Huawei MateBook 13 Review: A High Performance Ultrabook With Caveats

Huawei MateBook 13: Battery Life, Acoustics, and Thermals

In the following benchmarks we employ two very different battery life tests, Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test developed in-house, to prove out battery life with our test group of machines. In all tests, Windows 10 Quiet Hours has been enabled and the displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. For the average laptop this is somewhere between a 40-60 percent brightness setting.

Since laptop displays significantly affect power consumption and battery life, it is important to ensure a level playing field with respect to the brightness of the display for battery testing. However, since many laptop displays vary in brightness at each respective setting in Windows, this calibration with the meter is critical to ensure all displays are set to as near identical brightness as possible before testing.

Battery Life - How We Test:

Our custom HotHardware video loop test takes a 1080p HD video with a 16Kbps bit rate and loops it repeatedly, with 1-minute break intervals in between. A timer log file increments minutes of up-time every minute-- along with the grand total-- before system shutdown is stored in the log. This is a lighter-duty test that is still a bit more strenuous than many office productivity tasks, but it is not nearly as taxing as the load Battery Eater puts on a system.

huawei matebook 13 bench hh video loop

The Huawei MateBook 13 falls right into the middle of the pack here. Frankly, we want to see as much battery life as we can get out of an ultrabook. While this has a higher-resolution 2048x1440 display than many of the other systems on the list, the Dell XPS 13 with an even higher-resolution 4K display manages to edge it out. Unlike the Dell, there is no option for a lower-resolution 1080p class display, however. Five and a half hours is a decent amount of up-time for a machine with this level of performance and a relatively small battery, but we wish it was stronger.

huawei matebook 13 bench battery eater

The BatteryEater benchmark is far more brutal. To be fair, BatteryEater does abuse both the CPU and GPU during its wind down and the addition of a discrete GPU won't help the MateBook here. Most users will find their battery life to span several hours, but this result represents a worst-case scenario when the GPU and CPU are loaded and the screen never shuts off.

Huawei MateBook 13 Acoustics and Thermals

The MateBook 13 has an undeniable amount of horsepower to keep chilled for peak performance. Small notebooks are difficult enough to cool without a discrete GPU, but it seems for the most part Huawei has risen to the occasion.

huawei matebook 13 cooling fans

The so-called Shark Fin Design 2.0 cooling solution is mostly effective at keeping temperatures and noise under control. There is some thermal throttling under sustained loads, of course, but this is really only an issue when both the CPU and GPU are running full-bore at a collective 40W TDP. The MateBook 13 has little difficulty keeping heat in check when just the CPU is engaged. 

The keyboard area only ever gets a little warm to the touch. Our infrared thermometer detected a peak of 102° F (39.4° C) near the power button under load. This is not really hot enough to be uncomfortable, particularly when the rest of the board resides around a more reasonable 91° F (33° C).

huawei matebook 13 sound levels

Huawei's MateBook 13 also never gets particularly loud. For the most part, the notebook runs silently. The fans only spin up to any significant extent under load. Even then, the levels measured by our sound pressure level meter bounced between 38dB and 40dB. It remains to be seen how the cooling fans fair with age, but this is a promising start.

The volume levels from the system's built-in speakers are not so shy. The speakers are respectably loud, peaking around 85dB. Unfortunately, because the speakers are downward facing, a lot of lower and higher frequencies get muffled. The audio does not sound as rich as some other ultrabooks we have tested with upward or user-facing speakers. It is serviceable, but audiophiles will be better served elsewhere.

Now to wrap up our final thoughts...

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