Huawei Matebook D16 review: big screen, great performance

We were able to test Huawei’s Matebook D16. The computer is intended for both personal use and professional activity. Made of metal and benefiting from neat equipment, it has in theory everything of a seducer. What about in practice? Answer in our Matebook D16 test.

At what price is Huawei selling the Matebook D16?

The Matebook D16 is available in France at the official price of 899 €, only one configuration being offered (AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD). At the time of writing this test, it benefits from various launch promotions lowering its price by around fifty euros.

Huawei MateBook D16 at the best price
Base price: €899

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What is the design of the Huawei Matebook D16?

Whether smartphones or notebooks, Huawei pays particular attention to design and ergonomics. And our Matebook D16 test shows that the manufacturer does not deviate from its reputation.

Made of brushed aluminum tinted in the mass, the frame of the machine is of a welcome sobriety. With 1.74 kg on the scale, it falls into the category of ultraportables. One might have feared that the 16” of its screen – we will come back to this later – leads to imposing dimensions. This is not the case since it measures 36.9 x 23.4 x 1.8 cm, the size of a 15” notebook.

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Huawei Matebook D16

© Lemon Squeezer

The keyboard with well-sized and correctly spaced keys allows precise typing. We appreciate the presence of a pleasant backlight while regretting – a little – the absence of a numeric keypad. It is true that its integration would have forced Huawei to offer smaller and less spaced keys. It overlooks a trackpad multipoint with a frank mechanical click and is surrounded by two black bars housing the stereo speakers.

The one on the right also receives the power button, itself the depositary of a fingerprint reader. In use, it proves to be fast and reliable: if the machine is switched on using one of the fingers whose fingerprint is recorded, the machine is immediately unlocked.

The sides house a set of connectors that we would have liked to find more provided. On the left, a full-size HDMI 2.0 socket and two USB-C ports. On the right, two USB 3.1 as well as an audio input-output in 3.5 mm jack format… and that’s it.

If we understand the absence of an Ethernet RJ45 port made impossible by the thinness of the chassis (and often useless since the advent of Wifi), we would still have appreciated finding an SD card readeror even a third USB-C port since in practice, one of the two present acts as a power supply socket.

As usual, Huawei has chosen not to integrate a webcam above the screen. It is thus placed in a retractable mini-block taking the form of a false key on the keyboard. Located between the F6 and F7 function keys, it is easy to spot thanks to the presence of an icon representing a camera. This choice has a few advantages and disadvantages.

Huawei Matebook D16

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When it is retracted, the camera will in no case be able to send images without the knowledge of the user since it is immersed in a blind housing. By repatriating it there, Huawei can allow itself a nice reduction of the black borders surrounding the screen. This would not be possible otherwise, except by punching the LCD panel.

On the other hand, our Matebook D16 test shows that the angle of view is not really flattering, the deformation of the face being accentuated. Finally, using the keyboard during a video call will inevitably result in a splendid close-up of your hands, which may quickly annoy your interlocutor.

The quality of the image produced by the webcam is average, nothing more. The definition is limited to HD 720p, which may be insufficient in some cases.

Does the screen of the Matebook D16 measure up?

The Matebook D16 features a 16.1” IPS LCD panel in 16:9 format displaying 1920×1080 pixels (i.e. a density of 137 dpi). In the absence of a camera, the screen has the luxury of occupying 90% of the available space, which is rather rare on a laptop. Huawei had the excellent idea of ​​opting for a matte panel, in our opinion much more pleasant in daily use than the traditional glossy finish.

Huawei Matebook D16

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Huawei advertises 100% coverage of the sRGB color space along with a maximum brightness of 300 nits and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. We are certainly far from what the high-end models offer, but all these characteristics remain largely sufficient for daily use. Our Matebook D16 test confirms that watching videos on this screen or even playing games is a very satisfying experience, the persistence being very low here. Still images benefit from the screen’s matte finish, which allows for more accurate color reproduction.

Is the audio from the speakers of the Matebook D16 good?

The two speakers housed on either side of the keyboard do a very decent job if you’re just watching videos or making audio calls. In both cases, the result is pleasing. Things get a little complicated when it comes to listening to music. If the stereo scene is well reproduced, the loudspeakers lack trunk when it comes to restoring the treble or the bass, only the mids being satisfactory.

Huawei Matebook D16

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To be honest, this does not really shock us with regard to the positioning of the Matebook D16. Considered as a companion for daily tasks, it must faithfully reproduce voices and conversations, and therefore the low-mids: from this point of view, it is satisfactory.

Same thing for the sound reproduction of videos, where the voice most often takes precedence. But if you are a convinced audiophile, it will be better to go through external speakers, headphones or earphones. In this case, the audio output jack or the Bluetooth 5.1 connection will provide much better sound.

How does the Matebook D16 perform?

The Matebook D16 in this test is built around a AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor clocked at 3 GHz. It is supported by 16 GB of DDR4 type RAM, the display being managed by the Radeon graphics chip integrated into the chipset. Finally, a 512 GB SSD provides internal storage.

Huawei Matebook D16

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Huawei remains very discreet about the possibilities of extending the machine… and for good reason. The RAM, directly soldered on the motherboard, cannot be extended. This is not the case for internal storage, a free connector that can accommodate an M.2 2280 type SSD. In order to access it, you will have to disassemble the machine, with all the risks that entails.

Performance: the Matebook D16 is very versatile

Our Matebook D16 test shows that the PC delivers very honorable general performance. Without being a real beast of a race, it is more than enduring enough to take on the tasks of personal or professional life. For example, it can be used to perform reasonably complex video editing (avoiding 3D effects, for example), photographic retouching or even using CAD software.

Huawei Matebook D16

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The absence of a powerful graphics card limits the performance of the machine when it comes to more demanding operations. So don’t count on running the latest 3D video games, or performing real-time modeling rendering, for example.

Excluding these resource-intensive activities, the Matebook D16 performed quite well in the tasks we gave it. If not silent, the cooling mechanism produces a noticeable sound, but which cannot be described as annoying.

Networking is provided by a Wifi 6 chip that we consider efficient on a compatible access point. As far as we have been able to judge, it is reliable and we have not encountered any untimely disconnection at any time.

Software: Windows 10 in its simplest device

Huawei equips its notebook with Windows 10 home edition and has the good taste to avoid bloatware. The PC Manager app supports updating drivers as well as linking to a branded smartphone or tablet. This is done in the simplest way in the world by approaching the device to the trackpad behind which hides an NFC chip. Once the connection has been established, you can display the device screen in real time, exchange files or even use your network connection.

What is the battery life of the Huawei Matebook D16?

Last but not least, the battery life easily covers an eight-hour working day. We appreciate the speed of the partial charge, 15 minutes which can provide up to two hours of activity.

Huawei Matebook D16

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The machine has a performance mode that boosts its capabilities when plugged into its AC adapter. In this case, the fan activates more often. Finally, a good point for the capacity of the mains adapter, the size of which is more reminiscent of that of a smartphone charger than the half-brick generally accompanying notebooks.

Huawei MateBook D16 at the best price
Base price: €899

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Huawei Matebook D16 test: should you buy the computer in 2022?

Our Matebook D16 test confirms that the reference is one of the most versatile in 2022. Its contained weight allows it to be taken on the go without any problem, the autonomy provided by the battery being sufficient for a working day. In fixed use, the comfort of its keyboard and the size of its screen make it a very valuable workstation.

Its electronics allow smooth operation for most of the tasks entrusted to it by personal, school or professional users. However, do not expect miracles with applications that consume a lot of resources, the graphics card integrated into the chipset is simply not designed for this.

Indeed, the device offers a “unibody” metal chassis – a mark of a fairly premium device, an impression reinforced by the dark color. By opening the device, this soft sober music continues with speakers and black on dark gray keyboard, supplemented by a fingerprint reader at the top right.

The typing of the keyboard is rather pleasant and the connections quite complete for a PC of this format. And the performance of its AMD Ryzen 5 4600H chip associated with its 16 GB of RAM is quite good in office use, photo and video editing. Even if, frankly, you shouldn’t expect miracles if you dare to install a few 3D games on it.

Finally the autonomy of this compact notebook is correct since the computer follows you without shouting recharging during a day of 8 hours. In this area this device has a small advantage over the competition, since it is equipped with a partial fast recharge: 15 min = 2 hours of autonomy.

Are all these qualities enough to turn you away from other competing ultra-portable notebooks, for example a MacBook Air with M1 chip? It is not guaranteed. We find this machine for a price of 800 €. Opposite, the MacBook Air with M1 chip offers 16 hours of autonomy (twice as much) and much higher performance for a price often between 800 and 1000 € depending on the site (it is available from 1,129 € on the Apple site official).


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