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Huawei Matebook X Pro (2024) review: A lightweight wonder

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £2099
inc VAT

The best laptop Huawei has ever made, but the ultra light MateBook X Pro (2024) is just far too expensive


  • Ultra light
  • Beautifully well made
  • Fantastic screen


  • High price
  • Single specification in the UK

Super light laptops are nothing new but we still don’t see sub-1kg machines all that often, and those with screens bigger than 13in are vanishingly rare. The latest Huawei Matebook X Pro (2024) ticks both of those boxes while also delivering a specification, design and build quality that’s hard to fault.

No two ways about it, this year’s MateBook X Pro is a stupendous little laptop. It’s beautifully made, fast and incredibly lightweight, and it’s packed with thoughtful and useful features. There are only two caveats: the first is that it is expensive – the priciest Huawei MateBook X Pro yet; and the second is that, even if you wanted one, it’s possible that you won’t be able to buy one at all.

That’s because, on 7 May 2024, the US reportedly revoked some of Intel’s export licences, which had allowed it to export some semiconductors to Huawei. The details haven’t been revealed but it’s clearly a decision that could affect the availability of Intel-based Huawei laptops both now and in the future.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024) review: What do you need to know

The major attraction of the Huawei MateBook, however, is its slender chassis, which measures a mere 13.5mm at its thickest part, and weighs a meagre 980g. It’s also jam packed with all the latest hardware.

Inside, it’s equipped with the latest Intel Core Ultra 9 185H CPU, with 40W Intel Arc Graphics on board and Intel’s discrete NPU (neural processing unit). It’s backed by 32GB of RAM and a sizeable 2TB SSD as standard.

Despite its sub-1kg weight, the MateBook X Pro (2024) has a relatively large 14.2in OLED touchscreen display, which uses the same flexible OLED panel technology as used in foldable phones – to keep the weight down. The screen has a practical 3:2 aspect ratio, a resolution of 3,120 x 2,080 pixels and a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It’s topped with scratch-resistant glass and has narrow bezels, too, for a 93% screen-to-body ratio.

Other key features include two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports and one USB-C 3.2, a glass-topped haptic touchpad, an infrared 1440p webcam that supports Windows Hello login and a fingerprint reader built into the power button that does the same.

Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core Ultra 9 185H CPU with Arc Graphics; 32GB RAM; 2TB SSD; 14.2in 120Hz OLED display; Price when reviewed: £2,099

For this lightweight wonder, however, you can expect to pay through the nose. There’s only one UK specification available – the one with the Core Ultra 9 185H, 32GB of RAM and that 2TB SSD – and it will cost a hefty £2,099 inc VAT when it hits the shops on 18 June.

That’s not quite as much as Apple is asking for a 13.6in M3 MacBook Air of similar specification – with 24GB RAM and 2TB SSD storage. A M3 MacBook Air is £2,199 – but it isn’t far off. And it doesn’t compare well with other similar Windows machines.

The Asus Zenbook 14 OLED, which admittedly isn’t quite as powerful, slender or light as this machine, is half the price at £1,255 and it most certainly isn’t half the laptop. It comes with a 14in OLED touchscreen, an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. To top it all off, Asus even includes a stylus in the box; it’s a superb machine for the money.

For a mere £2,000, meanwhile, you could pick up my favourite laptop this year: the Asus Zenbook Duo (2024). It comes with a near identical specification to the Huawei – a Core Ultra 9, 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD – but has two 14in 120Hz OLED displays, not just one.

And if raw power in a portable package is what you seek, you could also take a look at the latest batch of compact gaming machines from the likes of HP and Lenovo, notably the HP Omen Transcend 14 and the Lenovo Slim 5 Gen 8. We’ve tested both, and despite being significantly heavier than the Huawei it’s worth paying the penalty for the performance-to-weight ratio.

The Omen Transcend 14 costs £1,549 and comes with a 120Hz OLED display, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and includes an Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, while the Lenovo comes with a similar specification but with an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU in place of the Intel one.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro 2024 review: Design and key features

  • Super light – 980g
  • Stiff magnesium alloy chassis
  • No 3.5mm jack

From the outside, it must be said, the Huawei MateBook X Pro doesn’t look much. My review sample was finished in a fairly dull-looking bluish-grey with a matte finish, and its wedge-shaped profile with rounded corners is about as derivative as it gets.

It is mercifully minimalistic, which I like, the base being largely clear of labels, fussy vents and grilles. And the same matte finish that wraps both the base and the lid extends to the inside, surrounding the touchpad and keyboard. I am a big fan of the way this feels under the finger, by the way: it’s rough yet refined and resists fingerprints nicely – a refreshingly different approach to the smooth brushed or anodised finishes that are so widely popular on most premium ultraportables.

Moreover, there’s something miraculous about how stiff and rigid the whole thing feels. It’s built from magnesium alloy and whether you twist the lid or the base there’s no creaking whatsoever, and there’s very, very little flex. This feels bombproof – a feat given how light it is.

Speaking of achievements, the speaker system on this machine is another area where this laptop outdoes itself and most others of its ilk. The speakers, which fire up from either side of the keyboard, emit prodigiously loud audio, that is both detailed and remarkably full-bodied. There isn’t much in the way of bass but Huawei has managed to imbue the sound profile with a pleasing amount of body. Podcasts, radio and audiobooks sound great on it, you’ll still want to hook up your headphones for movies and music, though.

It’s a little less impressive elsewhere. Look around the edges and you’ll see that, despite there being three USB-C ports (one USB 3.2 and two Thunderbolt 4), Huawei has neglected to include a 3.5mm audio jack or any kind of card reader. The much cheaper Asus Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) has an audio connector, plus a full-sized HDMI output and a 5Gbits/sec USB-A port.

The keyboard feels a little rattly under the finger, too. Don’t get me wrong here, I quite enjoyed typing on it. Large key tops coupled with plenty of surrounding space – and a reasonable amount of key travel – combine to deliver a decently comfortable and quick touch-typing experience. And in a neat touch, it has a dedicated key for launching voice typing between the F6 and F7 keys. It’s just that I’d expect a slightly higher-quality feel from a laptop costing north of two grand.

The haptic touchpad is a dream, though. I love how you can run your finger up and down the left and right edges to adjust the screen brightness. The way the touchpad goes right up to the front edge of the wristrest is a nice visual touch, too, setting the laptop apart from the competition.

I did attempt to remove the base of the laptop to have a little look inside, but after removing six tiny Torx screws and prising the front edge of the base away from the main chassis, I struggled to get the rear corners to release. Nervous that I was applying too much force and unable to find any other screws, I gave up at this point, which is a shame. Even if you can’t upgrade the RAM or storage, it’s always good to be able to get into a laptop, if only to perform essential maintenance like cleaning the fans or swapping out a bad battery for a good one.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024) review: Display

  • Choice of factory-calibrated presets
  • Bright and colour accurate
  • 3:2 aspect ratio is practical for working

The 3K OLED 120Hz touch display is becoming something of a standard in 2024 on laptops costing £1,500 and up. Where manufacturers often fall short, however, is that they rarely calibrate the screens in the factory and colour accuracy suffers as a result.

The Huawei MateBook X Pro bucks that trend by including a whole host of calibration presets for its OLED display, switchable in its Display Manager software. The default is “Native” but you can also choose from eight other profiles, including sRGB, BT.709 (BT.1886), AdobeRGB (D65) and a number of rather hard-to-decipher profiles based on the P3 colour space. There’s “Photography (DCI-P3)”, and two “Digital Cinema” profiles – “P3-DCI” and “P3-D65”, plus an “ebook” profile that turns the screen greyscale for reading.

The MateBook X Pro also has the option to match the white point of the display with the white point of the lighting in your room, and there’s a toggle to enable an “Eye Comfort” mode, which cuts out blue light for use in darkened rooms late at night.

So how does it look? It looks great with all types of content, from documents to HDR YouTube videos, and that’s backed up by a stellar performance in our technical tests. I measured peak brightness at 600cd/m2 in non-HDR mode and a mind-blowing 1,219cd/m2 with HDR content. Black level response is effectively as perfect as you’d expect and colour reproduction runs to 117% of DCI-P3 in Native mode. It’s plenty capable, in other words.

It’s also highly colour accurate. I tested the Digital Cinema (P3-D65) profile first, comparing it against the stock D65 colour profile in DisplayCal and saw a Delta E colour variance across greyscale and colour test patches of a mere 1.01, a result that by any standards is exceptional. The sRGB and AdobeRGB modes weren’t quite as good but scores of 1.31 and 1.41 are still highly impressive.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024) review: Performance and battery life

  • Intel Core 9 Ultra 185H is quick
  • GPU allows for casual gaming
  • Battery life well below par

Unusually, there’s only one model of MateBook X Pro (2024) available in the UK and it comes with an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H CPU inside, 32GB of quad-channel RAM and a 2TB SSD. The Core Ultra 9 is Intel’s top-level chip in its new range of AI-enabled CPUs and it has 16 physical cores (22 threads) split across 6 performance cores, 8 efficient cores and 2 low-power efficient cores. Maximum Turbo clock frequency is 5.1GHz and it has a TDP of 45W.

I’ve seen this processor once before, inside the excellent Asus Zenbook Duo (2024), where it delivered strong performance, and decent battery life. Here, we have equivalent performance, with strong numbers in both CPU and GPU tests – it beats the M3 Apple MacBook Air across the board and achieves similar stamina in the battery life tests.

It can’t match the cheaper Lenovo and HP machines for GPU power, naturally, as those machines have discrete Nvidia GPUs, but its Intel Arc Graphics give it more oomph for creative jobs and a little light gaming than Windows machines with Iris Xe graphics.

Battery life is decent, too, despite the first three runs of the battery life benchmark returning disappointing results, only reaching 6hrs 46mins in our standard test. It turned out the laptop was quietly engaging Huawei’s Super Turbo mode whenever I fired up VLC, so I disabled this in the Huawei settings and tried again and this time it jumped up to 10hrs 46mins, which was a much more impressive result.

Super Turbo Mode, according to Huawei’s website, “intelligently identifies app running scenarios and manages system resources based on the status of hardware such as CPUs, GPUs, memory, hard disks, and batteries”, which sounds impressive. However, since you can’t really tell which apps it’s accelerating – the popup doesn’t appear consistently and there’s no other way to tell what it’s doing – you’re better off disabling it, especially as it seems to have a detrimental effect on battery life.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024) review: Verdict

The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024) is a great example of superb piece of hardware, undone by wrong-headed pricing and component choices. There’s so much to like here, but it’s the light weight, finish, build quality and speakers that impress – not the single, super high-end specification or the high price that comes from it.

This is such a shame because thanks to the US export licence situation, this may well be one of the last Huawei laptops we see with an Intel CPU and, had Huawei chosen to offer it with a Core 7 Ultra with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, it might very well be one of the greatest, too. As it is, I just can’t see many people taking the plunge. The Huawei MateBook X Pro (2024) is a very, very good laptop, but it’s not quite good enough to justify that price.

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