Citing numerous problems such as bulky designs, low quality displays, sub standard battery life and a severe lack of reliability, Huawei made use of its pre-Mobile World Congress press conference to launch a new 2-in-1 notebook/tablet called the MateBook.

In terms of its aesthetic, the Matebook draws heavily on the look and feel of the smartphones (like the Mate S) in Huawei’s line-up. To this end, it’s sleek and curved around the edges, with a CNC diamond-cut full metal body.

The 2-in-1 is available in two colour combinations – a black panel with a grey metal body and a white panel with golden metal body – with four different colours of detachable keyboard, namely brown, black, orange and beige.

The MateBook will run Windows 10 in two iterations.
The MateBook will run Windows 10 in two iterations.

The keyboard is designed to be comfortable to use with curved style keys and durable enough to take the knocks and bumps notebooks are prone to. To this end, it folds around the Matebook for protection and can be detached and wiped down (it’s spill proof) when needed.

When used in combination, the keyboard and tablet can be so that the screen is tilted at either 55-degrees or 67-degrees – the two most popular tilt angles according to Huawei.

The MateBook is no slouch

It features a 12-inch display with a 2160×1440 resolution, which Huawei reckons leads the iPad Pro and Surface Pro with an 85% colour gamut and 400 nit brightness.

The bezel around the screen is a mere 10mm, which according to Huawei makes it look like a 10-inch display, when it is in fact 12-inches.

Apart from these stunning visuals, the screen also has a single touch fingerprint sensor (like the Mate S) integrated into its side panel and users can apparently sign in multiple fingerprints for a single account, or sign in to different user accounts by swiping a different finger.

Incredibly thin but don’t discount the power of the Huawei MateBook.

In terms of processing, the MateBook has a 6th Generation Intel Core M processor under the hood. Users can choose from an m3, m5 or m7 varietal with clock speeds maxing out at 3.1GHz.

Looking at the processor choice, it’s not surprising that the operating system of choice bundled with the MateBook is Windows 10. Huawei is offering users the choice of the Home or Pro Edition.

Rounding things out on the specs front, the MateBook weighs 640g (less than the iPad Pro and Surface) has a 33.7Wh High density Lithium Battery (4430mAh) and features an unusually small charger which has support for both USB type-C and Micro USB, meaning it can also be used for charging a smartphone.

Made for the MateBook

The presentation finished with Huawei talking through a host of accessories it will launch for the MateBook at the same time.

The first of these is a professionally-focused, rechargeable ‘Mate Pen’, which features 2048 levels of pressure, one of the first elastomer tips in the industry and a laser pointer/slide changer in the back.

The keyboard is ergonomically designed for comfort and by wrapping around the MateBook, protects it as well.
The keyboard is ergonomically designed for comfort and by wrapping around the MateBook, protects it as well.

Another is the MateDock, which is a stand alone do-all docking station that connects into the side of the 2-in-1 and allows Ethernet connectivity, display expansion and a host of other capabilities.

The last is a active noise cancelling headset designed to consumer no power (and charge up) while plugged into the MateBook.

All of these will be available as separate items at the time of retail.

The last question is of course price.

The two Core M3, 4GB of RAM versions will cost $699 (R10 766.05) and $849 (R13 076) and come with 128GB and 256GB of SSD storage respectively.

The two Core M5, 8GB RAM machines will rush you $999 (R15 386.67) and $1199 (R18 467.08) and come with 256GB and 512GB of SSD storage respectively.

Last up, there’s two M7 versions (each with 8GB of RAM) that weigh in at $1399 (R21 547.50) and $1599 (R24 627.91), coming with 256GB and 512GB of SSD storage respectively.

And the accessories?

The keyboard is set to cost $129, the MatePen $59 (R908.72) and the MateDock $89 (R1 370.78).

Unfortunately for us there’s no word on availability just yet.

 

Brett is the big cheese at Hypertext Media. He's been covering the technology industry for so long, he's seen old technology be 'respun' as the next big thing one too many times. He started Hypertext in 2002 and quite frankly hasn't looked back (although he often longs for the days when a steady salary, sick days and leave were a given). Publications in his stable include htxt.africa; DailyFive (http://www.dailyfive.tv); Connect; Tarsus Channel and GirlGuides (http://www.girlguides.co.za). He also hosts the ZA Tech Show (http://www.zatech.co.za), does a monthly tech column for Sawubona and writes the odd gadget piece for a magazine here and there. Currently uses: 11-inch Macbook Air, iPhone 5, Blackberry Z10, iPad Mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Paperwhite, Marley TTR Headphones, Xbox360, PS3, Nintendo 3DS.