it's my bedroom window with a view of an office I have yet to enter. It's been seven months of work from home and counting, with no end in sight this year. During which, I've cycled through high end (an Apple MacBook Pro and a MateBook X), budget (a MateBook D15), a second-hand HP that crawls and the occassional tablet.
The MateBook 14 is something in between price-wise, at P54,999. Clearly above mid-range but not in the premium sphere. Yet, it promises to puch above its weight. We used it as our primary machine for over a week to find out if it delivers.
Is the MateBook 14 tech you can use?
Yes, especially considering the price. The MateBook 14 is among the first to ship with AMD Ryzen 4000, which challenges the best of Intel, long used as the brains of Windows machines. Did the MateBook 14 stutter during my tests? No. I usually have two browser windows, one with as many as 20 tabs (Yes, I count), two messaging apps and MS Teams.
I unplugged the MateBook 14 from the charger before 8:30 a.m. and it had 20% battery left six hours later, and sent a power warning by 3:30 p.m. That's seven hours of typing, streaming and minor photo editing at 100% screen brightness. It was fully charged again by 5 p.m.
The near borderless 2K screen is a treat for sneaking in some video time during breaks. The speakers are loud enough. If you're deep into the Huawei ecosystem and take lots of photos with your P or Mate Series phone, Huawei Share makes sharing easier. The keboard also has a satisfying click when you press the keys.
I transfer from desk, to couch, to kitchen to keep my sanity and during the times the MateBook 14 was on my lap, it didn't feel hot at all. Huawei outfitted the device with a dual cooling system.
One feature I really like, the MateBook 14's screen opens up to nearly flat like a two-in-one, perfect for placing the device on a laptop stand so the display is at eye level.
What I didn't like about the MateBook 14
The recessed camera, hidden between the F6 and F7 keys did nothing to take away my dread for cameras on during meetings, and there has been a lot of them. The view from below is the most unflattering, focusing on that quarantine double chin. I've taken to using another device for videoconferencing.
I've gotten a couple of unrecognized fingerprint unlocking attempts at the start, which was quickly fixed by keeping my finger on just a second longer. It's not as fast as the one on the premium MateBook X or the MacBook Pro.
This one may seem nitpicky, but I always mistake the HMDI port on the left side of the laptop with the USB-C charging port. They're placed too close to each other. It's a hassle having to lift the MateBook 14 just to plug in the charger.
Is the MateBook 14 a worthy WFH machine?
Yes, especially since it's offered on long installment plans. It's fast and powerful, all that stuttered for me during work days was my internet connection. When time comes that we are called back to the office again, I wouldn't mind carrying it around, or using it in public. It's looks are built for the coffee shop. Maybe by that time too, you can use the bag that comes with it.