OS: Windows 11
CPU: Intel Core i7 1260P
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB LPDDR5
Screen: 14.2in, 3120 x 2080, 10-point touch
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB-C
Size: 310 mm x 221 mm x 15.6 mm
Weight: 1.26 kg
Thin and light. Powerful. Cheap. Pick two. The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022) is not a cheap laptop, but it fulfils the other two requirements admirably.
Note that there was an earlier version of the 2022 X Pro with an 11th-gen CPU that never made it to the UK. This is not that - it sports a newer 12th-gen CPU. Having the latest tech on the inside is matched by an external appearance that’s sleek and modern, the only ports are USB-C (two Thunderbolt 4, two plain old USBs), there's a high-res touchscreen, and the battery lasts for ages. It’s looking like a shoo-in for our list of the best laptops for Photoshop, and it may well be one of the best Windows laptops we’ve seen.
As outlined in our guide on how we test our laptops, we made sure the MateBook X Pro was updated to the very latest version of Windows 11, then ran benchmarks on it while it was fresh. We used the laptop as our daily driver for a few days, subjecting it to a lot of multi-tab web browsing, image editing, word processing, and everything else we needed to do. It spent a lot of its time hooked up to a 4K external monitor and with a wireless keyboard and mouse attached via a USB-C adapter, but it also got some portable use as a media player.
Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Design and display
Laptops used to be black, then they became shades of grey or silver. This one is blue, ‘Ink Blue,’ and we like it. The casing is compact, slim, and isn’t too cold to the touch. The screen is taller than we’re used to, taking on the 4:3 aspect ratio of an old TV before the 16:9 widescreen revolution swept all before it. Perhaps we should start calling this ‘tallscreen’? It’s a touchscreen, and has an unusual not-quite-4K resolution of 3120 x 2080, for a pixel density of 264ppi – the same as many iPads and more than a Retina MacBook Air’s 224ppi. It’s fairly bright too, with a 550 nit rating in a world where many laptops only manage 300.
Two surprisingly good speakers nestle on either side of the keyboard, and the touchpad is both central and large, sliding off the bottom edge of the chassis like an infinity swimming pool for your fingers. Above it rears the excellent screen – it’s so nice to look at that it’s almost a shame to use an external monitor – with its thin bezels, 90Hz maximum refresh rate, 10bit colour capabilities and 178° viewing angle from its LTPS-TFT tech. The colour gamut reference is P3, a good choice for video work and a reasonable all-rounder, as it contains all of sRGB and a big chunk of Adobe RGB too.
Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Features
The MateBook X Pro doesn’t have any unusual features like a pasta-making attachment or quantum computing capabilities, but what it does have is well put together. The screen is an obvious place to start, the ten-point touch sensitivity making you wish it could be flipped over and used like a two-in-one. Sadly, it stops short of even laying flat, but the screen is still useful for closing windows or switching between apps with a finger. More useful is the trackpad, which is pressure sensitive and supports gestures like dragging at the edge to alter the volume or double-tapping to take a screenshot.
The webcam is in the right place at the top of the screen, unlike Matebooks of old that hid it under a clever pop-up key in the function row so it could film up your nose, and supports Windows Hello for face-recognition logins. It is only 720p though, which is a bit of a disappointment in 2022. The USB-C ports are discreetly positioned at the sides, and joined by a headphone socket - you’ll need an adapter to plug in anything else, including HDMI/Displayport cables or legacy USB-A devices. You can charge the laptop through any of the ports (except the headphone one), and apart from the silver Huawei logo on the lid there's nothing else to break the smooth lines of the chassis.
The keyboard is a full-size chiclet model with 1.5mm key travel and with a power switch at the top right that doubles as a fingerprint reader. It’s necessarily constrained by the side speakers and the size of the case, but we found it decent to type on, with no sticky keys, and the amount of travel is just about right.
Speaking of speakers, there are six of them somehow squeezed in the laptop, along with four microphones. It’s a great setup for video calls, and acquits itself acceptably in Netflix sessions, though you’ll still want a nice pair of Bluetooth cans for the best experience when on a train.
Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Performance
Multi-core CPU: 6149
Single core: 1510
Multi-core CPU: 6460
It’s a speedy machine, and the benchmark results bear this out, sitting right where you’d expect to find an i7 laptop chip. It’s still beaten by the four-year-old 16-core AMD workstation we keep under the desk to act as a heater in winter, but we can’t take that machine to the coffee shop. Having plenty of RAM helps, and it’s arranged in a quad-channel arrangement here that should boost it further, though despite being DDR5 it seems to be running at only 2,400MHz. Still, this doesn’t exactly slow, as we found opening apps and documents to be a nippy process.
At its heart is Intel’s new 12th-gen (Alder Lake) i7 Evo platform, which shakes up the status quo of having multiple hot processor cores chewing through multiple software threads by hosting both performance (P) and efficiency (E) cores. The P cores – of which there are four – can tear through heavy workloads while the E cores – eight of them – run background processes and do the lighter work, but use much less energy. Those 12 cores can process 16 threads simultaneously, as the P cores hyper-thread but the E cores don’t.
The MateBook X Pro doesn’t come with a dedicated graphics chip, but the GPU integrated into the CPU is actually pretty reasonable, giving an extra kick to the likes of Photoshop and Lightroom. There's AI acceleration hardware onboard too, boosting the new generation of neural network-based image denoising and resizing apps, while Intel’s Quick Sync core makes short work of transcoding video. I wasn’t really meant for gamers, but will certainly play less demanding titles - Stardew Valley or Return to Monkey Island - well.
Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Price
With an RRP of £1,799 in the UK, the major drawback of the Matebook X Pro is its price. For the same amount of money, you can get a 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. From Lenovo, you can get a 13-inch Yoga Slim with a 12th-gen i7, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for £999. From Dell, you can get an Inspiron 16, with a 16-inch screen, 12th-gen CPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, for £862. Stick with Dell, and spec up an XPS 13 with specs to closely match the MateBook X Pro, and you’ll get to £1,379.
The MateBook X Pro is a really nice laptop, and Windows 11 is turning into an excellent operating system after a shaky start, but this is a competitive sector of the market. Things like its 3.1K touchscreen and the extra storage capacity provided by the 1TB SSD certainly help it to stand out, but with easy access to external monitors and fast USB storage, are they really the USPs they might seem?
Should you buy the Huawei MateBook X Pro?
You should definitely think about it. If you’re looking for something that can monster its way through creative work and content creation, then the MateBook X Pro stands tall with the MacBook Pros and Dell XPSes as a giant of the sector. Its price could be a problem, but considering what you’re getting, and how easy the laptop is to live with, we suspect many will toss up between this and a MacBook, and come down on Huawei’s side.