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Huawei MateView review: Worth the price of admission

Tim Danton
5 Oct 2021
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
599
inc VAT

Huawei’s debut monitor boasts style, features and simplicity, but the panel itself isn’t quite perfect

Pros 
Innovative design
3:2 ratio is great for focusing on documents
Decent stand
Cons 
Limited display controls
Illogical port locations
Disappointing backlight uniformity
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Whatever your views about Huawei as a company, this monitor proves one thing beyond a doubt: it knows how to innovate. With its screen debut, it takes an entirely different approach to the rest of the industry, and in doing so has created a screen that is both unique and brilliant.

Huawei MateView review: Design and display

First up, there’s the most obvious difference: the design. I’m not just talking about the way the screen appears to hang in mid-air in front of you, due in part to the slim bezel, or the super-thin panel or even the stylish silver stand. I’m talking about the aspect ratio, which moves away from the widescreen norm and instead offers a squarer – almost old-school – 3:2 panel.

This makes a difference in practice. You can’t easily have three windows side by side, but it lends itself nicely to two concurrent windows – and even better to a single window if you want to focus on a document. I surprised myself by how quickly I adapted after years of using 32in widescreen monitors. In fact, I much prefer it in Word and for web browsing.

The next big change is to the controls. Instead of traditional buttons or joysticks, there’s a touch-sensitive strip mounted under the bottom bezel. Tap this and the main menu appears, with a choice of eye comfort, brightness, input source, gamut and settings. You slide left to select brightness (right up to 490cd/m² in our tests) and then tap once to activate it: and then you slide along again until you find the level you want. It’s incredibly simple. When you’re done, you either wait for the OSD to disappear or double tap to return to a previous menu.

What Huawei doesn’t offer – and again this is a philosophical difference – is a huge range of options. Take your colour gamut choices. You can choose DCI-P3, sRGB or Native. And that’s it. No fiddling with gain to control blues, for example, not even an option to adjust contrast. Huawei has calibrated the screen to DCI-P3 (with 94% coverage in our tests) and sRGB (98%), and you will darn well like it. I miss not having a colour-temperature control – in both colour spaces, this was around 6100K – but there is always that eye-saver option.

If there’s one thing that Huawei can improve, it’s uniformity. I don’t normally discuss this as variations tend to be within 10% or so, and that doesn’t make a visible difference, but here the variance was almost 20% around the outer edges. Will most people notice? Perhaps not, but it contributes to a drop-off in viewing angles as you move away from the centre. It’s the one big blot on this panel’s report card.

Huawei MateView review: Connectivity and speakers

Not satisfied with HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C connections, Huawei bakes in Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 to give wireless projection options. If you have an Honor or Huawei phone, you can tap an icon on the stand’s foot to activate a connection. If you own a Windows 10 PC, you can use the wireless display option to connect, but there’s a lag and the effective resolution drops significantly.

Huawei also includes a pair of 5W speakers, which are surprisingly good. I would normally say stick to podcasts and video calls at this point, but they have just enough punch and detail to make listening to music a pleasant experience. There’s even a pair of noise-cancelling mics built in, and while they]re echoey they record your voice clearly even from a few metres away.

This all means you should be able to clear some clutter from your desk, but Huawei ruins the MateView’s clean lines by including the USB-C connector for laptops at the side. There’s a rear USB-C socket, which sits alongside the other video inputs, but that’s for connecting the chunky external power supply. Note the two USB-A ports mounted on the side as well. Not only can these be used over a USB-C connection, but also if you’re connecting wirelessly.

Despite the positioning of the USB ports, I’m a fan of the stand. It’s solid, the front-mounted speaker grille adds panache, and it’s also practical thanks to 110mm of height adjustment and plenty of tilt. You don’t get support for portrait mode or any swivel, but at 6.2kg the MateView is relatively light and it moves smoothly on a desk if you want to share your screen.

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Huawei MateView review: Verdict

The MateView isn’t the dream debut Huawei was no doubt hoping for, with the brightness drop-off being a particular disappointment, and it’s hard to get excited by its wireless projection features. But there’s so much that’s excellent here – the controls, the design, the aspect ratio – that it justifies the price.