Huawei has been more aggressively putting out its PC solutions to the PH market for over two years now. They have been launching products that have the design spirit of a Macbook but with the specs of a Windows PC. With the release of the 2021 lineup including the Matebook 14 2021, Huawei opted to maintain mostly the same design from the previous line. It’s a simple strategy – but it’s one that seems to be working with Huawei.
Compared to its previous 2020 version, the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 shares almost the same hardware specifications. There is a slight bump in the CPU, GPU, and DRAM. But it’s basically the same notebook launched a few months ago in terms of everything else.
At a price of Php64,990 in the Philippines, the Huawei Matebook 14 is up for a challenge. It’s against a competitive ultrabook pricepoint from various other more familiar brands. Now, the question is – is the Matebook 14 2021 it worth buying, given its slew of unique features? Here’s our full review after using the notebook for a few days.
We were able to get our hands on the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 with the 14-inch IPS panel, Intel Core i5-1135G7, 16GB DDR4 Dual-Channel RAM, Intel Iris Xe Integrated Graphics. Here’s our review on this device:
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Design and Build Quality
Simply put, the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 is a very clean-looking laptop. There are very minimal obstructions or unique bumps or grooves on its chassis. It has a much darker grey/gunmetal color than any macbook which is more on light gray/silver. However, its shade is similar to the space grey found in an iPad, and the same black keyboard color.
As for its dimensions, it’s not exactly the thinnest or lightest laptop in this segment. But it definitely is in the competition for having the most premium feel because of its metallic body. It measures 307.5mm x 223.8mm x 15.99, with a weight of 1.59kg.
The keyboard has a nicely-spaced layout. It also has as a soft tactile feel and 2 levels of backlight illumination. The power button on the upper right side also serves as the fingerprint scanner. This can automatically authenticate your identity upon startup to login automatically to Windows.
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Display
The screen quality on the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 is definitely its strongest selling point. Huawei definitely put more emphasis into making sure that the screen quality is top notch. It is catered for professionals who are looking for a sharp, high-quality experience when using this notebook everyday.
Touted as the 2K Fullview display, it uses a 14-inch, 2160×1440, 185 PPI IPS LED Touchscreen panel. It has a 90% screen-to-body ratio, with just 4.9mm bezels on the top, left and right sides of the screen. In terms of color, it also has 100% sRGB color gamut. The colors are as accurate as it can be. Contrast is at 1500:1, while maximum brightness is at 300 nits. The entire screen has a beautiful flat glossy finish, which looks very premium. It also has TÜV Rheinland-certified Low Blue Light certification. This means that it is great for reducing eye strain especially when using for long hours. Details are sharp and colors pop out when using to view high-resolution photos and videos.
One major downside about the screen is its low refresh rate, which is vital for for gaming-focused notebooks. Other competitors are already pushing with 90hz or above at this price point. However, this panel still has a relatively standard 60hz refresh rate. Of course, Huawei opted to include a touchscreen panel instead of having a high refresh rate panel. This just highlights further that the Matebook 14 is not a gaming machine. Actually, our other gaming tests also aligned with this.
Another downside would be the weak performance during bright days or sunlight legibility. The laptop has a very shiny, glossy display and a average brightness rating (nits). It is not recommended to use this notebook on a sunny day or outdoors. At full brightness, the details on the screen were barely legible.
Multi-touch support up to 10 points and finger gestures can also be used on the Matebook 14. Responsiveness to touch is quite good. I did not experience any issues using this feature.
Overall, the display is beautifully engineered and a joy on the eyes. After using the Matebook 14 for 4-8 straight hours, its display is one of the best so far in any notebook, ever. It comes almost close to the experience I had with the Gigabyte Aorus 15P KC.
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Ports and Connectivity
Unlike most ultrabooks though, the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 still has both USB Type-C and Type-A ports. At the left side of the notebook is the USB Type-C (non-thunderbolt) port. This can be used to connect external devices and also charge the laptop via the included 65W charger. Huawei doesn’t specifically (or officially) put compatibility with as PD (Power Delivery) or QC (Quick Charge) standards. However, they just mentioned that it’s compatible with multiple charging standards. There is also a combo audio jack and a full HDMI port.
On the right side of the laptop there are two USB Type-A ports. Both of them support USB 3.2 Gen 1 devices (up to 5Gbps). This isn’t the latest iteration of USB ports, though. It’s curious why Huawei didn’t use USB Gen 3.2 2×2 which is the latest version (capable of supporting 20Gbps).
Connectivity – Wireless and Bluetooth
As with most 11th Gen Intel Core laptops, the Huawei Matebook 14 is compatible with the Wi-Fi 6. We’ve already discussed Wi-FI 6 in a lengthy discussion here. It basically decreases connectivity issues when used in public places such as airports. It’s great that Huawei already included this for this laptop. Hopefully more routers and networking devices will already start to adopt this standard. Overall we did not encounter any issues with connectivity using this notebook. It also comes with Bluetooth 5.1 which is the latest standard available for bluetooth technology and support low-power bluetooth devices. Legacy devices won’t have a trouble connecting with it.
HUAWEI MATEBOOK 14 2021 TEARDOWN
The outside design of the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 was relatively plain. However, we were curious to find out about the significant differences that Huawei made on the inside. Secured by just 10 TORX screws and pried open with a spudger, the bottom part of the case popped off with relative ease.
Upon opening, the laptop revealed its upgraded cooling system in full glory. Huawei’s dual copper heatpipe design with two Sharkfin cooling fans occupy a generous part of the motherboard assembly. The fans suck in air from the bottom and let out on the back part of the lid. There are much more fan blades than before. The blades are super thin at just 0.2mm. Despite having much more fins, they are amazingly quiet. Even compared to other fan designs that I’ve had experience with before. At full load during benchmarking apps, noise was barely noticeable, and temperatures were not too high.
A huge part of the laptop is also the massive 7330mah/56Wh Lithium-Ion Polymer battery. Luckily enough, this seems to be relatively easy to replace. Compared to previous generations, Huawei didn’t seem to change much on this. It also seems to be the main reason why the laptop is relatively heavy.
Here are other shots of the internals of the laptop:
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Storage
Powering the device is a single 512GB PCIE NVMe SSD (solid state drive), made by Western Digital. It’s fast, quiet, cool, and was able to load applications and boot up the entire system quickly. There is only one SSD slot. Bootup time was incredibly quick, and it’s great that Huawei was able to put the latest SSD available in the market into the Huawei Matebok 14 2021. Users of this device can swap out the SSD for a faster one or replace it easily if there comes a time that it needs to be replaced.
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Battery
Huawei currently rates the Matebook 14 2021 with 11 hours of battery life (playing 1080p video straight), and it’s not a surprise that it can actually reach that.
There are different battery tests, and some reviews might use the battery drain method of just playing a video straight until the battery dies. That’s fine. But no one is going to do that everyday. The more important aspect is the practical use on a daily basis.
Test 1 “Daily mode”: We used the Matebook 14 for a full working day on better battery mode with random light tasks such as playing videos, running multiple programs at the same time for productivity, and WIFI turned on, Brightness at less than half. We breezed through around 8 hours easily. We did this for three straight days and the results were around 7 to 8 hours consistently.
Test 2 “Performance mode”: After using the Matebook for around 4 hours straight at performance mode with 5-8 applications running (excel, multiple tabs on chrome+Youtube, powerpoint, word), and with brightness set to half, it still had 24% remaining with 1 hour and 36 minutes left. That’s incredible performance all things considered.
Because since the 2K Fullview display is a high-resolution display with much greater demand for power, it was one of the factors that greatly contributed to battery drain. Setting it at lower brightness should be the highest priority if users want to save more battery life.
The package includes a 65W Huawei SuperCharge charger with a detachable USB Type-C cable. The charger is capable of charging the laptop to 100% in little over an hour. Of course, the charger can also charge other USB Type-C devices. In addition, it can also be charged with other chargers that are 65W rated. However, we are not sure what kind of specific certification should be used, as devices are notoriously nitpicky. We used a Baseus 65W GAN Charger that’s PD 3.0 and Quickcharge compatible, and it charged the device just fine.
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Hardware Performance and Benchmarks
This laptop runs on the 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe Integrated graphics, and 16GB of DDR4 3200Mhz DRAM. However, this is the first time we encountered a laptop with this GPU. But according to initial tests, this CPU only has a 3% lower score compared to the Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU. We already had somewhat of an idea on how the older brother of the i5 version performed based on our review of the Acer Swift 3X. However, it was our first time to encounter the Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics. Since we do know that it is a few miles behind the Intel Iris Xe Max discrete GPU, which didn’t really perform well on our initial tests, the expectation for the Intel Iris Xe was also somewhat low.
The 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 codenamed “Tiger Lake” runs on 4 cores and 8 threads. Each core can clock from 2.4 GHz (base clock) to 4.2 GHz (single core boost). It is being produced on the 10nm Superfin process which is being compared to the 7nm process used by AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series. Intel was aiming on energy efficiency when making these processors, and saving battery life was the priority. It runs on 28W TDP. There are a host of new features that Intel introduced with this, such as support for:
- Dual-channel DDR4-3200 or LPDDR4x-4267 RAM
- native PCIe 4.0 support (4 lanes)
- hardware AI acceleration
- Thunderbolt 4, USB 4 and Wi-Fi 6
We tested the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 through different benchmarking tools of 3DMark, which test different aspects of primarily the CPU and GPU.
On the comparison tool on the website of 3DMark, the Intel Iris Xe GPU was not yet officially recognized, and was indicated as just a generic GPU. Of course, this might be primarily due to the Iris Xe being relatively new, and not many software actually support it yet. Better drivers might be able to support this better in the future. But as of now, here’s the results from 3DMark.
Generally speaking, test scores showed that with systems of the same configuration, the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 scored similarly, with only Night Raid and Time Spy scores scoring more than average.
Upon further analysis, the GPU’s lack of capabilities at in-game physics affected the 3DMark scores negatively. Even at full load, the GPU could not compensate for the demanding tests in this aspect.
Additional stress tests however showed results of 97-99% pass rating, thus the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 has a fully stable system. Even at full load, the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 was able to keep quite cool and quiet, thus there might be some thermal throttling involved to not be able to fully overload the system.
Cinebench R23 scores primarily focus on the power of the CPU for running on its single core and multi-core capabilities. The Huawei Matebook 14 2021 scored 5,221 points on multi-core test, and 1,317 points on the single-core test.
Crystaldiskmark is a benchmarking tool to test the speed and performance of the storage device. For this test, there is a separate setting to test NVME drives, so that was used. I also almost maxed out the storage capacity of the partition to check if it will affect the overall speed.
From the test, the Western Digital SN730 512GB PCIE NVMe SSD scored insanely well, and it was a good decision of Huawei to use this SSD. It scored even better than a more expensive Samsung 970 Evo NVME on sequential read/write. Even on Random 4K the scores were higher compared to similar SSD’s. This resulted in quick file transfers, both for large files and multiple small files – definitely a plus when you’re planning to use this laptop on-the-go for most of the time.
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Gaming Performance
Before we go through the gaming performance, it’s important to note that the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 is not built to be a gaming machine. Although the Intel Core i5-1165G7 CPU is powerful on its own right, the Intel Iris Xe is not a discrete gaming GPU. Some people would associate the relatively high cost of the notebook as something that can take everything that can be thrown at it. In fact, even Intel themselves does not claim that the integrated Iris Xe graphics can run AAA titles and even with lighter games, only low settings should be used.
It can be pointed out that the Iris Xe should be able to run the games on the right side of the graph with relative ease at +100FPS. However, these games (League of Legends, Valorant, CS:GO, Dota 2) are all games that can technically run on a 5-year old low-end potato PC. That said, I tried to run Valorant, CS:GO, and PUBG on the Huawei Matebook 14 and the results are… pretty disappointing.
All games were played using the latest Intel Iris Xe drivers version 220.127.116.1166 (3/30/2021)
Playing PUBG was not only an uncomfortable experience at the lowest setting, but the notebook also ran a little hotter than usual during the entire experience. Despite running at the lowest possible setting at 1080P, PUBG only ran at around 35-37 FPS, with the Intel Iris Xe almost maxing out at 95%. CPU temps were also reaching around 65 degrees which is fairly hot for a CPU.
After cranking down the setting to just 720P, average FPS went up to around to 38-50FPS, which still isn’t a good experience, especially on a 2K resolution screen. At this setting, the Iris Xe Integrated GPU was pushing around 90-94% usage, which is still pretty high. Suffice to say, the Iris Xe just wasn’t built to run PUBG. In hindsight, it does fall precisely on the benchmark that Intel themselves set, which is around less than 40 FPS.
Thankfully, Valorant is a pretty popular game everywhere thanks to its relatively lower system requirement (and its complicated but addictive play mechanics). Valorant ran comfortable at above 100-116 FPS at highest settings, at 1080P resolution. Users who opt to play this game should have no issues using the Matebook 14 2021 to play it.
Huawei Matebook 14 2021 Price Philippines
Here’s where the Matebook 14 gets a little bit more tricky to recommend. The current SRP is at Php64,999 in the Philippines. Huawei has been pushing this quite aggressively along with the Huawei Matebook D15, and their high-end Huawei Mate X Pro 2021. There are tons of sales promotions everywhere. At the current price point and market situiation, it’s going against pretty stiff competition from other established laptop brands. While we can see some sellers selling it for much, much less, in other retailers, it’s going to have a hard time competing at this price band.
Since the Huawei Matebook 14 2021 version is a great overall laptop primarily for productivity use, it shines in a lot of aspects which make it a comfortable enough laptop. A fantastic and bright screen, well-thought of keyboard layout, great battery life, and clean minimalist look are just some of the things which make this laptop great. Overall performance was smooth, and basic tasks were not a problem. While gaming is not something this laptop is great at, users will still probably enjoy it for most other tasks. It runs pretty quiet and cool even at full load.
On the other hand, there are not enough reasons that set it apart much from the other competitors in the market such as Lenovo’s Yoga 7i, Acer Swift, or Asus Zenbook series, which also offer pretty much the same specifications while offering other upsides of their own. The price of this laptop makes it a difficult option to consider, with all of the other competition in the market focusing on this particular segment.
One of the most disappointing factors of the Matebook 14 2021 is portability – with its rated weight of 1.49kg, is definitely not one of this laptop’s strengths. Many other competitors in this segment are already pushing below 1.5kg to target customers who are looking for an ultra light and portable notebook. The Huawei Matebook 14 2021, while still considered “light”, is just not as light as many others.
At its current price level of Php64,999, Huawei probably gambled too much on pushing it as a premium notebook based on its looks, design, and specifications. But slash off around Php5,000-8,000 (or USD100-150) from its price, and it will definitely make this laptop a much better option to consider at that new price level.
If you’re a professional who usually stays at home and needs a handsome laptop to focus on your work for long hours, then the Matebook 14 2021 just might be the right match for you.
- Processor : Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 processor
- OS : Windows 10 Home 64bit
- Memory : 16 GB 3200Mhz Dual Channel memory
- Storage : 512GB PCIE NVMe SSD
- Display:14.0-Inch Multitouch IPS 2K Fullview (2560 x 1440) panel, 185ppi, 300 nits, 100% sRGB, Wide viewing angle up to 178 degrees. 1500:1 (Typical) contrast. Finger Gesture Screenshot. TUV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification.
- Graphics : Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
- Buttons and Ports: Fingerprint power button, USB 3.2 Gen1x2, USB-C x 1, HDMI x 1, 3.5mm headset and microphone 2 in 1 jack x 1
- Connectivity: 2×2 MIMO, WI-FI 6
- Webcam: Recessed pop to open 720P HD Camera
- Audio: Microphone x 4, speaker x 2
- Features : Huawei Share, Huawei PC Manager
- Battery: 57Wh capacity, 17.5hrs rating
- Package Inclusions: Main unit, USB Type-C to Type-C cable, 65W charger
#HuaweiMatebook142021 #Powerfullysharp #HuaweiMatebookFamily2021
Huawei Matebook 14 2021Php64,999
- Fantastic screen
- Battery life is above average
- Minimalist Design, Metal case
- Fast Bootup times, quick loading of programs
- Great keyboard
- A bit on heavy side
- Cannot support a lot of games consistently
- SRP is above expectations
- Camera placement is awkward