Huawei MateBook E test: a PC / tablet adorned with a nice Oled screen

Construction

The design of this MateBook E obviously reminds us of Huawei’s MatePad Pro tablet, which simply has the same 12.6-inch screen. On the back, things are a little different since the computer hosts a single photo module when the tablet had a double module.

The rear photo module of the PC.

The rear photo module of the PC.

This allows you to take photos in 13 Mpx, while the 8 Mpx module at the front allows videoconferences with excellent image quality. In difficult lighting conditions, it’s obviously more complicated, but the rendering is still good, low noise, and much better than most of the computers we test. On the other hand, this webcam does not have an infrared module necessary for unlocking with Windows Hello.

In dark lighting condition.
In a very bright room.

Unlike the Microsoft Surface, the shell of the MateBook E does not include a stand at the back, which forces you to use the computer in your hands or to stall it as you can on a desk. If you can buy the PC alone, it is also sold in a pack with a Smart Magnetic keyboard / cover (offer during certain promotions). As with the Surface, it is difficult to envisage daily use without a keyboard with Windows 11, which is ultimately less practical than the tablet OSes which are suitable for touch screens.

With the keyboard.

The magnetic system of the keyboard is in any case very practical for positioning the PC on it in the blink of an eye; all that remains is to deploy the stand to put it in position. The fabric-covered hinge presented no problems for the duration of our test, but it’s hard to bet on its durability over time. The keys are in any case reactive, but unfortunately not backlit. This is often the case on entry-level detachable keyboards. As for the touchpad, it does what it’s supposed to do, but isn’t fantastic.

The magnetic attachment system and the hinge of the stand.

The magnetic attachment system and the hinge of the stand.

The new Huawei M-Pencil is also bundled with the keyboard. With a good amount of pressure points and low latency, it delivers a very fluid experience in use. It recharges wirelessly by simply placing it on the top edge of the PC – two spare tips are provided.

The stylus charges on the edge.
Little drawing session.

Connectivity question, it will be necessary to put up with the bare minimum. With a mini-jack and a single USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port (DisplayPort compatible), Huawei was satisfied with the habits of tablets, which clearly limits the uses. You will therefore have to choose between recharging your PC or connecting a peripheral (or a hub) to it. Too bad… On the edges, we will still find two volume buttons and an on/off button which has the advantage of having a fingerprint reader.

The volume button, the fingerprint reader and the ventilation slots.

The volume button, the fingerprint reader and the ventilation slots.

Another difference compared to the design of the MatePad Pro, the MateBook E is cooled by active ventilation and the airflow escapes through slots placed on the upper edge of the PC. The heating also remains contained: we noted a point at 38.6°C on the screen in full heavy treatment (with the cover). The noise generated by the cooling system is quite acceptable. Silent in office automation, it however rises to 34.7 dB under CineBench, for example.

The MateBook does not heat up much.

The MateBook does not heat up much.

Huawei displays a good repairability rating for the PC on its site, but it will be very difficult to open it on your own to change a part. In the event of a problem, it is better to go through the after-sales service of the brand.

Editor's Rating: 2 out of 5

Performances

Our test model is equipped with an Intel Core i5-1130G7, a small processor with four hyperthreaded cores clocked at 1.1 GHz. It is accompanied by 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD, which is very appreciable, some mobile devices being satisfied with much less storage. With a thermal envelope (TDP) of barely 9 W, which can rise to 15 W, or even 30 W on short processing times, it cannot however perform miracles.

The MateBook E is more efficient than a Surface Go 3, but not as much as the Surface 8 Pro equipped with Core i7. It evolves far from “classic” laptops like the Zenbook 14 Oled from Asus or the MateBook 16 from Huawei. If these performances may seem disappointing, we must not forget that this type of PC / tablet is not intended to perform heavy tasks. Thus, the office is perfectly fluid and we have not observed any slowdown in this context.

The SSD hit 3.4 GB/s sequential read and 2.1 GB/s write in our test. A satisfactory result, but very far from the best M.2.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Screen

The MateBook’s 12.6-inch OLED screen (2560 x 1600 pixels) is almost perfect. Note that to take advantage of precise colorimetry, you must first activate the sRGB mode of the screen manager, which is quite difficult to find if you don’t know where to look (it does not appear in the Huawei manager or in the installed apps).

The location of the display manager.

The location of the display manager.

We noted a delta E of 1.6 and an average color temperature of 6550 K, very close to the video standard (6500 K). Oled technology offers infinite contrast to the panel and persistence close to 0. The 87% screen occupancy rate is also excellent for a tablet.

Unfortunately – touch screen requires – the reflectance is very high (48.5%), which misses the step of the 5 stars on the screen. Itou, the maximum brightness of 411 cd / m² will hardly compensate in direct sunlight. Huawei however announces a brightness of 600 cd/m², but by looking carefully at the annotations at the bottom of the page, it is actually set at 400 cd/m² with the possibility of going up to 600 cd/m² automatically in the event of strong light. Problem: you can’t do it manually, which seems somewhat absurd, and therefore check the statements of the brand.


Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Mobility / Autonomy

With its 709 g on the scale and dimensions of 18.5 x 28.6 cm for a thinness of 8 mm, the PC is transported without problem. The keyboard adds 436 g to the whole, which remains lighter than many PCs, while the charger block is very compact with 200 g.

The USB-C charger is compact.

The USB-C charger is compact.

With its 42 W battery coupled with such a definition and an Intel Core i5, the MateBook E could not go far in terms of autonomy. It went out after 6 h 13 min in video playback under Netflix with the Chrome browser, light brightness at 200 cd / m² and Bluetooth deactivated. It is at the level of a Surface Go 3, for example, but well below the score displayed by conventional PCs. Regrettable for a nomadic product, even if it makes it possible to claim a featherweight while the fast charge compensates a little.

Strong points

  • Versatility of the PC/tablet hybrid format.

  • Almost perfect Oled screen.

  • Fine borders.

  • Webcam quality.

  • Speakers that sound pretty good.

Weak points

  • Limited performance.

  • Slab prone to reflections.

  • Ultra reduced connectivity.

  • Low autonomy.

  • Very difficult to disassemble.

Conclusion

General remark

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

How does grading work?

The Huawei MateBook E is very interesting for anyone who needs to work under Windows and travel regularly with a light PC. Its 12.6-inch Oled screen is practically flawless and is perfectly suited for multimedia use, even if it is prone to reflections. The performance of the PC certainly does not fly high, but it remains amply sufficient for office automation. The computer offers good value for money if the performance front is not in your sights.

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