Huawei MateBook 14 review: Portable productivity machine

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My usual workload involves a lot of online research, as well as writing and editing articles for both Speed‘s website and digital magazine. I also attend virtual presscons and roundtables, which means that aside from the multiple browsers and windows that I always have open, I also occasionally have the Zoom or Microsoft Teams app running in the background. 

What I do isn’t exactly “demanding” in that I need a monster-specced machine. What I do need is a notebook that won’t crash or heat up while I do my work (and some video streaming after). And the Huawei MateBook 14 (2020) has proven that it’s up to the task.

No-nonsense design

The MateBook 14 looks like most MateBook laptops—that is, sleek and professional-looking with its aluminum alloy build and slim chassis. The device feels sturdily constructed and the Space Grey colorway is nice if you’re into clean, minimalist aesthetics.

The right edge houses two USB-A 3.2 ports, while the left has a 3.5mm audio jack, an HDMI port, and one USB-C port. This means that if you need to plug in other USB-C devices, you’d have to unplug the charger.

At the bottom of the device are dual speakers that have decent audio quality. I watched a couple of Netflix movies on this laptop and I found the volume adequate and the dialogue audio clear. 

Also at the bottom are two black strips that slightly elevate the laptop so air can pass through the grille. This, plus the dual fan shark fin cooling system, is effective in keeping the MateBook 14 cool to the touch even after hours of use.

How does it fare a daily workhorse?

The MateBook 14’s island-style backlit keys almost cover the laptop’s entire width. The keys are great to type on and I found the key spacing just right for a laptop of this size.

The trackpad is sizable and has multi-touch support for Windows gestures. It’s responsive without being oversensitive to taps and swipes. It also houses the tag area for Huawei Share, a feature that allows you to connect compatible Huawei devices to the laptop with a simple tap.

Like other recent Huawei laptops, the MateBook 14’s 720p webcam is tucked away in the keyboard, between the F6 and F7 keys, allowing you to hide the webcam when not in use. However, as mentioned in our review of the Huawei MateBook D14 a few months back, this isn’t a flattering position when you’re video-conferencing with someone. If you have one of those laptop stands or risers, the angle will improve a bit. 

Huawei integrated the fingerprint sensor into the power button of the MateBook 14. I like this because it makes signing in easy and seamless. 

The 14-inch 2K FullView Display is sharp and bright and has solid viewing angles. The thin bezels make it look bigger than it is, and the 3:2 aspect ratio means there’s plenty of vertical resolution at your disposal. 

Powering this MateBook is a potent AMD Ryzen 5 4600H with six cores and 12 threads. This is paired with a generous 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. As expected, it’s more than enough for my daily workload; it can easily handle heavy browsing and even photo editing. You can even stream videos and run casual games without the machine stuttering.

Meanwhile, the 56Wh battery is adequate for a typical workday. I got close to seven hours before I needed to plug it in. Its fast-charging 65W adapter gives you around 2.5 hours of use from a 15-minute charge and you can juice up from zero to 100% in about 100 minutes. 

Speed says

The Huawei MateBook 14 (2020) is a portable and reliable notebook with a nice display, good keyboard, and solid internals. It’s a great all-around machine for work and is also a great companion for when you want to chill after. At P54,999, this is a good investment. 

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