Huawei’s Matebook is a sleek Surface Pro 4 rival at a lower price. The 2-in-1 laptop includes a stylish, 12-inch tablet that snaps onto a magnetic keyboard accessory. Starting at just $729 when purchased with the keyboard, it costs about $200 less than the cheapest Surface Pro 4, making it an enticing option for budget-minded business users – even if It is held back by weak battery life and middling performance.
Those aren’t the only sacrifices you’ll make by opting for the Matebook over Microsoft’s slate. For example, while the Surface sports a fully adjustable kickstand built into the back of the tablet, the Matebook lacks a kickstand on the tablet portion altogether. Instead, the keyboard folds out into a triangular kickstand, which provides just a single restrictive viewing angle.
Workers might also be bothered by the system’s sole port, a USB Type-C port that also severs as the charging port. If you want to connect USB accessories or link the Matebook to an external monitor, you’ll need to use an adapter, which thankfully comes included in the box. The accessory adds Ethernet, USB Type-C, two USB Type-A ports, and HDMI and VGA video ports.
Just don’t forget your charging cable, since the Matebook’s battery life is positively anemic. The system ran for a pitiful 3 hours and 54 minutes on our battery test, which is 4 hours less than the average ultraportable laptop and about 2 hours less than similar detachable systems such as the Surface Pro 4.
On the bright side, the Matebook’s sports an impressive 12-inch display that’s sharp and roomy enough for serious productivity. Pen support is also quite good if you pick up the optional $89 active stylus, which features full pressure sensitivity. The accessory is a worthwhile addition for workers who want to take digital notes right on the tablet’s display.
Check back for a full review of the Huawei Matebook very soon, or check out our picks for the best business laptops currently on the market.