Mobile World Congress has, as the name suggestions, always been a show about phones. Yet, for some reason Huawei used last year's show as a platform to launch the Matebook X Pro - a laptop. This year is no different, and the company has just revealed a whole range of new laptop products. Because they had to show something, and the P30 range isn't ready yet.
These big announcements include a slight refresh to the Matebook X Pro, a 14 inch machine inventively named the Matebook 14, and a slight change to the Matebook 13 that was originally announced at CES.
The Matebook 13 is pretty much identical to the one announced at CES, and the only actual difference is that the one being shown off in Barcelona has something Huawei is calling 'One Hop'. This is an more advanced version of Huawei Share, connecting phones and tablets to laptops with - you guessed it - a single tap. That's assuming you have the right hardware, and as you might expect it means you have to have one of these new Huawei-made laptops plus a phone or tablet running the still-unreleased EMUI 9.1.
OneHop lets you pair each device together via NFC, and then quickly share data between them using a WLAN connection. At the moment the system is limited to a few gestures, and the main one is tapping your phone against the bottom right-hand side of the laptop to share images and other files. You can also use this to capture screenshots of your desktop and transfer them to your phone, and should you shake and tap you're able to record the active screen.
In case you forgot what the Matebook 13 looked like since CES
What's more is that images with words on them are understood by the system's OCR technology, offering up editable text for you to do with as you please. Connected devices also share a single universal clipboard, just in case you need it. As for speeds, Huawei promises that the connection can hit as high as 30MB/s.
So why was this left out for now, if the Matebook 13 was announced at CES? It turns out that OneHop won't be heading to the US, because there are so few Huawei phone users there. That's why the big announcement was left out from CES. The machines themselves will be available stateside, but if you want the full experience I wouldn't suggest picking one up while you're holidaying in a state that doesn't believe in sales tax.
Matebook X Pro
Left: 2019. Right: 2018
If you bought last year's Matebook X Pro, you probably won't want to upgrade. The differences are minimal, at best, and the exterior design of the machine is exactly the same as last year's model. I know because I put them side-by-side to compare. The only difference was that the new model was cleaner and didn't have nearly as many dings and scratches that come from nearly a year of use.
So you still have the same ports, fingeprint scanning power button, 3:2 aspect ratio, 91% screen-body ratio, 3000x 2000 resolution, Dolby Atmos, quad speakers and microphones, and the hidden camera that looks perfectly angled for taking pictures of your genitals. It even has OneHop, provided you don't buy this in the USA.
The big difference that most people will care about is the fact that the 2019 model supports 4 lane Thunderbolt 3. That means more bandwidth, up to 40Gbps to be precise, which you can use for all sorts of wonderful things. External GPUs, ethernet, high resolution external displays, and so on. In fact Huawei says the new Matebook X Pro will support a 4K display, and graphics cards up to (and including) Nvidia's GTX 2080. Sadly, like last year, only one of the X Pro's USB-C ports has Thunderbolt 3. The other is just a regular USB-C port you're supposed to use for charging.
Obviously there are some incremental differences here, like a better processor, better graphics, and so on. There are various models set to hit the market, but the most powerful will have an 8th Gen Intel i7 8565U and a Nvidia Geforce MX250 with 2GB of dedicated DDR5 RAM. Also included this time round include new touchscreen gestures (a three-fingered down swipe takes a screenshot, we've been told), an independent security chip, Bluetooth 5, and more. The cooling system has been upgraded as well, which means it's now 20 per cent better than last year and apparently doesn't cause the same racket when you're doing some performance-heavy things.
Battery-wise we're talking 57.4 Wh, which Huawei says will last you 13 hours of video use, 14 hours of office work, and 12 hours web browsing. That's under its own in-house conditions, naturally, so you will naturally experience something different. There's also a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM, plus 256 or 512GB of storage.
The Matebook 14 is brand new, so we have to go through all the basics with you. It's best to think of it as a slightly less fancy Matebook X Pro, and share many of the same features. As the name suggests you have a 14-inch touchscreen display, which has a standard 2160 x 1440 resolution (better known as QHD). It has two USB-A ports (one 3.0, the other 2.0), a single USB-C port (no Thunderbolt) , an HDMI port, the hidden keyboard camera, and a fingerprint scanning power button for the convenience of recognising you as soon as you turn the machine on.
Inside we have the same maximum processor and graphics specs as the X Pro, with top tier devices sporting an 8th gen i7 processor and the Geforce MX250. It has the same connectivity as the new Matebook X Pro, which includes Bluetooth 5 and OneHop. There's also a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM, plus 256 or 512GB of storage.
While there's still a lot Huawei needs to reveal in its press conference, it has told us that the battery will last 15 hours of work, 14 hours of video playback, and 10.5 hours of web browsing. If you need to top up, however, it will also come with a 65W fast charger that adds three hours of battery in 15 minutes.
Huawei has confirmed that the slightly different Matebook 13 will arrive in Europe by the end of February, with the following models available:
- i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB, UHD 620 GFX - €999
- i5, 8GB, 256GB, MX 150 GFX - €1,099
- i7, 8GB, 512GB, UHD 620 - €1,199
- i7, 8GB, 512GB, MX 150, Touchscreen - €1,399
Meanwhile the Matebook 14 will come in two forms, both with 8GB RAM, 512GB storage, and MFX 250 GFX. The differences are the processor, with the i5 model costing €1,199 and the i7 costing €1,499. Both Matebook X Pro models will have the MX 250 GFX and touchscreen, but the rest is different. If you want an i5 with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage you'll have to pay €1,599. The i7, with 16GB RAM and 1TB storage is €1,999. They'll arrive in Europe far sooner than last year's X Pro, with Huawei promising they'll be here sometime in April.
Sorry, UK pricing isn't available for anything just yet.