Huawei MateBook 14s (2021) review: A stylish 14-inch laptop with a 90Hz touch screen and good battery life

Maria J. Danford

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The fourteen.two-inch MateBook 14s is accessible (outside the US) in Spruce Eco-friendly or Area Grey.


Impression: Huawei

Huawei is very best recognised as a maker of smartphones, but has also been providing laptops for some time. The array handles all budgets, with the £399.99 MateBook D 15 now at the decreased finish of the price array, and the £1,599.99 MateBook X Professional (2021) at the leading. Hovering in close proximity to that leading location is the Intel Core i7-based MateBook 14s, a compact fourteen.two-inch laptop that athletics a clear design and a good deal of attributes for £1,199.99 (16GB RAM/512GB SSD) or £1,299.99 (16GB/1TB, as reviewed in this article). The MateBook 14s is not presently accessible in the US. 

Compact and sophisticated could possibly be the very best way to sum up the design of the Huawei MateBook 14s, whilst people who choose for the Spruce Eco-friendly colour plan will get a exclusive-seeking device. I was despatched the rather much less thrilling Area Grey alternative, with a deep slate-grey chassis which, in the appropriate light-weight, has loaded purple overtones. Clean lines and rounded corners rule, and if minimalism is your thing, it ought to be a winner.  

If you want the eco-friendly design you are going to have to forego Evo branding and the 1TB SSD simply because that’s only accessible with the grey model. In each other regard, the specs throughout the two models are the identical. 

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The MateBook 14s operates on an eleventh-era Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and both 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage. The higher-spec design is Evo-branded and only accessible in Area Grey.


Images: Huawei

Huawei has squeezed the fourteen.two-inch display into a compact chassis measuring 313.82mm extensive by 229.76mm deep. The MateBook 14s weighs one.43kg, and there are lighter fourteen-inch laptops accessible, but the trade-off in this article is a reliable build. A sleeve is highly recommended to safeguard the shell from scratches, but it ought to face up to the basic rough and tumble, even with the fact that the specs make no mention of MIL-STD compliance or an IP ranking. 

http://www.zdnet.com/

Like

  • Compact, minimalist design
  • 90Hz display refresh amount
  • Sensibly located webcam
  • Great keyboard
  • Great battery lifetime

Will not Like

  • 720p webcam
  • No webcam privateness deal with

The fourteen.two-inch display sits in bezels which are pretty evenly sized all spherical, delivering a three:two part ratio that provides a little a lot more display peak than usual. Online video can be letterboxed, but the part ratio will come into its have when you’re seeking at web-sites, creating into net applications or functioning with spreadsheets. Huawei statements a display-to-human body ratio of 90%, but we calculated it at eighty three.4%. 

Huawei matches a touch display as standard, and it is responsive in use. The LTPS panel isn’t really as vibrant as OLED, and this is significantly evident when you’re viewing movie or seeking at pictures. It can be good for mainstream efficiency use scenarios while. The resolution of two,520 by one,680 pixels (213ppi) ensures that textual content and photos are sharp. The screen’s highest brightness is four hundred nits, which could possibly make outside functioning challenging in sunny disorders. 

The MateBook 14s features a 90Hz display refresh amount in addition to the default 60Hz. The higher refresh amount can make basic use experience smoother, and is toggled by means of a key mixture (Fn+R). When this is activated, the laptop will automatically select the most ideal refresh amount for the undertaking in hand. I set the refresh to 90Hz and left that placing in location for the total evaluate time period. If this had been my every day laptop, that’s what I’d do. 

Huawei has developed 4 speakers into the MateBook 14s. Sound good quality is superior, with a good deal of volume and no distortion at the upper reaches. The 4 entrance-going through microphones have a 5-metre pickup array and 360-degree coverage, Huawei statements. Along with sounds cancellation, this mic arrangement ought to give you a degree of independence during voice or movie phone calls. 

Thankfully, the 720p webcam is in the conventional locale, embedded in the bezel higher than the display. Huawei has formerly made use of a quirky alternative where by the webcam was included into 1 of the Fn row keys, popping up when the key was pressed. Not only did this make for an uncomfortable and unflattering viewing angle for movie phone calls, it also precluded the use of Windows Hi deal with authentication. That would have been a full deal-breaker for some probable customers. 

Both of those of these difficulties are now solved, whilst two a lot more continue being: the webcam’s 720p resolution could do with an update, and you will find no privateness deal with for the digital camera – a little something that’s quick becoming an crucial differentiating characteristic. 

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The whole-dimensions backlit keyboard, with one.5mm key journey, is a relaxed typing platform. Thankfully, the webcam no extended pops out from the central Fn key.


Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard is a enjoyment to use. Keys have one.5mm of journey and the typing motion is incredibly favourable. The light-weight ‘clack’ as words are produced is not loud plenty of to be disturbing. All the keys are rather massive, with a double-peak Enter key that’s straightforward to strike properly. The half-peak Fn keys are as extensive as the QWERTY keys, and the arrow key quartet has whole-dimensions left and appropriate arrows and half-dimensions up and down arrows. I never felt compromised or constrained whilst typing. The Fn key that formerly housed the webcam now activates the Windows speech-to-textual content facility. There is a fingerprint sensor in the round energy button that sits higher than the keyboard. The touchpad is massive and responsive. 

With an Intel Core i7-11370H processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, my £1,299.99 (inc. VAT ~$one,754) evaluate unit is a capable platform for mainstream workloads. If you want to save a little dollars, you can move down a 512GB SSD (retaining the CPU and RAM specs) for £1,199.99 (~$one,619). As observed previously, they will also have the alternative of the Spruce Eco-friendly chassis for this configuration. Windows ten delivered on my evaluate sample, and of program the laptop is Windows 11-prepared. 

SEE: Windows 11 FAQ: Our update guideline and all the things else you want to know

The MateBook 14s has a pair of USB-C ports with charging and DisplayPort assist, a one USB-A, whole-dimensions HDMI connector and a three.5mm audio jack. One particular of the USB-C ports (the second on the left-hand aspect), supports Thunderbolt 4 on the evaluate design (16GB/1TB). 

Battery lifetime can be the downfall of a laptop that impresses in other respects, but in this article that’s not the situation with the MateBook 14s. From a whole demand, I worked for a few several hours creating into net applications, streaming media and searching, and during that time the battery dropped a regular 5% each half hour, ending up at 70%. This approximated overall runtime of about ten several hours helps make all-working day functioning entirely possible. 

The 90W USB-C quick charger can strengthen the battery noticeably in a shorter space of time. On 1 situation with the battery at 36% I started out charging and it rose to 53% after fifteen minutes, sixty nine% after thirty minutes and 84% after forty five minutes. 

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Impression: Huawei

Conclusions 

Huawei may well be battling (outside China) with its smartphones appropriate now thanks to the continuing ban on Google Mobile Providers, but the 2021 MateBook 14s shows the company on leading sort with its laptops. Now that the keyboard-embedded webcam is no extended an issue, there are no deal-breakers, whilst it would be superior to see a privateness deal with for the webcam, alongside with a strengthen to 1080p resolution.  

Battery lifetime is superior, the keyboard is fantastic to perform with, you will find a good deal of storage and a impressive processor to continue to keep matters heading, whilst the touch screen’s 90Hz refresh amount helps make for smoother functioning. It can be just a shame the Spruce Eco-friendly chassis isn’t really accessible for the higher 1TB specification.

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