Huawei MateBook 14s (2021) Overview: They Fastened the Webcam

There’s a well-recognized chorus in terms of reviewing Huawei laptops: overlook in regards to the Chinese language firm’s ongoing Android issues, as a result of the Home windows laptops are nice.

That is at all times been adopted by an important caveat although: aside from the webcam. The corporate’s laptop computer line has been let down by the continued use of a hidden under-keyboard webcam – a fantastic thought when webcams weren’t extensively used, much less so now.

The 14s makes a number of adjustments to the MateBook components, with a brand new keyboard, 90Hz refresh price show, and upgraded quick charging – but it surely’s the selection to maneuver that webcam again above the show that in the end proves most welcome.

And look – there isn’t even a notch. Take that, Apple.

Design and construct

Slim – however not ultra-slim
Loads of ports
Restrained aesthetic

Huawei reserves its ultra-slim design for the premium MateBook X and X Professional sequence, whereas the numbered fashions like this are usually just a bit chunkier.

With the lightest spec weighing 1.43kg the MateBook 14s is definitely nonetheless transportable, however feels way more substantial than the lightest laptops available on the market, a few of which go beneath the kilo line. There’s a barely smaller MateBook 13s too, but it surely’s not launching in each market – together with skipping the UK.

The footprint is compact, with a slim bezel across the 14in show stopping the laptop computer as an entire from getting too massive. And it’s thick sufficient to slot in a number of ports, however the aluminium alloy physique remains to be pretty slim.

Talking of, you’ll discover a single USB-A 3.2 port on the right-hand facet, with a 3.5mm headphone jack, HDMI, and two USB-C ports on the left. They can be utilized for information, DisplayPort, and charging, and when you purchase the top-spec mannequin – search for an Intel Evo certification to make sure – then certainly one of them additionally doubles as Thunderbolt 4.

In House Gray the MateBook 14s appears sensible however undeniably restrained, although there’s extra spark within the pale ‘Spruce Inexperienced’ end, which appears rather less company.

Keyboard and trackpad

Implausible, redesigned keyboard
Home windows Hiya IR webcam – within the bezel
Fingerprint sensor energy button

I’ve been an enormous fan of the keyboards in latest MateBooks, so I used to be involved when Huawei declared that it had redesigned the keys this time round.

Fortunately, I needn’t have been involved. The up to date backlit keyboard includes a longer journey of 1.5mm – pretty deep for a laptop computer. This definitely isn’t in desktop mechanical keyboard territory, however there’s a extremely pure, satisfying sensation to enter right here. It’s smooth and quiet with out ever feeling mushy – my greatest keyboard pet peeve – and truthfully may be my new favorite laptop computer keyboard.

I’ve already talked about one different massive change, which is to take away the webcam beforehand hidden inside a pretend Fn key. Curiously it’s been changed by an actual key that also sits between F6 and F7, and is devoted to activating a dictation mode utilizing Microsoft’s built-in speech recognition. I can’t think about I’ll use it a lot, however I’m positive some individuals will admire the choice.

The webcam itself has now moved up into the bezel above the display screen. This not solely provides it a way more flattering angle on the person, however has additionally allowed Huawei to pack in infra-red tech as a way to use Home windows Hiya face recognition to login – although there’s additionally a fingerprint sensor packed into the facility button.

Disappointingly the webcam itself doesn’t impress vastly – it is 720p, and pretty grainy. With Huawei’s smartphone digicam prowess effectively established I’d hope to see extra of that reach to the laptop computer enterprise, however because of the location alone that is definitely an enchancment.

Lastly, the touchpad is spacious and cozy, and I’ve no actual complaints. It’s a small disgrace that it doesn’t characteristic the progressive pressure-sensitive haptic know-how used within the newest MateBook X fashions, however you do nonetheless get the corporate’s Huawei Share tech built-in if you wish to join the laptop computer to different bits of Huawei package.

Show and audio

3:2 facet ratio and a pair of.5K decision
90Hz refresh price
Quad audio system & mics

Show is likely one of the areas the place Huawei laptops typically stand out, and the 14s isn’t any exception.

This can be a 14in touchscreen show – 14.2in to be exact – in a excessive 2.5K (2520 x 1680) decision, already a step above a lot of the competitors. It’s LTPS LCD relatively than OLED, so that you gained’t get the inkiest blacks round, however there’s actually little or no to complain about from the brilliant, vibrant colors right here.

Testing utilizing a SpyderX, I discovered the laptop computer delivered 100% of the sRGB color gamut, together with 77% of AdobeRGB and 76% DCI-P3. That is not on the absolute top-end of color accuracy you may discover in creator gadgets, however for a daily shopper laptop computer that is about pretty much as good because it will get – helped by a punchy 423 nits of brightness at max.

Like many Huawei laptops this makes use of a 3:2 facet ratio, which primarily means the show is taller and boxier than you may be used to. That may not essentially sound interesting, however in follow it signifies that you get additional vertical display screen actual property, which is nice for every thing from scrolling by way of Twitter to working by way of spreadsheets and Phrase paperwork – although you’ll get additional letterboxing when watching TV or movie, so that is higher suited to productiveness than content material consumption.

The large change this time round is the improve to a 90Hz refresh price. Quicker refresh charges at the moment are commonplace on smartphones – the tech even made it into this 12 months’s iPhone 13 Professional – however on the PC facet it’s principally been restricted to gaming laptops and screens.

You definitely will see the profit when you use the 14s for gaming, but it surely additionally makes the laptop computer really feel smoother in all types of how throughout on a regular basis use, even simply flicking the cursor across the display screen.

You’ll be able to swap between 60Hz and 90Hz with a fast Fn+R keyboard shortcut, however Huawei says that when utilizing the upper pace the refresh price isn’t locked in, however as a substitute scales relying on the app – a standard technique to mitigate the extra battery drain. Nonetheless, it’s the kind of setting I’m blissful to go away on and revel in the advantages of – and proper now it’s a characteristic that makes the 14s pretty distinctive.

As for audio, Huawei has squeezed in 4 audio system, with two downfiring from beneath the laptop computer and two upfiring by way of the chassis. Laptop computer audio is at all times restricted, and this gained’t match a half-decent speaker or headphones in terms of music. Nonetheless, these are spectacular sufficient for YouTube or Netflix, and robust by laptop computer requirements.

There are additionally 4 microphones included, which Huawei says can decide up your voice as much as 5 metres away. Constructed-in noise cancellation and voice enhancement algorithms assist to isolate your voice from different audio, and the result’s pretty crisp, clear audio on calls, which matches some technique to making up for the lacklustre webcam high quality.

Specs and efficiency

Intel H-series Core i7 or i5 (solely in some markets)
As much as 16GB RAM and 1TB storage
No discrete GPU possibility
Intel Evo certification – however solely on the highest spec

If the marginally chunkier design, plentiful ports, and better refresh price didn’t give it away, Huawei is positioning the MateBook 14s as a laptop computer for individuals who want energy, whether or not that’s for productiveness, artistic work, and even mild gaming.

To that finish it makes use of Intel’s extra highly effective H-series processors. My overview pattern is supplied with a Core i7-11370H – the one possibility obtainable within the UK – however some markets may even have the choice of a much less highly effective Core i5 model. Both manner, it may be paired with as much as 1TB storage and 16GB of RAM, so you may package this out fairly impressively when you so need.

In benchmarks, this is likely one of the strongest laptops we’ve examined apart from devoted gaming package – although it’s overwhelmed on pure CPU efficiency by a few of Huawei’s different AMD Ryzen-powered fashions.

The MateBook 14s pulls forward on the graphics-focussed 3DMark check although. Whereas there’s no discrete GPU, the built-in Intel Iris Xe graphics tech right here outpaces nearly each different laptop computer with built-in graphics we’ve examined.

Benchmarks are one factor, however day-to-day efficiency issues extra. The MateBook 14s is highly effective sufficient to breeze by way of my common Photoshop work, and can even deal with some gaming. It’s a far cry from a devoted gaming rig with an Nvidia GPU, however when you simply need to play some Forza and don’t thoughts dropping the settings down from max, you’ll have the ability to get clean efficiency right here.

Huawei’s cooling system appears to be doing its job too, with no signal of over-heating resulting in throttled efficiency throughout our testing, whereas the laptop computer stayed at a lap-friendly temperature throughout all day-to-day work.

It’s price noting that you simply would possibly see the 14s marketed with an Intel Evo certification, however this solely applies to the top-spec mannequin. That appears to be as a result of Thunderbolt Four is likely one of the Evo necessities, and Huawei has solely opted to incorporate that help on one SKU within the UK no less than: 1TB storage, 16GB RAM, and an i7 in House Gray.

Don’t fear about this an excessive amount of although. Past Thunderbolt, each different requirement of the Evo certification – quick charging, lengthy battery life, instantaneous wake, Wi-Fi 6, and a slim design – all characteristic on each model of the 14s. So it’s actually only a query of whether or not you care about getting Thunderbolt Four help or not, which you’ll miss on decrease spec SKUs.

Battery and charging

Snug battery life
Quick 90W charging

The 60Wh battery right here gives what’s primarily all-day battery, as long as you’re not utilizing it for gaming. I felt snug taking the MateBook 14s into the workplace for a day of web use, writing, and light-weight picture enhancing whereas leaving the charger at house. I wouldn’t attempt to stretch it to a number of days, however for probably the most half you gained’t have to fret about leaving the facility lead at house.

In our artificial battery benchmarking check, the laptop computer lasted 13 hours and 18 minutes of steady HD video playback – above common, however nothing record-breaking.

It helps that this prices by way of USB-C, so you should utilize any appropriate USB-C PD charger to high the laptop computer again up.

Extra impressively, the charger Huawei provides with the laptop computer is able to delivering 90W of energy, which interprets into some fairly nippy speeds. In actual fact, right here it is record-breaking: the 14s topped as much as 57% in simply half an hour, making it the quickest charging laptop computer we have ever examined.

Simply as helpfully, you should utilize this charger to high up your cellphone, pill, headphones, or different USB-C gadgets at what is going to nearly definitely be their max speeds.

Software program

Ships with Home windows 10
Eligible to improve to Home windows 11
Good sharing options with different Huawei tech

Whereas you might have heard about Huawei’s ongoing points getting Google onto its telephones, relaxation assured that there’s no such subject with Huawei laptops.

This runs a full model of Home windows 10, with no sudden limitations or software program blocks – together with Google. It’s additionally eligible for Home windows 11, so you may both wait to be supplied an improve or manually set up Home windows 11 as quickly as you set the laptop computer up. Or simply persist with 10 when you want, in fact.

The opposite notable ingredient of the software program is Huawei Share. I already talked about that this tech is embedded within the trackpad, but it surely’s primarily a fast technique to pair the MateBook 14s with Huawei telephones, tablets, screens, and extra for simple file sending and screen-sharing.

It would solely assist when you’re keen to speculate elsewhere in Huawei tech, however when you’re embedded within the ecosystem this does supply some incredible methods to make use of your tech in tandem. Apple is the one firm on the market that may rival Huawei for cross-compatibility like this, although sadly it stays barely restricted by the opposite points that include utilizing the corporate’s smartphones and tablets within the West.

Value and availability

The MateBook 14s is on the market throughout a lot of Europe and Asia now, although there aren’t any plans for a north American launch.

Within the UK and far of Europe there are two setups obtainable, both direct from Huawei or from shops together with Amazon:

i7+16GB+512GB: £1,199/€1,349
i7+16GB+1TB+Thunderbolt 4: £1,299/€1,549

That leap to double storage and improved connectivity makes extra sense within the UK the place it comes at a £100 premium, however the €200 leap in a lot of Europe makes this much less interesting except you really want TB4.

There are cheaper i5 variations of the laptop computer obtainable in different markets, so test native pricing and availability to test what’s on supply the place you reside.

The value displays the pitch that it is a highly effective, performance-focussed laptop computer. This can be a few hundred greater than the common MateBook 14, and due to value drops the 1TB mannequin is identical value because the 2021 MateBook X Professional – a significantly slimmer and extra engaging piece of {hardware}, albeit one with much less energy, fewer ports, and that unflattering outdated webcam.

Wanting outdoors of Huawei’s personal {hardware} at different nice laptops across the similar value, that is getting shut in value to the most affordable 13in MacBook Professional and Dell’s XPS 13 and 15, together with shut competitors from LG, HP, and others. Try our decide of the most effective laptop computer offers for the most effective financial savings we have discovered throughout the market.

In case you don’t want the complete energy of the H-series Intel chip right here, or all of the ports, you then’ll doubtless have the ability to discover a cheaper laptop computer that does the job. But when energy is your precedence you then’ll wrestle to seek out extra of it for much less with out additionally making some massive compromises elsewhere.


The MateBook 14s is a strong improve to the corporate’s laptop computer line that concurrently fixes different MateBooks’ greatest flaw and packs in additional energy than ever.

The brand new webcam is much from the most effective round, however shifting into the bezel and unlocking Home windows Hiya facial recognition is a welcome transfer that undoes what for a lot of was a deal-breaking fault within the outdated design.

With an H-series i7 processor and 16GB RAM it is a severely highly effective machine for its measurement, even in terms of graphics-heavy workloads – although when you’re not on the lookout for a powerhouse then it can save you cash elsewhere, even on different Huawei MateBooks.

With loads of ports and a killer keyboard it is a succesful all-rounder although, greatest suited to anybody who prioritises efficiency however isn’t keen to surrender on portability.

Huawei MateBook 14s (2021): Specs

Home windows 10 (Home windows 11-compatible)

14.2in 2520×1680 LTPS (touchscreen), 3:2, 213ppi, 90Hz

Intel Core i7-11370H or i5-11300H
8/16GB RAM


720p IR webcam with Home windows Hiya
USB-A 3.2
USB-C x2 (Thunderbolt Four non-compulsory)
Headphone jack
Fingerprint energy button

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 2.4/5GHz 2×2 MIMO

Bluetooth 5.1
Quad audio system
Quad microphones

60Wh non-removable battery
90W USB-C charger


House Gray or Spruce Inexperienced

About the author: SubSellKaro

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