Huawei has been making some really nice laptops for a couple of years now, whether it be their Matebook 13 Ultrabook, their X Pro for mobile workstations, or the China only Matebook E which is actually a Windows on Snapdragon 2-in-1. But in the middle of all this has been Huawei’s D lineup, which is getting a refresh for 2020 and you know what, these are compelling.
Starting with the cheaper 15.6” Model, the Matebook D15. Starting at £599, the new Matebook D15 has, as you guessed a 15.6” IPS Screen with a 1920×1080 resolution. The screen is 16:9 aspect ratio with the screen taking up 87% of the face of the laptop, not too shabby. Brightness is a bit disappointing at only 250nits and contrast is very low at only 800:1, but from hands-on people have said this feels like a much higher-end display. The D15 is still quite slender at 16.9mm thin, thinner than a fair few other laptops in this price range and the weight of just over 1.5kg is impressive as well, though the weight does go up a bit if you add in that second harddrive.
Next is the internals, powered by a 4C/8T Ryzen 5 3500U with a Vega 8 iGPU, the Matyebook D15 should be a potent little beast. Sure it’s not going to match the new Ryzen 4000 SKUs, or the Comet Lake/ Ice Lake stuff from Intel, but this is much cheaper, for still a really nice experience, especially seeing as Huawei has decided to equip the D15 with 8GB of DDR4 RAM in Dual Channel mode. We do not currently know if the RAM is soldered in place or if it is socketed, but we do thankfully know it is in a dual-channel configuration, giving Ryzen mobile a speed boost. For storage, Huawei gives you 2 options you either get a 256GB SSD (likely an M.2 SATA-III drive) or a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, I’d assume these are the same chassis so I would save the money and go for the SSD only machine and then put a larger SSD or HDD in the bay when you need it.
Moving on to Battery, the D15 has a 42Wh battery, a little on the small side, but it should be sufficient for almost anything you do on the machine, and if it is not Huawei have gone with the times and ditches the proprietary charger in favour of a 65w USB-C brick, Huzzah! Meaning one less charger to bring when you travel. Whilst we’re talking about the USB-C charging port, I might as well talk about the I/O. The D15 has a Single USB 3.0 Type-A port, a pair of USB 2.0 Type-A ports, a full-sized HDMI port (my guess is 2.0b) and a 3.5mm combo headphone/microphone port, as well as the aforementioned USB-C port.
Next, we have the machine I’m more interested in, the slightly smaller Matebook D14, the 14” brother of the D15 that is actually a bit better equipped. First off, the £649 Matebook D14 is smaller, at 15.9mm thin and 1.38kg not much so, I’m not disappointed by either ofo those metric, but some might be. The 14” IPS Screen on the D14 has similar criticisms of the D15, it is low 800:1 contrast ratio, low peak brightness of 250nits and 16:9 aspect ratio are all fine, but £650 is getting to the point where screen quality becomes more of a factor.
What about Internals? Well as you likely guessed, it’s mostly the same as the D15, a Ryzen 5 3500U, 8GB of DDR4 Dual-Channel RAM, but instead of a 256GB SSD or a 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive, you get a 512GB NVMe SSD instead, and with the removal of the drive bay, you get a larger 56Wh battery to boot!. The I/O for the D14 is mostly the same except you drop one of the USB-A 2.0 ports.
Both of these machines run Windows 10 Home, have WiFi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 5 support, and both also support Windows Hello biometric logins with their Fingerprint scanners embedded in the Power button, making logging in to your laptop a breeze.
As stated earlier, both the D15 and D14 will be available for £599.99 and £649.99 respectively on February 21st, though you can pre-order from the 13th-20th of February and snag yourself a pair of Huawei FreeBuds for free.