Huawei MateView: the complete test

Known to most French people for its smartphones, Huawei has several strings to its bow. The Chinese manufacturer, which has grown in recent years with excellent laptops, headphones, connected watches and tablets, launched the MateView, its first high-end external monitor, a few weeks ago. Sublime thanks to its almost borderless 3:2 format and more modern than the competition thanks to its touch navigation bar and its connected functions, the MateView responds quickly to our attention. After more than two months of testing and teleworking by his side, the time to give you our verdict has come. Let’s not keep unnecessary suspense, the Huawei MateView is a huge crush.

A design close to perfection

Perfection does not exist, but Huawei is really not far from it. Rarely has a design been so unanimous in our circles, so much so that everyone we showed the MateView to asked us about its origin. In a universe as unsexy as that of the external monitor, Huawei achieves the feat of making a screen attractive. The absence of borders obviously makes the difference, as does the very rare format of the MateView’s 28.2-inch screen. Its 3:2 aspect ratio stretches it height rather than width, allowing for a huge screen that doesn’t take up too much space on a desk. To work, with one or two windows, one could hardly do better. It’s like having two external displays in one.

With a 4K+ definition (3840 by 2560 pixels), the LCD panel used by Huawei is of truly admirable quality. The textures of a text, the design of an icon… Everything seems sublimated on the giant screen of the MateView, provided that your computer supports this definition. On the Mac for example, we only managed to get 3840×2560 to work on computers with a USB Type-C port. The others, older, are limited to 720p compressed in 16:9 via HDMI. It may be a cable problem, but depending on the age of your computer, we advise you to check its compatibility. It would be a shame not to enjoy the MateView in its best quality.

Strangely, several of our relatives intuitively asked us if this screen was signed by Apple. It must be said that the foot of the MateView is an almost perfect replica of that of the Pro Display XDR of the Californian brand. Huawei was clearly inspired by it even if, unfortunately, it did not retain the possibility of rotating the screen vertically as at Apple, even if you can adjust the screen in height or tilt it. On the other hand, the MateView wins the battle in terms of connectivity. Its USB-C, Mini Display Port, HDMI, USB-A and mini-jack ports are all the more practical since, connected via USB Type-C, a laptop is recharged directly by the screen, which allows save a cable (the screen also wakes up and turns off at the same time as the computer, always very quickly). Finally, remember that at 649 euros or less, the Huawei MateView is for everyone. We can’t say the same thing about Apple’s Pro Display XDR at more than 6,000 euros… We’re quite happy to see a manufacturer like Huawei offer a beautiful screen to the general public.

Brightness and colors at the top, contrast to be improved

Huawei being new to the subject, we expect the MateView to look good without being the best performer. Underestimating the Chinese manufacturer was a mistake: its high-end monitor is simply one of the best on the market according to the laboratory. In terms of color fidelity, it borders on perfection with a Delta E of 1.89 in DCI-P3 mode (in “native” mode, the Delta E is 2.13). It should be noted in passing that the screen incorporates a predefined effective called “eye comfort” which, failing to display accurate colors, thus reduces blue light. We have often activated it to reduce our eyestrain. MateView’s maximum brightness of 461 cd/m2, is also extremely satisfactory for home use. At 100%, Huawei’s screen is even too dazzling.

The only point on which the Chinese manufacturer could have done better is the contrast ratio. At 600 euros, the OLED is obviously not there. You have to make do with an LCD panel. According to our lab measurements, the MateView’s contrast ratio is 1357:1, which isn’t exactly great. This is all the more annoying since the 3:2 format is not ideal for multimedia content, which forces the screen to display thick black bands when you watch a video, for example. In the dark, you can clearly see that the black… is not black. This is, in our opinion, the only defect of the MateView format. Strongly an OLED or mini-LED model, even if the prices will necessarily go up.

Last precision, the MateView is not designed for gamers. Its refresh rate of 60 Hz is designed for home or professional use, especially since the 3:2 format is not really suitable for games. For gamers, Huawei offers a GT version of its MateView with a different format and 144 Hz… but fewer functions.

A touch bar instead of buttons

Like any self-respecting tech company, Huawei had to try to innovate with its first high-end screen. One of his ideas is to use a touch bar below the screen to navigate the MateView’s interface, which removes the typically annoying buttons found on other external monitors, while avoiding the remote control option. For example, by making a gesture from left to right under the screen, we increase the volume. It is extremely effective. On the other hand, accessing the settings is not necessarily practical. You have to tap the bar twice, move by sliding to the right or left and tap the bar each time you want to validate (twice to go back). It’s better than buttons, but not requested very fast. Especially since the screen heats up a lot and the touch bar is often very hot. Is this therefore prohibitive? Not really. It is accessed so infrequently that it is a detail. The Touch Bar works when you need it, that’s what matters.

Limited smart features

Another innovation, the Huawei MateView is a monitor capable of receiving images without any cables. Thanks to the Miracast protocol, you can broadcast the image of a Windows PC (restricted in 1080p) without an HDMI cable or mirror the screen of your Android smartphone wirelessly (regardless of the brand, even if Huawei terminals are favored thanks to a NFC tag on the foot of the screen to facilitate pairing). The result is even so decent, for some strange reason the image is often stretched artificially to provide a 3:2 aspect ratio. This is mostly a troubleshooting solution, with the wired connection remaining the best option on the MateView.

After several months of use, we have come to the conclusion that the connected component of the Huawei MateView is not really one of its strong points. In the absence of a real operating system, it’s mostly a gimmick. For example, it is impossible to go to YouTube or Netflix from the screen without connecting a terminal. It’s a shame given its Wi-Fi connectivity. We would have liked a real OS on the MateView, why not HarmonyOS, to be able to use a real browser and applications that can be controlled by keyboard or mouse.

Another regret, the Miracast protocol is not well enough known to the general public. In a world where Huawei wasn’t banned by the US, we would have loved to see a Google Cast and Apple AirPlay compatible MateView. This would have made it possible to stream any image or video from his Android or iPhone, and therefore make the MateView ultra practical for occasional projections (a friend comes home and wants to project his vacation photos for example). Again, there’s nothing deal breaker here. We just notice that the smart screen promised by Huawei is better by its design than by its connected functions. We weren’t against a voice assistant either, like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Another small defect, the passage from one source to another is sometimes capricious. Often the MateView wakes up for no reason while our computer is sleeping. In case you have two computers connected at the same time, it also sometimes does not know which one to go to despite your insistent awakenings with the trackpad. Huawei can probably improve all this with a software update.

Webcam, speaker and NFC: what the MateView lacks

We told you what we liked with the Huawei MateView, let’s end this test with what we would have liked to see. First chose regrettably, the Huawei screen does not include a webcam. It’s understandable given its thin bezels, but we can’t help but feel like it’s a missed opportunity to create the perfect screen for working from home, especially when you see the poor quality built-in webcams of some laptops. We really hope that the MateView 2 will have a high quality front camera, which would make Huawei’s screen even better. In the meantime, we’ll continue to get excited about this incredible design.

Another disappointing thing is the quality of the speakers. If they are very powerful, the sound they emit is very saturated. The MateView’s speakers are now hidden in its foot, perhaps several should be spread across the width of the screen with the next generation, in order to offer a more spatialized sound?

Finally, as we told you above, there is an NFC tag on the base of the MateView. Aimed at pairing Huawei smartphones, we’ve only used it once in two months, which suggests it doesn’t deserve such a prominent place on such a pretty device. Huawei, here is our suggestion: replace it with a wireless charging base, even if it means making the foot a little thicker with the second generation. Recharging your smartphone, watch or headphones by placing them under your screen would be incredible.

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