Huawei Jumps Into the 2-in-1 Race With the MateBook

Now that they’ve made a name for themselves in phones, Huawei is looking to carve out a piece of other markets. Now, they’ve got their sights set on the same 2-in-1 market as the Microsoft Surface with the MateBook, a powerful 12″ Windows 10 tablet with a keyboard cover.

To be clear, the MateBook is more like the Surface than the Surface Pro — it uses the less powerful Intel Core m line of processors, so it won’t be a full laptop replacement and might not be well suited for multitasking. Still, for what it is, it’s pretty good. It has a 12″ 2160 x 1440 IPS display, a 6th generation Intel Core m processor (up to a dual-core 3.1 GHz CPU), and your choice of 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM. The MateBook can be purchased with 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB SSDs for storage. There’s a 5 MP fixed focus camera on the front, but no rear camera. Battery size is 4,430 mAh, which might be taxed heavily by a display that big and at that high of a resolution. Huawei estimates the MateBook will get about nine hours on one charge.

It looks like an LTE model won’t be available, but the MateBook will have speedy dual-band 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth 4.1 and a fingerprint scanner. The one problem you might encounter is that the MateBook is very light on ports, going the 12″ MacBook route by only including one USB Type-C port (and a headphone jack).

The lack of ports will limit its usefulness, but if nothing else, the MateBook will be very travel friendly. It’s 6.9 mm thick and 1.4 pounds by itself — we’re not sure how heavy it will be once the keyboard case is added, but the case looks lightweight, so all together we’re expecting it to be around two pounds. One more piece of good news on the comfort front — because of the Core m line’s low power draw and efficiency, Huawei was able to make the MateBook fanless to keep it quieter, and it’ll likely stay pretty cool during use. For a premium look, Huawei has gone with a unibody metal chassis with rounded edges.

Speaking of that keyboard case, it’s a nice one. It’s a wraparound case made of leather, offering protection for both the screen and the back of the tablet when closed. The non-keyboard part can be folded up to become a stand, which unfortunately means that this won’t be great to use in your lap and you won’t be able to change your viewing angle. The chiclet keyboard sounds pretty nice, though, with a comfortable 1.5 mm of key travel. There’s a touchpad on the keyboard case, too, to complete the laptop setup. The case will come in black, brown, orange, and beige.

Huawei has also made their own stylus, called the MatePen. Like a lot of styli coming with 2-in-1s, it has 2,048 points of pressure for more accurate recording of handwriting and sketching. They’ll also be selling the MateDock, which addresses the lack of ports. This has HDMI, VGA, ethernet, and two older, full-sized USB ports. Unfortunately, all of these accessories will be sold separately.

The MateBook will come in grey or gold and will be available in North America, Asia, and Europe sometime in the next few months. It’ll start at $700 and go up to $1,600, depending on which Core m processor you choose and how much RAM and storage you get. The keyboard case, MatePen, and MateDock will sell for $130, $60, and $90, respectively.

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