Huawei MateBook 13 Review: A High Performance Ultrabook With Caveats

Huawei MateBook 13: Storage and CPU Tests

Before jumping into our gauntlet of benchmarks, we applied the latest Windows and Huawei software updates to the MateBook 13. Other than that, we did not change any settings. Our goal is to test the system as it ships to accurately reflect what buyers can expect from an out-of-box experience. Our benchmarking kicks off with storage and CPU tests to get an idea how the MateBook 13 performs in day-to-day tasks.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
Peak Sequential Storage Throughput

Running ATTO allows us to gauge the speed of the storage drive in the MateBook 13. Huawei opted for a 512GB M.2 NVMe solid state drive. This shuttles data through the PCIe bus for much faster file transfers than what can be achieved on even the speediest SATA-bound SSDs.

huawei matebook 13 bench atto

The MateBook 13 we received contains a Samsung PM981 which is among the more prevalent high-speed NVMe drives that OEMs employ. Read speeds settle in at around 2.8 GB/s here, while write speeds hover around 1.75 GB/s. Booting the OS and launching common applications should not be any issue. We found we could consistently boot the MateBook 13 from a cold start in under 7 seconds, including a fingerprint sign-in.

SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark
JavaScript Processing Performance

SunSpider tests JavaScript performance to provide a good idea of what to expect with web browsing. We used the default Edge browser in Windows 10 to run the benchmark.

huawei matebook 13 bench sunspider

The Huawei MateBook 13 is off to a rough start in our comparative benchmarks. To be fair, the other Whiskey Lake bearing notebook we have tested -- the new Dell XPS 13 -- also struggled here. This could be a result of changes to the Edge browser, or maybe a sign of additional latency in the new architecture or more conservative boost speeds with lighter workloads. Either way we are not too concerned. This does not indicate any real issue with handling JavaScript in real-world scenarios.

Cinebench R15
3D Rendering On The CPU And GPU

Cinebench R15 is a 3D rendering benchmark that tests both the CPU and GPU engines in the processor. Cinebench is developed by Maxon, which is better known for its Cinema 4D software employed in professional 3D rendering and animation studios. We use both of Cinebench’s integrated tests for CPU and GPU.

huawei matebook 13 bench cinebench r15

With a heavy compute workload, the MateBook 13 comes out swinging for the fences. Impressively, it beats out the similarly equipped XPS 13. The OpenGL tests are equally as promising, as it brings in the highest MX150 based score and is only a few clicks behind the Zbook X2's Quadro M620 and XPS 15 2-in-1's RX Vega M. It also leaves its bigger sibling -- the MateBook X Pro -- in its wake.

Geekbench 4
Single and multi-core

Geekbench 4 is a cross-platform benchmark that simulates real world processing workloads in image processing and particle physics scenarios. We tested the MateBook 13 in Geekbench's single and multi-core test workloads.

huawei matebook 13 bench geekbench 4

The MateBook 13 doubles down in Geekbench 4's processor test. The MateBook 13 takes a 1% lead over the XPS 13 in the single-threaded test while breaking out to a nearly 5.5% lead in the multi-threaded workload. This suggests the MateBook 13 may indeed be more efficient at cooling its CPU than the XPS 13. This is probably not surprising considering that the cooling fans are intended to tame both the CPU and GPU here. 

Now let's open things up with a general productivity benchmark...

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