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Huawei MateBook D 16 (2024): Capable but dull

Our Rating :
£559.99 from
Price when reviewed : £999
Core i9, (inc VAT). Also available: £549 (Core i5)

The Huawei D 16 isn’t exciting, but it has the basics well-covered


  • Excellent battery life
  • High-quality keyboard
  • Solid value for money


  • Poor I/O port selection
  • Iris Xe no match for new Arc iGPUs
  • Zero upgrade options

Reviewing Huawei laptops involves looking carefully for minor changes between one generation and the next. Case in point, without referencing the reviewer notes for the 2024 D 16, I wouldn’t have noticed that it’s 20g lighter and 1.4mm thinner than the old 2023 model, which looks very similar. I also may not have realised that the lid now folds flat through 180-degrees.

Of course, there are more obvious improvements, such as the increase in battery size from 60Wh to 70Wh and the change from 12th to 13th generation Intel silicon. However, the Huawei D 16 (2024) is still very much an evolution from the 2023 model, and as such, it runs the risk of being seen as a bit boring.

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Huawei MateBook D 16 review: What you need to know

Huawei’s MateBook laptop roster is divided into three groups. At the top are the slim and sexy X models like the MateBook X Pro. Next come the standard MateBooks like the MateBook 16s, core models aimed at the more affluent user. Below them sits the D-series laptops, solid workhorses aimed at business users, students and those who don’t want to shell out for a premium laptop. The 2023 MateBook D15 was the essence of the breed.

When announced in January, the new 2024 MateBook D 16 was something of an outlier because, thanks to its £1,199 price tag and its Core-i9 13900H CPU, it had the power and price of the likes of the MateBook 16s and Apple MacBook 15, but it lacked the matching premium features like a 2.5K or 2.8K display and a super-slim body.

However, at the time of publishing, Huawei has cut the price to £999 making it rather more attractive by putting more financial blue water between it and the more premium competition.

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Huawei MateBook D 16 (2024) review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core i9-13900H, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 16in, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,200 IPS non-touch. Price when reviewed: £999 inc VAT

The Huawei D 16 (2024) is available in two flavours. For £999, you can have the Core i9-13900H model with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, while for £549, you can have a Core i5-12450H machine with 512GB of storage, 8GB of memory and a smaller (56Wh) battery. Huawei sent us the range-topping Core-i9 model review but with a German keyboard. Naturally, UK models will have the correct keyboard.

Huawei is making much of how light the MateBook D 16 (2024) is, which invites comparison with the 15in MacBook Air. Despite costing more at £1,269, for which you only get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, the display is much sharper than the D 16’s, thanks to a 2,880 x 1,864 resolution. It only weighs 1.24kg and delivers epic battery life.

I was thoroughly impressed with the Asus VivoBook S15 OLED when I reviewed it, and now that you can buy it for under £1,000, it’s even easier to recommend. The 15.6in Full HD OLED display is lovely, and the speaker system is very easy on the ear, making this a great laptop for watching video.

Huawei’s MateBook 16s is now on sale for just £1,099, and it uses the same Core i9-13900H CPU as the D 16. Think of it as a sleeker, more desirable version of the D 16 with a 2,520 x 1,680 IPS touchscreen and more I/O ports. For the price, it’s a steal.

If you want an ultra-lightweight 16-inch laptop, LG’s Gram 16 is well worth considering. It may be a bit bendy, but it only weighs 1.2kg which is nothing for a full-sized laptop. It can’t match the D 16 for power, but the display is sharper and more colourful, and you can add a second SSD if you need more storage. It’s good value at £1,249.

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Huawei MateBook D 16 (2024) review: Design and build quality

The MateBook D 16 ticks all the right boxes for design and build quality. It’s very solid, made from metal rather than plastic and doesn’t weigh too much: 1.68kg isn’t too bad for a full-sized 16in laptop, even if LG’s Gram 16 is much lighter. It’s compact, too, measuring 357 x 249 x 18mm.

There’s only one colourway available in the UK called Space Grey – a metallic dark silver-cum-grey affair. It looks smart if a little plain, but more importantly, fingerprints don’t show up.

Huawei has thankfully banished the strange design ideas that once besmirched its laptops, like hiding the webcam under a fake Fn button, where it looked directly up your nostrils. It’s now above the display in the usual position. I also like how the sizeable round power button-cum-fingerprint scanner is located away from the main keyboard in the top right corner.

The selection of ports is somewhat less impressive, with just three USB ports available. There’s one USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, one USB-A 2.0 and one USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, which also has to function as the charge port. That’s a pretty meagre selection by modern standards, both in the number and speed.

Granted, there is an HDMI video output (v 1.4), a 3.5mm audio jack and the USB-C port supports DisplayPort video, but that hardly makes up for such slender pickings on the USB front. Wireless connectivity is no more impressive, with no support for 6GHz Wi-Fi and only Bluetooth 5.1, which lacks the low-latency audio capabilities of Bluetooth 5.3.

Huawei’s decision to opt for the 2.4/5GHz Intel AX201 wireless card is curious, given that it makes a big deal about the D 16 being its first laptop to use “Metaline antenna technology” to boost the Wi-Fi range.

Apparently, this can pull in signals from up to 270 metres away. The D 16 did indeed manage to pull in Wi-Fi signals that none of the other review laptops lying around the office could see, which should come in useful when you’re out and about, but it’s still disappointing to see 6GHz Wi-Fi missing from a modern laptop.

Getting inside the D 16 is an easy enough operation, but since there isn’t space for a second SSD and the RAM is soldered in place it isn’t a worthwhile use of time.

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Huawei MateBook D 16 (2024) review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

The German layout of our review unit to one side, the D 16’s keyboard, is impressive. The deck and palm rest are solid, the soft-touch keys are very pleasant and the typing action is clean and positive with a perfectly judged end-stop and 1.5mm of travel. There’s also a two-level white backlight, which makes the white-on-black keycaps very clear, no matter the ambient light.

Huawei has made good use of the space available, too. The layout is spacious, and there’s also a full-width numeric keypad with four dedicated buttons above it to bring up the on-screen calculator, open the “AI” search box (which searches any connected Huawei smartphone as well as the laptop itself), return to the Windows home screen and enable/disable the webcam. An extra Fn button between F6 and F7 opens up the Microsoft Speech Services control panel, a handy feature if you regularly dictate to your laptop.

Considering the free space below the keyboard, the touchpad is relatively small at just 120 x 75mm. It works perfectly well, and the corner click-action is nicely weighted, but it could easily be the same size as the football pitch-sized affair fitted to the MacBook Air 15.

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Huawei MateBook D 16 (2024) review: Display and audio

The display is a 16:10 IPS affair with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution and a 60Hz maximum refresh rate. Maximum brightness comes in at an average of 321cd/m2 in SDR mode, and that’s the most you’ll get because, lacking any sort of local area dimming, you can’t put the screen into HDR mode. However, the display has a matte anti-glare finish that does an excellent job of keeping reflections at bay.

The colour profile is tuned to sRGB, and the gamut coverage reflects this at 99.5% sRGB, 70.5% DCI-P3 and 68.6% AdobeRGB. Measured against the sRGB profile, the average Delta E colour variance was 1.15, which is a very good result, while the contrast ratio was an equally impressive 1,402:1.

What that means is the display is a very solid performer. Still, it lacks the vibrancy, high refresh rates or HDR capabilities you can get from other laptops in roughly the same price bracket like the Asus Vivobook S15 OLED and Huawei MateBook 16s.

The stereo speakers do a solid job. There is plenty of volume (77.6dBA as recorded from a pink noise source at a 1m distance), more than a hint of bass and plenty of detail. The sound isn’t as rich and composed as that generated by the MateBook 16s, but that laptop has an unusually capable sound system.

The D 16’s camera does a decent job even in low-light surroundings, even if it lacks the absolute clarity of the 1080p cameras we’re beginning to see more regularly in rivals. The video feed quality is partly down to Huawei’s “AI Camera” processing suite that also supports virtual backgrounds, beautification, eye tracking and auto-centering.

There are however limitations on the features you can run simultaneously; the virtual background feature, for instance, disables everything else. Webcams on the latest laptops that use Windows’ own Studio Effects running on the new AI NPU “tile” on Intel’s 14th-generation Meteor Lake processors do not suffer these restrictions.

Unusually, Huawei has placed the stereo microphones at the front of the chassis rather than in the lid beside the webcam, and this certainly seemed to pay dividends, given the excellent clarity of voice calls made through the D 16.

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Huawei MateBook D 16 (2024) review: Performance and battery life

No laptop built around a 14-core/20-thread Core i9-13900-H processor is going to want for performance, and so it proved with the Huawei D 16, which posted a handy score of 325 in our standard 4K multimedia benchmark. The D 16 has enough grunt to fly through most productivity tasks and never gets overly hot or loud.

Huawei MateBook D16 (2024). Bar chart comparing laptop 4K media benchmarks

Some of the difference between the D 16’s score and the MateBook 16s’ score of 406 (from the same CPU) is presumably down to the MateBook 16s using faster LPDDR5 RAM rather than the LPDDR4 in the D 16.

The MateBook D 16 doesn’t make a bad fist of light gaming, running the Serious Sam 4 benchmark at just under 60fps at 1080p. That’s perfectly acceptable, given that the display can’t show anything faster than 60fps.

Huawei MateBook D16 (2024). Bar chart comparing laptop GFXBench car chase test results

Away from gaming, the graphics performance is fine by 2023 standards, but this is an area where Intel’s new Meteor Lake chips with their new Arc iGPUs have moved the game forward by offering around twice the performance of the Iris Xe iGPU. The GeekBench 6 OpenCL graphics test scored 17,008 on the D 16 but 35,370 on the Acer Swift Go 14 we tested recently, which uses the new Meteor Lake Arc iGPU.

Huawei MateBook D16 (2024). Bar chart comparing laptop results for Geekbench 6 testing

The 1TB Phison SSD inside the D 16 is divided into a 200GB Windows partition and an 800GB data space. This is typical of Huawei’s practice and reflects the preferences of the Chinese market. It’s not an entirely daft way of doing things and means you can factory reset Windows without losing any data. Still, you do need to remember to set the default download location to the D: drive before you fill the 200GB C: partition by mistake.

Huawei MateBook D16 (2024). Bar chart comparing laptop results for BlackMagic Disk Speed Test storage performance

Idiosyncratic partitioning aside, the drive performed well, recording sequential read and write speeds of 4,048MB/sec and 3,294MB/sec, respectively.

Huawei MateBook D16 (2024). Bar chart comparing battery life of different laptops

Battery life is very good with a full charge of the 70Wh battery lasting 12hrs 55mins in our standard video rundown test. That makes it the second-best in our comparator group after the inevitable winner, the 15in MacBook Air. It’s worth pointing out that the MateBook 16s is close on the D 16’s heels with a runtime of 12hrs 36mins.

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Huawei MateBook D 16 (2024) review: Verdict

The Huawei D 16 was overpriced at launch. For £1,200, I expect more, and faster, I/O ports and a display with an altogether higher specification. For £999, it makes rather more sense as a conventional well-made 16in notebook capable of impressive performance levels with good battery life.

You still have to live with 13th rather than 14th-generation silicon, so you will be forgoing the much-improved graphics and AI performance inherent in the new Metro Lake chips.

The D 16 does well as a workhorse, but if it were my money, I’d find the extra £100 and go for the Huawei MateBook 16s, which has a better display and superior selection of I/O ports.

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