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

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

Overview and features of the Huawei MateBook 16S

Huawei is decidedly more and more aggressive on the laptop market and is offering its “MateBook” range in all its flavors. We won’t complain, as long as the products are of high quality. This new model called “16S” is at first sight 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, there are a few other new features that are very pleasing.

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

Buy the Huawei MateBook 16S on Amazon

Design and construction: an uninspired look, but ultra 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 this. The PC relies on an all-aluminum chassis with a matte treatment on top (effective against fingerprints) and a general look of great sobriety. The grey/silver design no longer has anything to prove and the slightly rounded contours are once again reminiscent of what is being done on the Cupertino side. Nothing comes to mar the purity of the whole, if not the brand name in the middle, which we would probably have preferred a little less big.

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

By 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 incorporates a fingerprint sensor, very practical for unlocking your Windows session without having to type in a password. When 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, offering a nice typing feeling despite the short key travel. A very light rattling is heard when pressing, discreet enough not to interfere, but enhancing comfort. The keys are a good size, well spaced between them and the wrists rest perfectly on the large free surface around the touchpad. The backlight is adjustable on (only) two levels.

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

As for the touchpad, in addition to being XXL, it offers impeccable precision and comfort. Well integrated into the chassis, it does however sound a little hollow when tapped, but all the common gestures of navigation under Windows 11 react 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 useful for charging and DisplayPort compatible, 1 HDMI 2.0 port and a jack for 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, once 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 recall that it was previously placed under a key on the keyboard, therefore offering a very strange viewing angle during a videoconference. Here, your interlocutors will no longer have an unsightly view of your nostrils.

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

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

The screen of the Matebook 16S is certainly a strong argument and we are, once again, faced with an excellent panel. This is of the IPS/glossy type and is 16 inches diagonally, for a total definition of 2520×1680 pixels. The format is therefore of the “3:2” type, thus offering a very appreciable 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 is not of much interest.

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

The only flaw with this screen is its fairly high level of reflections, not helped by a decent maximum brightness, without being exceptional (raised to 320 cd/m2). Outdoors with a little sun, it will therefore be quite difficult to see anything there.

The reflections spoil 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 on the line: the contrast ratio is very good for IPS (1620:1), the colorimetry is just perfect, with a Delta E at 1.9 and a temperature of colors at 6500K. The Delta E is the sign of very high color fidelity, because 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 generation Intel processor widens the gap

The Matebook 16S is a PC made above all for office automation and productivity, given the absence of a dedicated graphics card. But that does not mean that it is not efficient, quite the contrary.

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

The Cinebench score is excellent

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

An excellent PC for working, therefore, which will display fluidity at all times, on almost all types of tasks. Whether it’s on huge Excel spreadsheets, advanced photo editing or even video editing, you’ll be very comfortable. The absence of a GPU will, however, somewhat limit the applications benefiting from hardware acceleration.

However, the Intel Iris Xe iGPU is not completely out of the game for video games. It’s the kind of chip that will allow you to play recent low-power games, if you’re ready to make sacrifices on the level of detail or definition. For example, we were pleasantly surprised to see that Elden Ring correctly at 30 FPS, in 1280×720 and in “low”. It is certainly not a “gamer” PC, but it can help out.

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

Autonomy: a working day at ease

A 135W charger is provided

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

With a large screen with beautiful definition and a powerful processor, one could seriously doubt the autonomy of the MateBook 16S. But, again, we’re not disappointed, as the 84 Wh battery lasts a full day’s work, not including lunch breaks. By being careful not to draw too much on the CPU power with greedy applications, you will indeed be able to use it easily for 8h30 before having to plug it in. In video streaming, our test under Netflix ran for 8 hours flat. On the other hand, the “AMD” model is doing better and can last for 10 hours in office automation.

Buy the Huawei MateBook 16S on Amazon

Conclusion

Strong points

  • 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, high-performance laptop that also offers great visuals and solid battery life. Its elaborate design, obviously inspired by the Apple MacBook and its 16:10 format make it an excellent everyday companion, whether for working at home or on the go. Simply one of the best laptops on the market.

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