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  • Soon Kai Hong

Huawei MateBook 14s Review: A Neat Upgrade!

It’s been awhile but we’re back with yet another Huawei laptop. This is the Huawei Matebook 14s and it’s a laptop that we actually quite like and have grown to really appreciate. If you’re coming from the older Matebook 14 or the Matebook 13, this is actually quite the upgrade.

For a start, you’re still going to get a beautiful aluminum chassis that feels really sturdy in your hands but isn’t too heavy, coming in at 1.43 kilograms or about 3.15 lbs. It’s only available in one color, space gray, which is simple and neat. Nothing out of the ordinary. It does however feature chamfered edges just for a little extra flair while retaining the professional look.

The keyboard and trackpad are pretty much the same as before. The typing experience is still rather enjoyable with the slightly larger than usual keys and good tactile feedback while the trackpad performs as you would expect. Nothing bad but nothing amazing either. You’ll also find the fingerprint reader embedded right onto the power button itself, which is nice.

As for the webcam, you’re still only going to get a 720p image. It’s going to be doable for your usual meetings in Zoom or Discord, it works and that’s about it.

But the one great thing compared to the Matebook 14 or even the more expensive Matebook X Pro is the fact that the webcam is where it should be and that’s so much better. Additionally, it’ll also support Face Unlock.

In essence, in terms of the overall build quality, the typing and trackpad experience, if you’ve used the previous Matebooks before, this should all feel really familiar to you.

But here’s where it gets good, starting from the display.

It’s still 14-inches and in a 3 by 2 aspect ratio but the resolution has now been bumped up to 2520 x 1680 with a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s also 10-bit capable via 8+2bit FRC, covers 100% sRGB and can get up to 400 nits in max brightness.

It’s just downright a great display and perfect for almost anything you would want to do with it. General browsing, media consumption, gaming, you name it. Oh and of course, it’s also touch capable. So should you want to swipe away, that’s doable as well.

The only thing that was kind of surprising was the fact that this panel isn’t IPS but rather LTPS. Now I’m not going to delve into the details between the two, but just know that they are both really similar and that the resulting image is really similar. All in all, I don't really have any qualms about it, but just something to take note of. Oh and by default, the display defaults to 60Hz, so definitely do change it to 90Hz for that extra smoothness.

Despite only having two bottom vents for speakers, there’s actually a quad speaker setup in this laptop, with the other two speakers being right beneath the keyboard layer, firing up. So there’s two firing down and two firing up. In fact, Huawei touts the Matebook 14s as the first ever Matebook to feature Huawei Sound, a specially programmed algorithm to produce a great audio experience.

Being the first laptop to feature it, I definitely do not have any point of reference but I can ask for sure that they really do sound good especially given the size and thinness of the laptop. Bass is still a little lacking for sure, but I’m pretty sure most of you will be happy with it.

As for ports, you’ll get two USB-C, a single USB 3.2 Gen1, HDMI output and your 3.5mm combo jack. The USB-C ports aren’t Thunderbolt 4 certified, but they will support data, charging and DisplayPort out.

The laptop does come with a 60 watt hour battery that’ll give you a rather great battery life of about 9 hours which is honestly quite impressive for what it is. In the event that you run out of juice, you can simply use the included 90 watt charger which supports Huawei Supercharge and you can top the battery from flat to 50% in just about 30 minutes or so. Overall, great battery life for sure.

Performance wise, it’s an upgrade as well. Well not yet featuring Intel 12th-Gen, it still has a respectable Core i7-11370H, 16GB of RAM (LPDDR4X @ 3733MHz) and a 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD.

In Cinebench, it performed admirably and beat most of its direct competitors out there. Partly thanks to the fact that in Performance Mode, the system was able to sustain 45 watts on the CPU throughout with clock speeds higher than base. Even in a creative program like DaVinci Resolve, it was able to handle 1080p edits with relative ease and perhaps even 4K in a pinch.

We ran our usual two games for laptops of this class and the Matebook 14s performed decently as well. At 1080p medium settings, you could comfortably play CS:GO for the most part and even a more demanding game like Genshin Impact was enjoyable as well.

Throughout everything, thermals were well under check, averaging in the mid 80 degrees celsius for creative applications and the mid 70s for gaming, all while not sounding like a jet engine.

Honestly, it’s been a great laptop and it’s been an enjoyable experience. We then come to the price and it isn’t too shabby.

For just about 2,000 Singapore Dollars (1,998 SGD) which translates to roughly 1500 US Dollars thereabouts, you’re getting quite the versatile device that can handle most of your computing needs. Even more so if you’re an existing Huawei phone user, where you can make use of specific Huawei features to connect with the laptop. That said, it might not be the most value depending on what you’re looking for.

But again, minimalistic design, great display, versatile performance and pretty great battery life to boot amongst many other things. For everyday computing, and even a little bit more intense work or gaming, this will serve you well. Definitely a neat upgrade.

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