Review unit provided by Huawei Singapore
The Huawei MateBook D 16 is an entry level laptop released in mid 2022 targeted at office workers, students and anyone looking for a reasonably priced laptop with a large display. In Singapore, the retail price is SGD 1298 (~USD 990) for the model with Intel Core i5-12450H, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD and Intel UHD Graphics. There’s another configuration with the Intel Core i7-12700H processor and Intel Iris Xe should you need better specs.
And If you need something even more powerful and premium, there’s the Huawei MateBook 16s with better specs all-round but is more expensive at SGD 2298.
My review is from the perspective of a visual content creator, someone who does graphic design, digital art, edits photos and videos.
Specifications for this review unit are:
- 12th gen Intel Core i5-12450H processor (4E + 4P)
- 16GB RAM
- 512GB NVMe SSD (461GB actual capacity with Windows 11 Home)
- Intel UHD Graphics
- Ports: 2x USB-C, 1x USB-A 3.2, 1x USB-A 2.0, full-size HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack
- Weight: 1.7kg
- Battery: 60Wh
You can find the full specifications here.
Interestingly, the USB standards for the two USB-C ports are not mentioned on Huawei’s website. The company just says one is for data, charging and displayPort, and the other is for data and charging.
In the box, you’ll get the laptop, a 65W Huawei fast charger and USB-C cable.
In Singapore, you may also get a backpack and a 16GB flash drive as freebies when buying from an authorised retailer.
The laptop is available in either Space Grey or Mystic Silver colours. The body is made with metal and has a matte texture.
Beneath the laptop are fan grilles for air intake. Exhaust escapes from the top at the hinge. Speakers are downward facing with serviceable audio quality. The stereo effect actually has some spatial quality probably due to the speakers being far apart. I did not open the back but from what I’ve seen on other websites, the internal NVMe SSD can be replaced but not the RAM.
The laptop is quite thin at 18.4mm and can be picked up easily with the curved sides. The weight is 1.7kg and that is considered light for a 16-inch laptop so this is still quite portable considering the large display size.
This is a well designed and well built laptop. Overall design looks good with the thin bezels and clean aesthetics. The hinge is quite stiff so the lid needs two hands to open.
Build quality is solid with minimal to no flex on all parts of the laptop except for the top cover.
The display is is a 16-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels (142 PPI). There’s slight pixelation noticeable when working from one arm’s length away but it’s no big deal. The 16:10 aspect ratio is good for productivity and makes the display look massive.
I measured colour support for 97% sRGB, 75% AdobeRGB, 75% P3 and 69% NTSC, and a maximum brightness of 249 nits (advertised 300 nits).
The display is matte textured. Viewing angles affect the brightness of the display as you can see in the photo above. For this laptop, the viewing angles affect the image quality slightly so you have to tilt the display properly to get the best colours and brightness for visual design work. That said, for the price of this laptop, 97% sRGB colour gamut is reasonably good.
Ports on the left are 2x USB-C, one full-size HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The USB-C port near the HDMI port is used for data transfer, charging and displayPort. Transfer speed is 450 to 500MB/s.
The other USB-C port is used for data transfer and charging but does not output video signal. Transfer speed is less than 50MB/s (you did not read that wrong).
On the right side there are two USB-A ports, one with USB 3.2 speed and the other is just USB 2. The power button has a built-in fingerprint sensor that works fast and effectively.
The USB-A port closer to you has transfer speed of 450MB/s, and the other is 50 MB/s.
The keyboard comes with a numpad on the side. The keys are well spaced and layout is standard. Touchpad is well positioned below the spacebar. The touchpad is big, accurate and supports finger gestures.
The function row has shortcuts for brightness, keyboard backlight, volume controls, voice typing, mic, display projection, Wifi, Huawei PC Manager, PrintScreen, Insert, Del, Calculator, Search and Minimise Window, Camera.
The keys have good travel and feedback. My overall typing experience is very positive.
The keys are backlit with two brightness, and the light shines through the letters.
Overall performance of the laptop is smooth and snappy, and does well with multi-tasking.
Read and write speeds for the NMVe SSD are 3.3GB/s and 1.6GB/s.
Thumbnails for imported 4K videos in DaVinci Resolve 18 take much longer generate than expected. But after the thumbnails are generated, video editing process is smooth even with 4K 50FPS videos with no special effects. It took 2 min 43s to export a simple cut-and-join 4K 25FPS video with H265 codec. In other words, the video export time is about 60% of the length of the video project.
When working with Adobe Lightroom Classic, thumbnails for 100 RAWs could generate quite quickly. Photo editing process is smooth and instantaneous.
There are no performance issues with graphic design and digital art.
The Intel Alder Lake H series processors are more powerful than the P series processors commonly found in lightweight laptops. And the extra performance is noticeable with visual content creation. The same edits I do with the U series processors may have the occasional lag or are not as instantaneous. With the H series processors, edits are smoother and fast and the fans rarely rev up. It’s a good choice going to the H series processors.
When it comes visual content work, you just have to note the limitations of the sRGB colour gamut and viewing angles. This display may not be good enough for creators who need better colour accuracy, but for casual design work the colour support should suffice.
This is not a gaming laptop. I could get 60FPS with Hades at 720P resolution but that game isn’t really considered to be that demanding with graphics. With Stray (2022), I could only get 10 FPS at 720P with all graphics settings at low. With Red Dead Redemption 2, I wasn’t able to get the FPS readout from Steam but gameplay is surprisingly smoother (maybe 30 FPS) than Stray.
This laptop is great for media consumption and web browsing. Watching videos on the huge display is satisfying. Audio quality is serviceable with decent stereo effect.
Huawei Super Device and Smart Office eco-system
Huawei Super Device and Smart Office are features for multi-device collaboration.
If you have other Huawei devices, you can use the included Huawei PC Manager app to connect to those devices and get shared features. E.g. You can extend the desktop onto a Huawei MatePad tablet, send files directly and wirelessly to Huawei phones or tablets, search across different devices. Some of these features are useful and are great for productivity. I happen to have a Huawei tablet as well and use that as an external display for this laptop.
On rare occasions there’s the electric tingling sensation that happens when charging. When I use my finger to touch the palm rest I can feel the sensation, but when I use my palm I can’t.
For some reason, the laptop tends to hibernate instead of sleep after a few minutes. With sleep, you can open the lid and get back to work instantly. With hibernate, you have to press the power button for a quick startup (much faster than reboot). This is most likely a software issue but all my power settings look alright but yet the laptop hibernates instead of sleep. Hopefully Huawei can release a software update to fix this or at least give you the option to choose either sleep or hibernate. Going through the power settings via Windows Control Panel doesn’t seem to solve this problem.
Battery life is just 5 hours and that could be due to the more powerful Intel Alder Lake H-series processors over the U or P series. If you have to use the laptop outdoors for long periods of time, the battery life is not ideal. If you just need to bring the laptop from point A to B and have access to power outlet, battery life isn’t an issue.
The Huawei MateBook D 16 is a non-gaming laptop with good performance and a large display. I was actually expecting a much heavier laptop and was pleasantly surprised it’s just 1.7kg.
When I looked at the price of SGD 1298 and prior to testing the laptop, my expectations weren’t high. After using this laptop for two weeks, I’m very impressed at the performance and features Huawei was able to pack in this laptop while keeping the price competitive.
This laptop can also be used for casual 4K video editing that that says a lot (positive) about this laptop.
The downsides are the sleep/hibernate issue and battery life as mentioned above.
In terms of value for money, I feel this laptop does provide good value for money because you’ll get a reasonably portable laptop with large display and good processor performance.