MWC 2018: Huawei Has Some New Hardware Coming, and it Clearly Has Apple in its Sights

By Tom Pritchard on at

Mobile World Congress officially begins in Barcelona tomorrow, but today's the day we're starting to hear big announcements from mobile companies across the world. While many will have their eyes set on Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event this evening, Huawei took to the stage to announce a range of new products.

Surprisingly, for a conference that's focused on mobile phones, Huawei didn't announce a brand new phone. Instead it unveiled a new laptop and a range of tablets. Here's everything we know so far about the MateBook X Pro, and the MediaPad M5 series of tablets.

MateBook X Pro

The MateBook X Pro is clearly Huawei's take on the MacBook, with a 13.9-inch notebook squeezed into a slim metal frame. If the design cues weren't obvious, The MateBook X Pro is also available in 'Mystic Silver' or 'Space Grey', the latter of which is infamous as Apple's fancy marketable term for dark grey. An probably part of the reason why phones have to have stupid colour names now.

The Matebook X Pro packs a 13.9-inch display, a 91% screen-to-body ratio, and a 3K resolution (3000 x 2000) touchscreen display. That display offers a wide colour gamut and contrast, making for a bright colourful high-quality display. Packed into the frame is a 3.5mm headphone jack, two USB-C ports that naturally offer data and charging capabilities, a single USB port, a 1.4MP front-facing webcam, and an array of four speakers and microphones to offer a better sound and voice experience.

Those speakers come with Dolby Atmos as well, for that immersive 360-degree sound experience, with those quad microphones offering a similar 360-audio - which is especially useful if you're on conference calls or something similar.

That webcam poses a problem, seeing as how they usually live inside the display. Low bezel devices make it harder include them. That's why Huawei has hidden the camera inside the keyboard, popping up when you press the camera button. That also has the added bonus of extra security from snoopers.

The insides differ based on what model you get, with the option of 8th generation Intel i7-8550U or i5-8250U chipsets, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and a choice of 256GB or 512GB of solid state storage. Graphics card options are also available, with the choice of a basic Intel UHD Graphics 620 card, or NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2GB of dedicated memory. Battery is the same all over, however, with a 57.4 Wh battery that can handle 12 hours of local Full HD video playback, 14 hours of work, and 15 hours of web browsing. Or at least it can under Huawei's internet test conditions. I'll go out on a whim and assume they didn't use Chrome.

Huawei claims that the MateBook X Pro is on the of the lightest (1.33kg) and most powerful laptops on the market. Other humble brags include a fast power button that boots up the machine within 7.8 seconds, or 6.6 seconds from hibernation mode. Like previous Huawei laptops that power button also includes a fingerprint scanner for extra biometric security - should you decide to activate it.

Final points include a spillproof keyboard to protect from falling coffee or wine, a large glass-covered touchpad, 'Huawei Share' for transferring files wirelessly to a Huawei phone, Microsoft's translation software built in (with offline capabilities), and a smart cooling system that promises to be 20 per cent more efficient than other models. The machine (naturally) runs Windows 10.

The MateBook X Pro is set for a Q2 release, and Huawei confirmed UK prices will start at £1,499.

MediaPad M5 Series

While tablets have never been as important as phones or laptops, everyone and their auntie seems to have an extensive range of tablets that are constantly being expended upon. Huawei is no different. There are three new M5 tablets on the way: an 8.4-inch M5, a 10.8-inch M5, and a more advanced 10.8-inch M5 Pro.

All three devices come with 2K displays (2560 x 1600) with curved edge 2.5D displays, all-metal aluminium chassis, and run Android 8 (Oreo, with Huawei's EMUI 8.0 skin on top). Inside them all are 4GB of RAM, a microSD slot (up to 256GB cards supported), an 8MP front camera, 13MP rear camera, and Huawei's Kirin 960 octa-core processor. Internal storage is your choice, with the 8.4 and 10.8-inch models offering 32, 64, and 128GB of space. The Pro, however, skips the 32GB option altogether.

The 8.4 also loses out on battery, with only a 5,100 mAh pack compared to the 7,500 mAh found in both the 10.8 and Pro models, though Huawei claims that all three can handle 12 hours of video playback, 56 hours of music, and 16 hours of e-book reading. Likewise the 8.4 only comes with dual-speakers, whilst its big brothers off quad-speakers that apparently offer full 3D audio. All three also come with fast charging, though the time specifics weren't revealed.

The M5 tablets don't come with the same bezel-less design as the MateBook X Pro, however, with only 82 per cent body/screen ratio. That screen does, however, come with an 'Eye Comfort' mode designed to protect your eyes when reading from the screen for long periods of times. What is especially  important to note, however, is that there is no headphone jack on the tablet. Instead it's all USB-C  and wireless audio, with an adaptor for 3.5mm headphones inside the box.

At this point you might notice that the Pro M5 isn't actually that different. What sets it apart are the extra features inside - particular a 2-in-1 experiences that offers a desktop-like experience when you're using a keyboard dock. While it runs Android, it still offers something akin to Windows, so you should know exactly what you're doing. The Pro also comes with a stylus similar to that included in Microsoft's Surface.

So it's more of a productivity device, even if you can also use it for all the fun stuff you'd normally want a tablet for.

All three tablets go on sale next Month, available in Champagne Gold and Space Grey. Prices for the 8.4 start at €349, the 10.8 at €399, and the Pro at €499. UK pricing has yet to be announced, but those convert to £307, £352, and £439 respectively.

Gizmodo UK is in Barcelona at MWC! Keep up with all the latest announcements from the show floor right here.