On January 30, Huawei unveiled its new range of laptops for 2020. The Matebook D14 is the cheapest bet of the Asian firm, priced at 750 euros in its only version with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of internal storage . Unlike the 2019 version, the laptop comes with an AMD Ryzen 3000 series processor. It is accompanied by a chassis made entirely of aluminum and a screen that reduces its frames considerably.
The whole set is powered by a 56 Wh battery that promises to provide enough autonomy to complete a working day . Will it be enough to conquer an already saturated market? I have had the opportunity to test the laptop for three weeks. Meet my impressions below.
|Huawei Matebook D14 2020|
|screen||14 inches, IPS LCD technology, Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), 800: 1 contrast ratio and 250 nits of brightness|
|Processor and RAM||AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Quad Core|
8 GB of DDR4 RAM
|Storage||512GB M.2 SSD|
|Graph||AMD Vega 8|
|Sound||2 x stereo speakers and 2 x microphones|
|Battery||3,665 mAh and 56 Wh|
|Connections||1 x HDMI, 1 x USB type C, 1 x USB 3.0 type A, 1 x USB 2.0 type A and 1 x 3.5 mm port for headphones|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, NFC (Huawei Share) and Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|
|Design||Metal finished chassis|
Colors: Space Gray
|Dimensions and weight||32.25 x 21.48 x 1.59 centimeters and 1.38 kilograms|
|Featured Features||Backlit keyboard, retractable camera, dual microphone, fingerprint sensor and fast charging|
|Price||From 750 euros|
Design: weight and finishes that surprise (for good)
The first thing that comes to the eye of this Matebook D14 is its design, a design whose maxim is to reduce the total size of the laptop thanks to the tiny frames of its screen.
The relationship with respect to the chassis is 84% occupancy , something that we can confirm by doing the old woman's account. This forces the manufacturer to integrate the front camera into a key that acts as a mechanism. Or so the theory goes.
As we can see in the images, the team has a fairly generous lower frame. Could Huawei have chosen to integrate the camera within this framework? Maybe although I can come to understand the decision for a privacy issue. Unfortunately, the practicality of this solution is affected: the camera angle is insufficient if we rest the computer on a table at arm's length, as we will see in later sections.
Ignoring this detail, the truth is that the design of the laptop looks really good . The feel of aluminum is good, and its tiny weight (1.38 kilograms) invites you to carry the device in your hands or in a carry-on bag. The plastic implemented in the hinge does feel somewhat fragile and flimsy . We will have to see how it behaves over time.
Sufficient screen but not bright
We have lived with notebooks with HD screens for more than 10 years. This is not the case with the Huawei Matebook D 14. Its screen is made up of a 14-inch panel with Full HD resolution, a resolution that helps to eliminate the famous sawtooth in images at a relatively prudent distance due to the density of pixels per inch. Beyond this detail, the quality of the panel does not shine excessively, neither by colors nor by maximum level of brightness.
Factory calibration is somewhat cold for my taste , although we can adjust it through Huawei's own software quite similar to what we can find on their phones. The company has not released the data regarding the level of rendering in the RGB or sRGB color space. What I can confirm is that it is not a screen intended for designers and audiovisual content creators, although it is also true that there is nothing better in this price range.
Another of the shortcomings that I have been able to find in the panel has to do with the maximum level of brightness. The figure of 250 nits that the manufacturer throws seems insufficient if we are going to use the laptop outdoors , something that we can clearly see in the photographs. The good news is that we find a matte coating that manages to deflect the reflections that affect the screen, so this problem is partially reduced.
Very solvent performance with surprises
I have to admit that Huawei's decision to implement an AMD processor in the computer terrified me from past experiences. The truth is that in this aspect I have been very pleasantly surprised .
The team's performance has been good. Really good, dare I say. And this is due not only to the processor, but to the integrated GPU and the speed of the SSD, which rivals even that of my MacBook Pro. I will not go into technical details. You can see all the information in the table that I have attached at the beginning of the post.
Onboard SSD read and write speed.
The performance in my working day has been exquisite using programs such as Photoshop, Slack, Telegram, WhatsApp and Google Chrome with an average of 8 windows open at the same time. At no time has the computer shown signs of weakness , something that also translates when starting the system.
Benchmark the Huawei Matebook D14 on Geekbench vs. Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2017.
The implemented fingerprint sensor is agile , something that does not surprise me considering the excellent work of the Asian firm with its phones. Unlocking is instantaneous both when logging in and when accessing certain applications and web pages. In short: it is a computer made to work and produce .
At this point, the question is almost mandatory. It used to play? The short answer is no. Nor is it a laptop that lends itself to it, given its size and specifications.
Benchmark in 3D Mark.
However, the performance of some games such as Forza Horizon 4 or GTA V with a low level of graphic detail is quite solvent , with an average of 30 FPS if we run the titles at the panel's native resolution (1080p) and somewhat higher if we go down. the resolution to a more measured figure. Although what has surprised me the most is the team's energy management.
Average FPS in Forza Horizon 4 with minimum graphic detail and native resolution.
During the three weeks of use I have not noticed an alarming heating in the chassis. In fact, the fans only kick in when we demand some performance from the processor . It is true that when playing some games the temperature has reached over 60º C, a fairly correct figure if we take into account the thickness of the whole.
Temperatures when playing.
In several of the tests with GTA V and Forza Horizo 4, the maximum temperature reached has oscillated between 63º and 65º C , again more than correct figures. It remains to be seen how the laptop behaves in summer, although Huawei's work in this regard is worthy of praise.
Correct keyboard and trackpad with some other but
Two of the most relevant aspects for my own personal and professional use and for any computer with these characteristics. The sensations that both the keyboard and the trackpad have transmitted to me are good , with the odd one but that I will discuss below.
The profile of the keys is low. In theory, this helps reduce the force invested by the fingers when pressing the keys, and the truth is that I have felt very comfortable typing with this keyboard in my workday, which usually exceeds 8 hours comfortably.
The problem with the keyboard is not found in its keys, but in its backlighting, since it only has two possible settings and a very poor maximum brightness level . It is true that during the night I have not had any problems, which does not mean that I miss a higher level of lighting.
As for the trackpad, the sensations coming from a MacBook Pro are frankly positive, although it is true that I find the mouse click somewhat hard , especially on the upper part of the surface. The good news is that it is compatible with Microsoft's Precision drivers , so we can make use of all the native Windows 10 gestures.
Another aspect that I would like to highlight has to do with the configuration of ports and connectivity chosen by Huawei. We have two USB type A ports, a full HDMI port, a 3.5 millimeter input for the headphones and a USB type C port that also performs the charging functions . Although it has a video output, I have not been able to take an image through a USB type C to HDMI adapter, as the system warns that it is only compatible with Display Port outputs.
We also find the presence of Bluetooth version 5.0 and NFC, which is intended for the use of Huawei Share to share files with a compatible Huawei mobile . Unfortunately I have not been able to test this last function due to the lack of a company mobile.
Loud sound under the arm of Dolby Atmos
The sound is usually the great forgotten in laptops in the range of 700 and 800 euros. The company has chosen in this case to integrate two stereo speakers in the lower part of the equipment. Both are Dolby Atmos certified, and the truth is that the quality is higher than what we can find in other equipment at the same price point .
In summary, the sound is quite loud considering the dimensions of the equipment. The quality is not exactly conspicuous for its nuances: the frequencies are quite flat for my taste and I feel like the sound is somewhat canned. The maximum volume level also does not reach saturation, something that not all notebooks can boast.
Despite this, I would have liked to see some speakers located at the front to improve sound projection and avoid accidental obstructions. Regarding the general quality of the microphones, it does manage to shine both in volume and quality, precisely because of its location (right in the opening notch) and the number of integrated microphones.
Autonomy for a whole working day (and more)
Probably the most remarkable thing about the Matebook D14 is its autonomy, in part due to the capacity of its battery and the efficiency of the AMD processor. On average, the laptop has given me about 8 and a half hours of autonomy in a use intended to work with programs such as Photoshop, Slack and Feedly . Also with browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge and an average of 8 open tabs.
For multimedia playback through the native Windows player, the autonomy can be expanded up to 10 hours . In programs with a higher graphic demand, this autonomy can be reduced up to 4 or 5 hours, although we once again emphasize that it is not a computer designed to run games.
All in all, the laptop excellently manages the processes that run under Windows, as well as those that come from third-party programs. Special mention to its charger, capable of providing a full charge (from 0 to 100%) in an hour and a half . Charging is provided through the computer's USB Type-C connection. This makes it possible to use external batteries and chargers for phones and tablets.
Conclusions: you will not find anything better for this price
So is. Being the owner of a 13-inch Macbook Pro that triples the price of Huawei's laptop, I dare say that it has nothing to envy this one . Not only for its price, but also for the rest of the equipment.
Autonomy, quality of finishes and a very solvent performance for the price range in which it is found. I would have liked to see an AMD Ryzen 4000 series processor , I have to admit, although again I emphasize the good performance of the laptop, even better than my MacBook Pro from 2017 with an Intel Core i5.
Would you recommend it for 750 euros? Yes, without a doubt. The conclusion is that Intel and the rest of the manufacturers must put the batteries during this 2020 if they want to compete with the wave of devices that will arrive with AMD. And this Huawei Matebook D14 is good proof of that.