Huawei MateBook D 15: Unboxing and hands-on first impressions

Huawei MateBook D 15 Review
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Huawei isn’t a brand traditionally known for making computers, but who’s to say it can’t try. Its foray into the segment began in 2016 with the Huawei MateBook, a 2-in-1 convertible taking on the Microsoft Surface. It went on to make a couple more including the critically-acclaimed flagship MateBook X Pro, MateBook D and MateBook 13. The latest to come from the Huawei stable is the MateBook D 15, an entry-level, stylish workhorse that sold like hot cakes on its debut in China. Thanks to Huawei Malaysia, I’ve gotten my hands on a review unit, just in time for it to hit stores over the last weekend.

Glaringly MacBook-inspired (in both namesake and design), the MateBook D 15 is targeted at both professionals and consumers. From the offset, there’s little to dislike. It’s lightweight, stylish, powerful and priced at a sweet spot.

Huawei MateBook D 15 Review
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What’s in the box

The MateBook D 15 comes in an unassuming eco-friendly brown box. Here’s what’s inside:

  • MateBook D 15 unit
  • 65W fast charger
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Quick start guide
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Design and build

Aesthetically, the MateBook D 15 isn’t too different from its predecessor. The familiar all-aluminium construction is well put together and it tips the scale at 1.62kg (1.53kg without the secondary HDD). It’s compact too, thanks to the impressive tiny bezels surrounding the 15.6-inch display. It’s, in fact, one of the smallest and lightest notebooks in its class and price band.

Offered only in Mystic Silver, the notebook measures 6.9mm (H) x 357.8mm x 229.9mm (D).

Hardware

The 15.6-inch FullView display is a Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel with a 16:9 ratio and a typical 178-degree wide viewing angle. The ultra-thin bezels give it an impressive 87 percent screen-to-body ratio. Also, it’s a TUV Rheinland certified display that reduces eye strain by blocking out blue light over long usage hours. Note that it’s not a touchscreen display; not a surprise at this price point.

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You’ll get a full-sized chiclet keyboard with a recessed camera sandwiched between the F5 and F7 function keys. The trackpad is sufficiently large and you’ll find connectivity ports on either side of the device.

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Under the hood, the notebook is powered by the 12nm AMD Ryzen 5 3500U mobile processor coupled with the AMD Radeon Vega 8 integrated graphics. It comes with 8GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory with 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD and 1TB of HDD.

READ ALSO  Huawei MatePad Pro: Malaysian pricing and pre-order details

In terms of expansion ports, the notebook comes with 3x USB ports (1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0), a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack, and an HDMI port.

Connectivity-wise, the MateBook D 15 is in-built with dual-antenna WLAN (802.11a/b/c/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0/4.2/2.1+EDR and NFC.

The built-in NFC chip enables Huawei One Tap Share—a seamless file transfer solution that lets you easily transfer content from your Huawei smartphone to the notebook, and vice versa. You’ll also be able to view the contents of your smartphone directly on the MateBook D 15.

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There’s also a fingerprint sensor located on the top right side of the keyboard.

Audio is provided through a set of bottom-firing stereo speakers.

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The notebook comes equipped with a 42Whr battery, which isn’t massive for a device its size. Huawei does not specify total battery life for the device. It does claim that the 65W USB-C charger can juice up the notebook from 1 percent to 53 percent in just 30 minutes (in sleep mode). This is pretty impressive.

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Software

The MateBook D 15 runs Windows 10 Home out of the box and comes with some Huawei software including PC Manager.

First impressions

It’s uncanny how much the MateBook D 15 resembles Apple’s MacBook Pro, but don’t let that distract you. It’s a pleasing design and while it isn’t a premium build, it’s still well put-together.

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The FullView display looks crisp and bright, and I’m impressed at how thin the bezels are (5.3mm to be exact).

The fingerprint reader is snappy, as good as any, allowing for instantaneous authentication and login.

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I like the large trackpad and while the keyboard travel is a little shallow for my liking, the keys are well-spaced out.

The recessed camera is a little on the gimmicky side for me but I can appreciate the thought to conceal it for two specific reasons: Privacy as well as thinner bezels on the display. It’s a measly 1MP camera but sufficient for web conferencing.

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I briefly tested out the much-touted One Tap Share feature with an accompanying Mate 30 Pro. After some initial hiccups connecting via Bluetooth, the feature worked like a charm—from transferring and viewing photos, to screen sharing.

I will be doing further testing for a full review. I’m eager to see how the Ryzen processor performs as well as test out battery life.

Based on first impressions though, the MateBook D 15 looks rock solid.

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Pricing and availability

The Huawei MateBook D 15 retails at MYR2,499 and is offered in Mystic Silver.

It’s currently listed as sold out but Huawei is said to be restocking soon.

For more information, visit https://shop.huawei.com/my/product/huawei-matebook-d-15

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