As a brand, Huawei is best known for their smartphones like the recently released Mate30 Pro though they’ve been steadily expanding on a holistic ecosystem of late with a host of additional kit like their FreeBuds 3 noise cancelling earphones, routers, smart sunglasses and, interestingly enough, a growing ensemble of their MateBook series notebooks.
Prior examples usually came with Intel processors though this spanking new example dubbed the MateBook D 15, which has just hit the market in Malaysia comes with a midrange AMD Ryzen 5 processor, integrated Radeon Vega 8 graphics and a very reasonable price tag at RM2,499. At this price point, it’s very attractively priced compared to the competition with the nearest equivalents being the Asus ZenBook UM431 that has approximately similar hardware for a higher price to boot. Here’s the specifications at a glance:
What’s in the box of the Huawei MateBook D 15?
The packaging for the MateBook D 15 is fairly spartan and consists of a cardboard box with protective foam inserts to house the notebook itself, a 65W 3-pin UK-style charger with a Type-C port as well as a Type-C to Type-C cable to charge the notebook. Barring the obligatory quick start manual and the charging cable, there really aren’t many accessories to go with it.
If you’ve hustled and got it early on preorder or at the roadshows that are taking place nationwide from 18 Jan 2020 onwards, you’re in luck as you’ll get RM1,287 of free kit – almost half the cost of the notebook itself – to go with the MateBook D15 that include a free Bluetooth wireless mouse, a pair of FreeBuds 3 earphones in Ceramic White and a year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Home.
Pragmatically speaking, this ensemble of free kit is surprisingly thoughtful and practical. The mouse is a solid option for precision work whether you prefer the touchpad or not while the FreeBuds 3 earphones pair up with the notebook and have noise cancelling functionality which does let you work in modestly noisy environments like cafes and the morning commute.
The addition of a year’s subscription of Microsoft Office 365 Home also goes some way to getting you immediately up and running straight out of the box for productivity tasks.
Huawei MateBook D 15 Build Quality and Design
Externally, the MateBook D 15 bears homage to earlier incarnations of the MacBook Pro but that’s a compliment to be sure as the build quality is pleasantly top notch with an aluminium chassis and top lid done up in what they call Mystic Silver which fortunately repels fingerprints to some degree.
The top lid is otherwise unadorned save for the Huawei logo and flipping it open reveals a 15.6-inch Full HD display with narrow side and top bezels that are just 5.3mm thin.
The bottom bezel is a bit chunkier but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it offers a massive 87% screen-to-body ratio. For the MateBook D 15, Huawei has opted to include an IPS LCD panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, a brightness of 250 nits and which has an Eye Comfort Mode certified by TUV Rheinland to reduce eye strain; handy if you’re working for long hours
The chiclet-style keyboard is a fairly familiar design with a direction keypad in the lower right though it lacks backlighting, presumably as a cost saving measure.
A rounded power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. It also has generously sized palm rests but where it differs from the norm is that the right palm rest has an NFC sensor for easy pairing with a Huawei smartphone running EMUI 9.0 and higher for their Multi Screen Collaboration functionality and easy file sharing.
Another particular feature unique to the MateBook D 15 is the inclusion of a pop-up webcam right in the middle of the keyboard between the F6 and F7 key. Privacy pundits will appreciate the fact that it isn’t motorised and needs physical intervention for it to work lest some malicious hacker peep on you while you work.
The right side of the notebook hosts a pair of Type-A USB 2.0 ports along with a 3.5mm audio jack while the left comes with a USB Type-C port for charging the notebook, a USB Type-A 3.0 port as well as an HDMI port for porting out the feed to a display.
In terms of weight and heft, the notebook is fairly well balanced and modestly slim at 16.9mm thin without being overly heavy at 1.6kg. One subtle but pleasant detail is that they’ve ensured that the edges and corners are gently rounded to ensure that they won’t cut into your wrists if you lean into them. As ultrabooks go, it’s very well built and on the lighter side of the weighing scales seeing the hardware it packs.
On that front, the MateBook D 15 eschews the traditional Intel and NVIDIA combo and instead integrates a mid-range AMD Ryzen 5 3500U mobile processor with integrated Radeon Vega 8 graphics, 8GB RAM and a dual storage combo that consists of a 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard disk. This setup puts it as a very capable midrange workhorse that can tackle a variety of tasks like paperwork, movies and basic gaming without undue trouble.
Stay tuned for a full-on review when we put the Huawei MateBook D 15 through its paces. If you’re particularly keen, it’s available for purchase starting today on 18 January 2020 at all Huawei experience stores nationwide and online at their official store at https://shop.huawei.com/my/product/huawei-matebook-d-15