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

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The fourteen.2-inch MateBook 14s is offered (exterior the US) in Spruce Eco-friendly or Place Grey.


Picture: Huawei

Huawei is most effective regarded as a maker of smartphones, but has also been marketing laptops for some time. The vary handles all budgets, with the £399.99 MateBook D 15 now at the decrease end of the selling price vary, and the £1,599.99 MateBook X Professional (2021) at the prime. Hovering near that prime location is the Intel Core i7-based MateBook 14s, a compact fourteen.2-inch laptop that sports a thoroughly clean style and design and loads of capabilities for £1,199.ninety nine (16GB RAM/512GB SSD) or £1,299.ninety nine (16GB/1TB, as reviewed right here). The MateBook 14s is not at present offered in the US. 

Compact and exquisite could possibly be the most effective way to sum up the style and design of the Huawei MateBook 14s, although people who decide for the Spruce Eco-friendly color plan will get a exclusive-on the lookout system. I was despatched the rather significantly less exciting Place Grey selection, with a deep slate-grey chassis which, in the ideal mild, has abundant purple overtones. Clean up traces and rounded corners rule, and if minimalism is your matter, it should be a winner.  

If you want the green design you can have to forego Evo branding and the 1TB SSD mainly because that’s only offered with the grey version. In each and every other regard, the requirements throughout the two versions are the same. 

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The MateBook 14s operates on an eleventh-technology Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and either 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage. The better-spec design is Evo-branded and only offered in Place Grey.


Photographs: Huawei

Huawei has squeezed the fourteen.2-inch display into a compact chassis measuring 313.82mm huge by 229.76mm deep. The MateBook 14s weighs 1.43kg, and there are lighter fourteen-inch laptops offered, but the trade-off right here is a good make. A sleeve is advisable to shield the shell from scratches, but it should stand up to the typical tough and tumble, even with the reality that the specs make no mention of MIL-STD compliance or an IP ranking. 

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Like

  • Compact, minimalist style and design
  • 90Hz display refresh amount
  • Sensibly located webcam
  • Superior keyboard
  • Superior battery daily life

Really don’t Like

  • 720p webcam
  • No webcam privacy protect

The fourteen.2-inch display sits in bezels which are relatively evenly sized all spherical, providing a 3:2 aspect ratio that supplies a tiny a lot more display peak than standard. Movie can be letterboxed, but the aspect ratio arrives into its individual when you might be on the lookout at internet sites, producing into website applications or doing work with spreadsheets. Huawei claims a display-to-physique ratio of ninety%, but we calculated it at eighty three.four%. 

Huawei matches a touch display as typical, and it truly is responsive in use. The LTPS panel isn’t as vibrant as OLED, and this is notably clear when you might be viewing movie or on the lookout at shots. It truly is high-quality for mainstream productiveness use circumstances though. The resolution of 2,520 by 1,680 pixels (213ppi) makes sure that text and illustrations or photos are sharp. The screen’s utmost brightness is four hundred nits, which could possibly make out of doors doing work challenging in sunny disorders. 

The MateBook 14s features a 90Hz display refresh amount in addition to the default 60Hz. The better refresh amount can make typical use really feel smoother, and is toggled via a essential mix (Fn+R). When this is activated, the laptop will quickly choose the most ideal refresh amount for the job in hand. I established the refresh to 90Hz and still left that setting in spot for the total evaluation time period. If this have been my everyday laptop, that’s what I’d do. 

Huawei has constructed 4 speakers into the MateBook 14s. Audio good quality is fantastic, with loads of volume and no distortion at the higher reaches. The 4 front-facing microphones have a 5-metre pickup vary and 360-diploma coverage, Huawei claims. Alongside with noise cancellation, this mic arrangement should give you a diploma of flexibility in the course of voice or movie phone calls. 

Luckily, the 720p webcam is in the standard locale, embedded in the bezel earlier mentioned the display. Huawei has previously used a quirky option where by the webcam was included into one particular of the Fn row keys, popping up when the essential 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 there facial area authentication. That would have been a comprehensive offer-breaker for some probable consumers. 

Both of these issues are now solved, although two a lot more remain: the webcam’s 720p resolution could do with an upgrade, and there is no privacy protect for the digicam – anything that’s rapid becoming an essential differentiating characteristic. 

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The full-size backlit keyboard, with 1.5mm essential travel, is a snug typing system. Luckily, the webcam no extended pops out from the central Fn essential.


Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard is a enjoyment to use. Keys have 1.5mm of travel and the typing motion is pretty optimistic. The mild ‘clack’ as words are manufactured is not loud adequate to be disturbing. All the keys are comparatively large, with a double-peak Enter essential that’s effortless to hit correctly. The 50 %-peak Fn keys are as huge as the QWERTY keys, and the arrow essential quartet has full-size still left and ideal arrows and 50 %-size up and down arrows. I by no means felt compromised or constrained when typing. The Fn essential that previously housed the webcam now activates the Home windows speech-to-text facility. There is a fingerprint sensor in the round electrical power button that sits earlier mentioned the keyboard. The touchpad is large and responsive. 

With an Intel Core i7-11370H processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, my £1,299.ninety nine (inc. VAT ~$1,754) evaluation device is a able system for mainstream workloads. If you want to save a tiny dollars, you can phase down a 512GB SSD (retaining the CPU and RAM requirements) for £1,199.ninety nine (~$1,619). As noted earlier, they will also have the selection of the Spruce Eco-friendly chassis for this configuration. Home windows 10 transported on my evaluation sample, and of training course the laptop is Home windows 11-completely ready. 

SEE: Home windows 11 FAQ: Our upgrade guideline and anything else you require to know

The MateBook 14s has a pair of USB-C ports with charging and DisplayPort guidance, a one USB-A, full-size HDMI connector and a 3.5mm audio jack. One of the USB-C ports (the second on the still left-hand facet), supports Thunderbolt four on the evaluation design (16GB/1TB). 

Battery daily life can be the downfall of a laptop that impresses in other respects, but right here that’s not the circumstance with the MateBook 14s. From a full cost, I labored for three several hours producing into website applications, streaming media and searching, and in the course of that time the battery dropped a constant 5% each and every 50 % hour, finishing up at 70%. This estimated overall runtime of about 10 several hours tends to make all-working day doing work totally feasible. 

The 90W USB-C rapid charger can strengthen the battery drastically in a shorter room of time. On one particular event with the battery at 36% I started off charging and it rose to fifty three% just after fifteen minutes, sixty nine% just after 30 minutes and eighty four% just after 45 minutes. 

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Picture: Huawei

Conclusions 

Huawei may possibly be battling (exterior China) with its smartphones ideal now thanks to the continuing ban on Google Mobile Companies, but the 2021 MateBook 14s demonstrates the corporation on prime sort with its laptops. Now that the keyboard-embedded webcam is no extended an challenge, there are no offer-breakers, although it would be fantastic to see a privacy protect for the webcam, alongside with a strengthen to 1080p resolution.  

Battery daily life is fantastic, the keyboard is terrific to operate with, there is loads of storage and a strong processor to hold issues likely, when the touch screen’s 90Hz refresh amount tends to make for smoother doing work. It truly is just a disgrace the Spruce Eco-friendly chassis isn’t offered for the better 1TB specification.

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