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5 things to know about the MateBook, Huawei's first-ever Windows device

Florence Ion | Feb. 23, 2016
Huawei and Windows 10? It's a new category for the Chinese manufacturer, but this 12-inch tablet seems like a promising, cheaper alternative to the competition.

The dock adds extra ports

Everything you need for the MateBook is inside the MateDock’s leather case. Credit: Florence Ion

The MateBook’s second accessory is the $89 MateDock. It might not seem exciting at first, but I like all the extra functionality it brings to an otherwise basic Windows tablet. The MateDock connects to the MateBook via USB-C and adds HDMI, VGA, ethernet, and two extra USB ports, so you can hook your MateBook up to a monitor and tack on a mouse and keyboard, too. It comes inside a leather folio case that also houses a super compact 12-volt pocket charger. 

There’s also a pressure sensitive stylus

The MateBook is not just for the business-centric. Huawei geared it up for artists, too. The $59 MatePen features 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and an elastomer tip. It’s a bit light, so it doesn’t feel like a real pen, but you’ll experience the same drag and resistance as you would if you were drawing on physical paper. It also doubles as a remote for PowerPoint presentations and features a laser pointer on the back, which is neat though not entirely necessary.

The MateBook’s stylus has a built-in laser pointer, which is cool but not entirely necessary. Credit: Florence Ion

I’m not an artist, but I fired up AutoDesk and tried my hand at painting a basic picture with a paintbrush, a Micron-style pen, and a pencil. The pressure sensitivity only works with a few of the app tools, but it was remarkable how well the tablet picked up on even the slightest of brush strokes. I also liked that as I pushed down on the screen with the virtual paintbrush, the app would react as if they were actual bristles. I want to see what a real artist would think of the stylus before offering my final take, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen so far.

Is this your next Windows device?

The Huawei MateBook will be available sometime this year. Credit: Florence Ion

I’ve been slowly phasing out two MacBook Airs from my life in favor of Windows 10 laptops, and I like the concept behind the Huawei MateBook. It’s a lighter, portable alternative to a laptop, and it’s so much more stylish than the Surface Pro 4—but it’s not exactly cheaper. The MateBook starts at $699 for the 128GB model with 4GB of RAM and a Core m3 processor, but I’d at least want the keyboard cover and dock to take advantage of all its capabilities.

The MateBook will be available in the U.S. “in the coming months,” though there’s word that Huawei’s shooting for March.


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