Huawei Matebook 16S Laptop Review

Huawei’s MateBooks are certainly very good laptops and this new “16S” model is unlikely to reverse the trend. Here’s a product with a polished design and solid performance that, quite frankly, tempted us.

Overview and features of the Huawei MateBook 16S

Huawei is definitely more and more aggressive in the laptop market and offers its “MateBook” range in all its flavors. We will not complain as long as the products are of high quality. This new model called “16S” is at first glance an almost exact copy of the MateBook 16 that we tested a few months ago. The main difference is the presence of a 12th generation Intel processor, which replaces the Ryzen 7 5800H. But you will see that there are a few other new features that are very enjoyable.

screen size 16 inch
Screen type: IPS
Screen definition 2520×1680 pixels
Refresh rate 60Hz
Processor Intel Core i7-12700H
Graphics Card Intel Iris Xe
RAM 16GB DDR5
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
connectors 2 USB-C, 2 USB-A, 1 HDMI 2.0, 1 jack
Dimensions 35 x 26 x 2.7 cm
Weight 1.99 kg

Buy the Huawei MateBook 16S on Amazon

Design and construction: an uninspired look, but extremely efficient

MateBook, MacBook… Are you starting to see a pattern emerging? Huawei barely hides it: its laptops are extremely inspired by what we find at Apple and this MateBook 16 is further proof of that. The PC relies on an all-aluminium chassis with a matte treatment on top (effective against fingerprints) and an overall appearance of great sobriety. The grey/silver design has nothing left to prove and the slightly rounded contours are reminiscent of what is being done on the Cupertino side. Nothing detracts from the purity of the whole, if not the brand name in the middle, which we probably would have preferred a little smaller.

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

Lifting the hood, we are pleased to discover a very large touchpad, as well as a good-sized keyboard, with speakers on both sides. The ignition button at the top right also houses a fingerprint sensor, very useful for unlocking your Windows session without typing a password. If you’re told it looks like a MacBook…

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

The keyboard of the MateBook 16S is also of excellent quality and offers a nice typing feel despite the short key press. When pressed, a very slight chatter is heard, discreet enough not to disturb, but to increase comfort. The keys are a good size, well spaced and the wrists rest perfectly on the large free surface around the touchpad. The backlight can be set to (only) two levels.

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

The touchpad is not only XXL, but also offers impeccable precision and comfort. Well integrated into the chassis, however, it sounds a bit hollow when tapped, but all the usual navigation gestures under Windows 11 respond perfectly.

On the connection side, the Matebook 16S goes to the essentials, but still offers two USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports, accompanied by two USB-C which is useful for charging and DisplayPort compatible, 1 HDMI 2.0 port and a connection for a headphones. Unlike the “AMD” MateBook 16, WiFi 6 is indeed present, as is Bluetooth 5.2.

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under WindowsHuawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

Finally, unlike again the “AMD” model tested some time ago, this Matebook 16S has the advantage of offering a good quality 1080p webcam, which is also placed in the upper part of the screen. We remember that it was previously placed under a key on the keyboard and therefore offered a very strange viewing angle during a video conference. Here your interlocutors no longer have an ugly view of your nostrils.

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

Screen: a beautiful 3:2 panel, but watch out for reflections

The screen of the Matebook 16S certainly makes a strong argument and we are once again faced with an excellent panel. This is of the IPS/glossy type and is 16 inches diagonal, for a total definition of 2520×1680 pixels. The format is thus of the “3:2” type and thus offers a very considerable height to work with. The frame around the screen is also ultra-thin, with an occupancy rate of 90%. The image is therefore particularly well developed. Note that the screen is touch sensitive, but that’s not that interesting.

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

The only flaw of this screen is the rather high level of reflections, not helped by a decent maximum brightness, without being exceptional (increased to 320 cd/m2). So it will be quite difficult to see anything outside with a bit of sun.

The reflections ruin the party a bit.

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

But apart from this pitfall, everything else is at stake: the contrast ratio is very good for IPS (1620:1), the colorimetry is just perfect, with a Delta E of 1.9 and a color temperature of 6500K. The Delta E is the sign of very high color fidelity, as it is below 3. The temperature is very balanced, close to the norm at 6500K, a sign of a good balance between the warm colors and cool colors.

Performance: The 12th Gen Intel processor widens the gap

The Matebook 16S is a PC mainly made for office automation and productivity, given the lack of a dedicated graphics card. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t efficient, quite the contrary.

Our test model consists of a latest generation Intel Core i7-12700H processor, 16 GB DDR5 RAM and a 1 TB SSD. In particular, the processor is with its 14 cores (6 dedicated to performance and 8 dedicated to energy efficiency) and the frequency can reach up to 4.7 GHz in Turbo mode. The standard TDP is 45W, but can reach 115W under heavy load.

The Cinebench score is excellent

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

So an excellent PC to work with, which will be fluid at all times, in almost all types of tasks. Be it huge Excel spreadsheets, advanced photo editing or even video editing, you will feel very comfortable. However, the absence of a GPU will somewhat limit the applications that benefit from hardware acceleration.

The Intel Iris Xe iGPU isn’t quite out of the game for video games, though. It’s the kind of chip that lets you play recent low-power games, if you’re willing to sacrifice detail or definition. For example, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Elden Ring is correct at 30 FPS, in 1280×720, and in “low”. It’s certainly not a “gamer” PC, but it can help.

Anyway, the Intel configuration on board the Matebook 16S is really very satisfying and widens the gap with the comparable model but equipped with an AMD Ryzen. The latter remains efficient, but is clearly overtaken by the Intel CPU.

Autonomy: a relaxed working day

A 135W charger is included

Huawei MateBook 16S laptop review: as good as a MacBook, but under Windows

With a large screen with nice definition and a powerful processor, you could seriously doubt the autonomy of the MateBook 16S. But again, we’re not disappointed, as the 84Wh battery lasts all day, not counting lunch breaks. By making sure you don’t overuse the CPU power with greedy applications, you will indeed easily be able to run it 8:30am before you need to plug it in. With video streaming, our test under Netflix failed for 8 hours. On the other hand, the “AMD” model does better and can last 10 hours in office automation.

Buy the Huawei MateBook 16S on Amazon

Conclusion

Strengths

  • A classic, yet effective design
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Excellent level of Intel CPU performance
  • A 16:10 screen with perfect colorimetry
  • Good autonomy

Weak points

  • Lots of screen glare
  • Touchpad that sounds a bit hollow

Huawei’s MateBook 16S is a safe bet if you’re looking for a comfortable, powerful laptop that also offers great visuals and solid battery life. Its elaborate design, clearly inspired by the Apple MacBook and its 16:10 format, make it an excellent everyday companion, whether at home or on the go. Simply one of the best laptops on the market.

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