Mention Huawei and you’d typically associate the brand with smartphones though they’ve been carving out a niche as reliable laptop manufacturers for upper and midrange offerings.
The new Huawei MateBook 14s is their attempt at a top of the line premium ultraportable that incorporates their best hardware possible in a slim 16.7mm chassis. Here’s our Huawei MateBook 14s i7 review where we put their best ultraportable in the market to the test.
Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Malaysia specifications
We previously took a first look at our Huawei MateBook 14s i7 review sample which you can peruse here. We’ll take a closer look at its finer points in this feature.
First launched in China a few weeks ago, the Huawei MateBook 14s for Malaysia comes in two variants that primarily differ in terms of what 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processor they use with either an i5 or i7 CPU, available storage, RAM and availability of Thunderbolt 4 ports. Both variants still use the same chassis, have the same slick 14.2 inch HUAWEI FullView touchscreen with 2,520 x 1,680 pixels resolution, retain a beefy quad speaker setup and have the same battery 60Wh capacity with fast 90W USB-C charging.
Our top of the line version of the MateBook 14s features an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, a 1TB SSD with Iris Xe graphics. It also features a USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, a HDMI port and two USB-C ports, one of which has Thunderbolt 4 support along with a 3.5mm combo jack.
The more affordable version of the MateBook 14s uses an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11300H processor, has 8GB RAM and uses a 512GB SSD though it lacks Intel Evo certification and lacks Thunderbolt 4 support and instead has conventional USB-C ports .
On paper, the MateBook 14s i7 has a 60Wh battery rated for 13 hours of video playback with the 90W USB-C charger allowing a 15-minute charge to offer 3 hours of usage. Other mod-cons include WiFi 6 connectivity with a 2×2 MIMO dual antenna that offers theoretical transfer speeds up to 2.4GBps.
Here’s how it officially stacks up on paper…
|Price||RM4,999 (i5), RM6,699 (i7)|
|Display||14.2-inch LTPS 2.5K Fullview display, 2,520 x 1,680 pixels, 100% sRGB, up to 90Hz refresh rate, 1500:1 contrast, 400 nits, 213ppi, Touch-screen support, TUV Rheinland Low blue light (hardware), and Flicker-Free certification|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-11370H 3.3GHz, up to 4.8GHz / Intel Core i5-11300H, 3.1GHz, up to 4.4GHz|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR4 RAM 3,733MHz & 1TB SSD/ 8GB LPDDR4 RAM & 512GB SSD|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Connectivity||WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1|
|Battery||60Wh w 90W USB-C power adaptor (13 hours video playback, quoted)|
|Size/Weight||313.82 x 229.76 x 16.7mm /1.43kg|
Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Review – Build and Design
Our Huawei MateBook 14s i7 review sample came in a dark shade of what they call Space Grey though the i5 variant has more colourways that include the aforementioned Space Grey and an additional dainty light shade of Spruce Green.
As ultraportables go, the MateBook 14s i7 is relatively light at 1.43kg even with the inclusion of a metal top lid and palm rests though the underside is still made of polycarbonate. The design doesn’t break any new ground with a conservative look, gently rounded edges, some chamfering around the palm rest and bottom area.
Unfortunately, the laptop lacks any water resistance, spash proofing or any MIL-STD protection rating so some care needs to be taken to ensure it remains intact over its service life.
The Space Grey finish itself repels fingerprints wonderfully and does give the laptop an understated yet classy look about it. The right side of the laptop features a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port while the left side has a 3.5mm combo jack, a HDMI port, a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port and a USB-C port though both are able to charge via the provided USB-C 90W Fast charger. This effectively means that the MateBook 14s i7 is fully capable of outputting to two 4K displays simultaneously via the Thunderbolt 4 and HDMI port which lends it immense potential indeed.
The underside of the laptop is otherwise clear save for grilles on the underside for ventilation, a set of rubber feet for friction and two cutouts for the downward firing quad speaker array that consists of two tweeters and two woofers each spaced slightly apart from each other with each tweeter capable of a maximum frequency of 15kHz for detailed sound reproduction.
Typically, a sound system like this is what you’d normally see kitted out to a full-grade gaming laptop so it’s a pleasant surprise that Huawei has managed to equip the MateBook 14s with speakers this sophisticated.
Flipping the laptop open makes for a surprisingly premium experience with the hinge weighted just right for easy one-handed opening while a machine-cut notch in the palm rests allows for opening it by touch alone. Befitting their premium design, the MateBook 14s i7 has a solid set of hinges without any wobbling whatsoever; necessary seeing the fact that it has a touch capable display.
The keyboard itself is a compact white backlit affair with a conventional design but with a responsive 1.5mm key travel with a soft landing, a large touchpad and a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader to unlock the laptop.
Bar the safe, conventional design, our Huawei MateBook 14s i7 review sample is wonderfully made with excellent materials and build quality with the slimness and relatively light 1.43kg enabling it to be easily man-portable, helped more so on account of the slim 90W fast charger.
Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Display
Huawei has kitted out the MateBook 14s with a substantially specced display that merits closer inspection. At a glance, they’ve managed to cram in a 14.2-inch 2.5K HUAWEI Fullview LTPS touchscreen in a compact 14-inch form factor on account of extremely slim 4.4mm side bezels and slightly thicker 6.6mm top bezel. This time around, they’ve managed to retain the 720P webcam in its traditional position up top from the display but it lacks a privacy shield slider.
They’ve even managed to implement a taller 3:2 aspect ratio versus the usual 16:9 aspect ratio seen in other laptops. This lends it greater ease when viewing and reading documents and paging through websites. To be fair, while the 3:2 aspect ratio is great for paperwork, it’s less than ideal for watching movies as it inevitably introduces letterboxing as the vast majority of movies are in 16:9 aspect ratio.
Huawei has also tricked out the display with a selectable 90Hz refresh rate over the base 60Hz refresh rate while also implementing a slew of other eye-friendly tech. By default, the screen is set to 60Hz with the 90Hz refresh rate as an alternate command.
Much like their other laptops, the Huawei MateBook 14s i7 features TUV Rheinland Low Blue Light (Hardware) and Flicker Free certifications, ensuring that the panel is comfortable and safe to view for extended periods of time. These settings are automatic and baked in, requiring no direct intervention. It also has a light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness based on ambient lighting conditions that you can disable if needed.
On paper, colour rendition is excellent for general usage with 100% sRGB colour gamut support, a contrast ratio of 1500:1 and a maximum brightness of 400 nits.
The display is not fully DCI-P3 calibrated though, which means that the display is of less practical use for trades like print and video editors who require colour accuracy though it’s still more than ideal for normal usage scenarios.
When subjected to a Squid Game binge, the display was wonderfully detailed and was able to display luscious visuals that were pleasant to the eye with good dynamic range which is apparent in darker scenes which were contrasted with the vibrant, yet more realistic hues in the daytime scenes such as the first ‘Red Light, Green Light’ game and the second Dalgona game scene with its surreal baby blue backgrounds.
Even after an extended viewing session over 8 hours interspersed with a couple of bathroom and coffee breaks, I didn’t get the usual eye strain and the screen remained comfortable to look at even at maximum brightness rather than searing my retinas like the light of a dozen suns. If you need to use a screen for extended periods of time, this The TUV Rheinland Flicker Free and Low Blue Light certification proved its worth.
The Huawei MateBook 14s Review – Speakers
The MateBook 14s features two tweeters and two woofers that are all downward firing, spaced evenly apart on each side of the base of the laptop. Unlike the typical stereo speaker arrangements in other laptops, the addition of the quad speaker array lends more detail and additional volume, elevating casual movie watching to new cinematic heights.
The enhanced volume and enhanced detail as well as bass make it one of the best speakers we’ve heard on a laptop in ages if not one of the best we’ve experienced this year. Songs had an added depth on top of increased volume and movies were certainly more immersive, helped in part by the expansive display though you’ll have to expand to a full view to avoid the typical letterboxing on account of the usual 16:9 movie aspect ratio.
How to access Huawei MateBook 14s i7 90Hz Refresh Rate
To access the MateBook 14s i7 display’s faster 90Hz refresh rate, you need to simultaneously press the Fn and R key.
Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Review – Performance Mode
The Huawei MateBook 14s i7 has an 11th Gen H-series Intel Core i7-11370H processor that runs at a base 3.3GHz clock speed with 35W TDP but is capable of boosting up to 4.4GHz and boosted up to 45W TDP via a manually triggered Performance mode when needed. This is paired with 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD with Iris Xe graphics.
Unlike the i5 version, our Huawei MateBook 14s i7 review sample is Intel Evo certified, meaning that it meets their stringent requirements for performance, speed, battery life and start-up times.
If push comes to shove, users are able to access the aforementioned Performance mode where Huawei ramps up the processor to TDP to 45W at the expense of battery life and increased heat for added performance beyond even the normal performance slider settings on the Windows 10 desktop.
Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Review – Benchmarks and Performance
Here’s the synthetic benchmarks of how it performs when plugged in and in normal and enhanced 45W TDP Performance modes. Due to a lack of time with our sample unit, we were not able to perform our complete set of benchmarks so we skipped some in favour of the more critical ones.
The following are our benchmarks where we tested it in normal settings with the performance slider in Windows 10 set to maximum and plugged in and with the 45W TDP high performance mode enabled.
|Benchmark||Normal||45W TDP Performance Mode|
|Geekbench 5 Single Core||1156||1573|
|Geekbench 5 Multi Core||4884||5907|
|Geekbench 5 OpenCL||18744||19089|
|Cinebench R23 Multicore||6091||5985|
|Cinebench R23 Single core||1556||1504|
|3DMark Night Raid||17158||18,231|
|3DMark Time Spy||1887||1868|
|3DMark Time Spy Extreme||876||870|
|PCMark 8 Battery Life (Office work)||5 hours 19min||N/A|
From what can be inferred from the synthetic benchmarks, Performance mode does what it says on the tin and offers more computing performance beyond the standard settings which helped in Geekbench 5’s single, multicore and OpenCL tests and offered a boost in 3DMark’s Night Raid test which benchmarks laptops with integrated graphics, which in this case is the MateBook 14s i7’s Iris Xe graphics.
Oddly enough, Cinebench R23 multicore and single core scores were slightly affected presumably due to thermal throttling.
Under practical usage conditions without the 45W TDP Performance mode, our Huawei MateBook 14s i7 review sample was as smooth as butter, handling and swapping between over two dozen Chrome tabs smoothly and tackled photo editing, paperwork and even a modicum of retro gaming like Kingdom: Two Crowns in a wonderful fashion.
Unfortunately, the added increase in computing performance from 45W TDP performance mode adversely affects battery life though the laptop does feature Huawei’s latest cooling system to tackle the increased heat.
According to Huawei, they’ve added two 8mm thick copper heat pipes in a unique wing-shaped design hooked up to a pair of S-shaped 79-bladed cooling fans that help offer quiet cooling below 5db.
On normal modes, the fans indeed work as advertised and are whisper silent though if you kick in their 45W TDP Performance Mode, the fans ramp up and are audible in a quiet room though in the bustle of an office, they’re still considered relatively quiet. Even so, running in Performance mode still heats up the laptop to an uncomfortable degree with spikes of 43.7°C with most of the heat points around the rear hinge and central underside area.
Fortunately, the keyboard section remained cool which shows that they’ve at least shunted heat away from the more critical areas. In terms of usage, this 45W TDP performance mode is useful but is best utilised in short bursts when you need extra power to process or render something and mayhaps for a short game or two but the heat and battery drain makes it impractical for extended usage away from a plug point or in the field.
On paper, the 90W battery of the MateBook 14s i7 is rated to last close to 13 hours of 1080p playback. Unfortunately, PCMark 8 on a Creative workload kept crashing and only managed to perform a single complete pass on the normal Office work settings.
We weren’t able to get a definitive field test of this in practice but based on prior examples, this is a viable figure and on a full charge with balanced settings, I was able to get through a full 8 hour workday with juice left to spare with paperwork, a bit of Netflix and web browsing.
Another test with maximum screen brightness managed to yield a full 8 hours of screen time with a looping 1080p video which is quite respectable and if you tinker around with the brightness and power settings, you’ll likely be able to hit their official stated figures without undue trouble.
How to access Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Performance Mode
To access the Huawei MateBook 14s i7’s 45W TDP Performance mode, you’ll need to Press and hold down the Fn and P key at the same time. You’ll see an icon flash on the desktop switching from Balanced to Performance mode.
Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Review – Software and Huawei Share
The laptop runs Windows 10 Home 64 bit and is capable of a Windows 11 upgrade later on down the line. Where it differs from other laptops is that it includes their Huawei PC Manager that offers shortcuts to recent documents, fires up a screen recorder and also activates Multi-Screen Collaboration with another compatible Huawei phone or tablet.
This means you can connect with a phone like the P40 Pro, their nova 8, their MatePad Pro and other devices of recent vintage. Once paired with a Huawei phone, you can interact with an instance of the phone’s home screen be it to answer texts, make and take calls straight off the laptop or to transfer images or content in a drag-and-drop fashion.
When paired with a tablet, you’re able to use it as a screen extension to increase your screen real estate and also as a means to use the tablet as a stylus. It’s also able to wirelessly pair up with a Mateview display in a seamlessly swift fashion to pipe up to 2.5K@56fps though you’ll need a direct USB-C connection to the Mateview to get a full 4K@60Hz resolution projected onto the Mateview’s display.
Of interest is an AppGallery beta that lets you run mobile apps in an emulated fashion on the laptop. It requires a login via a Huawei ID account but it works as advertised though this is still in beta so it may not necessarily reach retail units for Malaysia in the near future
Huawei MateBook 14s i7 Review – Webcam
Our Huawei MateBook 14s i7 review sample has a 720P webcam perched up top with a quad pair of microphones for better audio pickup and in several test calls, clarity was good if somewhat loud and harsh at times but clarity did not disappoint on both sides of the divide. Video quality was above average with realistic skin tones but for better clarity, it’s best to invest in a small ring light.
Should you buy the Huawei MateBook 14s i7?
The Huawei MateBook 14s i7 is a surprisingly well made, full-featured ultraportable with an excellent 2.5K touchscreen display with a 3:2 aspect ratio that’s ideal for paperwork crunching.
The provision of Intel Evo certification and with it all the benefits it entails like all-day battery life, fast charging and sterling performance are all present and correct here with the MateBook 14s i7 speeding through daily tasks like a thoroughbred.
It’s clear they’re attempting to flesh out their ecosystem with the addition of native AppGallery emulation and the provision of Multi Screen collaboration with their phones and tablets but you’ll need to truly invest in their ecosystem to make the most of it.
Unfortunately, it’s not water resistant nor MIL-STD rated so it’s best used in safe environments and work from home or office scenarios. If you’re looking for a general all-rounder ultraportable with a quality touchscreen, better speakers and which offers excellent bang for the buck, the MateBook 14s is a sure bet.
Review unit courtesy of Huawei Malaysia. For more details check out https://consumer.huawei.com/my/laptops/
Huawei MateBook 14s i7
Huawei MateBook 14s i7
The Huawei MateBook 14s i7 is a testament that they can make good laptops. As an ultraportable, the MateBook 14s i7 plays it safe with a conventional yet well made chassis that crams in an excellent 3:2 aspect ratio touchscreen and sufficiently powerful hardware to merit an Intel Evo certification. The unique 3:2 aspect ratio and high specifications make the MateBook 14s i7 an excellent ultraportable and a highly recommended choice for productivity and power users.
Intel Evo certification for i7 variant Excellent quad speakers Large and responsive 90Hz touchscreen display Good performance Excellent build quality Great battery life with fast 90W charging
No SD card reader More ports would be welcome Conservative design No MIL-STD toughness Gets hot in performance mode