Microsoft’s Surface Pro has been the best Windows computer money can buy for over a year. Now it faces direct competition from an unexpected direction. Like the Surface Huawei’s MateBook is a similar thin, light hybrid with a 12-inch display.
It follows the same basic format as the Surface: A tablet with a theoretically separate keyboard that everyone is going to buy anyway.
Matebook comes with a similar range of processors and memory configurations. Like the Surface Pro there’s a stylus, although Huawei’s also includes a laser pointer.
It even looks a lot like a Surface although there is also a nod of the head to Apple’s iPad Pro design. One nice touch is the fake leather keyboard case.
Perhaps the most important feature is that the Matebook is priced about 20 per cent below Microsoft’s prices. That’s enough to make a difference.
Matebook prices start at €800 for a model with a Core m processor and 128 GB of storage. Microsoft has a similar configuration Surface Pro that sells for €1000.
This isn’t a direct comparison, Microsoft’s Surface Pro has a 2736 x 1824 pixel screen. Huawei says its Core m model runs faster than Microsoft’s Core m Surface Pro. The Matebook has a lower resolution at 2160 x 1440 pixels, but it also has the same fingerprint sensor technology used on Huawei’s phones.
Huawei has followed Microsoft’s practice of charging extra for a keyboard (€150), stylus (€70) and dock (€100). A Huawei New Zealand representative told me that when it reaches the country the Matebook will probably be sold bundled with a keyboard.
Bill Bennett travelled to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to the Matebook launch as Huawei’s guest.
- Prices are in euros because Huawei plans to sell the Matebook in Europe first. It goes on sale there in June. If the same price difference holds in New Zealand you can expect prices to start at around NZ$1250. Huawei expects it to be on sale in New Zealand in September. ↩