Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022) full review
Huawei’s flagship laptop is back for another pop at the high-end market and the MateBook X Pro for 2022 is better than ever thanks to a raft of upgrades.
Headline features include a bigger screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, a larger trackpad with new gestures, speedy 90W charging and, wait for it, the webcam is no longer in that awkward pop-up key in the keyboard.
After years of being nearly perfect, the X Pro is still not quite there but largely in different ways to before. Battery life is still an issue, for example, and we must now mourn the loss of the trusty USB-A port.
Design & Build
- Slightly bigger but still luxurious
- Webcam back in the bezel
- Exclusively USB-C
On the whole, the MateBook X Pro is the same laptop it’s always been. However, there are a number of tweaks to the design that result in some big differences to the experience.
With a larger screen, it’s perhaps no wonder that the laptop is a little heavier than before – but only slightly at 1.38kg. It’s also a touch thicker at 15.5mm but this isn’t noticeable.
The most obvious change when you open the lid – which can be done with one finger, offering an exceptionally smooth and satisfying experience – is the larger trackpad that goes all the way to the front edge of the chassis.
If a trackpad was a swimming pool, then this would be an infinity pool and I rather like it. More on what the trackpad can do in the next section.
More subtle changes include the fact the webcam no longer hides in a pop-up key in the keyboard and thank goodness. Yes, the old design was handy for privacy and it doesn’t feel like that long ago that webcams were boring and unnecessary, but that’s no longer the case now.
Huawei has, like with last year’s MateBook 14s, put the webcam above the screen where it should be. And, despite a small bezel, it supports Windows Hello log in. It works well although some infrared sensors either side of it flash to help it see your face.
If that fails (which it does sometimes), then you can always use the trusty fingerprint scanner that’s embedded in the power button.
Back to the webcam and although it’s moved to a far more sensible position, it remains at 720p resolution. This is a shame considering the premium nature of the laptop so Full HD would be far preferable. As it is, the quality is basic even in good light.
You have to look to the X Pro 2022's ports to find the other changes. You’ll first notice that apart from a headphone jack, there are only USB-C ports here. There are four - double the 2021 model - but it’s a shame that the ever useful USB-A port has been dropped, especially considering the chassis is big enough to hold it.
Luckily, Huawei does provide an adapter in the box, but I’d happily swap two USB-C ports for a single A-type. I’d only had the review sample a couple of days before I managed to leave the house without the adapter.
Investigate further underneath and you’ll see large vents on the sides and rear of the laptop – more on this new cooling system in the performance section below.
As you can see, I’ve tested the Space Grey colour which looks perfectly fine. Last year we tested the stunning Emerald Green colourway and Huawei has confirmed this will again be an option.
Keyboard & Trackpad
- Larger Free Touch trackpad with new gestures
- Same excellent keyboard, minus the webcam
As mentioned earlier, the trackpad now stretches to the edge of the laptop wrapping around the notch for opening the lid – as per the MateBook X. Not only does this give you more real estate to work with, but it also just looks really luxurious.
As previously, it offers Free Touch haptic feedback and this year it’s most apparent when using the new creative gestures. If you swipe vertically at the extreme edges of the trackpad on either side, you can adjust the screen brightness and volume level.
It takes a few goes to get used to but works quite well. It’s perhaps a tad unnecessary considering these controls are also on the keyboard but you might find them easier to use. You can also use the top edge to scroll through video (even on YouTube) and there are other things like a double knuckle tap to take a screenshot.
You can control which ones you want switched on or off but not in the Windows settings. You’ll have to use the Huawei Control Panel instead.
The keyboard essentially remains the same – a full-size chiclet keyboard with a two-level backlight. The main change is that the key that used to house the webcam is now a shortcut to Microsoft Speech Services for things like real-time speech-to-text.
Typing is a smooth and crisp experience with only Dell standing out as a better option, although that’s a marginal difference. Apart from the half-size up and down arrows – which is essentially the same on all laptops – I just wish the backlight could be set to always on.
Screen & Speakers
- Bigger screen with 90Hz refresh rate
- Excellent colour performance
- One of the best sound systems in any laptop
The screen on the new X Pro might be larger than before but the 0.3in extra making it 14.2in isn’t anything life changing. It’s welcome, but this is still very much a 14in laptop and if you need more real estate then a 15, 16, or 17in laptop may be necessary.
Much of the spec stays the same so this is an LTPS touch display with a 3K resolution, now 3120 x 2080 to keep the 3:2 aspect ratio on the larger size. It’s a little brighter than before at a quoted 450 nits but I measured it at an impressive 602 nits using a Spyder X colorimeter.
This also revealed excellent colour performance with 100% sRGB, 97% P3, and 92% Adobe RGB coverage, making this suitable for a range of creative work. The average Delta E is also superb at 0.83 (where anything less than one is considered excellent).
The headline change here is that Huawei has upped the refresh rate from the standard 60Hz up to 90Hz. This is more common in smartphones and gaming laptops, which can often be in excess of 144Hz.
Note that you need to delve into the settings to switch 90Hz on and it’s a little hidden in the advanced display section. Huawei also says in the small print that it “adapts to different application interfaces” so you won’t be experiencing it all the time.
Without knowing exactly what is excluded, it’s hard to assess how much it will affect you. What I can say is that it doesn’t make the same difference as it does on a phone. Scrolling through Twitter and similarly long webpages on Chrome is a lot smoother so it is very welcome.
It can also help get you some extra frames in games like Fortnite as you won’t be capped at 60fps. However, you won’t be running at 90fps all the time and will be limited to medium quality settings, too.
The X Pro has by far one of the best sound systems I’ve tested on a laptop. There are now six drivers (up from four) and they’re neatly placed either side of the keyboard where they should be instead, like most laptops, underneath the chassis.
Sound quality is excellent in a ‘how have they done it’ kind of way where the X Pro sounds better than many Bluetooth speakers I’ve used over the years. The sound is clear, expansive and there’s loads of velocity on offer so sitting at my desk listening to tunes rarely needed more than 30% volume.
Specs & Performance
- Only one model
- Still no dedicated GPU
- Decent performance overall
In a world where laptops can come in countless different SKUs – see the Dell XPS 15 9510 for example – the MateBook X Pro is refreshingly simple. Although perhaps too simple, with just one model available at launch, so if you want a different chip or storage capacity then tough.
You get an Intel Core i7-1195G7 processor along with 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM and a 1TB SSD. Yes, we’re still on an 11th-generation Intel chip in 2022 but this is more powerful than the last X Pro at 30W TDP (thermal design power) – that's double.
To cope with this extra heat, Huawei has employed a triple air intake and dual shark fin fan system supposedly improving the airflow by 60% and heat dissipation by 100%. This must have done the trick as I didn’t find the laptop to get hot even during intense benchmarks – nor were the fans a nuisance.
This may be in part because Huawei is still shunning discrete graphics cards, even though early models of the MateBook 14 came with Nvidia MX GPUs. You’ll be relying on the integrated Iris Xe Graphics on the Core i7 instead.
In benchmarks, the MateBook X Pro (2022) performs well. It improves on last year’s model and beats rivals such as the Surface Laptop 4. However, it can’t keep up with the XPS 15, MacBook Air M1 or Huawei’s own MateBook 16 which has an AMD Ryzen chip.
I could nitpick over scores for a while but the laptop, back in the non-synthetic world, is plenty fast enough for general usage. However, I don’t need to do things like edit video so if you do, or you want to run AAA games, then you should probably look for a laptop with a dedicated GPU.
In terms of other specs, you still get the likes of Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6. Back to the ports and although Huawei doesn’t advertise it, they are capable of 40Gbps data transfer – the same as Thunderbolt 4.
Battery Life & Charging
- Bigger 60Wh battery
- Longevity still an issue
- Speedy 90W charging
A key downside of the X Pro last year was the subpar battery life and it seems the main thing Huawei has done to address this is provide a faster charger – another move, along with the high refresh rate screen, that mirrors the smartphone world.
The battery itself is larger, but not by much at 60Wh and in our usual video loop test with the screen at 120 nits it performed worse than the 2021 model with nine hours and nine minutes.
It’s not what we want to see of course, even though it can get you through a day of work. Two hours of my normal work drained the battery 25% suggesting it will last for eight hours total and that was the case. You can see my usage over a 24 hour period below - though I'm not sure what '18 mins' for screen off is all about considering the laptop was shut overnight.
The 90W fast charging does make up for it somewhat, but it won’t help if there’s no socket to top up from. When there is though – perhaps you have a limited amount of time before boarding a plane – the X Pro 2022 can go from dead to 59% in just 30 minutes. And you can use any of the USB-C ports to use this ‘super charging’.
- Windows 11 pre-loaded
- New Huawei Control Panel
- Somewhat confusing 'Super Device' system
As you’d expect for a new laptop in 2022, the X Pro comes with Windows 11 pre-loaded. However, there’s more to say about software as Huawei adds a selection of things on top of Microsoft’s OS.
The control panel I mentioned earlier which lets you access Free Touch trackpad settings has a selection of other shortcuts like Instant Hotspot, Smart Record, and the useful Huawei Share feature.
Using an NFC chip hidden in the trackpad, this is a neat way of connecting another compatible Huawei device to the laptop. You can pair a Huawei phone or tablet to take control of it from the X Pro, share files, and more.
Huawei is now marketing these features as a ‘Super Device’ system, but that’s mostly a new way of branding the way the Huawei ecosystem interconnects including wireless connectivity to the MateView monitor – something we already tested last year.
Whether this is useful to you depends on your use case and whether you want to buy or already have a compatible Huawei device. Considering Huawei’s Google Mobile Services issue on the smartphone side in recent years it may be a moot point.
In the future, Huawei promises multi-device connectivity for collaboration - ie more than just two devices connected together.
On the phone side, remember that Microsoft already has a very similar Your Phone app that does essentially the same thing with almost any Android phone – albeit without the NFC pairing.
We don’t have full pricing and release information for the MateBook X Pro 2022 yet but we do know that it will cost €1,899. That’s the same price as last year so we can expect the laptop to come at £1,599 in the UK.
There’s only one model of the X Pro so that keeps things simple for pricing, although we’d prefer some more consumer choice on elements like the memory and storage.
It’s certainly a premium asking price and you can get similarly powerful laptops for less money. Whether they offer the experience and features you’re after is another matter.
Huawei has done a great job here once again, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you went for something cheaper such as a Surface Laptop 4, Dell XPS 13, MacBook Air M1, or even Huawei’s own laptops like the MateBook 14s.
With its combination of specs, the X Pro has more of a business focus and perhaps save for the battery life will make an excellent companion for the office or travelling.
I’d still like a USB-A port, but the X Pro has a long list of excellent features almost everywhere you look.
Whether it’s the larger screen with excellent colour performance and 90Hz refresh rate, the top-notch keyboard and trackpad, repositioned webcam, great core specs, or the speedy charging.
It’s an almost perfect balance for productivity and it’s also great for a range of other tasks including entertainment. The lack of a dedicated graphics card may put some users off – but really only those needing large amounts of grunt for work like video editing.
It can still handle that, as well as gaming, if you curb your expectations compared to more powerful rivals.
Huawei MateBook X Pro (2022): Specs
- Windows 11 Home
- 14.2in 3120x2080 LTPS touchscreen, 264ppi, 90Hz
- Intel Core i7-1195G7 processor
- Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- 16GB LPDDR4x RAM
- 1TB SSD storage
- 720p web cam with Windows Hello
- 4x USB-C (data, charging, DisplayPort)
- Headphone jack
- Fingerprint Power Button 2.0
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5.1
- Six speakers
- Four microphones
- Dual microphones
- 60Wh battery
- 90W charger
- Space Gray or Emerald Green
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