MANILA -- Huawei is expanding its laptop offerings in the Philippines and with the 15-inch MateBook D, it hopes to emulate its Nova 5T smartphone: flashy enough to flaunt in an Instagrammable cafe and powerful enough to get a considerable amount of work done.
At P37,990, the MateBook D 15 is the “value” option, two price tiers below the flagship MateBook X and the regular MateBook, but above the laptop-tablet hybrid MateBook E. As the Shenzhen-based tech giant moves to interconnected devices, it makes sense for the world’s second biggest smartphone vendor to make a stronger push for laptops.
For this review, I used the MateBook D 15 for a week for my out of office writing chores and for a weekend of trip planning at a tea shop. It’s a “tito” choice of venue for a device supposedly for millennial professionals, but picture-worthy nonetheless.
‘BIG’ GETS MORE DONE
The 15.6-inch screen has a 1920x1080 resolution that is bright and sharp. With an 87-percent screen-to-body ratio, it’s nearly borderless which gives it the look of an Apple MacBook. The colors, however, are not as vivid compared to higher resolution panels.
The screen is big enough to cram two windows, like a document next to a spreadsheet or a spreadsheet and a browser tab side-by-side. It’s also big enough for mindless Netflix viewing. When I wasn’t working I was re-watching the fried rice episode of “Ugly Delicious.”
What I liked most about the MateBook D 15 is the keyboard. It’s big, tactile and with a very satisfying click. I’ve been typing for money for nearly two decades and nothing spoils it more than a limp keyboard (think Apple’s 12-inch MacBook or fold-out Bluetooth keyboards from the early noughts that snap onto palm pilots.)
With the MateBook D 15’s substantial keyboard, I banged out messages (mostly angry) with ease and still got that nice feedback I would get from a desktop keyboard. Like I mentioned in my initial hands-on, the space on the left and right sides of the keyboard are a waste, which would’ve fit better speakers.
The speakers on the MateBook D 15 are loud but it can get muffled when placed on soft surfaces. At a price point half of premium laptops, that’s the tradeoff.
TOUCHES OF PREMIUM
The flat, rectangular metal enclosure of the MateBook D, with its clean lines gives it that Apple-esque feel. It looks and feels sturdy, just don’t drop it.
The near borderless display comes at the expense of the camera, which was relocated to the keyboard. It pops out with a firm press and pops right back in. It has the same “cool” effect as pop-up cameras on smartphones. It will, however, force you to look down on your keyboard instead of right towards the top of the screen when making video calls.
The fingerprint sensor that doubles as the power button is also a nice touch. Biometrics are also ideally more secure compared to passwords, especially if you’re the type that uses one for all devices and accounts.
The bundled charger is light and works with Huawei smartphones too. That’s one less charger to bring when working on the go, which is a plus considering that the Matebook D 15 is a heavy device.
The MateBook D15 works best when used with Huawei devices. Huawei Share (what AirDrop is to Apple), allows photo and file transfers with a mere tap. No cables, no internet connection required.
This is particularly useful when transferring photos and videos from a day’s worth of sightseeing to your laptop. Just make sure to tap your Huawei smartphone on the Huawei Share sticker on the MateBook.
Huawei Share also allows users to mirror their phone screens on the MateBook and drag and drop from the phone screen, as projected on the laptop screen, to the desktop.
Last year, Huawei unveiled Harmony OS, pushing for interconnectivity among devices, from smartphones to laptops to wearables. This is especially urgent given the company’s travails in the US.
“We envision our consumers accomplishing their tasks and enjoying their entertainment seamlessly from one device to another and the MateBook D15 is a significant part of that vision,” Huawei Consumer Business Group country manager for the Philippines Richard Li said.
WHO IS IT FOR?
It’s an injustice to assume millennials can’t buy a laptop above the P50,000 mark. I’ve seen twenty-somethings with iPhones and P series phones, which don’t come cheap.
The MateBook D is for someone who doesn’t want to spend much on a laptop that can double as a media consumption device. It’s for someone who bought a Huawei phone for the camera and wants a seamless sharing experience. It’s for someone who types a lot.
It may not be for the spec-hungry or those who push their computer processor to the limit. It may also be a bit too heavy for someone coming from an ultrabook or a MacBook.