The Huawei Matebook D16 has been available in France since the beginning of May and is intended for both personal use and professional activities. Made of metal and equipped with a decent gear, it has, in theory, everything a seducer is. What about in practice? To find out, we used it daily for a few weeks to test it.
Matebook D16 price and availability
The Matebook D16 is available in France at the official price of 899 euros. Only one configuration is offered (AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD). At the time of writing, it is benefiting from various launch promotions that bring the price down by around fifty euros.
Huawei MateBook D16 at the best price base price: € 899
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Design and ergonomics: full metal jacket
Whether smartphones or notebooks, Huawei pays particular attention to design and ergonomics. And it is certainly not the Matebook D16 that diminishes that reputation.
The brushed aluminum frame of the machine is tinted in the crowd and a welcome sobriety. At 1.74 kg on the scales, it falls into the ultraportable category. We could have feared that the 16 ” of its screen – we will come back to this later – would lead to imposing dimensions. That’s not the case, as it measures 36.9 x 23.4 x 1.8 cm, the size of a 15-inch notebook.
The keyboard with large and correctly arranged keys enables precise input. We appreciate the presence of a pleasant backlight and regret – a little – the lack of a numeric keypad. It is true that its integration would have forced Huawei to offer smaller and less-spaced buttons. It overlooks a multipoint trackpad with a distinct mechanical click and is surrounded by two black bars that house the stereo speakers.
The right one also receives the on / off switch, which is itself a fingerprint reader. In operation, this proves to be quick and reliable: if the machine is switched on with one of the fingers whose imprint is registered, the machine is unlocked immediately.
The sides host a number of ports that we would have liked to have made more available. On the left, a full-size HDMI 2.0 socket and two USB-C ports. On the right two USB 3.1s and an audio input / output in 3.5 mm jack format … and that’s it.
If, in a pinch, we understand that there is no RJ45 ethernet port, which the thinness of the case makes impossible (and has often been unusable since the advent of WiFi), we would still have been happy to have an SD card reader or even one Third USB-C port to be found, since in practice one of the two existing ones acts as a socket.
As usual, Huawei has decided not to include a webcam above the screen. It is therefore located in a retractable mini block in the form of a false key on the keyboard. It is located between the function keys F6 and F7 and is easy to recognize thanks to a symbol for a camera. This choice has several advantages and disadvantages.
When returning the camera, under no circumstances can the camera send images without the knowledge of the user as it is immersed in a blind housing. By returning to this location, Huawei can allow itself a nice reduction in the black borders around the screen. Otherwise this would not be possible, except by punching the LCD panel.
On the other hand, the viewing angle is not really flattering as it accentuates the deformation of the face. Finally, using the keyboard during a video call inevitably results in a great close-up of your hands that can easily annoy the other party.
The quality of the image generated by the webcam is average, nothing more. The definition is limited to HD 720p, which can be insufficient in some cases.
The Matebook D16 has a 16.1-inch IPS LCD panel in 16: 9 format that displays 1920 × 1080 pixels (i.e. a density of 137 dpi). In the absence of a camera, the screen has the luxury of taking up 90% of the available space, which is rather rare on a laptop. Huawei came up with the excellent idea of going for a matte panel, which in our opinion is much more comfortable in everyday use than the traditional glossy finish.
Huawei announces 100% coverage of the sRGB color space as well as a peak brightness of 300 nits and a contrast ratio of 1000: 1. We are certainly far from what the top models offer, but all of these features remain largely sufficient for everyday use. Watching videos on the Matebook D16 is a very satisfying experience, the afterglow here is very low. The still images benefit from the matte surface of the screen, which enables the colors to be reproduced more faithfully.
Audio: nothing more and nothing less
The two speakers on either side of the keyboard do a great job when you’re just watching videos or making audio calls. In both cases the result is pleasant. It gets a bit complicated when listening to music. If the stereo scene is reproduced well, the speakers lack a safe when it comes to reproducing treble or bass, only the mids are satisfactory.
To be honest, this doesn’t really shock us in terms of the Matebook D16’s positioning. Considered as a companion in daily tasks, it must faithfully reproduce voices and conversations and thus the lower midrange: From this point of view, it is satisfactory.
The same applies to the sound reproduction of videos, where the voice has priority most often. However, if you are a staunch audiophile, it is better to use external speakers, headphones, or headphones. In this case, the audio out jack or Bluetooth 5.1 connection will provide much better sound.
Matebook D16 performance, autonomy and software
The Matebook D16 is based on an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor that is clocked at 3 GHz. It is supported by 16 GB DDR4 RAM, with the display being managed by the Radeon graphics chip integrated in the chipset. Finally, it offers an SSD with 512 GB of internal storage.
Huawei remains very discreet about the possibilities of expanding the machine … and for good reason. The RAM that is soldered directly to the motherboard cannot be expanded. This is not the case for the internal storage, a free port that can receive an M.2 2280 SSD. In order to be able to access it, the machine and all the associated risks must be dismantled.
The overall performance of the Matebook D16 is very honorable. Without being a real racehorse, he is more than persistent enough to withstand the tasks of personal or professional life. For example, it can be used to do some fairly complex video editing (e.g. avoiding 3D effects), doing photographic retouching, or even using CAD software.
The lack of a powerful graphics card limits the machine’s performance for more demanding operations. So don’t plan on running the latest 3D video games, for example, or rendering the modeling in real time.
Apart from these very resource-intensive activities, the Matebook D16 coped with the tasks assigned to it quite well. The cooling mechanism is not quiet, but it does produce a noticeable noise that cannot be described as annoying.
The networking is ensured by a Wifi 6 chip, which we consider efficient on a compatible access point. As far as we could tell, it has proven to be reliable and at no point did we notice any premature separation.
Software: Windows 10 in its simplest device
Huawei equips its notebook with Windows 10 Home Edition and has a good taste for avoiding bloatware. The PC Manager application supports updating drivers as well as connecting to a branded smartphone or tablet. The easiest way to do this is to bring the device near the trackpad, behind which an NFC chip is hidden. Once connected, you can view the device screen in real time, share files, or even use the network connection.
Autonomy: enough for one working day
Last but not least, the battery life makes it easier to cover an eight-hour working day. We appreciate the speed of the partial load; 15 minutes can provide up to two hours of activity.
The device has a performance mode that improves its functions when connected to the power adapter. In this case, the fan is activated more frequently. Finally, a good point for the capacity of the power supply, the size of which is more reminiscent of a smartphone charger than the semi-components generally supplied with notebooks.
Huawei MateBook D16 at the best price base price: € 899
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Our opinion on the Huawei Matebook D16
The Matebook D16 is one of those machines whose versatility we appreciate. Due to its low weight, it can easily be taken with you on the go, with the battery being sufficient for a working day. In stationary use, it is a very valuable workstation due to the convenience of the keyboard and the size of the screen.
Its electronics allow it to operate smoothly for most tasks entrusted to it by personal, academic, or professional users. However, don’t expect miracles in resource-consuming applications, as the graphics card built into the chipset isn’t all that’s just not intended for it.
Ultimately, we can only recommend this well thought-out and pleasant ultrabook with an attractive performance / price ratio.
Huawei Matebook D16
Design and ergonomics
9.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
Build quality 16-inch matte screen Office performance Comfortable keyboard
We like less
Bad connection provided. Improved webcam