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Huawei MateBook D 15 Review - The starter work laptop to get!

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Huawei has recently launched its entry-level laptop in the Philippines in the form of the MateBook D 15.
Huawei MateBook D 15 Review - The starter work laptop to get!
Huawei MateBook D 15 review!

Aggressively priced at just PHP 37,990, the MateBook D 15 is arguably the most attractive in its class.

Why? Despite Huawei calling it an "entry-level" laptop, it is a rare Windows laptop sporting a nearly all-aluminum body with a super slim ultrabook-like profile, a large 15-6-inch FHD+ display with tiny bezels, capable AMD Ryzen 5 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, USB-C 65W fast charging, clever keyboard design with pop-up webcam, and power button/fingerprint scanner.

Normally, those traits are found on pricier laptops. Its design, specs, and features could make it a great work laptop that can game a little.

But, is it really that good? Here's our review.

Unboxing/Accessories

Inside the box
Inside the box

Huawei's new laptop arrived with a usual laptop packaging. Inside, it is straightforward. You'll be greeted by the laptop immediately and you will see the 65W smartphone-like USB-C power brick, long USB-C to USB-C cable with a cable organizer, and the paper documents.
65W Switching Power Adaptor (This works for smartphones too)
65W Switching Power Adaptor (This works for smartphones too)
USB-C to USB-C fast charger
USB-C to USB-C fast charger

Note: Those who will pre-order it Feb 8 to 14 will get freebies worth PHP 9,990 which includes a Huawei T3 8 tablet worth PHP 6,490, Huawei Backpack, and Huawei Bluetooth Mouse.

Build Quality/Design

Rubber feet along with the cooling vents and speakers below
Rubber feet along with the cooling vents and speakers below

The materials used by Huawei is impressive for the price. The housing of the laptop is mostly made out of sturdy yet lightweight aluminum metal with rubber stoppers to prevent it from slipping at the bottom.

Nearly all-metal build, not mostly plastic!

It has minimal plastic parts on the hinge, bezels on the screen, keys on the keyboard, and the trackpad.

MacBook-inspired look
MacBook-inspired look

Design-wise, it is impressive as it is a reminiscence of higher-end laptops. Clearly, it'll remind you of the MacBook.

When closed, you will find a chrome-colored Huawei logo in the middle and a paint finish in either Mystic Silver or Space Grey.
The screen has slim bezels
The screen has slim bezels

When opened, it impressed me with its big 15.6-inch display with slim bezels at 5.3mm with an 87 percent screen-to-body ratio. Slim bezels at this price point is still not a standard, so I enjoyed that sight. As expected, it has a full-sized chiclet keyboard. The keyboard is easy to use and has a nice tactile feel.
Regular-sized keyboard
Regular-sized keyboard

It has easy to understand function keys on the F buttons that you can use to adjust the brightness of the screen, control the volume, mute the mic, turn on and off the WiFi, print screen, and more.
4
The cool thing about it is it adopted the MateBook X design where the web camera is neatly hidden in the middle of the "F" keys. It allows Huawei to keep the slim bezels without the need of eliminating the web camera.

The typing experience is okay in general except in the dark. To nitpick, the keyboard isn't backlit.
The power button works as the fingerprint reader as well
The power button works as the fingerprint reader as well

There is a power button that works as a fingerprint scanner in one. It is one of the fastest and most accurate around. The unlocking speed is actually smartphone-like.

Also, the keyboard also doesn't have a separate num key like older-gen 15.6-inch laptops. Why? The body of this device is small at 357.8 x 229.9 mm. That's just the size of older-gen 14-inch laptops.

Moreover, it is impressively slim at 16.9 mm. In comparison, my more expensive Dell Inspiron 7472 is thicker at 18.95 mm. In the looks department, this one simply prettier than the latter as well.
Left
Left
Right
Right

Even if it is a slim laptop, it has plenty of ports as well. It has a speedy USB 3.0 Type-A, a 65W-ready USB-C fast charging/data, and HDMI ports at left. At right, you'll see a pair of USB-A 2.0 ports and 3.5mm audio/mic port.

Normally, you won't find a laptop that feels and looks this good at this price point.

Multimedia Experience

Big and decent display
Big and decent display

At 15.6-inch, the 16:9 IPS display of this laptop is quite big. Since the screen ratio is big at 87 percent, the screen real estate is larger. It simply means that there is more screen to work on and it could be beneficial to those who multitask a lot. This allowed me to divide my screen into two or 3 parts for my apps.

Big display with impressively slim bezels!

For example, half of my screen is for typing, the two other quarters are for YouTube and my notes.

It is also more immersive for watching and showing full-screen videos and presentations.

The good thing, it has a crisp enough FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution. That's a huge deal if you are looking for a big laptop with respectable details in the images. Remember, there are still some similarly priced laptops with lower resolution or smaller displays.

Quality-wise, colors are alright. It has a contrast ratio of 800:1. Personally, I find it on the cooler side compared to the more balanced display of my Dell Inspiron 7472. Obviously, pricier laptops still have better panels than this.

For regular users, this screen should be more than good enough. But if you are a photographer or a video editor, you may need to calibrate its colors to your liking first.

The brightness level sits at 250 nits which is standard for the price. However, expect it to struggle a little outdoors. You can still see things on your screen even when hit by sunlight directly, but legibility isn't that great even at max brightness. It would be better if it has at least 300 nits of brightness. It would also be better if it has a nicer anti-glare solution.

It has a viewing angle of 178-degree as well.
Display Manager
Display Manager

The laptop also has a Display Manager where you can turn on and off the TÜV Rheinland-certified Eye Comfort mode and the color temperature of the screen to Default, Warm, and Cold. The Eye Comfort mode with yellowish tint could be useful to those who like to use their laptops for long periods of time as it can reduce visual fatigue and eye strain.
Speakers on each side
Speakers on each side

For audio, it has a pair of speakers located at the bottom of the laptop designed to provide stereo sound. Surprisingly, it delivered a rich audio quality with clear tunes and vocals. Bass is tight, but it doesn't have the crawling and well-extended bass you get from gaming laptops with bigger speakers and subwoofers.

But, in general, this has above-average speaker performance. It is easily better than the speakers of several similarly priced work laptops.

I find it great for listening to music and watching videos in a quiet room. It is satisfyingly loud with minimal distortion even at max loudness.

For wired headphones, it can drive a lot of earphones and some regular sized headphones easily. Driving power is actually strong. I only needed 20 to 30 percent volume to make my RHA T10 sing very well. Even with my UiiSii CM8 with triple drivers, no problem. 

I just noticed that its signature is a bit darker and warmer than my liking. Those who like rock and hip hop genre may not need to adjust the equalizer of their preferred music players.

For wireless headphones, it has Bluetooth 5.0 tech so it delivered a more stable connection and closer to lossless audio transmission versus older-gen laptops with Bluetooth 4.2 and lower only.

In terms of mic quality, I find decent enough for voice chats. Like most laptops, it is still not that suitable for recording super clear voices.
Sample from the web camera
Sample from the web camera

As mentioned, it has a hidden web camera on the keyboard. It is a 1MP camera that you can use to take selfies and video calls. The angle is just weird as it is from the bottom. As expected, like most laptops, the quality of images and videos are not comparable even against entry-level smartphones.

Performance

Geekbench score
Geekbench score

Under the hood, it uses 2.1GHz (3.7GHz max clock speed) AMD Ryzen 5 3500U quad-core and eight-thread chip with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. It is paired with 8GB DDR4 RAM with 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD storage. Those specs are impressive for the price!
Geekbench OpenCL Performance
Geekbench OpenCL Performance

As an average laptop user who doesn't play PC games anymore, this laptop is fast for the price. Bootup time is less than 10 seconds. It allowed me to open 10 tabs of Google Chrome with ease and a lot of other apps including Photoshop and VEGAS.
It can multitask a lot!
It can multitask a lot!

Yes, you read that right, it can do Photoshop and some video editing. Video rendering speed is just as fast if not faster than my Inspiron 7472 with Intel Core i5-8250U quad-core.

It has great specs and good actual performance for the price!

For gamers, this can probably do some casual games as even some gaming laptops are powered by the same Ryzen 5 with Radeon RX Vega 8 GPU. But of course, its slim body is not designed for heavy and lengthy gaming unlike gaming laptops with better ventilation and cooling systems.

That's fine though, remember this is more of a business and productivity laptop that handle some games, not a full-fledged gaming laptop.

It gets a little warm if while rendering videos or if you have a lot of apps running in the background. That's normal. I still recommend using this laptop on a dry table in a cool place. Not in your bed where it won't get the proper ventilation it needs.

Using either the USB-C or USB 3.0 port, file transfer speeds are also fast. Aside from the fast SSD storage where I store my apps, it has an extra 1TB storage for my other files such as music, videos, photos, and more.

For connectivity, it has WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) and Bluetooth 5.0. The ports include the 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A 3.0, 2x USB-A 2.0, HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack. For sensors, it has hall and gravity sensors.

For battery, the laptop is powered by the 42WHr cell. In our test, it can last around 5 hours on the "Best performance" mode and around 6 hours on the "Best battery life" mode.

Our daily tasks usually include WiFi all the time, playing music in the background, editing photos on Photoshop, watching YouTube clips from time to time, and editing videos occasionally.

65W USB-C fast charging ready!

The battery performance may sound average, but Huawei made up for it with its speedy charging technology. This laptop can be charged using a Huawei-made 65W USB-C power brick.

It can charge the laptop to around 50 percent in 30 minutes and a little over an hour to 100 percent.

In case you left your charger (power brick) at home or there is no nearby power outlet, you can charge the laptop using a high-powered power bank. Just make sure that it is around 40W or higher like the 
Huawei 12000 40W SuperCharge Power Bank to provide sufficient charging speed.

In the software department, it is straightforward. It uses Microsoft's Windows 10 Home with a few bundled software. It includes the Huawei PC Manager and the ByteFence anti-malware software. I removed the ByteFence as I'm already satisfied by the default Windows Security and Windows Defender Firewall.
PC Manager
PC Manager

The Huawei PC Manager is useful in keeping your laptop optimized and updated. You will also find the documents on the "User manual" and "Common issues" there.


For Huawei smartphone users with NFC, you can take advantage of the Huawei Share. Using WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC technologies, it can mirror your phone to the PC for cross-device usage. It can allow users to drag and drop files with really fast file transfer speeds.

Pros - Well machined body, stellar slim design, big display with tiny bezels, Ryzen 5 is fast enough on a work laptop, larger RAM and storage than all similarly priced laptops, USB-C 65W fast charging, Huawei Share crazy low price tag for the overall specs and features
Cons - No SD card slot, the keyboard is not backlit, not touch screen, awkward webcam placement

Huawei MateBook D 15 Specs

Display: 15.6-inch IPS screen w/ FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 141 ppi
CPU: 3.7GHz AMD Ryzen 5 3500U quad-core processor
GPU: Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
ROM: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Selfie Camera: 1MP
Battery: 42WHr w/ 65W Switching Power Adaptor
OS: Windows 10 Home
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A 3.0, 2x USB-A 2.0, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack
Sensors: Hall, gravity
Others: Power button/fingerprint scanner, built-in microphone, stereo speakers, Colors: Mystic Silver, Space Grey
Dimensions: 357.8 x 229.9 x 16.9 mm
Weight: 1.62 kg
Price: PHP 37,990

Verdict

For us, the Huawei MateBook D 15 is a highly capable work laptop for the price.

In our tests, it has proven to be a great machine for those who are looking for an affordable laptop that looks great, can multitask, and edit photos and videos.

Unless it is okay for you to carry a similarly priced thick gaming laptop, it will be hard to find a better work laptop that can do a little bit of everything for PHP 37,990.

Given its traits and the aggressive price tag, this device could be the one that will popularize Huawei in the laptop industry.

Build/Design - 4.5
Multimedia Experience - 4
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.33/5
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