Nimish SawantFeb 25, 2016 11:26:20 IST
Huawei surprised everyone at the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona, by launching not a phone (it’s area of prowess) but a tablet. And not just any tablet, but a Windows 10 Pro sporting one, complete with its own full size keyboard to go with it. If you haven’t already guessed, yes, it is treading into the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 territory. So let us see how it is similar and how is it different from Microsoft’s laptop first tablet.
Build and Design
Huawei has to be patted on the back for developing a slim tablet measuring just 6.9mm thick and weighing just 640 grams. Both these numbers make it thinner and lighter than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. It sports a 12-inch display and along with the dedicated keypad it also comes with a stylus.
The tablet section is really well designed and makes use of metal in the construction of the body. When placed in the laptop mode, from the top you have the power/standby button at the right hand side, beside which where is a speaker grill section. On the right hand edge, you have the volume rocker button whereas on the left hand edge there is the 3.5mm audio jack on the top. The base has the magnetic connector points which connects the tablet section to the keyboard.
The MatePen is made of plastic and seems quite flimsy when compared to the Surface Pro 4 Pen. It has three circular buttons on board. These buttons act as the left and right click mouse buttons as of now. On the opposite end of the MatePen nib is the laser pointer section and pressing the third button in the upper half of the MatePen, powers on the laser light.
The Huawei Mate Book keyboard cover is quite elegant looking. But in terms of resting the tablet section goes, the Mate Book design is more inspired by the Origami cover of the Apple iPad Pro than the kick stand of the Microsoft Surface Pro. Which means that you cannot adjust the angles of the display in case there is a direct light source behind you. That’s an immediate limitation on the Mate Book.
The Huawei Mate Book makes use of a 12-inch 2160x1440 pixel display. It is an IPS LCD panel display and manages to look quite sharp. The bezels on the Huawei Mate Book aren’t that thick, so it gives a good body to screen ratio, at the same time leaving enough place for the thumbs to grip is properly in the tablet mode. Text appeared sharp and colours appeared vibrant. But we will need to check out some full HD movie samples to see how well it holds up.
Processor, RAM and Connectivity
Considering this is being positioned as a laptop first device, it houses the Intel Core m series processors, which can come from the m3,m5 and m7 series. On display at the book we saw the Core m7 processor sporting Mate Book. That gives us an idea why the Mate Book is so slim. Thanks to the Core m series processors inside the tablet, Huawei can manage to implement a fanless design. This is the major differentiating factor from the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, as it houses the top of the line Intel Core i-series processor, which naturally requires a fan to cool the processor down.
The Huawei Mate Book comes with either 4GB or 8GB RAM and has an SSD storage variants in capacities such as 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB. In terms of connectivity, you get an USB Type C port on the Mate Book. It supports Wi-fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1 and so on.
Keyboard and TrackPad
The Huawei Mate Book, just like the Surface Pro 4, sports a full size keyboard. The keyboard resembles Microsoft’s Type cover a lot. The keys on the full size keyboard have a nice feedback and the trackpad is bigger than the one we saw on the Surface Pro 4 which is saying a lot. While using the keyboard we got used to it quite soon, despite the fact that it does not have enough spacing between the keys. The trackpad was responsive when it was on, as there were a lot of demo units where the trackpad just refused to work.
Huawei has taken a big step forward with the launch of the Windows 10 based 2-in-1, a space where products such as Microsoft Surface Pro are quite less. The Huawei Mate Book is expected to be selling between $699 (approx Rs 48,000) and $1599 (approx Rs 1,10,000) depending on what configuration you choose. This makes is more affordable than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for some variants. But please note that the Mate Book comes with the Core m series processors, which are no match for the workhorse Core i-series processors seen on the Surface Pro 4.
The Mate Pen and Keyboard need to be bought separately at $59 (approx Rs 4,100) and $129 (approx Rs 8,900) respectively. So Huawei’s positioning seems to be a longer lasting 2-in-1 rather than the powerhouse. Thereby it steers clear of Microsoft’s path. But would you rather buy a thin Core m series based laptop instead? We will need to test the Huawei Mate Book extensively to be able to say if this is indeed the laptop replacement for someone looking at getting their office-related work done, as well as consume media after work.
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