Huawei MateBook 14 Review: Best of the Bunch?
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
If you’ve yet to catch our take on the Huawei MateBook 14, do check out our previous video, where we go through the features of the laptop and talk about how great of a value it honestly is.
Now today for this video, we’re going to dive a little deeper and talk more about the Ryzen chip that powers this, and how it stacks up within its own family.
So let’s go through the specs of the MateBook 14 one more time. This laptop is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H which is a processor that has 6 cores and 12 threads. This is coupled with 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM running at 2133MHz and you get storage in the form of a 512GB PCIe SSD.
Just looking at the spec sheet alone, this is really promising. But as we’ve mentioned in our previous video, what makes the MateBook 14 that great is the price. You get all of that at just under S$1,300. Not to mention that the design of the laptop itself is great, along with an awesome display, good keyboard and trackpad, so on and so forth. All of that at a really reasonable price.
But let’s talk a little more about that Ryzen CPU. As mentioned, the Ryzen 5 4600H has 6 cores and 12 threads with a base clock speed of 3 GHz and a max boost clock of 4 GHz. The chip is based on the Zen 2 architecture and also comes with integrated Vega graphics, featuring 6 graphics cores.
The MateBook 13 comes with the Intel Core i5-10210U, while the MateBook X Pro comes with the Intel Core i7-10510U. These two Intel processors are largely similar to one another, featuring 4 cores and 8 threads with only minor differences such as clock speeds and the amount of cache.
With that said, let’s begin by comparing performance in creative applications, with our standard tests of Cinebench R20 and DaVinci Resolve 16.
As you can tell by now, the results do paint a different picture than what’s on the spec sheet, especially for the MateBook X Pro. The reasons for the results all come down to how the system manages the thermals and the clock speeds of the chip.
For the MateBook X Pro specifically, Huawei has decided to be really conservative. The temperatures are in fact, well maintained, hardly ever surpassing the 80 degrees Celsius mark. But the reason for that is because it was power throttling. The CPU limits the frequency way below the base clock during extended workloads, and it doesn’t utilize its full rated 15-watt TDP as well. The result does provide a quiet and comfortable user experience, you barely feel the heat at all, but it really is underperforming given the specifications and the sticker price.
As for the MateBook 13 and the 14, these two are quite similar to one another. Be it creative work, or just light tasks, both will perform arguably the same and provide a great experience. The differences show when it comes to the programs you want to use. Applications which make use of Intel Quick Sync or most Adobe programs are where Intel would have the edge, comparatively speaking, but other applications like Handbrake, a video transcoder software, would see AMD have the edge thanks to the higher core counts.
Gaming is where things get a little different. The Ryzen 5 4600H in the MateBook 14 does come with integrated Vega graphics while the Intel Core i5-10210U in the MateBook 13 is actually paired with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX250 for graphics. Needless to say, the MateBook 13 performs better in gaming. You’ll be able to easily get near 60fps in CS:GO with that MX250, and even AAA titles would at least give you a decent 30 frames per second. The integrated Vega graphics with the Ryzen chip will definitely lag behind, but that’s not to say it can’t game at all. If you’re just playing less demanding games like CS:GO, Minecraft or even Genshin Impact, it’ll still provide you with a decent experience.
But with all that said, there are other things to consider. For instance, the MateBook 14 doesn’t have the Ryzen 7 option any longer, at least here in Singapore, and with that, you do also lose touchscreen support. If that’s important to you, go for the MateBook 13, because that has it. But if you need standard USB ports, now you’re on the other side of the story. The MateBook 14 does feature two standard USB 3.2 ports, while also featuring a full-size HDMI, and still does have at least a single USB Type-C port.
But to be fair, the last criteria to consider, and arguably the most important would be the price. The MateBook X Pro costs a whopping S$2,698. As we’ve mentioned before, take this out of the equation. This laptop makes no sense at all. As for the MateBook 13, it’ll set you back a reasonable S$1,598, while the MateBook 14 is even better at S$1,298.
In conclusion, out of the three laptops in Huawei’s lineup, we would go for the MateBook 14. It has a slightly bigger display, the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H does perform admirably for light tasks, but most of all, it really is value-packed for the price you’re paying for. Had this not been an option, we would still go for the MateBook 13, and honestly, that’s still a solid choice. But with this available now, the MateBook 14 is our pick.
But what about you? Which would you go for?
Content by Soon Kai Hong