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Huawei's MateBook 13 takes aim at the MacBook Air

Thomas McMullan
7 Jan 2019
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The Huawei MateBook 13 is a thinner version of the excellent MateBook X Pro

Huawei continues to bring the fight to Apple. If the MateBook X Pro was a MacBook Pro rival – and a very good one at that – then its new MateBook 13 takes square aim at the MacBook Air.

With its sleek, all-aluminium body, the 13-inch laptop certainly takes some design tips from Cupertino, but this new machine is also consistent with what the Chinese company did with the MateBook X Pro. With a smaller body than its Pro cousin, there’s less room around the keyboard, but the MateBook 13 has space for a built-in fingerprint reader that doubles up as a power button.    

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Huawei’s new laptop has an 88% screen-to-body ratio, which may not be as super-slimline as the recently announced Asus ZenBook S13, but it still makes the most of a display that can double up as a touchscreen. Huawei says its screen can manage 300 nits of brightness, which is a solid offering, if not mind blowing.   

The machine has a slimline 14.9 mm metallic frame; thinner than the MacBook Air and impressive given it can house an Nvidia GeForce MX150 card with 2GB of VRAM, as well as a Core i7-8565U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. If you opt for those specs, you’ll want to make the most of the MateBook 13’s new dual-fan Sharkfin 2.0 cooling system, which Huawei says should blow 25% harder than a typical laptop fan.

The MateBook 13 has two USB-C ports but no full-fat USB Type-A port. The inclusion of only two ports feels somewhat limiting, although Huawei says it will throw in a MateDock with the laptop, which will go some way to correct that. Battery life is slated at a decent 9.6 hours for the model with Nvidia graphics, bumped to 10 hours if you have the standard Intel UHD Graphics loadout.

We’ll need to get our hands on the laptop to properly put it through its paces, but we were very much impressed by the MateBook X Pro. The MateBook 13 is due to be available later in January, available in either “mystic silver” or “slate grey” and costing between $999 and $1,299 (around £782 and £1,017) depending on if you opt for the Core i5 or Core i7 processor.

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