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[Review] Seamless Multi-Device Collaboration: The Huawei MateBook D15 (Intel 10th Gen)


Huawei MateBook D15 (Intel 10th Gen)

RM2,999

Not all of us are looking for the shiniest new device on the market to play with - some of us just want a solid laptop we can use for basic work tasks and doesn't cost a fortune. Huawei has sent over their MateBook D15 with an older Intel Core i5-10250U processor with Intel UHD graphics.


While it definitely isn't a powerhouse (and was never meant to be), it is definitely an affordable entry point if you're looking to dive into Huawei's multi-device ecosystem.

First impressions


For a laptop at this price, one wouldn't expect a metal chassis, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful polished aluminium body that looks strikingly like a MacBook - an impression further assisted by the flat black keycaps. Although uninspired, it is definitely an attractive and classic design, which will fit right at home in a corporate environment.

Lifting the lid is easily done with one hand, thanks to the little notch that gives your thumb some purchase over the smooth exterior. However, be careful to not be too violent as the laptop will rock backwards if you open the lid too quickly, due to its back-heavy weight distribution. The hinges themselves operate smoothly, albeit with a little bit of wobble.

The laptop comes with a small USB-C charger that is more akin to a phone charger, which is a huge plus in my book for portability. On the right of the touchpad, you'll also notice the 'Huawei Share' sticker that indicates where you should tap your other Huawei devices for an instant connection. Huawei has kindly supplied us with the new Huawei MatePad 11 for this purpose, so we'll be testing it out later.

Display and audio

The screen uses a 15.6" IPS panel with a 1920 x 1080 ratio. There's nothing remarkable about the display, but it's good enough for working indoors on. One might wonder why there isn't a webcam on a work-oriented laptop, but rest assured there is one - it's just been relocated from its usual perch on the top bezel for a larger screen-to-body ratio.

To access the webcam, you'll have to press the dedicated button in between F6 and F7, which will trigger the hidden camera to pop up. While slimmer bezels are great and having the peace of mind from being able to physical disable the webcam is a plus, do note that the lower positioning will result in severe double chin syndrome. If you're sitting on the floor while working, it will also point at your crotch, so please take note of that.

In terms of audio, Huawei had the opportunity to place the speakers on either side of the keyboard, but chose to mount them on the bottom instead. As a result, the audio isn't very loud, although placing them on the bottom makes for a cleaner-looking keyboard deck. Overall the audio works well for conference calls, presentations and the sort, and is just average for music and videos. There is a headphone jack, however, so you can always choose to plug in a pair of headphones to better enjoy your music.

Keyboard and touchpad


The keycaps are low profile and have a matte black texture, which look sleek. I must say the font on the keycaps are also very nice (I'm a fan of simple and sleek fonts), but they aren't backlit so if you're not a touch typist, you may struggle a little while working in poorly-lit areas.

To be frank, while I appreciate how the keyboard looks, I didn't quite enjoy the typing experience. The travel distance is rather short and the keys aren't particularly tactile. In terms of key layout, it is pretty decent, though it took some time to get used to the arrow keys.

I appreciate that the power button is separate from the main keyboard cluster, which avoids accidental power-downs. It also functions as a fingerprint sensor, and is pretty responsive. This is nice to have, since the retractable camera doesn't support Windows Hello facial recognition.


As for the trackpad, it's pretty average in terms of smoothness and size, but it does the job.

Ports


This is an interesting one. This model of MateBook has one USB-A 3.0 port, two USB-A 2.0 ports, one full-sized HDMI port, one audio combo jack, as well as one USB-C port.

On one hand, I appreciate the generosity of USB-A ports, but on the other hand, I would have liked to see at least two USB-C ports, since it also doubles as the charging port. With just one, it means that you are unable to use any other USB-C peripherals while your laptop is charging, which is pretty inconvenient.

Performance


With an Intel Core i5-10210U processor under the hood alongside Intel UHD graphics, its pretty clear from the outset that the MateBook D15 is destined to be an office workhorse - don't expect to be gaming on this machine.

In terms of RAM, I'm glad they didn't cheap out and give a base of 4 GB and offer an 'upgrade' behind a paywall. Here, we have 8 GB to start with, which is a good amount for the kind of tasks you'll be doing on this laptop - namely, spreadsheets, video calls, word processing, web browsing and similar tasks. Storage is at a comfortable 512 GB, though my review unit arrived partitioned into 2 drives for some reason (unsure about retail units).


Battery life is alright - the relatively small 42 Wh battery will last you a couple of hours away from the wall and definitely won't last you an entire workday. However, the small size of the charger makes it very easy to bring along, so it won't be a big issue.