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Can Laptops Be Both Premium And Value For Money?

Comparison: MateBook 14, MacBook Air
by Joel Guinto
Nov 2, 2020

Premium and value for money are relative to the user, something tech manufacturers hope to crack with their gadget offerings that offer enough of the high end experience without pushing the costs too high.

Enter the Huawei MateBook 14. Huawei sent us a review unit and for perspecitve, we tested it side by side with a 2020 Apple MacBook Air. The Huawei laptop costs P54,999 and the Apple notebook costs P57,990 (good luck finding available stock on official stores).

We shuffled between the two during a very hectic working weekend that saw both devices booted up from early morning until late into the night and judged them on what mattered in our line of work (constant typing, browsing, streaming, chatting).

Both look premium
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The MateBook was in a darker shade of gray than the MacBook, both look nearly identical, save for the logos on the back.

The metal bodies are cool to the touch. The MacBook is lighter than the MateBook. However, the Huawei notebook justifies the extra weight with the screen.

The 2K screen on the MateBook has a resolution of 2160 x 1440 at 185 pixels per inch. The squarish 3:2 aspect ratio is much better for word processing and browsing than most laptops that have rectangular screens. We wished it was brighter.
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Huawei and Apple were also generous with their trackpad sizes. However, I still prefer using a mouse.

The MateBook 14's display also pushes farther to the edge of the screen for a borderless screen that makes the MacBook look like last year's tech. In Apple's defense, the camera is located on the top bezel.

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They're legit work machines

I'm admittedly unfamiliar with the AMD Ryzen 4000 that powers the MateBook 14 and was pleasantly surprised at how snappy it performed. The device didn't lag during our two-week long tests.

The base MacBook Air 2020 runs on a 10th-generation Intel Core i3. It booted up slower than the MateBook 14 and there were times that the colored pinwheel showed up. There were times when it slowed down. Note that both machines were unboxed at around the same time and were running the same suite of work and play apps.

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The fingerprint sensor on the MateBook 14 is bigger and identified touches faster than the MacBook in our tests.
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There's no working around the speakers, the MacBook takes this one by sheer hardware. The MateBook speakers are loud but the positioning of the MacBook Air speakers make for a more pleasant experience.

Which one to buy?

Get the MateBook 14 if you are in the market for a premium laptop with P55,000 to spare. It lasts a solid 7 to 8 hours on a single charge, has a big and beautiful screen and works flawlessly with the Huawei ecosystem of devices thanks to Huawei share.

If you are in iPhone or iPad person, get the MacBook Air if your work does not demand video editing. It's light, portable and can handle full days of typing and browsing.

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