Disadvantages: questionable webcam, modest battery life
It may not always seem like it, but there are still quite a few different audiences for laptops. Some just require a basic understanding of email and browsing. Others require significantly more firepower for intensive work. Others still value battery power or portability above all else. Many end up buying something that is positioned somewhere between these poles.
But one particular category has definitely been revived by the pandemic: the big-screen laptops. It’s not hard to figure out why. There remain tens of millions of us who, either by choice or by company policy, are prevented from using the kitchen table as a desk for large parts of the week.
As we know, for most of the past decade, laptops have shrunk to 13- or 14-inch devices that were designed more as personal work tools for planes and cafes on the go than eight-hour workstations. It leaves us with a strange craving for a few extra inches. But since there’s no room on the table for an external monitor, the availability of a larger laptop seems like a new reasonable prospect.
That seems to be broadly the market Huawei is targeting with its new 16-inch D16 laptop. The spec on it seems (with one possible exception) to be tailor-made for the average office worker who relies heavily on Microsoft and the Internet, but doesn’t need it that much for entertainment or gaming.
The basic model is particularly suitable for this customer.
I found the bright, vibrant 16-inch 1080p matte screen to be easily good enough for any type of regular office work, although it falls a bit short of premium laptop displays. The fact that it’s slightly larger at 16:10 than its predecessor’s 16:9 means that it’s better at accommodating more information.
The keyboard is also fairly comfortable to use, with natural palm rests on either side of the multi-touch assist trackpad. Many will appreciate the additional number pad to the right of the main keyboard, although I would have liked a little more space between the two so I can find the delete easier.
Performance under the hood is absolutely spot-on for the average user: 16GB of RAM (in all models), 12th Gen Intel i5 or i7 processors, and 512GB of storage. This is a sweet spot that should last three to five years for any normal user without complaint.
It’s reasonably well equipped with ports, including two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Matebook D16’s battery life is one of the more modest areas I’ve tested this year. You get four or five hours, but no more, guaranteed battery life at full screen brightness.
That’s not a problem if you use this at home in general. It also helps that you can use any USB-C charger with it, saving space if you need to travel with it. (It also comes with its own USB-C charger.)
It’s lighter (1.71 kg) and thinner than most 16-inch laptops out there, which isn’t a bad thing.
So everything about it screams “good enough” and “fast enough”; There is very little here that you feel you are paying extra for unnecessarily.
However, there are a few things about the Matebook D16 that are far from perfect. One of the elements that keep it affordable are the materials used in its construction. The downside to this is that they can sometimes feel a bit plasticky compared to premium laptops. This won’t be a deal breaker for most people.
But a small mistake was a little disappointing. The laptop’s camera has been upgraded to an ultrawide view, which can automatically “center” your face in the center of the screen (by adjusting the ultrawide zoom). It’s a very nice feature, hampered a bit by the unfortunate “blocky” resolution of standalone video recording and Zoom calls. It’s like having a patchy connection to the South Pole.
If this isn’t a specific flaw in the review unit I received, it would be a significant disincentive to buy, negating most of the benefits of the otherwise excellent webcam system.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/reviews/huaweis-matebook-gives-you-those-extra-inches-of-screenspace-you-crave-41856268.html Huawei’s Matebook gives you those extra inches of screen space you crave