Huawei presents the new MateBook 14s that we also received for review, we thought that for this review, let’s first analyze the key points of interest, we talk about design, display, audio, software, performance and battery of this laptop.
Huawei recently launched the MateBook 14s laptop which looks great and is productive, in my point of view, we have to keep in mind that it is not a gaming laptop, but for productivity, office work, some entertainment like Netflix, YouTube, HBO, some games that don’t require more powerful hardware, it is a laptop suitable for a school or student as well.
MateBook 14s specifications
- Operating system: Windows 10 (Windows 11 compatible)
- Display: 14.2in 2520×1680 LTPS (touchscreen), 3:2, 213ppi, 90Hz
- Processor: Intel Core i5-11300H
- RAM: 8/16 GB
- Storage: 512GB/1TB SSD
- Audio: 4 speakers, 4 microphones
- Battery: 60Wh non-removable, 90W USB-C charger
- Size: 313.8×229.8×16.7mm
- Weight: 1.43 kg
- Colours: Space Gray or Spruce Green
- Connectivity: USB-A 3.2, USB-C x2 (Thunderbolt 4 optional), HDMI, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 2.4/5GHz 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.1.
- Other: Fingerprint power button, Headphone jack.
So what do we think of this laptop? We’ll go through our criteria for choosing a laptop one by one and at the end of the article, we’ll give a verdict. Let’s get started!
We haven’t tested any Huawei laptop for another benchmark, we are talking today though about a very good looking laptop, a premium laptop from the very first visual as well as tactile contact, you can tell this is a premium laptop, very thin, the construction of the laptop is a very well finished aluminium alloy for the premium feel.
The MateBook 14s laptop is compact, probably one of the most compact laptops on the market with a 14 inch display, the bezels are very thin so that the terminal overall to be as portable as possible, according to the specifications the laptop would weigh around 1.43 kg, making it really light.
Being in the office/productivity category, we need ports and even though we are talking about a very thin laptop, we are not missing the most important connectivity ports, and here we list a 3.5mm audio jack port, two USB-C ports and an HMDI on the left side of the laptop, on the right side we will find a USB-A 3.2 connector to connect a stick, data cable or other peripherals. The USB-C ports we talked about earlier can also be used for charging the laptop.
After opening the laptop the keyboard jumps out at us, which is illuminated in a way that isn’t distracting if you’re working in a darker environment but is capable enough to help you see the characters if you get lost. We have two lighting modes on the keyboard, one brighter and one dimmer, neither mode is visually distracting and perfect for work.
The sound produced when typing is satisfactory, also the key travel is 1.5mm according to specs, testing the laptop the feel provided by the slightly longer key travel – compared to other laptops’ keys – gives a stable feel and you get used to them very quickly.
The touchpad is quite large on this laptop, I should mention that I didn’t use any mouse in my testing, I used exclusively the laptop’s touchpad which responds very well to commands and I really didn’t feel uncomfortable using it in test mode, probably in a heavy work mode you will need a mouse if you work from a desk.
The laptop’s webcam is located in the center, top of the display, even though I haven’t tested any Huawei laptop so far I know full well they had a weird way of hiding the webcam, something more awkward in a fake FN key, the point is that this time even though the webcam is much better positioned for use, we don’t have a physical hide mode, for privacy, I think this would have been important, also stick to the webcam and I have to say with disappointment that we only have 720p quality, I think Huawei could have done better on the webcam front.
Finally on the design side, when opening the laptop we have located on the right side and a fingerprint sensor on the power button, I tested this sensor responds well, and its location is convenient for me at least.
The display is another highlight on this laptop that you can’t help but appreciate, we’re talking about a laptop that has an aspect ratio of 4: 3, which would mean that it is against the trend of laptops that are wider and this might seem daunting, but until you try it you have no way to appreciate it, it simply gives you a very clear view in important programs like Office and other productivity programs, I like it a lot, I understand that Huawei has a trend with these aspect ratios, I find it interesting that it has made a habit with this ratio.
The laptop delivers the maximum resolution of 2520 x 1680, something we don’t often see on a laptop, especially in this category. Further we have a display that gives us a refresh rate of 90Hz to switch between 90 and 60Hz You can use the Fn+R combination, everything looks fluid on this laptop and the colours are just right, we don’t have an OLED however the LTPS LCD technology renders the black almost perfectly, it’s not the same black delivered by an OLED display, however the colours at least to my eye, are perfect, Huawei says in the specs that it delivers 100% of the sRGB colour gamut and I’ll take their word for it.
The display is a touchscreen, I find it very handy and stable, it responds well to commands and considering I usually work from a PC/Desktop, having this functionality on a laptop seemed interesting.
If there’s anything to complain about the display, well, depending on your preference, when you use Netflix, YouTube or other streaming service, productions being for as wide a screen as possible, we’ll have some slightly thicker top and bottom black bars.
On the sound side, Huawei has chosen to bring us a total of 4 speakers on the MateBook 14s, two of which are underneath the laptop and the others are in built into the top frame. The audio quality is above average when it comes to the audio category on a laptop, however we can’t expect quality comparable to a headset, the sound is more than decent for a laptop and is suitable for streaming services.
The MateBook 14s still gives us a number of 4 on the microphone side, this number of microphones helps to use the noise cancellation feature but also to capture sounds from as far away as possible. I haven’t tested in calls the microphone, but from tests done on recordings with the Windows app, I can say that Huawei has done a good job in this department too, you don’t get background noise, the sound is as clear as can be, if I had a slightly better webcam too it was probably one of the most suitable laptops for Zoom and other conferencing and telecommuting apps.
On first power up when it’s pulled out of the box, the laptop requires a Windows 10 setup, which the Huawei laptop comes pre-installed with.
Also the MateBook 14s is Windows 11 eligible, by setting up Windows 10 you will be asked if you want an upgrade to the new operating system released this year, if you don’t want an upgrade immediately you can do it at another time when you want, so you don’t miss out on the chance to have Windows 11 on your new laptop, if you do want to you have me wait for bug fixes and security fixes, considering we are talking about a newer operating system.
The laptop also comes with Huawei Share technology, which is implemented in the touchpad, with this technology you can instantly connect via NFC to multiple Huawei devices, be it phones, tablets or other gadgets, I tested the technology with a Huawei P40, and it connected via NFC instantly, I could see on the laptop screen what I see on my phone and could transfer files with drag and drop.
Otherwise, we are talking about common software, it is Windows, the laptop is very well optimized for this operating system and the technology connecting with other Huawei devices is interesting, especially if we want to invest in the Huawei ecosystem.
We will get the MateBook 14s with Intel core i5-11300H, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, there is also a variant with 8 GB RAM, however for testing we got the variant with 16 GB RAM, so I can still recommend this one.
I’m of the opinion that everyday use of a laptop matters most, however, in order to have some benchmarks in testing this laptop for slightly more discerning users, I used a few benchmark tests, 3dmark and Geekbench 5 very popular among laptop and other terminal testers. As you’ll see from the screenshots below, our laptop is an above average performer, certainly if we had access to the i7 laptop that is sold through other countries in Europe, we could be talking higher performance here, but also at a commensurate cost.
Because we said that everyday use is the most important, we are now talking about a small gaming experience and a work experience. I have already reminded you that the laptop is not a gaming laptop, however compared to other office terminals on the market, this laptop can really run you games like CS:GO or LOL, but the point is that you have to adjust the settings in such a way to catch the 60 fps that make the game more fluid, the built-in graphics option is above average when it comes to office laptops, we are not talking about gaming solutions, and certainly if you want to play something you can do it within common sense, don’t expect games with very good graphics and lots of fps.
Staying on the entertainment side, I used the laptop for Netflix, I didn’t mind the bars because the screen is as square as possible, and the colors and the fact that I had 90Hz, gives a very good fluidity in playing content, I like this and appreciate it.
On the productivity side, in photoshop to edit photos and others, this laptop can help you without any problem, considering the very good quality of colors and contrast, I really recommend it in using this program, I have also used Microsoft Office, the same way I had no problems with lags, drops, the experience was a very good one.
Talking about the cooling system of the laptop, it managed to cope, without another accessory and the performance was not reduced, the conclusion is that with the laptop sitting on the desk, you will not experience performance problems due to the cooling system, I have not tested but I do not recommend using this laptop from soft textile surfaces that can cover the ventilation ducts.
Battery and battery life
The MateBook 14s comes with a 60Wh battery, enough for a day’s work in normal mode, depending on what you’re working on, the capacity of this battery can decrease, or even increase.
Given the battery specs, you should at least be able to use the laptop for 10 hours in normal mode, no gaming, there’s nothing revolutionary here but it really is above average, the point is that a day of working on this laptop, away from the charger for me as well as for a more on-the-go person is what it takes and this laptop doesn’t disappoint here.
I told you that this laptop has a 60Wh battery, however for the most efficient charging the charger in the box is 90Wh, the laptop has the ability to charge very quickly. I didn’t get to discharge to 0% to do a full charge of the laptop, however, I did get to 20/25% and it didn’t take more than 60 minutes for this laptop to be 100% charged again.
In order to make use of the 90Wh charger, which you’ll find in the box, the Huawei MateBook 14s also gives you a USB-C cable for charging, this kind of charging I find very useful and as “clean” as possible. We can charge the laptop with any charger that has USB-C (that is, most phones have this type of charger), basically if our charger ever breaks and we urgently need a charge, we can use any mobile charger and our laptop will charge, depending on the battery capacity you will also have an efficient charge or not. I don’t recommend on any gadget to use other chargers than the ones provided by the manufacturer, but when it’s an emergency, I reminded that this laptop can be charged, but it doesn’t have to become a habit to do so.
As you probably figured out from the words written above, I recommend this laptop, it comes with an outstanding performance, a nice design, display with an outstanding resolution and other features that you will only see on this laptop, below I will also give the pros and cons. What I didn’t particularly like was the quality of the webcam, which I told you is only 720p, Huawei being a leader in the photo sector, when it comes to phones, I expected at least a better webcam here at 1080p resolution.
Besides good Performance, nice design, interesting display, we also have a flawless keyboard and the battery life is satisfactory, also the technology of connecting with other Huawei handsets with just one touch or touch of the touchpad, at least to me as I have a P40, I find it quite useful.