working machine (but no GPU)

Do you really need a 16-inch laptop? For most people, the answer is a resounding no. But for a select few, a large-screen laptop is a godsend – and Huawei apparently agrees, deciding to launch two of them at the same time for the European market.

The MateBook 16s is the most premium of the pair (although the more affordable MateBook D16 is also very interesting), clearly aimed at the more professional market, such as designers, video editors or other users with a lot of professional and creative work.

The big flaw to point out is that there is no high-quality graphics option, and Huawei is instead betting on a combination of Intel’s powerful 12th generation H-series CPUs, Thunderbolt 4 support and a 2.5K display. quality to convince creatives that the MateBook 16s is up to the task.

design and construction

Huawei has settled comfortably into a stable design language for its MateBook notebooks, and the 16s changes the “apple way” a bit.

Like most devices from this company, this laptop only comes in Space Gray color, and the design is simple and professional.

This is a 16-inch laptop, and that necessarily means it’s big. Huawei has done its best to minimize this and kept the laptop slim enough to be Intel Evo certified. However, it is 17.8 mm thick and weighs 1.99 kg, which is not exactly “ultrabook” territory.

It is a portable computer, but its weight does not allow it to fit into the light “laptop” category.

screen and sound

The display is one of the strengths of the MateBook 16s and a key part of what Huawei can offer to the most creative, since it lacks one important thing in terms of specifications, but we have already explained it better.

The size is good, but it also boasts a high resolution of 2.5K (2520×1680, to be precise) in the increasingly popular 3:2 aspect ratio. This shape gives you the added property of a vertical screen to work with and is optimized for productivity, allowing you to fit more than one document on the screen at once or edit photos and videos – although the reverse is true for viewing content, where there will almost always be black bars above and below of what it emits.

Screen quality is impressive, with a bezel around the screen that’s thin for a laptop of this size – 7.3mm at its thickest – with a 90% screen-to-body ratio. However, it’s not too thin that there’s no room for a webcam – in this case, a 2MP, 1080p camera. That’s a definite advantage in a market still dominated by 720p sensors, making this one of the best laptops for video calling and the like.

The latest update is the fact that it’s a 10-point touchscreen – an increasingly popular option for Windows laptops that gives you a few extra ways to navigate the operating system.

There’s an open debate about how important laptop speakers actually are, but Huawei has clearly invested in it. And they’re easy to see, with two large grilles running down either side of the keyboard, but the sound is impressive enough to justify their prominence. Music comes through in a powerful but crisp sound, and there’s enough clarity to drive dialogue in movies.

Keyboard, trackpad and ports

The consequence of the two large speakers is that although you get a full keyboard on the MateBook 16s, you don’t have a dedicated numeric keypad on the side.

However, the keyboard is very good. The key travel of 1.5 mm is deeper than on many laptops, and in combination with what Huawei calls “soft landing” technology, the result is excellent. Huawei has long competed with Dell for the ultimate laptop keyboard experience and this is no exception – there’s really nothing I can complain about (except that this trial version isn’t Portuguese, but the product sold in Portugal will have a proper keyboard).

In the upper right corner of the keyboard, you’ll also find the “Huawei Button”: a power button with a built-in fingerprint reader. So far it has worked smoothly and reliably.

The large trackpad is also a winner. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature the technology or design you’ll find in the Huawei MateBook X models, but it’s big, smooth, and comfortable to wear.

Finally, the door. You’d expect a lot from a 16-inch device, and for the most part I think Huawei already does that. Two USB-C ports – one of which has Thunderbolt 4 – are on the left, along with HDMI 2.0 and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack. On the other hand, there are two USB-A 3.2 ports, which allow us to connect several other products and do not require us to carry a USB-c hub.

Some users will probably miss the Ethernet connection, but what I think is missing the most is the SD card slot, since this rig is designed for work, creatives like photographers may not accept this computer due to the lack of this compartment (or having to carry a key with them).

Specifications and performance

Huawei is the latest manufacturer to rely on Intel’s Iris Xe graphics processing, shipping the MateBook 16s without GPU options and relying on Intel to deliver.

To back up that bet, Huawei is currently using Intel’s most powerful laptop chips: the 12th generation H-series processors, which are bigger, more powerful and more powerful than most other laptop chips.

The 16s can be equipped with an i5-12500H, i7-12700H or i9-12900H, all paired with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There’s also a choice of 512GB or 1TB of storage, but in Portugal Huawei only has i7 or i9 options, with 16GB and 1TB of storage.

The model we received for testing is the i7 version and from a performance perspective I have nothing to complain about. My day-to-day needs are mostly simple – lots of internet work and some relatively light Photoshop – and this computer works perfectly.

Obviously, if you want something powerful that requires a lot of GPU power, such as games or very heavy editing software, this computer will not be the best option, but otherwise, for medium power needs, it will certainly fulfill most situations.

battery and charging

Huawei equipped the MateBook 16s with a generous 84Wh battery, and during our use, 4 hours of work in between kept the battery at more than 50%, which meant that I was never “afraid” of running out of energy. work. However, if you have to lug your computer around, it’s best not to be too far from a power supply for all-day work.

Fortunately, this isn’t too painful thanks to a combination of fast chargers and compact USB-C power adapters. The computer comes with a 90W USB-C wall adapter, which, given that most of today’s devices use USB-C, means that we don’t have to carry various cables and chargers, with the fact that this one can be used to charge other devices.

Software: extra for those using Huawei equipment

Even if you don’t follow the tech world, you may know or have heard that Huawei has struggled in the smartphone market, where its access to Google services was limited, which in turn led it to adopt its own competing software. from Android: Harmony OS.

The good news is that none of that applies here. The MateBook 16s ships with Windows 11 and includes full support for everything you’d expect – Microsoft, Google and more. At its core, this one works like any other Windows device.

The only difference, really, is that Huawei adds a little extra for anyone who also owns other Huawei technology – especially phones, tablets and displays.

You can quickly pair a Huawei phone with a MateBook to share your screen or send files, connect to a MatePad tablet to use as a secondary display or drawing pad, or wirelessly extend your laptop screen to a MateView monitor.

All this is surprisingly perfect, and Apple is really the only company that can currently match Huawei in terms of ecosystem support. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that this can only be achieved with Huawei equipment, because the truth is that you probably know a few people who have recently bought a Huawei and can use these tricks that the brand offers to its fans. It would be great to be able to use these features normally because they are really great.

Rating: Huawei MateBook 16S

The MateBook 16s is already on sale in Portugal at €1,699 for the i7 version and €1,899 for the i9 version, and it certainly won’t be for everyone, but it’s not trying to be for everyone.

For those who need extra screen real estate, the 3:2 view here will be a big point in favor of the 16s. It’s wide, well-proportioned and carefully color-calibrated, and is certainly one of the biggest and best screens available in this price category.

CPU performance is also exceptional thanks to Intel’s 12th generation H-series chips, making this a powerful computer. The lack of a dedicated GPU option will undoubtedly limit its appeal to professional video editors or anyone looking to use it for gaming, but don’t rule out integrated Iris Xe graphics just yet, as it provides a great feature for working from and even easier photo editing and graphic design .

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