Huawei offer a couple of compelling portable laptops these days, and the MateBook 14 that we’re discussing here greatly sparked my interest when announced, as one of the very few compact 14-inch laptops built on a full-power AMD Ryzen H 4000 hardware platform.
We’ve spent the last week with this laptop, in a mid-specced Ryzen 5 4600H configuration with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage, a device available over here for around 800 EUR at the time of the article. Well, at least it used to be, as it’s hardly in stock anymore right now.
Aside from those specs, the MateBook 14 offers excellent metallic construction, a competent cooling solution, fair IO, a mid-sized 56 Wh battery, and especially a 3:2 2K display with good brightness and colors, so no wonder there’s a lot of interest for this device.
At the same time, there are still some nits and quirks that you should be aware of when deciding on this, such as the average inputs and previous-gen wireless, and we’ve gathered all our thoughts in the detailed review down below.
Specs as reviewed- Huawei MateBook 14
||Huawei MateBook 14 early-2021 model
||14 inch, 2160 x 1440 px, 3:2 aspect ratio, IPS, non-touch, glossy, Chi Mei P140ZKA-BZ1 panel
||AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, 6C/12T
||AMD Radeon Vega 6
||16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz dual-channel (soldered)
||512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD (WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G-1027)
||Wireless 5 AC (Realtek 8822CE), Bluetooth 5.0
||2x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-C 3.1 gen2, HDMI, mic/headphone
||56 Wh, 100W USB-C charger (??)
||308 mm or 12.12” (w) x 224 mm or 8.81” (d) x 15.9 mm or 0.62” (h)
||3.22 lbs (1.46 kg)+ .44 lbs (.2 kg) charger and cables, EU version
||backlit keyboard, HD webcam, stereo speakers, finger sensor in the power button
This series is available in a couple of different variants, either built on an AMD-only platform or on an Intel Comet Lake Core U processor with Nvidia MX350 graphics. Aside from the specs and some changes in the internal design and cooling module, all these models are identical. See this article for a detailed look at the Intel/MX350 variant.
Also, this is found as either a late-2020 model in most regions, but also as an early-2021 in others, based on local availability. There’s also a mid-2021 update, but that’s based on an Intel platform.
Design and first look
Metal is used for the entire chassis of the MateBook 14. In fact, the main-chassis is a unibody design, a rarity within this price range, and that’s why the laptop feels strong and well made in everyday use, with very little give or flex anywhere, and no creaky noises when picking it up and grabbing it in hands.
Build aside, Huawei also went with a friendly and clean dark-gray color scheme, the kind that hides smudges and finger oil well. They also made sure there are no lights or LEDs in the way, as there’s no light in the power button and only a single charging-status LED on the left side.
Now, you should be aware that this laptop gets a 3:2 display, so it’s larger in format than the regular 14-inchers with a 16:9 screen. Paired with the metallic build, this is also a fair bit heavier as well, at roughly 1.5 kg. To put it in perspective, this MateBook D 14 is roughly the same size and weight as a 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro.
As far as practicality goes, the laptop sits sturdily on a desk thanks to the grippy rubber feet on the bottom and offers full-size inputs and a spacious arm-rest. The screen’s hinges are a bit stiff, though, and you’ll need both hands to lift up the screen, but they do make sure that the screen doesn’t wobble with daily use and allow it to lean back a fair amount.
That aside, I’ll also mention that Huawei left some sharp edges around the interior and around the display, and you’ll especially feel the latter when picking up the screen. And while we’re nitpicking, they still place the camera within one of the keys, between the F6 and F7, and put the microphones on the bottom of the laptop, making for one of the most compromised camera/call experiences I’ve encountered in a while. Sure, the narrow bezels around the screen are nice and all, but a slightly thicker forehead with enough room for the camera/mics on it would be the far more practical solution, and would also allow IR cameras for biometrics. Right now, that’s not an option, but there’s at least a finger-sensor baked into the power button.
Finally, the IO is spread around the sides, towards the rear of the laptop. This charges via USB-C through one of the most compact and powerful bricks I’ve seen so far (.2 kg, 100W – update: retail models might get a 65W charger instead), and there was room for two USB-A slots, a headphone jack, and a full-size HDMI connector.
No card-reader, though, or Thunderbolt 3/4 support, and this sort of IO design means that the USB-C slot is blocked while the laptop charges. What I mean is that you’re forced to use an adapter or external dock if you want to power the laptop and hook up something via the USB-C port at the same time. Personally, I prefer laptops with 2x USB-C ports just to prevent that, and even those that can charge via both USB-C or a barell-plug.
Keyboard and trackpad
The inputs are fine with this laptop, but at the same time what I feel mostly sets it apart from the higher-tier options.
Nothing to complain about the keyboard’s layout and the way the smooth plastic keycaps feel, and I appreciate the white on black design and the fact that the power button is not integrated into the keyboard.
However, this is only a middling typer, a bit mushy and shallow even for my liking. Given, the price-range, this fine, but avid typers might want to double-check before deciding on this one.
On top of that, I noticed there’s hardly any rollover technology implemented here, which leads to unregistered keystrokes when playing some games or typing quickly.
Still, my biggest nit is with the illumination system here, which is rather dim, only stays on for about 15 seconds (looks like there’s a possibility to adjust this in PC Manager, but I haven’t figured it out during my time with the laptop), and requires to hit a key to reactivate, as there’s no proximity sensor integrated within the clickpad as you do get on the higher-tier models. At the same time, the illumination is uniform, little light bleeds out from beneath the keycaps, and Huawei implemented physical indicators for CapsLock and FnLock.
For mouse, there’s a spacious glass clickpad with Precision drivers which proved fast, accurate, and reliable during my time with it. But this isn’t perfect either, as the surface rattles way too easier with even the gentlest of taps, and doesn’t feel as sturdy as I’d want.
Finally, as far as biometrics go, there’s a finger-sensor integrated into the power button here, but no IR cameras.
Screen – 2K 3:2 panel
As mentioned already, this late-2020 MateBook 14 gets a 3:2 display with a good-quality 2K IPS panel.
Huawei put a layer of reflective glass on top of the panel, which helps strengthen the screen-ensemble and smoothens the graininess normally associated with matte displays, but at the same time, this leads to glare and reflections in bright light, and takes a noticeable toll on the viewing angles. On top of all these, this screen doesn’t support touch on this Ryzen 5 model, but as far as I can understand, the Ryzen 7 configurations are paired with a touchscreen. That’s a weird decision.
Still, if you’re fine with a glossy non-touch display, though, there’s little you can fault this one with daily use.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with a X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: Chi Mei CMN8C02 (P140ZKA-BZ1);
- Coverage: 98.1% sRGB, 68.7% AdobeRGB, 71.2% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.00;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 410.52 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 11.14 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1512:1;
- White point: 7200 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.27 cd/m2;
- PWM: No (to be further tested).
The panel required further calibration to address the out-of-the-box skewed Gamma and White Point, and that lowered the maximum brightness by a fair amount on this sample, as illustrated in the uniformity diagram above. Once calibrated, though, the luminosity and color variations all stay within acceptable limits.
Light bleeding is not bad either on this panel, however, you’ll most likely notice it when watching movies at night, as this is a 3:2 display and leaves thicker black bars at the top and bottom of the content as a result.
Hardware, performance, and upgrade options
Our test version is a mid-specced configuration of the 2020 Huawei MateBook 14 with the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, 16 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz RAM, 512 GB of SSD storage, and the Radeon Vega 6 graphics chip embedded withing the Ryzen 5 APU.
We’re also running our tests on the software available as of late-November 2020 (BIOS 1.06, PC Manager 10.1.6.89).
Spec-wise, the Ryzen 5 4600H is a 6C/12T processor with a nominal TDP of 45W, normally implemented in larger and thicker laptops. Huawei also offers this chassis in a Ryzen 7 4800H 8C/16T implementation.
Graphics are handled by the Radeon Vega 6 iGPU embedded within the APU on our Ryzen 5 model, and we’ll talk about its performance down below.
Our configuration also shipped with 16 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz RAM out of the box, in dual-channel and soldered on the motherboard, and a WD SN730 512 GB PCIe x4 SSD. That’s a fast storage drive, but I’m surprised Huawei only puts 2666 MHz memory on this model, despite the fact that the platform supports 3200 MHz RAM.
The SSD and wireless chip are upgradeable, but everything else is soldered on the motherboard. Accessing the components is a basic task, you just need to pop-out the back panel that’s held in place by a handful of Torx screws.
As far as software goes, everything can be controlled through the PC Manager app, which offers access to two power profiles, system updates, battery settings, Huawei’s Share functionality, etc. There’s no sound control and the power profiles are not easily accessible, but overall this is a competent unified software package.
There are two performance/thermal profiles to choose from, Standard and Performance, and from what I can tell, the Performance profile allows the fan to spin slightly faster and thus allows the hardware to run at slightly higher power in demanding loads. This Performance profile is only available while the laptop is plugged in.
The Standard profile is fine for daily use and actually keeps the fans idle most of the time, allowing for a silent-use experience, totally worth it even if the hardware runs a bit warm as a result.
Demanding processor loads is where the Ryzen H platform shows its strength and one of this laptop’s major selling points. We start by testing the CPU’s performance in taxing chores by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run.
On Performance, the Ryzen 5 4600H stabilizes at 3.4+ GHz, 35+W of power, and very high temperatures in the 95-99 degrees Celsius. The fans spin as quickly as they can, but still end up fairly quiet at only 40-41 dB at head-level. Overall, the system performs stably in this test and returns scores of around 1300 points, excellent for a mobile laptop, but I’m definitely not comfortable with those very high CPU temperatures.
Switching over to the Standard profile only has an impact on the fans’ profile, which now spin slowly and quieter. As a result, the CPU ends up at around 31W in this test, with slightly lower clocks and scores, but similar temperatures in the very high 90s.
As for the performance on battery, in this case, the Ryzen 5 APU constantly runs at 35W, with matching temperatures and scores. Details below.
To put these results in perspective, here’s how a couple of other AMD and Intel ultraportable notebooks score in this same test.
The Ryzen H chip in this MateBook greatly outmatches the Ryzen U and Intel U platforms normally implemented in 14-inch laptops of this size, with the exception of the top-tier Ryzen 7 4800U that ends up outmatching it at lower power. No surprise there, since that’s an 8C/16T processor, and I’d reckon the Ryzen 7 4800H implementation of the MateBook 14 would also end-up at 1500+ points. With the reduced power-envelope and arguably better thermal module, that Ryzen 4800U runs cooler though in this test.
At the same time, this 30-35W power-limited Ryzen 5 H implementation ends-up slower than the similar 4600H full-power configurations, although only by about 10%, which is fine for the form-factor. Well, as long as you’re OK with the hardware running at close to 100 degrees Celsius in this sort of loads. I wouldn’t be, and even if you would, I’d definitely advise buying extended warranty here, just to be safe in case something goes wrong after a while.
We went ahead and verified our findings with the more demanding Cinebench R20 test and the gruesome Prime 95. In these tests, the Ryzen 5 4600H processor ends up stabilizing at around 30-31W on the Performance mode, and 27-28W on the Standard profile, but the same temperatures border point to 100 degrees Celsius. Ouch!
Finally, we also tested the combined CPU+GPU performance in the 3DMark Stress test, which the system flawlessly passed, and that suggests consistent performance in long-term loads.
Next, here are some benchmark results. We ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks on the standard Performance profile. Here’s what we got.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 2450 (Graphics – 2654, Physics – 17598, Combined – 855);
- 3DMark 13 – Night Raid: 11115 (Graphics – 11389, CPU – 9998);
- 3DMark 13 – Wild Life: 5152;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 940 (Graphics – 822, CPU – 5107);
- AIDA64 Memory test: Write: 31013 MB/s, Read: 31559 MB/s, Latency: 109.5 ns;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 1697;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 527;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 32.69 average fps;
- PassMark10: Rating: 4451 (CPU mark: 15367, 3D Graphics Mark: 1840, Disk Mark: 25688);
- PCMark 10: 5076 (Essentials – 9082 , Productivity – 7531 , Digital Content Creation – 5185);
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 4800, Multi-core: 22758;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1098, Multi-core: 5660;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1371 cb, CPU Single Core 212 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3090 cb, CPU Single Core 436 cb;
- CineBench R23 (best run): CPU 8038 cb, CPU Single Core 1150 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 195.42 fps, Pass 2 – 77.80 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 43.04 s.
We also ran some Workstation related loads, on the Performance profile:
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 4m 50s (Auto);
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 13m 9s (Auto);
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: CPU not properly recognized;
- 3DSMax: 30.57 (SPECviewerf 13), 12.2 (SPECviewerf 2020);
- Catia: 40.32 (SPECviewerf 13), – (SPECviewerf 2020);
- Creo: 33.52 (SPECviewerf 13), 21.53 (SPECviewerf 2020);
- Energy: 0.65 (SPECviewerf 13), 0.65 (SPECviewerf 2020);
- Maya: 31.09 (SPECviewerf 13), 36.89 (SPECviewerf 2020);
- Medical: 12.06 (SPECviewerf 13), 6.07 (SPECviewerf 2020);
- Showcase: 11.48 (SPECviewerf 13), – (SPECviewerf 2020);
- SNX: 25.89 (SPECviewerf 13), 28.85 (SPECviewerf 2020);
- Solidworks: 49.59 (SPECviewerf 13), 18.57 (SPECviewerf 2020).
It’s hard to put this in perspective since there are no other such configurations out there, based entirely on a Ryzen H processor without dedicated graphics, and that’s why I’m going to pitch these results against some Ryzen 5 4500U (6C/6T) and Ryzen 7 4700U (8C/8T) configurations available in a couple of other 14-inchers.
There’s no doubt this is a solid performer in CPU-heavy tasks, within 10-20% of a full-power Ryzen 5 4600H implementation in thicker 15-inch laptops with superior cooling. It also ends-up outmatching the Ryzen 5 4500U by 30-40% based on the different power implementations, as well as the Ryzen 7 4700U models by at least 15-20%. That could make the MateBook 14 a solid choice for engineering and programming software, 3D Graphics, or even video-editing, but don’t forget that this sort of CPU performance is only possible while running the silicon at close to 100 degrees Celsius. Up to you if you’re willing to accept that.
I’ll also mention that this is an unbalanced configuration, with the memory and especially the GPU lacking in comparison. The Vega 6 chip runs well on this implementation, but it’s still a low-end graphics chip and even ends-up outmatched by the similar iGPU in the Ryzen 5 4500U configuration of the Lenovo IdeaPad 5. You’re getting marginally faster Vega 7 graphics with the Ryzen 7 4800H configuration of this MateBook, but that’s actually an ever more unbalanced configuration.
Furthermore, don’t forget that this laptop gets a 2K 3:2 screen and needs to drive a lot more pixels than on the standard 1080p 16:9 display offered by the competition, which will further take a toll on the graphics performance.
We ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the Extreme Performance profile and Low/Lowest graphics settings, to further illustrate our point. Here’s what we got:
|Ryzen 4 4600H + Vega 6
||Matebook 14 – 2K
||Matebook 14 – FHD
||IdeaPad 7 – AMD R7 + Vega 8
||UM425 – AMD R7 + Vega 7
||IdeaPad 5 – AMD R5 + Vega 6
||UM433 – Ryzen 7 + MX350
|Bioshock Infinite (DX 11, Low Preset)
||61 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
||81 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||66 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
||63 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
||97 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
|Dota 2 (DX 11, Best Looking Preset)
||46 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||53 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||39 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
||74 fps (39 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Low Preset, no AA)
||14 fps (12 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (17 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||35 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||33 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||45 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (30 fps – 1% low)
||65 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
|NFS: Most Wanted (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||44 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, Lowest Preset, no AA)
||27 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (Vulkan, Lowest Preset, no AA)
||26 fps (17 fps – 1% low)
||38 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||27 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
||40 fps (35 fps – 1% low)
|Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Low Preset)
||30 fps (26 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
||37 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (27 fps – 1% low)
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Low Preset, Hairworks Off)
||15 fps (12 fps – 1% low)
||23 fps 17 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
||29 fps avg (18 fps – 1% low)
- The Witcher 3, Dota 2, NFS – recorded with MSI Afterburner in game mode;
- Bioshock, Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
2K gaming is hardly possible even with older titles, but FHD gaming is an option to some extent, especially if you’re into casual/simpler titles.
The following logs show a large degree of power/performance variation between the tested titles though, with the system setting the power at between 21 and 28W between the tested titles, with a significant variation in thermals as well. You’ll also notice that the GPU constantly runs at 1.5 GHz in most tests, but the CPU spikes all around between high and low frequencies, which can take a toll over the 1% and .1% lows and can cause some stuttering.
I would have expected more constant power allocation between these titles, but I do appreciate that at least the system drops the total APU power in order to keep temperatures at bay, unlike on the Cinebench and some of the other CPU-only tests. As a result, though, this Ryzen 5 H model ends-up about on par with a Ryzen 5 U in terms of gaming performance.
Nonetheless, this sort of configuration is definitely not ideal in a 14-inch gaming ultraportable, and you’ll get better results with Intel Tiger Lake models or Intel/AMD configurations with MX350 or MX450 graphics, some selling for even less than this MateBook 14.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Huawei went with a rather peculiar thermal design here, with two fans, but short single heatpipes assigned to each fan/radiator ensemble.
This thermal module does OK considering the kind of CPU it needs to tame, but as explained in the previous section, the processor runs very hot in demanding CPU loads and does not reach its maximum performance potential, the kind possible in thicker laptops. There’s a reason no one else puts Ryzen H processors in portable chassis, and overall I feel a Ryzen U would have made more sense here.
Aside from the CPU-heavy loads, the system was able to better balance the configuration in combined loads and games, resulting in middling internal and external temperatures. It’s worth noting that the CPU ran hotter in some games and cooler in others, so those outer temperatures might differ between titles.
The fans ramp up to 40-41 dB at head-level on the Performance mode, and sub-39 dB on Standard. The hot air is pushed out into the screen, but the exhausts are placed far-enough from the panel and the bottom bezel soaks up most of the heat, so I won’t expect any long-term heat-induced impact.
With daily use, the fans rest mostly idle, or spin slowly with more serious multitasking while the laptop is plugged in. I also haven’t noticed any coil winning or other kinds of electronic noises, so this MateBook makes for a silent everyday laptop.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Standard Mode, fans at 0-33 dB
*Gaming – Performance mode – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at 41-42 dB
For connectivity, there’s only WiFi 5 AC through a Realtek module on this laptop. It performed well with our setup and the signal and performance remained strong at 30-feet, with obstacles in between, yet this is not as fast as the WiFi6 models we’ve tested over the years. For is worth, though, the WiFi chip can be easily upgraded if needed.
Audio is handled by a set of stereo speakers that fire through grills placed on the underside, on the laterals. These get averagely loud, at about 76-78 dB at head-level in our tests, but the audio quality isn’t much, with little on the lower end and an overall tiny, hollow impression. As far as I can tell, Huawei doesn’t allow any software tweaking of the audio output, and perhaps they could further look into this matter to improve the audio on their future lines.
As for the camera, it’s HD and placed at the keyboard level, between the F6 and F7 keys. It’s one of the worst camera experiences in the segment, a true nose-cam that can barely even fit you in the frame without forcing you to slouch over the keyboard, and the quality isn’t much either. Furthermore, Huawei tucked the microphones on the laptop’s underbelly, which is far from ideal for calls as well.
There’s a 56 Wh battery inside this MateBook 14, averagely sized for a mid-tier ultrabook at this point. AMD’s platform is, however, very efficient and the laptop lasts for a long-time on a charge, even with the 2K screen requiring more energy than a standard 1080P 16:9 display.
Here’s what we got in terms of battery life, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness).
- 6.5 W (~7-8 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 6.2 W (~8-9 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 5.8 W (~9-10 h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11 W (~5-6 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Standard + Better Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
Huawei pairs the laptop with a compact and lightweight 100W charger that plugs-in via USB-C. It’s a single-piece design with a compact brick and a long and thick cable, and a full charge takes about 2 hours, with quick-charging for the first half.
Update: Looks like this ships with a 65W charger in most regions, and not the 100W charger that I got with this sample. That’s still enough even for demanding loads, and will only partially impact that overall charging time (pus it above 2 hours for a full charge).
Price and availability
This early-2021 version of Huawei MateBook 14 based on AMD Ryzen 4000 is available in stores in most European countries, but less so in North America.
Over here the Ryzen 5 model starts at around 800 EUR, and I’ve seen it going to under 800 GBP in the UK. The Ryzen 7 variants with a touchscreen go for around 1000 EUR/950 GBP.
We’ll update when we know more, and in the meantime, follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
Final thoughts- Huawei MateBook 14
For the most part, this Matebook 14 is a competent sub-1000 EUR/GBP portable laptop focused on productivity, with the help of the powerful Ryzen H hardware inside and the large-canvas 3:2 display. Huawei nailed the design and construction for this price-segment, put in a fairly capable cooling solution, a large battery, and decent IO.
Sure, this isn’t the most compact or the lightest laptop in its class, but that’s to be expected from a device that includes a 3:2 display. My biggest gripe is with the inputs, the fairly shallow keyboard, and vibrating clickpad, with the fact that Huawei only offer a touchscreen on the more expensive Ryzen 7 configurations, and partially with the IO, where the single USB-C is monopolized for charging the laptop and these connecting a USB-C dock or external monitor is not possible.
I also feel that this configuration is rather unbalanced. Nobody else offers Ryzen 4000 H hardware inside this sort of compact 14-inch chassis, and that will surely spark a lot of interest. However, as explained in the article, while this outmatches most of the alternatives in CPU-performance, it does so while averaging CPU-temperatures of around 100 degrees Celsius in those demanding CPU loads and tests, and that can mean trouble long-term. Up to you if you’re fine with this sort of thermals, but I do advise buying extended warranty for your purchase, just to be safe.
Furthermore, the powerful Ryzen H processor is only paired with 2666 MHz memory and Vega graphics here, so the performance in combined loads or GPU-heavy tasks suffers in comparison to other portable platforms, especially those that combine an Intel/AMD U processor with Nvidia MX350/MX450 graphics. In fact, Huawei themselves offer a Comet Lake i7 + MX350 configuration of the Matebook 14, and that might be better suited for some of you potential buyers. As for worthy alternatives, devices such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 or the Asus ZenBook UM433 come to mind.
At the same time, if you’re only interested in a well-made everyday laptop with a 3:2 screen, snappy daily-use performance, and long battery life, this MateBook 14 is definitely something you should consider.
I for one am somewhat left with mixed feelings about this AMD-based MateBook 14, though. Overall, I would have preferred a Ryzen U implementation with or without Nvidia graphics in this chassis, instead of the Ryzen H, but I also understand Huawei’s decision. A power-limited Ryzen 5 4600H configuration such as this one ends-up outmatching a Ryzen 7 4700U in CPU-heavy loads at a fraction of the cost, which combined with the limited supply of high-end AMD silicon these days, allowed Huawei to bring this to market at an affordable price. Just don’t get this expecting to perform the same as a larger Ryzen H laptop, run as cool in demanding-loads, or handle combined chores as well as some of the better-balanced out there.
That pretty much wraps-up our review of the Huawei MateBook 14 2020, but the comments section down below is open for your thoughts, questions and feedback, and I’d love to hear what you think about this implementation.
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