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  • Soon Kai Hong

Huawei Matebook D 16 Review: The Best 16" Laptop For Students

We’ve tested quite a number of Huawei laptops in the past and honestly, we’re pretty impressed with most of them. Huawei has always somehow managed to strike a good balance between performance, aesthetics and value. Well, this is the Huawei Matebook D 16, the base configuration, and this might just be the best 16” laptops for all you students out there.

First of all, we do want to mention that there are two variants of this very laptop. You can either go team red with AMD, or this right here, team blue with Intel. Nevertheless, they both sport the exact same chassis, so let’s start by talking about the design.


Honestly, it’s a really simple and clean design that will really appeal well to most of you out there, especially if you’re looking for a minimalist look.

In fact, if you do go with this colour option, the Mystic Silver, we would say that it takes a little bit of inspiration from the old MacBook Pros which also featured that same black plastic hinge. Apart from that, the chassis is mostly made out of CNC aluminium which also gives it a rather solid build quality with little to no flex. And despite the 16-inch form factor, the laptop weighs a rather decent 1.7kg or 3.74lbs.

Overall from an aesthetic standpoint, it’s clean and neat, definitely great for students who don’t want to be overly flamboyant or flashy per se.

Now lift the lid and you’ll be greeted with a pretty great 16-inch display that boasts a 1080p resolution in a 16:10 aspect ratio. You’ll also be glad to know that this is an IPS panel and will cover 100% sRGB and get up to a decent 300 nits in max brightness. So be it for general browsing, working on your documents or even watching YouTube or Netflix for long periods at a time, this display will perform.

On that note, the speakers are pretty decent as well. There are two speakers, each located in the corner firing downwards and they do get loud enough to fill your immediate vicinity. The bass is definitely lacking for sure but the highs and mids are clear and clean and will play nice with most genres of music and entertainment.

And again, it is a pretty large display at 16-inches which you’ll definitely appreciate be it at school, at home, or wherever you might be.

Now up top, you do get a 1080p webcam which is actually not bad at all. It still isn’t the best but it does work and is plenty usable for discussing topics with your classmates or attending an online lesson. To add on, the microphones are pretty decent as well.

We then move down to the keyboard and with a 16-inch laptop, you do get a full size keyboard complete with the number pad. The typing experience is honestly pretty nice and kind of classic in a way. You do get 1.5mm of key travel and it does feature a soft bottom out as well resulting in a really pleasant and soft typing experience. You could type on this keyboard for an hour or two and you’ll still be comfortable from start till end. In addition, it is backlit and the power button doubles up as a fingerprint reader which makes logging in and out of your laptop that much easier. Definitely something you’ll appreciate in a place like school.

Unfortunately however, we can’t say the experience with the trackpad was as stellar. While it tracks well and has a really nice and smooth surface, the main issue would really be the placement of it and the click mechanism. More often than not, your palm would be resting on it while typing and if you put a little too much force, even high up on the sides, it’ll trigger the click mechanism and cause accidental inputs.

The issue is quickly alleviated once you adjust your typing posture or simply use a mouse and disable the trackpad, but definitely something to take note of.

Now let’s talk about the ports. On the right, you’ll get two standard USB ports, one of which is USB 2.0 and the other being USB 3.2 Gen 1. On the left, you’ll get two USB-C ports, one of which will support data, charging and DisplayPort while the other will only support data and charging, alongside HDMI 2.0 and the 3.5mm combo jack. Personal opinion, but while that USB 2.0 port doesn’t sound like much, it’s going to be a good permanent spot for something like a dongle for your wireless mouse.

And then we come to one of the most important factors when considering a laptop as a student, battery life. The Matebook D16 comes with a 60Wh battery and a 65W USB-C charger. In effect, you’ll get roughly 6-7 hours of average use which isn’t fantastic by any means and we definitely agree it could be better.

However, depending on your use case and where your environment, this might not be too big an issue for you and the fact that it charges via USB-C means you don’t need to bring the included charger around. Any high wattage GaN charger will do the trick and save you some weight in the backpack while you’re at it.


But now let’s talk performance and as mentioned at the start, we have the base configuration. That’ll get you an Intel Core i5-12450H, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of PCIe 3.0 SSD storage.

In Cinebench R23, the Core i5 was able to score 8.228 and 1,462 in Multi-Core and Single-Core respectively in the standard Balanced power profile, and that’ll increase to 8,823 and 1,672 respectively in the Performance power profile.

Rendering our usual 10 minute 1080p edit in DaVinci Resolve, there is a much lesser difference between the two profiles as both managed the render in just about 22 minutes.

In terms of gaming, it definitely isn’t that great of an experience. Which is understandable given the fact that the Core i5-12450H only has the standard Intel UHD graphics and does not have the much better Intel Iris Xe graphics. Even so, if Valorant is all that you play, it’ll actually perform rather well.

Additionally, you needn’t really need to worry about temperatures with most gaming and general load scenarios averaging around 75 degrees celsius. It will sustain 90 degrees with something like Cinebench R23, but it does so at 3GHz, which is a full GHz above the base clock. In addition, fan noise is minimal even under load which is a nice plus.

It's Affordable!

But here’s the main reason as to why this laptop might just be the best option for a student, especially in the 16-inch form factor.

For this exact configuration, it’ll set you back 1,298 Singapore Dollars which translates to roughly 900 US Dollars. That is honestly quite the bargain and you’re getting a really great value here especially considering the display, the keyboard, the performance, all of it.

It’s just a great, no nonsense laptop that can take on most of the things that a student would need for school. You’re really covered on every front here and in that regard, we do think that this is pretty fantastic. Even if you’re not a student, it is fantastic and you cannot deny the value it brings to the table.

Now we do have some gripes, such as the fact that Huawei partitions that single SSD into two drives for no reason, really and the not so great trackpad, but other than that, it’s great. We really can’t fault it especially when you take the price into consideration. Huawei does really make quite the value laptops and we definitely hope to see more of these in the future.

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