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MWC 2016: Huawei’s MateBook is a Windows 10 hybrid to rival Apple’s iPad Pro

BARCELONA: HUAWEI HAS ANNOUNCED the MateBook, the firm’s first tablet-come-laptop hybrid to take on Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface 4 Pro.

Like rivals in the hybrid world, the Huawei MateBook has a 12in IPS display running a 2160×1440 resolution, which can be connected to a detachable keyboard to turn it into a laptop.

Running Windows 10 Home or Professional editions of Microsoft’s operating system, the MateBook targets home and work users.

The MateBook is a svelte 6.9mm thick with a 10mm bezel around the display, and weighs 640g, making the 713g iPad Pro look a little portly.

Huawei announces MateBook hybrid

The MateBook manages to squeeze in a sixth-generation Intel Core M processor running up to 3.1GHz. Top end versions of the hybrid come with an M7 chip and 8GB of memory, while lower and midrange models have M3 and M5 processors respectively, paired with 4GB to 8GB of RAM.

Storage comes in three sizes – 128GB, 256GNB and 512GB – giving the MateBook a similar solid state drive setup to rival hybrids.

The Huawei MateBook has dual stereo speakers to offer Dolby audio, although that’s two speakers short of the iPad’s setup.

A twin microphone array and a front-facing camera means that owners can yell at Windows 10’s Cortana and shoot the breeze over Skype.

Powering all this hardware is a 33.7Wh high-density lithium battery, which Huawei says will give 10 hours of average daily use.

When the juice runs out, the MateBook can be charged with a pocket-sized charger which outputs 12v, 9v and 5v, making it suitable for charging laptops, tablets and smartphones, potentially ushering in an era of one charger for everything. At 110g the charger is considerably lighter than the 450g of a normal charger.

Huawei has also popped a single-touch fingerprint sensor onto the side of the tablet. Multiple fingerprints can be logged with the MateBook, allowing different people to rapidly access personal Windows 10 accounts.

Prices for the MateBook start at $699 for entry-level models and climb to a lofty $1,599 for the top-of-the-line version.

The PU leather keyboard dock is not too different to those of other hybrids, but it offers two angles of position presumably to stop keyboard warriors getting neck cricks.

Huawei claims that the keyboard allows for more accurate typing with a 1.5mm keystroke and a chiclet keycap design. It’s spill resistant to stop butter-fingered users wrecking it, but is not bundled for free, so fans of traditional typing will need to fork out an extra $129.

Accessory access
Huawei also revealed a tech treasure trove of accessories to go with the MateBook, which seem to have been a little inspired by Apple’s and Microsoft’s products.

Not wanting to miss out on appealing to artists and handwriting addicts, Huawei has the MatePen. This stylus by another name has 2,048 levels of pressure, which Huawei says is double that of rival products, and has an ergonomic tip to help artists be more expressive with strokes and enable some smart digital penmanship. The MatePen will cost $59.

To help the MatePen stand out from other styluses, Huawei has equipped it with a laser pointer and a clicker so it can be used in serious business presentations rather than just tablet doodling. It also comes with a month-long battery life and can charge from empty to full in an hour. Great news for mouse haters.

Then there’s the MateDock, a little box stuffed with inputs like HDMI and Ethernet ports, to allow the MateBook to be connected to a monitor, other accessories and a network cable. Putting these inputs in a separate dock is what has kept the MateBook so slim, but it will cost accessory fans an extra $89 for the privilege.

Huawei hasn’t yet firmed up any release dates but the MateBook will be available in gold and grey colours across Asia, Europe and North America in the coming months. Huawei had better get a move on as the Microsoft Surface Book is on the horizon µ

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