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Huawei MateBook X Pro vs. MacBook Pro

Huawei is a major Chinese company best known in the U.S. for its smartphones, but that’s not all it makes. The company is trying to make inroads into the local PC market, with its MateBook detachable tablet going after Microsoft’s Surface Pro and its MateBook X competing against Apple’s (now discontinued) 12-inch MacBook.

The company’s latest effort is the Huawei MateBook X Pro, a larger notebook that appears aimed mostly at the MacBook Pro 13, although the company has widened its range a bit with its newest offering.

But going after the MacBook is biting off a lot. Apple’s MacBook Pro is a great machine with excellent build quality, great support, and of course, it’s what you’ll choose if MacOS is your platform. Today’s model has the same understated elegance as always and confirms Apple’s reputation for outstanding quality.

So, which one of these premium notebooks is worth your hard-earned money? We compared the Huawei MateBook X Pro against the MacBook Pro 13 to find out.

Windows vs. MacOS

Before you even dive into the physical comparisons, we need to point out one glaring difference between these two laptops: The operating system. Apple’s MacBook Pro naturally relies on MacOS while Huawei’s MateBook X Pro ships with Windows 10.

While we already have a separate article comparing these two platforms, laptop shoppers should keep this in mind before reading on. Both support apps and standard desktop programs. However, MacOS is fine-tuned for specific hardware configurations and synchronizes with Apple’s iOS devices. Windows must support an infinite number of configurations and synchronizes with Android devices.

That all said, the differences between these two platforms can be like night and day for some laptop buyers, regardless of the outer shell and underlying hardware.

Specifications compared

Huawei MateBook X Pro

MacBook Pro 13

macbook-pro-tb
Dimensions 11.97 × 8.54 × 0.57 (in) 11.97 × 8.36 × 0.61 (in)
Weight Starting at 2.93 pounds 3.1 pounds
Processor Up to 10th Gen Intel i7 Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7
RAM Up to 16GB Up to 32GB
Display 13.9-inch (LTPS) 13.3-inch (IPS)
Resolution 3,000 x 2,000 or 260 PPI 2,560 × 1,600 or 227 PPI
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe SSD Up to 4TB PCIe SSD
Touch Touch display Touch Bar
Ports 1x USB-A 3.1
1x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
1x USB-C
1x 3.5mm combo audio jack
2x or 4x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
1x 3.5mm combo audio jack
Webcam 720p HD 720p FaceTime HD
Operating System Windows 10 MacOS
Battery 57.4 watt-hour 58.2 watt-hour or 58 watt-hour
Price $1,199+ $1,299+
Review 3.5 out of 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars

Design

Apple last updated the basic design of its MacBook Pro line in late 2016, building on a mostly unchanged aluminum chassis with the usual Apple elegance and conservative aesthetic — albeit with smaller bezels and therefore a more modern look. Thus, the MacBook Pro still looks good in a coffeehouse or a conference room, and you’ll enjoy the typical Apple fit and finish and solid-as-a-rock build quality.

We find the MateBook X Pro to be reminiscent of the MacBook Pro, but not a direct copy. It’s an all-metal design with a silver color scheme sporting black keys and speaker grills that are a lot like those on Apple’s notebook.

But oddly enough, we found the MateBook X Pro to be even more attractive while being so similar, and while it doesn’t have quite the same solidity, it’s still a well-built notebook. The MateBook X Pro’s display bezels are even smaller and more modern, and its design strikes us as more functional overall.

The notebooks are just about the same size and weight, although Huawei manages to pack in a larger display.

Winner: A tie. These two notebooks are evenly matched even while they’re not clones of each other.

Performance

MacOS Catalina Hands-on | Macbook Pro
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Both the MacBook Pro 13 and MateBook X Pro are built around Intel’s 10th-generation Core CPUs, which are quad-core chips that give you plenty of multitasking oomph while sipping power during more mundane tasks.

However, Huawei has an edge over Apple thanks to the MateBook’s discrete GPU, an entry-level yet capable Nvidia GeForce MX250 that promises significantly faster graphical performance than the onboard graphics in the MacBook Pro.

When it comes to storage, both notebooks use very fast PCIe NVMe solid-state drives (SSDs) that provide great performance when reading and writing information.  Benchmarks show you won’t find any slowdown with either notebook when working with large files and demanding database applications.

However, the MacBook offers up to 4TB of storage. The MateBook only tops out at 1TB.

Winner: A tie. Performance-wise, both notebooks are very close to each other. Huawei edges ahead in terms of graphics, while Apple claws some points back with its expanded storage options.

Keyboard, mouse, and pen

The MacBook Pro 13’s Magic Keyboard design is back and replaces the loathed butterfly keyboard. The newer keyboard uses the tried and true scissor-switch key design, providing better travel and less noise. As an added plus, newer models are backlit for a better typing experience.

All MacBook Pro 13 models now include Apple’s Touch Bar. This adds task-specific touch input functionality, as well as a Touch ID fingerprint scanner for logging in and confirming purchases without a password.

The MacBook Pro’s touchpad is among the largest you’ll find on notebooks today and probably remains the most responsive touchpad around.

The MateBook X Pro’s keyboard is much more like the old-school MacBook Pro’s, with plenty of key travel and a comfortable feel, although we did find its bottoming action to be a bit vague. Nevertheless, if you’re in the “I hate that typing-on-wood feeling” camp regarding Apple’s latest keyboard, then you’ll find Huawei’s version a better fit.

Moreover, Huawei provides a choice to embed the webcam into the keyboard and make it easy to physically hide from prying eyes. However, it does result in an up-the-nose videoconferencing perspective, which isn’t pretty.

The MateBook’s touchpad is also very good, with a surface area that’s almost as large as the MacBook’s and with strong Microsoft Precision touchpad support and Windows 10 gestures.

Finally, a fingerprint reader embedded conveniently in the power button provides Windows 10 Hello password-less login support.

Winner: MateBook X Pro. It wins this round for evoking fond memories of how great MacBook keyboards used to be. The MacBook Pro has a better webcam and touchpad, but we prefer the MateBook X Pro’s keyboard.

Connectivity

Huawei MateBook X Pro review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Apple’s latest MacBook Pros don’t even pretend to support legacy peripherals without needing to purchase and plug in a dongle. The MacBook Pro 13 offers only USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support, with either two or four of them depending on which model you buy. Then there’s a 3.5mm combo audio port to go with the usual 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.

The MateBook X Pro is a little more connected, with a single USB-A 3.1 port for legacy devices, a USB-C 3.1 port, and a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. Add in a 3.5mm headset jack, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and that’s your connectivity configuration.

Winner: MateBook X Pro. We like the fact that we can connect a USB-A device without a dongle to the MateBook X Pro. We also like that there’s at least one Thunderbolt 3 port, although if you have a lot of Thunderbolt devices, you may be better served by the MacBook.

Display

Simply put, Apple’s MacBook Pro has one of the best displays around. It’s a 13.3-inch panel with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution (227 PPI) that’s also bright, offers up a wide color gamut with superior accuracy, and has strong contrast. While it’s not a 4K display, it’s very sharp and an excellent panel for photo editors.

Huawei went in an interesting direction with the MateBook X Pro, building in a 3,000 x 2,000 display that’s in the same productivity-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio as Microsoft’s Surface line. In fact, it’s the same resolution as the Surface Book 2 13.5-inch version, though a bit larger at 13.9 inches. It’s also just as incredibly bright as the MacBook Pro 13’s display and it has even better contrast. It doesn’t match the MacBook’s color gamut or accuracy, however.

It’s tough to call a winner in this category. If you edit photos for a living, then you’ll appreciate the great colors on the MacBook Pro 13. But if you do productivity work, then the MateBook X Pro’s higher resolution and 3:2 aspect should win you over.

Winner: MateBook X Pro. We give the nod to Huawei for providing a high-quality display that’s ultimately more useful to more people.

Portability and battery life

The MacBook Pro 13 and the MateBook X Pro are almost the same sizes. Only fractions of an inch and a few ounces separate the two in spite of the MateBook X Pro’s larger display. That makes them both equally easy to toss into a backpack.

Apple has slightly increased the battery life in its 2019 updates to the MacBook Pro 13, up from 49.2 and 54 watt-hours to 58.2 and 58 watt-hours. That got us five hours and three minutes of web browsing, and 10 hours and 24 minutes of video playback in tests. That means the MacBook Pro 13’s battery life is good, but it no longer dominates as it once did.

The MateBook X Pro has a similar battery capacity at 57.4 watt-hours. We don’t run all of the same tests on MacOS as we do on Windows, so the disparity in results at the top of this article is a tad misleading. The one common test, looping a local video, just slightly favors the MateBook X Pro, while the Huawei competes fairly well against other Windows notebooks.

Winner: A tie. Both notebooks will last most of a full working day.

Availability and price

Apple updated the MacBook Pro 13 in July 2019 to bring the Touch Bar to all models. The entry-level version starts at $1,299 and comes with a quad-core 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Pricing goes all the way up to $3,599 for the maxed-out model, which nets you a Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 4TB SSD.

U.S. pricing for the MateBook X Pro is hard to come by at the moment, as Microsoft seems to be the only official outlet listing Huawei’s notebook, and even then it only has two models for sale and both are out of stock. The entry-level model costs $1,199 and comes with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The second $1,499 option has an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

Winner: MateBook X Pro. Its pricing gives it a slight edge over the MacBook Pro 13, as its entry-level model is $100 cheaper but comes with twice the storage. However, its availability seems to be severely limited at the moment, so you may struggle to get one.

Huawei’s MateBook X Pro brings more power and better input options

Huawei Matebook X Pro
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Apple’s introduction of 10th-generation Intel chips in its MacBook Pro 13 has helped to make it a lot more competitive with Windows laptops, including the Huawei MateBook X Pro. However, it’s still beaten out by Huawei’s offering in a number of key areas.

The MateBook offers a better keyboard, is more productivity-friendly, and lasts as long on a single charge. Outside their operating systems, there’s not a ton of room separating these two notebooks, but overall, Huawei takes the win.

Editors' Recommendations