In recent years, Huawei has increased the number of laptops it markets and has even launched some more affordable models under its Honor brand.
At the beginning of September, Huawei presented its new Huawei MateBook 14 AMD laptop, which arrives with a 14 ″ screen, AMD Ryzen 5 4600H / Ryzen 7 4800H processor, 8/16 GB DDR4, 256/512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD, battery 56 Wh, and Windows 10 Home operating system. Its price starts at $ 1,254.84.
This model joins the Huawei MateBook 14 that was launched earlier this year with very similar characteristics but 10th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors.
Huawei MateBook 14 Design and Build
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD has a classic design, with a sleek-looking aluminum body. The laptop is only available in space gray which, although it looks very attractive, can be a bit bland for those looking for bolder colors.
With a weight of 1.49 kg and a thickness of 15.9 mm, it is a laptop that does not take up much space if we put it in a backpack and it does not weigh too much if we have to transport it.
While most laptops have a screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, the Huawei MateBook 14 AMD offers a 3:2 ratio, so the laptop’s “footprint” is more square and less elongated than other models.
Speaking of the display, this one has a glossy finish and is surrounded by rather narrow black frames. In fact, according to the company, the Huawei MateBook 14 AMD offers a screen-to-body ratio of 90 percent.
The hinge that connects the screen to the base holds both elements firmly, so the screen stays still even when you type hard. It also does not move easily if you touch the screen with your finger, although you should know that only the model with the most advanced AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor has a touch screen.
When opening the lid of the laptop, we found a notch on the edge that makes this task easier, but the rigidity of the hinge means that we need to use two hands, one to hold the base and the other to open the lid.
The screen can be folded down to about 60º past the vertical position, but it is not possible to place it completely flat, much less turn it over completely to use the laptop in tablet mode.
The laptop comes with a good selection of ports since, on the left, we find a USB port that allows charging at 65W, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an HDMI port. On the right side, we find two USB-A ports compatible with USB 3.2. Only one SD card slot is missing.
At the bottom of the laptop, we find two horizontal strips that protrude and, therefore, raise the laptop a few millimeters above the table when it is resting.
This allows air to circulate and enter the grille that hides the two fans that direct the hot air from the CPU to the rear of the notebook.
Huawei has made a good job with the keyboard of the MateBook 14 AMD, especially considering that it is a very thin laptop. The space between the keys is sufficient to avoid typing errors, and the keys have a pleasant feel and sufficient travel - although not as much as Lenovo’s ThinkPads.
The keyboard is backlit with two levels of intensity, although the light is not too intense in either case. As we find aspects of improvement, uz escapes through the base of the keys, being especially noticeable in the upper row of keys.
By default, the keyboard light turns off after 15 seconds but it is possible to increase this time to 5 minutes or even to stay on permanently using the pre-installed PC Manager tool.
The trackpad is quite large (135mm diagonal) and feels soft to the touch, although it is made of plastic rather than glass. It does not have visible buttons but it can be pressed at the bottom, left or right. As is often the case with this type of trackpads, the keystrokes are somewhat noisy, especially if you are in a quiet environment.
Huawei MateBook 14 Screen
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD has a 14 ″ IPS LCD screen that offers a resolution of 2,160 x 1,440 pixels, which implies a pixel density of 185 dpi.
This pixel density is below some notebooks on the market, so its sharpness is not as high as other rivals. In practice, if you get very close to the screen, it is possible to distinguish the pixels with the naked eye.
Unlike other notebooks, the display has an unusual 3: 2 screen ratio, instead of the usual 16: 9 ratio. This means that the screen of the MateBook 14 AMD is taller, which is good for working and browsing the Internet, but it does make you see quite large black horizontal stripes when watching a movie or series designed for television or cinema.
The screen exhibits certain light leaks at the edges, especially the bottom and top edge, which are most noticeable when viewing movies with black bands above and below in the dark. On the other hand, since the screen is LCD IPS and not OLED, the black bands are not completely dark but you can see that they are backlit.
The sub-pixel matrix of the screen is RGB type, as is common with LCD panels. In RGB screens, the sub-pixels are arranged one after the other in red-green-blue (RGB) rows.
The maximum brightness of the screen is 417 nits according to my measurements, which is above the value of 300 nits that Huawei indicates on its website. This is quite a high value, although some laptops exceed it, such as the 16 ″ MacBook Pro (2019) with 470 nits.
The finish of the screen is glossy, so in the sunlight, it produces reflections that are annoying when using the laptop. Some manufacturers incorporate matte screens that reduce these reflections. This is not necessarily a problem as most people use their laptops indoors.
The black color is quite deep, with a brightness of only 0.26 nits, which makes the contrast good, around 1,600:1. This value is a bit above the 1,500:1 value that Huawei indicates on its website.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD panel offers a color gamut that covers 100% of the sRGB color space and 73% of the Adobe RGB color space commonly used in photography.
These values indicate that the display can display office application colors with fidelity, but lacks the color breadth needed for professional photographers and video editors.
The fidelity of the colors is high, as the mean error turns out to be 3.7 dE (a value below 4 dE is considered excellent and above 9 is considered unacceptable), and the maximum error is 6.9 dE. It is good data although some laptops like the Surface Laptop 3 improve these values.
The color temperature of the screen turns out to be 7,004ºK, a value slightly above the reference level of 6,500ºK, which implies that the white has a certain bluish cast, although it is hardly noticeable. The gamma value, 2.1, is almost perfect.
Huawei MateBook 14 Hardware and performance
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD can be configured with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H chip with 6 cores (2.4 / 3.0GHz base / maximum frequency) and 12 threads or a Ryzen 7 4800H chip with 8 cores (2.9 / 4.2GHz) and 16 threads. , both built around the 7nm AMD Renoir (Zen 2) architecture and both with 45W TDP.
As for the graphics chip, we are limited to the integrated Vega GPU with 7 cores at 1,600 MHz in the Ryzen 7 4800H and 6 cores at 1,500 MHz in the Ryzen 5 4600H. This limits the options in case you are fond of gaming or need a powerful card for 3D modeling.
RAM options are 8 or 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, and storage options are 256 or 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD.
Although it is possible to replace the SSD disk, it is not possible to increase the RAM or, of course, to replace the graphics card.
The model I have tested is the Huawei MateBook 14 AMD with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor with six cores, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
As for storage, as we have mentioned, the Huawei MateBook 14 AMD comes with 256 or 512 GB PCIe SSDs. The model I have tested is equipped with a 512 GB disk, which is divided into two partitions.
In the graphics section, the Huawei MateBook 14 AMD has an integrated Vega GPU, with different power depending on the processor you choose. It is not a card designed to play but you will be able to play some occasional games without much problem.
In the Fortnite game, I have averaged about 17-18 FPS at the default quality settings, with some momentary FPS drops. I have also tested the game A Plague Tale Innocence, the 3D graphics of which are too complex for the laptop to move smoothly even at fairly low graphics settings.
As we could already anticipate, the performance in 3D games is not very good, so if you are a fan of games, you should evaluate other options with better graphics cards so as not to resign yourself to set the quality at a low level.
The MateBook 14 AMD cooling solution consists of two fans that are connected to the processor via a pair of heat sinks.
To improve dissipation, Huawei has reduced the size of the motherboard by 15 percent. Also, it has included a new dual Shark Fin Fan that increases airflow by 39% thanks to a reduction in the thickness of the blades of 40 percent and an increase in the number of blades of 49%.
In my tests, the computer has remained quiet until I have subjected it to high load conditions, which cause the fans to blare.
In this situation, I have measured 42ºC on the surface of the bottom of the laptop, which can be somewhat annoying if you have the computer resting on your lap.
The MateBook 14 AMD has a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button itself, which allows you to easily unlock the computer by pressing the button to turn on the computer or, if it is idle, the screen.
Up to 10 fingerprints can be stored and the button has memory, so if the computer is turned off, the fingerprint reading will be saved until it is finished turning on so you don’t have to press the button again.
Regarding wireless connectivity, Huawei MateBook 14 AMD supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, as well as Bluetooth 5. However, I would have liked to see WiFi 6 connectivity ( 802.11ax), a somewhat more modern version of Bluetooth, or even an option with cellular connectivity.
The sound quality is quite good, especially considering that it does not have a grill on the keyboard surface for the two 2W speakers. Instead, the speakers are on either side of the trackpad pointing downward.
Although on a table they sound quite good, you should be careful if you support it on your legs because the sound is muffled. The maximum volume is quite high, making it possible to use the laptop for conference calls in large rooms. Also, it has four microphones to better capture the voice.
Huawei indicates that the MateBook 14 AMD has a 56 Wh battery, which offers 10 hours of 1080p video playback, 10 hours of office work, and 8.5 hours of web browsing.
With my usual use of the laptop - web browsing through Chrome with more than a dozen tabs open, WhatsApp / Telegram messaging applications, Outlook email, and photo retouching with Photoshop - I have achieved about 6-7 hours of autonomy with the brightness of the display at a medium value.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD supports fast charging and, according to the company, you get 2.5 hours of autonomy with just 15 minutes of charging. In my tests, full charging from scratch takes about 90 minutes with the included 65W charger, which is quite compact.
It is also possible to charge the laptop using the USB-C port with a conventional charger but it is recommended to use a powerful charger for faster charging.
Huawei’s PC Manager tool allows you to establish a battery protection system that allows you to establish three charging modes:
Home, which stops battery charging when it reaches 70% to extend its life
Work, which stops the battery charge when it reaches 90% to balance the autonomy of the battery and to extend its useful life
Travel, which fully charges the battery to ensure its autonomy.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD camera allows 720p video recording, a resolution sufficient for video conferencing, but I would have liked to see 1080p, especially now that video conferencing has become commonplace.
The camera is hidden in a “sticky” key between F6 and F7, which is permanently hidden until you click on it and it is exposed. As a curiosity, the laptop has a hole as a “drain” in the bottom cover of the laptop so that if you spill liquid over it, it comes out underneath.
The location of the camera is not very convincing to me as the image is captured from too low, so the chin and nose are more visible than the eyes - an unflattering angle. Also, if you do a video conference and type at the same time, what you see on the screen are your giant hands and fingers.
Huawei MateBook 14 Software
Despite the American veto, Microsoft is authorized to continue working with Huawei, so the new Huawei MateBook 14 AMD runs Windows 10 and receives updates regularly.
All Windows 10 laptops are very similar when it comes to software, and the differences between the two devices usually lie in the additional applications that the manufacturer has preloaded, which are usually bloatware.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD runs Windows 10 Home, the consumer version of Microsoft’s operating system. If you need Windows 10 Pro or higher, you can update your version in the Microsoft Store.
In addition to Windows system tools and the Office 365 trial version, we found some pre-installed third-party applications such as Roblox, Deezer, Pinterest, and Spotify, as well as some games such as Mach of Empires: War of Lords and Hidden City: Adventure of hidden objects.
Windows 10 incorporates its Store to get trusted applications but, of course, you can download and install your applications from the Internet without any limitation.
Huawei includes a tool called PC Manager that allows you to manage your computer. It is possible to see the list of all the drivers and check if they are updated, as well as to see all the characteristics of the included hardware and to carry out a diagnosis.
This application also allows you to wirelessly connect a Huawei smartphone by simply resting the smartphone on the surface of the laptop.
This connection not only allows us to transfer photos and videos that we have taken with the phone, but the phone screen will appear on the laptop and is updated in real-time. This allows you to drag and drop files between them, in both directions, in a transparent way, as if it were an additional disk drive.
It is possible to edit files on the phone and on the laptop while, at the same time, you chat with someone on the mobile using the keyboard and mouse of the computer.
Another very practical utility is the possibility of sharing the clipboard between both devices, so as not to have to go around emailing web page addresses or other texts. You can also answer calls on your computer.
Huawei MateBook 14 Price
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD is available in three variants:
- Huawei MateBook 14 2020 AMD (Ryzen 5 4600H, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD): USD 858.16
- Huawei MateBook 14 2020 AMD (Ryzen 5 4600H, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD): USD 1,254.84
- Huawei MateBook 14 2020 AMD (Touchscreen, Ryzen 7 4800H, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD): US$1,254.84
Unfortunately, it is not possible to get out of these configurations so we cannot, for example, combine 512GB of storage with 8GB of RAM, or do without the touch screen on the model with a Ryzen 7 4800H processor.
Although it is possible to replace the SSD hard disk in technical service, it is not possible to expand the RAM or replace the graphics card.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD is a laptop with a very attractive design, both for its metallic finish in space gray color and for its dimensions and weight, which allow it to be transported comfortably.
As soon as we open it, we find a keyboard with large and separate backlit keys, which offer enough travel when pressed. The trackpad is quite generous in size and supports tapping on the bottom, making it comfortable to use.
The power button integrates a fingerprint reader, so you just have to put your finger up to turn on the computer or activate the screen to access our desktop.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD incorporates a good number of ports. On the left, we find a USB port that allows charging at 65W, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an HDMI port. On the right side, we find 2 USB-A ports compatible with USB 3.2.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD screen offers good color reproduction in terms of fidelity, although it does not cover as wide a color gamut as other notebooks, so it is not suitable for professional photo or video retouching. Its maximum brightness, around 417 nits, is high and allows the laptop to be used in bright environments, although with certain reflections.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD is available with processors Ryzen 5 4600H or AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, in both cases with integrated graphics GPU Vega without the possibility of opting for a more powerful discrete graphics card.
It is possible to combine this processor with 8 or 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, as well as 256 or 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage, although not all combinations are possible. Although it is possible to replace the SSD hard drive, it is not possible to expand the RAM.
The model I have tested is the one with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. On a day-to-day basis, office applications, video playback, and the browser move smoothly, so for my regular use, I have not missed more power.
In terms of 3D performance, games move with a fairly fair FPS rate unless you reduce the graphics quality settings, so it is not portable especially suitable for gaming.
The 3: 2 ratio of the screen is ideal for working or browsing the Internet, but it is not the best for watching movies as there are quite wide stripes above and below. In any case, if you want to, you’ll be glad to know that the speakers sound good despite pointing straight ahead - they’re tucked away on either side of the trackpad and face down.
The Huawei MateBook 14 AMD has a 56 Wh battery that offers good autonomy since in my tests I have obtained about 6-7 hours of continuous use with moderate use. The full charging process with the included 65W charger takes an hour and a half, making it relatively quick.
In the software section, the Huawei MateBook 14 AMD runs Windows 10 Home, which you can upgrade to other versions by paying on the Microsoft website.
If you have a Huawei smartphone, you will be happy to know that it offers an application called PC Manager that allows you to connect your mobile wirelessly to see the phone screen on the desktop and even be able to drag files from one to another in a transparent way or answer calls.
In conclusion, if you are looking for an attractive and comfortable laptop to carry, with a bright screen and true-to-life colors, capable of running office and multimedia applications smoothly and offering respectable autonomy, the Huawei MateBook 14 AMD is a good option.