Is the MateBook X Pro’s hidden webcam innovative or just unnecessary?

Huawei MateBook X Pro review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

As we pointed out in our hands-on with the new Huawei MateBook X Pro, the upcoming laptop has a bizarre feature: Its webcam is concealed beneath one of the keys on the keyboard. While it’s nice to have a hardware solution to privacy concerns — the camera can’t very well spy on you when it’s tucked away beneath the keyboard — but its bizarre placement makes us wonder if the laptop webcam might have outlived its usefulness.

The webcam is one of those features that we tend to take for granted, every laptop has one, so it stands to reason that every laptop should have one, right? Well, what if Huawei’s solution, hiding the webcam beneath the keyboard, means an end to mandatory webcams on laptops?

According to our poll so far, people are more skeptical of their webcams than find them useful anyways.

That’s not to say that people don’t use them, but as we’ve seen from Dell’s XPS 13 lineup, webcams placed beneath the display tend to offer a less-than-flattering angle for videoconferencing. At what point are laptop manufacturers like Huawei and Dell going to just concede the fight? Is it better to have an awkward webcam than to not have one at all? After all, chances are you’re carrying a webcam in your pocket right now — and the amount of people who cover their cameras with tape is increasing all the time.

Webcams are ubiquitous and an expected feature to find in a laptop, but more and more often they’re kind of in the way. As manufacturers are looking to shave millimeter after millimeter off of those display bezels, the placement of the trusty old webcam becomes something of an obstacle. That’s why the Dell XPS 13, and Huawei MateBook X Pro opt for nonstandard webcam placement. It means they can shave those bezels down to the bare minimum. Unfortunately, that means the webcams aren’t as useful as they are when they’re located at the top of the display. Which begs the question, is Huawei’s solution innovative or style over substance?

So that’s the question this week. Is the Huawei MateBook X Pro hidden webcam an innovative way to deal with a pesky problem, or is it just a solution in search of a problem? If nothing else, it’s definitely eye-catching.

Product Review

The gorgeous Oppo Find X plays hard to get, but is it worth the chase?

Is the Oppo Find X the most beautiful smartphone we’ve ever seen? We think it’s right up there, but because it’s an import-only phone, you’ll have to put in some effort to get one. Is it worth going the extra mile?

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

What's the best laptop? We've reviewed a lot of them -- and this is our answer

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…

Turn your desk into a command center with the best ultrawide monitors

Top of the line ultrawide monitors have the deepest curves, the sharpest colors, and the biggest screens on the market today. You’re going to want one, sooner or later. So why not sooner? These are the best ultrawide monitors you can buy…
Social Media

How to use Adobe Spark Post to spice up your social media images

Images are proven to get more likes than plain text -- but only if those images are good. Adobe Spark post is an AI-powered design program for non-designers. Here's how to use it to take your social media feeds to the next level.

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.

A turn for the better: Loupedeck+ adds custom dials, more to Lightroom console

The Loupedeck+ improves on the original Lightroom console by adding welcome customization options and introducing support for Skylum Aurora HDR. What's even better is that it does this all at an even lower price.

Intel serves up ‘Bean Canyon’ NUCs revved with ‘Coffee Lake’ CPUs

Looking for a super-compact PC for streaming media that doesn’t break the bank? Intel updated its NUC family with its new “Bean Canyon” kits. Currently, there are five with a starting price of $300 packing eighth-generation Intel Core…

Save hundreds with the best MacBook deals for August 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Lost without 'Print Screen'? Here's how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Chrome OS has a number of built-in screenshot options, and can also be used with Chrome screenshot extensions for added flexibility. You have a lot of options, but learning how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook is easy.

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

Asus claims ‘world’s thinnest’ title with its new Zephyrus S gaming laptop

The Republic of Gamers arm at Asus is claiming “world’s thinnest” with the introduction of its new Zephyrus S gaming laptop measuring just 0.58 inches at its thinnest point. The company also revealed the Strix SCAR II.

Intel teases new dedicated graphics card slated for 2020 release

Intel has confirmed plans to launch a dedicated graphics card in 2020. Although precious few details exist for the card at this time, it was silhouetted in a recent Intel video showcased at Siggraph 2018.