What better way to help ensure privacy but to actually hide the webcam and block its view? This laptop can be the companion for professionals and students on the go with its superb screen size, wide viewing angles, responsive chiclet keyboard, cool wrist rest, matte, aluminum finish, and a hideable webcam. For a laptop this size (15 inches diagonal, to be exact) to weigh in for only about 1.6 kilos, you can almost work anywhere, and game anywhere. But can this laptop stand the test of time, and maintain its performance? And most of all: is it worth the price? Read on to find out!
In this pandemic period, having a machine that can do both office work and leisure activities is important: you can blast through the day with all your documents, some light video editing, and some photo manipulation. Afterwards at night, you can sit back and relax by either watching your favorite series or playing a game. What’s more, it is important to have the laptop or computer light enough for you to carry anywhere and at the same time powerful enough to fuel these use cases.
Well, look no further as Huawei brings us the Matebook D15, refreshed for 2021. It boasts a whole lot of productivity, mobility, and performance features that definitely try to make a statement and will try to take laptops to a whole new level.
Intel Core i5-1135G7 4 x 2.4 – 4.2 GHz, Tiger Lake UP3
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
8192 MB DDR4
15.60 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, IPS, 60 Hz
256 GB NVMe, 256 GB
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: 3.5mm, 1 Fingerprint Reader, USB-C
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/ax = Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.1
height x width x depth (in mm): 16.9 x 357.8 x 229.9 ( = 0.67 x 14.09 x 9.05 in)
Webcam: HD 720p
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes
1.56 kg ( = 55.03 oz / 3.44 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Sporting a 11-Gen Intel Core i5 Processor, this laptop boasts fast startup times, fast sleep-wake times, and a snappy feel but without the typical power drain of the laptops of the yesteryear.
Powering the Graphics capabilities of the laptop we have Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs, which gives us performance that can almost be up to par with an nVidia GTX 765M graphics processor.
With this, coupled with the core i5, they can make a good duo of lasting longer hours into the day while unplugged doing normal office work and web browsing, with the occasional video streaming activity. Throw the 16-channel 3200 DDR4 dual-channel RAM into the mix you will get blazing-fast multitasking, multimedia playback, and fast creative work.
The body of the Huawei Matebook D15 is composed of aluminum all throughout, giving it a more solid feel than usual. However, given its size and enough force, the entire body can be bent slightly. Even so, you won’t hear or feel any creaking when attempting to bend the entire unit, so you will definitely be assured that this laptop should last you at about three or five years more than usual.
The bottom panel of the laptop sports a long, horizontal grill that should be enough to let cooling air in.
At 16.9mm and 1.56 kg, the laptop can be brought anywhere and is light enough that you can carry it without getting tired. Given this length and width you might need a larger bag.
Ports and I/O
The laptop provides a wonderful array of input and output options for you to choose from:
- USB 3.2 Gen1 x 1
- USB 2.0 x 2
- USB-C x 1
- HDMI x 1
- 3.5 mm headset and microphone 2-in-1 jack x 1
With these ports, you will not find yourself wanting to buy a dongle or a dock for use with the laptop just to use accessories.
The power button has a fingerprint reader that allows you to log in without entering your password. The response times are really fast enough that you won’t definitely notice it. I believe this takes lessons from Huawei’s mobile phone technology, where the fingerprint readers are very responsive.
The compact charger provides a quick charging capability through SuperCharge, allowing you to charge your laptop faster and quicker than before.
The laptop’s display is called the Huawei FullView display and clocks in at a 1920×1080 HD resolution, given the size of its screen. The screen is at 15.6 inches at its diagonal, giving us a lot of screen real estate for side-by-side multitasking and multi-window work.
Boasting an 87% screen-to-body ratio, the Matebook’s display sits tightly when viewed, slowly blending in with its surroundings as you work your way through your day. It has thin bezels that are usually sported by most ultrabooks today.
The bezels are another striking feature of this laptop, as it only has as little as 5.3mm, giving more ample space and screen to an already large display.
The display has good viewing angles, with most of the colors displayed correctly even when the lid is moved at 30 and 120 degrees.
The keyboard is made of scissor-switch chiclet style keys, which allow you to type really fast on it while giving enough of a tactile feel to your keypresses. It has a matte finish, too, which makes it even more comfortable for you to rest your fingers on while idling.
One of the items to be added to the wishlist is that this keyboard does not have backlighting, something that is to be expected for laptops that promises you mobile productivity; given the amazing specs of this machine it is something that you will definitely be looking for when you begin using it.
Another thing to notice is that there is a slight deformity that is occurring to the keyboard. I am not sure that this is intentional, but you will surely notice this once you start typing on this laptop extensively (I am writing this review on the laptop itself!).
The bulge can be felt at around the J, K, L, I, O, and P keys. The Keyboard suddenly cascades downward around the S,D, and F keys.
However, the keyboard has an amazing gimmick: the webcam is hidden in one of the function keys!
The audio fires directly from the underside grills of the laptop, letting it bounce off the tabletop. The sounds are also really loud given the size of the speaker grilles, which are really large for downward-facing speakers for laptops.
Owing to the capabilities of the 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, the laptop can quickly wake from sleep. And, if you registered your fingerprint to the biometric sensor embedded in the power button, you will be able to open the laptop and get logged in within a few seconds.
In this video, you get to login in 4 seconds!
Gaming for the Huawei Matebook D15 is possible, with the capabilities of the Iris Graphics granting the laptop graphics capabilities even without a dedicated graphics card.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Counter Strike: Global Offensive works and runs at 30-40 FPS on average in the default settings (AUTO: VERY HIGH). Moving the settings down to MEDIUM worked and improved FPS performance.
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV ran with Laptop (Standard) settings with around 25-47 frames per second. Turning the FXAA setting off (Edge Smoothing / Anti-Aliasing) improved the performance of the game
The 1+8+N Integration and AI Life
Huawei’s integration with their ecosystem of applications and hardware is getting up to the challenge of a seamless experience between mobile, tablet, desktop, and more.
Powering this is the AI Life technology, which connects all of your Huawei devices together. On the PC, you will be able to connect your laptop to your Huawei tablet as an extra external display to use as an extra screen.
Tying this all together is the AI Search capability where you can search across all your devices for almost anything: be it a document, a text, image, video, audio. You can even search inside images; which I think is powered by the AI behind this feature.
Another highlight of this feature is the Huawei Share function where you can send files from your computer to your devices and vice-versa.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a Huawei phone on hand at the time of review so we weren’t able to test this feature. However, it seems that there is a way for you to view all of the received files, allowing you to quickly find what was sent to you (I always forget where I saved a file or photo sent to me from another device… this should be a godsend!).
And finally, the AI Life feature in the Huawei PC Manager will optimize your PC’s performance through analyzing your habits, which gives it an idea on how to make your already fast PC even faster.
Overall & Verdict
The Huawei Matebook D15 2021 has a lot to offer. It has options for mobility and I/O. The Huawei FullView display screen also is wide, giving you ample room for multiple windows and multi-tasking, all the while providing a 1920×1080 screen size. The 11th Gen Core i5 brings almost mobile phone-like sleep-wake capabilities, instantly turning on and logging you in with a built-in fingerprint reader in the power button. The full 16GB 3200 DDR4 Dual-Channel RAM makes applications load fast and responsive. The compact charger and supporting SuperCharge gives you quick-charging capabilities that lets you refill your battery on the go. The smooth and matte aluminum body, along with its light 1.6 kg footprint makes for a portable, mobile computer. And finally, the AI Life feature makes for a seamless integration with all Huawei devices, such as your mobile phone and tablet, giving you a connected experience across different modes and devices. Taking all into consideration, the Huawei Matebook D15 2021 is a solid choice for a laptop for both work and play.