MWC 2020 may have been cancelled, but Huawei doesn’t seem too bothered by it. It’s gone ahead and held a product launch in Barcelona anyway, and used it to unveil a 2020 refresh of its flagship MateBook X Pro laptop.
In all honesty, not much has changed about the X Pro, which is essentially the same laptop as last year’s version (and the year before’s, in fact), but with the requisite update to 10th-gen Intel chips and a fancy new colour. It's already one of the best laptops around though, so you can forgive Huawei for not changing much.
Let’s talk about that colour first. Dubbed ‘Emerald Green’ it joins ‘Space Gray’ and ‘Mystic Silver’ - Huawei’s two laptop staples - and immediately makes me long for a world where coloured laptops are more widespread. It’s muted enough that you could still get away with it for a work device, but still feels immediately more appealing than yet another grey laptop.
It’s encouraging to see Huawei’s laptop team take a cue from its much more colourful phone division, and it’s likely that trend will continue - the company is making a renewed push for the Huawei ‘ecosystem’, echoing Apple in emphasising how well its products work together.
If you have a Huawei phone, you can connect it to the X Pro - or any of the company’s other recent laptops - by simply resting it to the right of the trackpad. Then you can drag and drop files between the two, use your mouse and keyboard to control the phone, and even keep your full phone display present on the laptop in an extra floating window - though it’s worth noting that all of these features were in last year’s model too.
Beyond the slick green finish, the only other real change to the X Pro for 2020 is the jump to 10th-gen Intel chips, capping out with the i7-10510U. Huawei hasn’t detailed every available SKU yet, but we’d expect an i5 model too (though an i3 is unlikely), along with an Nvidia MX250 GPU.
The rest of the laptop chassis is exactly the same for the third year in a row. It’s still slim at 14.6mm and 1.33kg, and includes a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button, 65W fast charging, and a 13.9in 3000x2000 display - surrounded by ultra-slim bezels thanks to the handy trick of hiding the webcam inside the keyboard (though yes, that camera angle is still the worst). Ports are USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, and a single handy USB-A socket.
The X Pro wasn’t the only laptop to get some love from the company. It also announced a European launch for its refreshed MateBook D 14 and 15 models - announced in China last year - that borrow a few of the specs and design flourishes of the X Pro while clocking in a lot cheaper - and offering the option of a Ryzen 5 3500U with Vega 8 graphics.
The company also unveiled its second-generation foldable phone, the Mate Xs 5G, and Western launches for its MatePad Pro 5G Android tablet and the Sound X - a smart speaker that unhelpfully doesn’t actually include a voice assistant.
That’s a result of Huawei’s ongoing US trade ban, though luckily Microsoft is exempt, meaning the X Pro still runs Windows as normal - Google software and all.