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

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The 14.two-inch MateBook 14s is accessible (outside the house the US) in Spruce Green or Space Gray.


Picture: Huawei

Huawei is finest identified as a maker of smartphones, but has also been promoting laptops for some time. The range covers all budgets, with the £399.99 MateBook D 15 now at the lower finish of the price tag range, and the £1,599.99 MateBook X Professional (2021) at the best. Hovering near that best place is the Intel Main i7-based MateBook 14s, a compact 14.two-inch notebook that sporting activities a clear design and style and lots of options for £1,199.99 (16GB RAM/512GB SSD) or £1,299.99 (16GB/1TB, as reviewed below). The MateBook 14s is not at the moment accessible in the US. 

Compact and elegant may possibly be the finest way to sum up the design and style of the Huawei MateBook 14s, while those who opt for the Spruce Green color plan will get a unique-seeking unit. I was despatched the rather a lot less exciting Space Gray alternative, with a deep slate-grey chassis which, in the ideal gentle, has rich purple overtones. Clean lines and rounded corners rule, and if minimalism is your detail, it need to be a winner.  

If you want the eco-friendly product you can expect to have to forego Evo branding and the 1TB SSD due to the fact that’s only accessible with the grey edition. In each individual other regard, the specs across the two designs are the very same. 

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The MateBook 14s operates on an eleventh-technology Intel Main i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and possibly 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage. The larger-spec product is Evo-branded and only accessible in Space Gray.


Pictures: Huawei

Huawei has squeezed the 14.two-inch monitor into a compact chassis measuring 313.82mm vast by 229.76mm deep. The MateBook 14s weighs one.43kg, and there are lighter 14-inch laptops accessible, but the trade-off below is a strong construct. A sleeve is sensible to safeguard the shell from scratches, but it need to endure the common tough and tumble, inspite of the reality that the specs make no point out of MIL-STD compliance or an IP ranking. 

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Like

  • Compact, minimalist design and style
  • 90Hz monitor refresh amount
  • Sensibly positioned webcam
  • Good keyboard
  • Good battery lifestyle

Will not Like

  • 720p webcam
  • No webcam privacy cover

The 14.two-inch monitor sits in bezels which are pretty evenly sized all round, offering a three:two part ratio that delivers a very little additional monitor top than normal. Movie can be letterboxed, but the part ratio will come into its very own when you happen to be seeking at internet sites, producing into web applications or performing with spreadsheets. Huawei promises a monitor-to-physique ratio of 90%, but we calculated it at 83.four%. 

Huawei matches a contact monitor as common, and it really is responsive in use. The LTPS panel isn’t as lively as OLED, and this is specifically clear when you happen to be seeing video clip or seeking at photographs. It truly is good for mainstream efficiency use scenarios even though. The resolution of two,520 by one,680 pixels (213ppi) assures that textual content and visuals are sharp. The screen’s utmost brightness is 400 nits, which may possibly make out of doors performing difficult in sunny disorders. 

The MateBook 14s provides a 90Hz monitor refresh amount in addition to the default 60Hz. The larger refresh amount can make common use experience smoother, and is toggled by using a critical blend (Fn+R). When this is activated, the notebook will instantly pick the most suited refresh amount for the endeavor in hand. I established the refresh to 90Hz and left that setting in place for the full overview interval. If this were my everyday notebook, that’s what I might do. 

Huawei has designed four speakers into the MateBook 14s. Seem top quality is superior, with lots of quantity and no distortion at the higher reaches. The four front-facing microphones have a five-metre pickup range and 360-diploma coverage, Huawei promises. Along with sounds cancellation, this mic arrangement need to give you a diploma of freedom through voice or video clip calls. 

Thankfully, the 720p webcam is in the traditional site, embedded in the bezel previously mentioned the monitor. Huawei has beforehand made use of a quirky solution in which the webcam was incorporated into a person of the Fn row keys, popping up when the critical was pressed. Not only did this make for an awkward and unflattering viewing angle for video clip calls, it also precluded the use of Windows Hello there facial area authentication. That would have been a complete deal-breaker for some potential consumers. 

Each of these troubles are now solved, while two additional stay: the webcam’s 720p resolution could do with an up grade, and there is certainly no privacy cover for the camera – anything that’s quick turning into an vital differentiating feature. 

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The full-measurement backlit keyboard, with one.5mm critical vacation, is a comfortable typing system. Thankfully, the webcam no longer pops out from the central Fn critical.


Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard is a satisfaction to use. Keys have one.5mm of vacation and the typing motion is really constructive. The gentle ‘clack’ as terms are produced is not loud plenty of to be disturbing. All the keys are fairly huge, with a double-top Enter critical that’s effortless to strike correctly. The 50 %-top Fn keys are as vast as the QWERTY keys, and the arrow critical quartet has full-measurement left and ideal arrows and 50 %-measurement up and down arrows. I hardly ever felt compromised or constrained though typing. The Fn critical that beforehand housed the webcam now activates the Windows speech-to-textual content facility. There is a fingerprint sensor in the circular electricity button that sits previously mentioned the keyboard. The touchpad is huge and responsive. 

With an Intel Core i7-11370H processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, my £1,299.99 (inc. VAT ~$one,754) overview device is a able system for mainstream workloads. If you want to conserve a very little funds, you can move down a 512GB SSD (retaining the CPU and RAM specs) for £1,199.99 (~$one,619). As famous before, they will also have the alternative of the Spruce Green chassis for this configuration. Windows ten transported on my overview sample, and of program the notebook is Windows 11-prepared. 

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

The MateBook 14s has a pair of USB-C ports with charging and DisplayPort support, a solitary USB-A, full-measurement HDMI connector and a three.5mm audio jack. A single of the USB-C ports (the next on the left-hand aspect), supports Thunderbolt four on the overview product (16GB/1TB). 

Battery lifestyle can be the downfall of a notebook that impresses in other respects, but below that’s not the circumstance with the MateBook 14s. From a full cost, I labored for 3 hours producing into web applications, streaming media and searching, and through that time the battery dropped a regular five% each individual 50 % hour, finishing up at 70%. This approximated overall runtime of about ten hours tends to make all-day performing totally possible. 

The 90W USB-C quick charger can improve the battery appreciably in a shorter space of time. On a person event with the battery at 36% I started charging and it rose to fifty three% after fifteen minutes, 69% after 30 minutes and 84% after 45 minutes. 

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Picture: Huawei

Conclusions 

Huawei may be struggling (outside the house China) with its smartphones ideal now many thanks to the continuing ban on Google Mobile Providers, but the 2021 MateBook 14s demonstrates the company on best form with its laptops. Now that the keyboard-embedded webcam is no longer an difficulty, there are no deal-breakers, while it would be superior to see a privacy cover for the webcam, along with a improve to 1080p resolution.  

Battery lifestyle is superior, the keyboard is wonderful to do the job with, there is certainly lots of storage and a potent processor to keep issues likely, though the contact screen’s 90Hz refresh amount tends to make for smoother performing. It truly is just a shame the Spruce Green chassis isn’t accessible for the larger 1TB specification.

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