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Huawei Matebook 14S review: Something in the ’wei

It’s got fast charging, an ace new keyboard and no more nostril hair… but does Huawei’s latest 14in laptop bring computing nirvana?

Huawei’s new all-metal MacBook impersonator is off to a good start on the design front, simply because its webcam has moved: no longer pointing up your nose from the keyboard as on the MateBook 14, it’s back at the top of the screen.

The 3:2 screen ratio takes some getting used to if you’re coming from something more panoramic, but the extra vertical space is a boon when working on lengthy documents. This 14.2in touchscreen is super-responsive and not too strenuous on your peepers; it’s an LTPS LCD rather than an OLED, yet films look sharp and vibrant.

Windows 10 Home is installed, but it’s easy enough to upgrade to 11. There’s also Huawei Share, which allows you to pair second screens, tablets and phones… the huge caveat being that they have to be Huawei devices. You can unlock this laptop via the webcam using Windows Hello, and the power button also doubles up as a fingerprint sensor. Other features include quad speakers and mics, plus an updated backlit keyboard with greater travel than the standard 14; it’s one of the best keyboards we’ve used on a laptop.

It’s sort of a given that upgrading to a 90Hz refresh rate is good for gaming, but it doesn’t go unnoticed when using the laptop for work over extended periods. Everything feels smoother, from switching between windows to whizzing the cursor around. That refresh rate is adaptive to avoid unnecessary battery drain; the 60Wh cell should get you through the day, before speedy charging brings you back to over 50% charge in half an hour.

There are two downfiring and two upfiring speakers, plus a Huawei Sound logo slapped on the base… but the audio is only adequate. The mics, however, can pick up and smartly isolate your voice from up to 5m away.

Stuff says…

Although we’re delighted to say goodbye to the nostril cam, 720p doesn’t make for clear visuals, while Huawei Share and other smart features seem superfluous if you’re not in the company’s ecosystem. Despite all this, the screen is fantastic, there’s no lag to worry about, the refresh rate is superior to many and it lasts all day. The fast charging and satisfying keyboard round off a reliable and likeable workhorse.

Tech specs

Screen14.2in 2520×1680 LCD touchscreen
CPUIntel Core i7
RAM16GB
GPUIntel Iris Xe
OSWindows 10 Home
StorageUp to 1TB SSD
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2x USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone
Dimensions314x230x16.7mm, 1.43kg
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