If you read my review of the Huawei MateBook D last year, you’d know I couldn’t help but compare Huawei’s MateBook design to Apple’s MacBooks, and it also wouldn’t be surprising if you had mistaken one for the other. Heck, even the name isn’t too far off either.
Visual similarities aside, MateBooks offer multiple varieties in terms of hardware specifications, and are far more affordable. This time around, Huawei has graced their laptop line-up with a new, smaller, and surprisingly powerful member with the MateBook 13.
Moving on from the obvious fact that I’ve stated earlier, the MateBook 13 still retains the slick design complemented by a sturdy metallic build. It’s one of the smallest MateBooks around, and that’s not a bad thing - considering that you’re mainly using it for work related tasks. That said, it’s remarkably thin and light which is a plus for those constantly on the go.
Display-wise, the laptop features a 13-inch FullView 1440p screen with thin bezels which gives the device a 88% screen-to-body ratio. The screen itself is pretty good with its 2K resolution which displays sharp and vivid images. Its auto-brightness adjustment is a bit of a hit and miss, but like any other laptop that I use, I like to have this setting switched off.
While the MateBook X Pro introduced a more discreet webcam placement as a pop-up module near the keyboard, it’s back to tradition for the MateBook 13’s webcam - on top of the display. Time to take out that roll of paper tape again, tin foil hat buddies.
For its class, the MateBook 13 is armed to the teeth with commendable hardware. Under its hood is an 8th Gen 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-core processor, 8GB RAM DDR3, 512GB SSD, and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU. No sir, this ain’t a Chromebook. It can’t play games on higher settings, but it’s decent enough to allow you to play some of your current favourites on low to medium without struggling.
Thanks to the i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and SSD drive, running productivity software and multi-tasking is smooth. In my testing, I’d usually have Photoshop and a word processor open, as well as Chrome with multiple tabs including a YouTube page playing a video. As long as you’re not rendering a long video or anything else too heavy, you can rest assure that the laptop can soldier these things just fine.
Like any other laptop, it runs at its peak when you have it plugged in. Huawei claims that the MateBook 13 could last over 9 hours worth of video playback, but I’d rather play it safe and not use it for anything other than light web browsing and word processing when its not connected to a power source. When required, you can juice the laptop up via a USB-C port which can be found on either side.
Out With The Old
If you own a compatible Huawei device that supports the OneHop sharing function, you’re in for a treat with the MateBook 13. OneHop is an NFC based file sharing system where you can almost instantaneously transfer files from your Huawei device (in my testing, the Huawei P30) to the MateBook. Simply activate the feature, and just lightly tap the device on the laptop, and viola, your files are transferred. According to Huawei, you can transfer 500 photos in a minute or 1GB of video in just 35 seconds. Pairing the MateBook 13 with the P30 is such a wonderful combination, especially when I’m doing out-of-office related work such as event coverage.
Sadly, there are also limitations when it comes to traditional connectivity to other devices. The MateBook 13 lacks a USB-A or an SD card slot, so you can forget trying to use a thumbdrive or a non-wifi or bluetooth camera with it.
A Mate For You?
For a journalist such as myself, the Huawei MateBook 13 fits nicely in my line of work. It has impressive specs for various multitasking, and the OneHop sharing function is such a convenient feature to have, provided that you own a Huawei phone that can be paired with. Its battery isn’t all that grand, but the ability to charge it via USB-C is a useful addition as you can top-up with a phone charger or even a powerbank if necessary. If these features appeal to you, especially if you’re the type to be out on the field for work, the MateBook 13 is a solid recommendation.