Huawei MateBook 16s Review

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From the MateBook 16, which was already excellent, the MateBook 16s is an impressive improvement. Performance is promising after switching to Intel, and touchscreen support and a new 1080p webcam are also winners. But is it possible to function without a dedicated GPU?

Is a laptop with 16 inches really necessary? The majority of people will respond with a resounding no. However, a portable powerhouse with a big screen is a godsend for a select few, and Huawei clearly agrees by launching two of them simultaneously to the European market.

The MateBook 16s is the more expensive of the two, but the more affordable MateBook D16 is just as good. It’s designed for graphic designers, video editors, and other creative or professional professionals.

The main restriction is that the MateBook 16s cannot be purchased with a discrete GPU. Instead, Huawei is relying on the MateBook 16s’ combination of Thunderbolt 4 support, Intel’s powerful 12th-generation H-series CPUs, and a high-quality 2.5K display to convince creatives that it is up to the task.

Construct and design:

The 16s doesn’t do much to upset Huawei’s MateBook laptop design language, which it has established with ease.

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This laptop, like the majority of the company’s products, is only available in Space Grey, and its restrained design is straightforward and professional. From the sleek, symmetrical lines of the body to the thin bezel that surrounds the expansive display, this is by no means an unattractive piece of kit. At best, you might describe it as dull.

Given that it is a laptop, this 16-inch model is unavoidably substantial. That has been minimized to the greatest extent possible by Huawei, and the laptop was still light enough to receive Intel Evo certification. Despite this, its weight of 1.99 kg and thickness of 17.8 mm are not quite ultrabook standards.

Although the MacBook Pro 16 is heavier and the ridiculously light LG Gram 16 are the only notable exceptions, you will definitely notice the weight when you slide this into your backpack.

Audio and visuals:

One of the MateBook 16s’s strengths is its display, which is also a key part of Huawei’s pitch about what the laptop can do for creatives.

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It has a high 2.5K resolution (2520 x 1680, to be exact) and the increasingly popular 3:2 aspect ratio, in addition to its size. This boxier design is optimized for productivity and gives you more vertical screen space to work with. You can fit more of a document on screen at once or edit photos and videos with less letterboxing with this shape, but watching content will almost always have black bars above and below it.

Although it isn’t quite as good as the rest, the color calibration is impressive. Using a SpyderX Elite, I was able to test sRGB coverage at 96%, AdobeRGB coverage at 73%, and DCI-P3 coverage at 72%. However, the panel’s brightness falls short, reaching a peak of 330 nits in my tests, which will be especially problematic for HDR.

Why You Need A Data Storage Strategy:

For a laptop of this size, the bezel around the display is very thin—7.3mm at its thickest point—and has a 90% screen-to-body ratio. However, that is not too small to accommodate a webcam, in this case a 2Mp, 1080p camera. In a market still dominated by 720p sensors, that gives this laptop one of the best options for video calls and other similar tasks.

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One more improvement is the 10-point touchscreen display, which is becoming more and more common on Windows laptops and provides additional ways to navigate the operating system.

There is a lot of debate about how important laptop speakers are, but Huawei has clearly invested in this area. With their two large grilles that run down either side of the keyboard, you can’t miss them, but their sound is impressive enough to warrant their prominence. The music is punchy and crisp, the clarity is sufficient to read dialogue in movies and television, and the bass output is even decent.

Ports, trackpad, and keyboard:

The MateBook 16s has a full-size keyboard, but unlike some of its competitors, including the new MateBook D16, it does not have a dedicated numpad along the side. This is one consequence of the two large speakers.

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However, the keyboard is still impressive overall. The combination of what Huawei refers to as “soft-landing” technology and the key travel of 1.5 mm, which is deeper than in many laptops, produces excellent results. This is no exception to Huawei’s long-standing rivalry with Dell in the high end of the laptop keyboard experience; there is hardly anything I can fault it for.

A standard feature from Huawei can also be found in the top-right corner of the keyboard: a power button that has a fingerprint scanner built in. This has so far functioned flawlessly and consistently.

Additionally, the large glass trackpad is a winner. Although it lacks the haptic technology or edge-to-edge design of Huawei’s premium MateBook X models, it is nevertheless large, smooth, and user-friendly.

Ports are last. On a 16-inch device, you’d expect a lot, and I believe Huawei has mostly delivered. On the left, there are two USB-C ports, one of which supports Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.0, and a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack. On the opposite side, there are two ports for USB-A 3.2.

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Despite the laptop’s small size, many creatives will still need to bring a dongle with them wherever they go due to the absence of an SD card slot. Some users will likely miss having an Ethernet connection. While more than one Thunderbolt 4 port would be nice, this setup should be sufficient for most applications.

The specs and how it works:

Huawei is the latest manufacturer to rely on Intel’s Iris Xe graphics processing. The MateBook 16s is shipped without a discrete GPU option and instead relies on Intel to deliver.

Huawei is currently using Intel’s most powerful laptop chips to back that bet: the 12th-generation H-series CPUs, which are larger, more powerful, and use more power than the majority of other laptop chips.

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The i5-12500H, i7-12700H, or i9-12900H processors are all supported by 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM on the 16s. Additionally, you can choose between 512GB and 1TB of storage; however, keep in mind that different models are likely to launch in different markets, so you might not see the full range of specifications.

I’ve been evaluating a 1TB-capacity i7 model for my testing, and from a performance standpoint, I have few complaints. Predictably, the 16s has handled all of my day-to-day requirements, which include a lot of work in Chrome and relatively little Photoshop and Lightroom.

It should come as no surprise that the CPU-focused Geekbench 5 test shows strong performance, but the more generalized PCMark 10 test shows a slight decline, even falling behind the AMD Ryzen-powered MateBook 16 from last year.

The real test will be graphical output if Huawei is serious about this device’s performance as a professional creative device. The 16s performs admirably in the 3DMark Night Raid test despite the absence of a true GPU, demonstrating once more that Intel is serious about business with Iris Xe. It is, as expected, destroyed by gaming devices like the Asus ROG Flow Z13, which supports RTX 3050, but it outperforms almost every other integrated option and competes with some GPUs that are less powerful. That only applies to the i7 model; the i9 would undoubtedly take things even further.

The 16s is compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E for connectivity. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 5G doesn’t let you add a SIM card.

Charging and battery:

The MateBook 16s is equipped with a large 84Wh battery from Huawei, but given the large display and powerful processor, it still runs out pretty quickly. In our battery test, it played video continuously for about 12 hours, which is about average.

This indicates that there is sufficient power for a working day here, but only if you are not doing anything particularly strenuous; Huawei’s professional target market will probably still need to be close to a charger.

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Thanks to the combination of fast charging and small USB-C power adapters, that won’t be too bad.

However, there is a slight variation here. A 90W adapter comes with the i5 or i7 model, while the faster 135W charger comes with the more powerful i9 model. They’re about the same size, though, and because they support USB-C, they can charge your phone, laptop, and other electronics at the same time. This means you won’t have to carry multiple leads around.

The 90W charger that came with my i7 model restored 43% of the laptop’s battery in just 30 minutes, which is impressively quick for a laptop and a welcome addition to the average battery life.


If you are at all interested in technology, you may be aware that Huawei has encountered difficulties in the mobile phone industry, where its access to Google services has been restricted, leading it to adopt its own software, which is in direct opposition to Android: OS Harmony

The good news is that none of that is true in this instance. Windows 11 comes preinstalled on the MateBook 16s, and it supports everything you’d expect, including Google and Microsoft. This basically operates like any other Windows device.

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In point of fact, the only difference is that Huawei provides a little extra for customers who also own other Huawei devices, particularly smartphones, tablets, and monitors.

You can wirelessly expand the display of your laptop onto a MateView monitor or quickly pair a Huawei phone with the MateBook to share the screen or send files. You can also connect the MateBook to a MatePad tablet to use it as a secondary screen or drawing pad.

All of this goes off without a hitch, and Apple is the only company that can match Huawei in terms of ecosystem support right now. Obviously, this is only beneficial if you already own Huawei technology or are willing to acquire more in the future; however, it does provide you with an additional advantage.

Cost and accessibility:

The MateBook 16s is coming to Europe and the UK. The i7 model will be available in the United Kingdom starting on July 13 for £1,299, while the i9 model will be available sometime in August for £1,499.

However, there are incentives for early birds. Today is the start of pre-orders for the i7 version, which come with a free MateView monitor worth £599. If you miss that, you can still get the MateView GT 27 monitor for £349 if you buy something between July 13 and August 23.

If you pre-order the i9 model between July 13 and July 26, you can also get the MateView for £599.

The new MateBook D16 has the same H-series i7 chip for £999, or just £749 if you don’t mind an i5 if the 16s is too expensive for you. The MateBook 16 from last year is also a little cheaper, but it won’t have a touchscreen, older silicon, or a better webcam.


The MateBook 16s isn’t going to be for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it should be.

Even though Huawei has made every effort to keep things as light as possible, the majority of people won’t need a laptop this big or bulky, so they’ll be better off with smaller options.

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The 16s’s 3:2 display will be a big draw for people who need more screen space. It is without a doubt one of the largest and best displays available for the price because of its size, proportions, and meticulous color calibration.

Due to Intel’s 12th-generation H-series chips, the CPU also performs exceptionally well, making this a powerful performer. Although the integrated Iris Xe graphics, which provide plenty of oomph for office work as well as photo editing and graphic design, are not to be discounted, the lack of a dedicated GPU option will unquestionably limit the appeal to serious video editors or anyone hoping to use this to play games.

The MateBook 16s is not for you if you want an Nvidia RTX GPU or a 4K OLED panel, but nothing at this price point is. However, for those who aren’t as demanding, this has a lot of power packed into a small chassis at an affordable price.

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