Huawei looks back on its work and offers an ultraportable with a pleasant 14-inch screen, carried by a well-finished case and a solid configuration. Enough to crack?
The MateBook 14S is both Huawei’s latest effort to deliver an upmarket ultraportable, with a slightly revised case, and a good example of what Intel’s Evo platform offers.
We thus find, coupled with a 14.2-inch LTPS touch panel, an eleventh generation Core i7 processor (11370H), which means that the graphics part is provided by an Intel Iris Xe chipset. Good news therefore a priori for what we can expect from performance and autonomy. To finish with the basics of the configuration, there is 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB SSD storage, split by default between a system partition and a partition dedicated to data. A good way to protect against losses in the event of a severe Windows crash. Small note in passing, the SSD is one of the only elements that you can easily change once you have disassembled the device.
Ergonomics, a good experience, but there is still room for improvement
Let’s tackle ergonomics. It starts in the bag or at arm’s length, with a fairly compact set in terms of the size of the slab and a rather contained weight for a PC of this size (1.4 kg). The grip is pleasant, and the whole gives an impression of a good neat finish.
The keyboard, central to the experience with a laptop, is good, with some small details that are a little less so. The travel of the keys is perhaps a little soft, not very frank and accompanied by a plastic noise that is not very engaging, even if it is easy to find its rhythm of entry. The spacing between the keys is good, the responsiveness too. It’s just that this keyboard – no more than the trackpad, moreover, whose noise and feeling are quite unpleasant – cannot consider competing with the best keyboards of the moment, whether those of XPS, Dell, Surface, from Microsoft or the Magic Keyboard, which equip the latest generations of Apple laptops and 2nd hand laptop price bd.
In addition, we are quite taken aback by the maintenance of a key between the function keys F6 and F7, a legacy of the time when the webcam of the device was badly placed there.
Finally, still concerning the keyboard, the backlight system is really insufficient. Certainly, we discern the keys, but we flirt with discomfort when working in the dark.
On these points, the devil is in the details, and obviously Huawei still has room for improvement.
Let’s take a quick look at the available connections. We clearly appreciate that Huawei has not given in to the temptation of minimalism, even if we are not overwhelmed by the choice. However, there are two USB-C ports (one USB 3.2, for charging, and another Thunderbolt), a USB-A port (3.2), an HDMI socket and a 3.5 mm jack. The wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth 5.2 and an AX201 module to establish Wi-Fi 6 connections, up to 2,400 Mbits/s.
For those who are already evolving in the Huawei universe, the Chinese manufacturer offers a set of “Apple-like” functions, which allow you to synchronise a Huawei smartphone or tablet with this laptop to make your life easier, by transferring files or by sharing the screen and second hand laptop near me.
Let’s finish with the Webcam, which is now at the top of the screen. Limited to a definition of 720p, it is just fair in perfect lighting conditions, and catastrophic the rest of the time. Avoid videoconferences, if you don’t want your personal or professional entourage to worry about your complexion!
However, we welcome its compatibility with Windows Hello. It will therefore be possible to unlock the MateBook 14S with the Webcam. She sometimes seemed a little slow to react. If this is also your case, you can always add or prefer the fingerprint reader which is placed in the On / Off button, and which has always proven to be fast.
Screen, thin bezels, good format, good overall
With its 3:2 format, the MateBook 14S offers good user comfort for office 2.0 users, whether word processing, spreadsheet, email, web surfing or all of this at the same time. The definition of 2160×1440 pixels (in 3:2 format, perfect for office automation, therefore), provides enough space to juxtapose two windows, and work without worry. The refresh rate of 90 Hz guarantees a nice fluidity of the display. If, for some reason, you want to keep the panel at 60 Hz, just use the Fn R shortcut, and you will then immediately switch from one to the other.
The touchscreen is a little more ergonomic, to close a window more quickly, or to take a screenshot, which is practical when using Huawei’s PC manager which awaits you in the notification area of the taskbar.
Our measurements give decent brightness (400 cd/m2) and a very good contrast ratio, at 1886:1. The colorimetric fidelity is also very significant, with a Delta E 2000 established at 2.36. We are very close to the 2 from which the human eye can no longer really tell the difference between the true value of a colour and that which is displayed.
We will simply criticise this glossy panel for easily taking on reflections, which, added to a viewing angle 36.1% lower than the average of the PCs we have tested over the past twelve months, is sometimes a little annoying.
Performance, more than enough for a muscular office, and more
Thanks to its 11th generation Core i7 and the integrated chipset, much more efficient than those of previous generations, the MateBook 14S is positioned at the level of its direct competitors such as the Asus Zenbook 13, or the Acer Swift 5 and comes out with flying colors for all day-to-day office tasks.
It has enough power to allow you to work in multitasking without encountering the slightest slowdown and can even, by adjusting your graphics requirements, run some games either not too recent or not very demanding. In this case, it does better than a large part of the ultraportables that we tested and which had integrated chipsets from previous generations.
The presence of the Iris Xe also allows you to try a little video editing in Full HD, quietly, or in 4K, with more patience. At these times, the MateBook 14S will obviously vent. If it then gets a little noisy, the noise produced is never loud enough to be really annoying. On the other hand, we are sometimes surprised that he begins to ventilate without any real reason before returning to his usual silence. Anyway, even when you ask for it, this Huawei laptop is never too hot, on your knees or even under your hands. For the rest, the MateBook 14S keeps its promises to ensure the fluidity and power needed for the essentials of everyday life.
Autonomy: good, but not at the top…
Despite the progress made by the latest generations of Intel chips, the MateBook 14S struggled to fully convince during our autonomy tests. In versatile autonomy, which simulates daily use (Web, mail, etc.), Huawei’s laptop lasted 9:24, which is 18.4% less than the average of ultraportable PCs tested over the past twelve months. It must be said that Macs with Apple Silicon chips have profoundly changed both our rankings and our expectations. Thus, the MacBook Air, which is positioned in an approaching price range, is thus more enduring by 4:22.For video autonomy, which plays a movie continuously until the battery is drained, the MateBook 14S lasts 7:32, according to our tests, it’s 4:04 less than the MacBook Air, always.
Note in passing that the sound, although enriched with the arrival of two new speakers, is not very convincing. He lacks a bit of energy and presence.
Who says autonomy, says recharging: it takes about 43 minutes to reach 50% charge with the small 90 W charger.
For a laptop with an Intel processor, the performance is good. In fact, if you are content with word processing and surfing, it is possible to hold a short day’s work. Of course, the backlighting of the panel and the stress on the processor will have a significant impact on this endurance.Note -Well finished, powerful enough for all everyday uses, and even to tackle a bit of video editing or gaming, the MateBook 14S is an attractive ultraportable proposition, whose screen is pleasant, although subject to reflections, and overall good ergonomics. We will put a small flat for the keyboard and the Webcam. Finally, if autonomy is more than honest, we regret that it is not better.