Available in France since the beginning of May, the Matebook D16 from Huawei is intended for both personal and professional use. Made of metal and with a neat equipment, it has in theory everything of a seducer. But what about in practice? To find out, we used it daily for a few weeks to test it.
How much does Huawei sell the Matebook D16 for?
The Matebook D16 is available in France at the official price of 899 €, with only one configuration offered (AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD). At the time of writing this test, it benefits from various launch promotions that lower its price by about 50 euros.
Huawei MateBook D16 at the best price Base price: €899
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What is the design of the Huawei Matebook D16?
Whether it’s smartphones or notebooks, Huawei pays special attention to design and ergonomics. And it is certainly not the Matebook D16 which will make lie this reputation.
Made of brushed aluminum tinted in the mass, the chassis of the machine is a welcome sobriety. With 1.74 kg on the scale, it falls into the ultraportable category. One might have feared that the 16″ screen – we’ll come back to this later – would result in imposing dimensions. It is not the case since it measures 36.9 x 23.4 x 1.8 cm, the same size as a 15″ notebook.
The keyboard with well-sized and well-spaced keys allows for precise typing. We appreciate the presence of a pleasant backlight while regretting – a little – the absence of a numeric keypad. It is true that its integration would have obliged Huawei to propose smaller and less spaced keys. It overhangs a multipoint trackpad with a clear mechanical click and is surrounded by two black bars housing the stereo speakers.
The one on the right also houses the power button, which is itself home to a fingerprint reader. In use, this one proves to be fast and reliable: if you turn on the machine using one of the fingers whose fingerprint is registered, the machine is immediately unlocked.
The sides of the device are home to a set of connectors that we would have liked to see more of. On the left, a full-size HDMI 2.0 jack and two USB-C ports. On the right, two USB 3.1s as well as a 3.5mm jack audio input/output… and that’s it.
If we understand the absence of an Ethernet RJ45 port made impossible by the thinness of the chassis (and often useless since the advent of Wi-Fi), we would have appreciated to find a SD card reader, or even a third USB-C port since in practice, one of the two present serves as a power outlet.
As usual, Huawei has chosen not to integrate a webcam above the screen. It is thus placed in a retractable mini-block taking the form of a false keyboard. Located between the function keys F6 and F7, it is easily identified by the presence of an icon representing a camera. This choix has some advantages and disadvantages.
When it is retracted, the camera will not be able to send images without the user’s knowledge, since it is immersed in a blind slot. By bringing it back to this place, Huawei can allow itself a nice reduction of the black borders surrounding the screen. This would not be possible otherwise, except by punching the LCD panel.
On the other hand, the angle of view is not really flattering, the deformation of the face being accentuated. Finally, using the keyboard during a video call will inevitably result in a splendid close-up of your hands, which may quickly irritate your interlocutor.
The quality of the image produced by the webcam is average, without more. The definition is limited to HD 720p, which may be insufficient in some cases.
The Matebook D16 is equipped with a 16.1″ IPS LCD panel in 16:9 format displaying 1920×1080 pixels (a density of 137 dpi). In the absence of a camera, the screen has the luxury of occupying 90% of the available space, which is quite rare on a laptop. Huawei had the excellent idea of opting for a matte slab, in our opinion much more pleasant in daily use than the traditional glossy finish.
Huawei announces a 100% coverage of the sRGB color space as well as a maximum brightness of 300 nits and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. It’s certainly a far cry from what high-end models offer, but all these features are still more than enough for everyday use. Watching videos on the Matebook D16 is a very satisfying experience, with very little afterglow. Still images benefit from the screen’s matte finish, which allows for more faithful color reproduction.
How good is the audio from the Matebook D16’s speakers?
The two speakers on either side of the keyboard do a very decent job if you’re just watching videos or making audio calls. In both cases, the result is pleasant. Things get a little more complicated when it comes to listening to music. If the stereo scene is well reproduced, the speakers are lacking when it comes to reproducing the highs or the lows, only the mids being satisfactory.
To tell the truth, this doesn’t really shock us considering the positioning of the Matebook D16. Considered as a companion for daily tasks, it must reproduce voices and conversations with fidelity, thus the low-mids: from this point of view, it is satisfactory.
The same goes for the sound reproduction of videos, where the voice is more often than not the most important. But if you’re an audiophile, it’s better to use external speakers, headphones or earphones. In this case, the audio jack output or the Bluetooth 5.1 connection will provide a much better sound.
How does the Matebook D16 perform?
The Matebook D16 is built around an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor clocked at 3 GHz. It is supported by 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, the display being managed by the Radeon graphics chip integrated into the chipset. Finally, a 512 GB SSD ensurese internal storage.
Huawei remains very discreet about the possibilities of expansion of the machine … and for good reason. The RAM, directly soldered on the motherboard, cannot be extended. This is not the case for the internal storage, a free connector that can receive an SSD type M.2 2280. In order to access it, you will have to disassemble the machine, with all the risks that this implies.
The general performance of the Matebook D16 is very respectable. Without being a real racing beast, it is largely enduring enough to handle the tasks of personal or professional life. For example, it can be used for reasonably complex video editing (avoiding 3D effects, for example), photo editing or even CAD software.
The lack of a powerful graphics card limits the machine’s performance when it comes to more demanding operations. So don’t expect to run the latest 3D video games, or render real-time models, for example.
Aside from these resource-intensive activities, the Matebook D16 did pretty well on the tasks we gave it. While the cooling mechanism is not silent, it does make a noticeable sound, but it’s not a nuisance.
Networking is provided by a Wifi 6 chip that we found to be efficient on a compatible access point. As far as we were able to judge, it is reliable and we have never encountered any untimely disconnection.
Software: Windows 10 in its simplest form
Huawei equips its notebook with Windows 10 Home Edition and has the good taste to avoid bloatware. The PC Manager application takes care of updating the drivers as well as establishing a link with a smartphone or a tablet of the brand. This is done in the simplest way possible by approaching the device to the trackpad, behind which is hidden an NFC chip. Once the connection is established, you will be able to view the device’s screen in real time, exchange files or use its network connection.
What is the autonomy of the Huawei Matebook D16?
Last but not least, the battery life allows you to cover an eight-hour workday without difficulty. We appreciate the speed of the partial charge, 15 minutes can provide up to two hours of activity.
The machine has a performance mode that boosts its capabilities when plugged into its power adapter. In this case, the fan is activated more often. Last but not least, the AC adapter’s capacity is good, as its size is more reminiscent of a smartphone charger than the half-brick that usually comes with notebooks.
Huawei MateBook D16 at the best price Base price: €899
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Huawei Matebook D16 review: should you buy the computer in 2022?
The Matebook D16 is one of the machines whose versatility we appreciate. Its low weight allows you to take it on the road without any problem, the autonomy provided by the battery
being sufficient for one day of work. In fixed use, the comfort of its keyboard and the size of its screen make it a very appreciable workstation.
Its electronics allow a fluid operation for most of the tasks that personal, school or professional users will entrust to it. However, you should not expect miracles with resource-intensive applications, as the graphics card integrated into the chipset is simply not designed for this.
Indeed, the device offers a “unibody” metal chassis – a mark of a fairly premium device, an impression reinforced by the dark color. When opening the device, this sweet sober music continues with black speakers and keyboard on dark gray, complemented by a fingerprint reader on the top right.
Keyboard typing is quite pleasant and the connectivity quite complete for a PC of this size. And the performance of its AMD Ryzen 5 4600H chip associated with its 16 GB of RAM is rather good in office use, photo editing and video. Even if, frankly, you should not expect miracles if you dare to install some 3D games.
Finally, the autonomy of this compact notbook is correct since the computer follows you without shouting recharge during a day of 8 hours. In this area, this device has a small advantage over the competition, since it is equipped with a partial fast recharge: 15 minutes = 2 hours of autonomy.
Are all these qualities enough to turn you away from other competing ultra-portable notebooks, for example a MacBook Air with M1 chip? It’s not guaranteed. You can find this machine for a price of 800 €. On the other hand, the MacBook Air with M1 chip offers 16 hours of autonomy (twice as much) and much better performance for a price often between 800 and 1000 € depending on the site (it is available from 1 129 € on the official Apple website).
Huawei Matebook D16
Design and ergonomics
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