This last historical period has marked the rebirth of a sector that was proceeding slowly, that of notebooks. Whether it’s for smartworking, or for video lessons, the fact is that the trend has grown a lot (often to the point of making it difficult to buy a PC in traditional stores, if not at exorbitant prices) and manufacturers have adapted, launching products for all budgets.
After seeing LG’s laptop, the Gram 17 in my full review, today I talk about the Huawei MateBook D15 in the 2021 edition, an all-in-one laptop, revamped with Intel’s new processors and Iris XE graphics, an extra treat for home laptops.
Review Matebook D15 (2021)
Design and Materials
OK I want to start from the aspect a little more critical, because then I will not be so bad with this Matebook D15; the design does not inspire me modernity, technology, fantasy. Huawei stayed a bit on its own, didn’t want to overdo it and was content to make a nice but functional laptop: this is one of those laptops “suitable for everyone”, so probably push a bit more onThe design would not have been productive.
That said, the Matebook D15, from the data sheet, has dimensions of 357.8 x 229.9 x 16.9 mm and a rather low weight of only 1.56kg, thanks also to the aluminum alloy body that helps to keep the weight limited. I found it very pleasant to the touch, but a different material would have been more appreciated, especially considering the market value of this Matebook D15.
On the underside it has rubber feet that make it easier to rest on the desk but above all allow for a good dissipation (leaving the rear slots free) as well as better sound propagation since the speakers have been placed at the bottom.
The first thing that jumps out at you are the extremely small display bezels that lead to a screen-to-dimensions ratio of about 90%, values not common on all 15″ laptops on the market.
Another aspect that does not go unnoticed is the choice of Huawei not to include the numeric keypad (not bad eh, let’s be clear) but to leave, then, about 3 cm on the l
on the left side and as many on the right side totally unused, empty.
choice is questionable, definitely: personally I would have integrated the speakers in that position, but probably the reasons that led Huawei not to do so are others.
One aspect, however, on which Huawei has not spared the least is the connectivity given the immense number of ports available on the Matebook D15
. There are
two USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-C port (which is also useful for charging), an HDMI input and a USB 3.2 Gen.1 port
A very precise biometric reader has also been integrated, which is useful for turning on Windows and unlocking any protected apps; it works well, is responsive and very accurate
In addition, for those who own devices like the P40 Pro or Mate series smartphones, you can take advantage of the NFC Huawei Share tag on the body to transfer files from your smartphone to your computer very quickly: a sort of AirDrop in Huawei sauce
The convenience of a large screen is one of those things that I personally could never do without, but market trends often rule and if consumers demand smaller laptops, the market adapts. This Matebook D15 has a nice 15.6″ display, of which there aren’t many around anymore: the resolution is FullHD 1080p and the panel has a maximum brightness of about 250nits and a contrast of only 800:1.
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miracle numbers, it’s true, but the sufficient brightness and total absence of reflections on the panel will make it possible to work in practically any environment without having too many visual problems. So while the display features aren’t exactly the best, the matte finish is that feature that inevitably saves everyone in the corner. Bravo Huawei!
Overall, however, it must be said to be fair that the colors are not that saturated which makes it impossible, for example, to use this laptop in graphics or photography since the colors would not be very faithful: it is a piece of information that must be given, but professionals if they were to rely on these types of laptops in their work, they would undoubtedly combine it with external calibrated monitors.
Speakers and Audio Quality
As already mentioned Huawei has chosen to integrate the speakers, two of 2W each, into the bottom rear shell and the choice is logically very questionable. I’m not a fan of speakers placed in this way, as I said in my LG G Gram
review, especially when there’s so much space ahead that could have been dedicated to the speakers, contributing to an increase in perceived quality as well as, perhaps, a higher volume.
However, the speakers are not to be criticized at all; the premise is a purely personal judgment because overall the audio quality is more than satisfactory even if, as usual in this price range, it would need a better equalization (the middle frequencies are too excessive), nothing that is not
solvable with a little software.
Hardware and Performance
Among the biggest and most obvious changes that Huawei has made to its laptops of 2021 is the change of platform, from AMD Ryzen to eleventh-generation Intel Core i5-1135G7, combined with the new integrated GPU Iris XE able to satisfy 80% of uses, excluding in 20% heavy video editing or gaming, for which the laptop was not born.
RAM is 16GB of LPDDR4 type and the SSD type NVMe PCIe is 512GB (the only note, you find it already partitioned at the first boot of Windows, for many it is inconvenient but personally I find it convenient to divide data and operating system, a thought against the tide).
Leaving aside a little ‘pipponi from the data sheet, it must be said that the performance of the Matebook D15 are much more than good and far beyond expectations. The contexts of use of such a product, as already mentioned, range from home to office use, so it seems unnecessary to point out that gaming is not conceivable here as well as the prevalent use of photo and video editing programs that would put under stress continuously the computer without leading to great results.
In the benchmarks the results are good, higher (once again) than expected; Huawei’s optimization in the battery/performance area is excellent as with the default presets present on Huawei PC Manager (the app pre-installed on board the computer at first boot) you can limit the CPU in order to get a good autonomy or remove the brakes when power is needed. I’ve pointed out the presence of PC Manager as the adjustments are a bit more accurate than those of Windows which cuts performance too much, not being calibrated ad-hoc device by device.
Keyboard and TouchPad
I’ll start by telling you that I found the keyboard very comfortable, the key travel is good and the click is firm but not annoying. Unfortunately, those of Huawei have well thought of not integrating a backlight system, which would have made it much more comfortable to use the notebook in low light environments.
It lacks the numeric keypad, the page UP/DOWN keys and a few others, but these are tolerable shortcomings, neutral the touchpad is precise, it works well but perhaps slightly undersized compared to the large body; the multi-touch gestures are comfortable and well functioning.
By now tradition, then, Huawei has integrated even here the webcam hidden in a dedicated button in the middle of F6 and F7; removed the appearance of inventiveness in the positioning already broken, I continue to be of the opinion that having a shot from below is not really the best. But, this is the price you pay to have a display with bezels reduced to the bone.
The resolution is in the average market, and I keep wondering why – especially in a period like the one we’re living – companies have not thought to focus more on the quality of captured images: whether you use the notebook for smart working or for distance learning, now the webcam has become a must-have for all users.
to one of those must-have peripherals.
An example of a photo taken by the webcam in excellent lighting conditions.
The integrated and non-removable battery of the Matebook D15 (2021) is a 42Wh unit, enough in office use to complete a day’s work without ever having to resort to a power outlet, but keeping in check the performance and, perhaps, the brightness of the display
. It’s a
different story with online video streaming on Netflix, display and speakers at full capacity, where the battery drops about 25% per hour, greatly reducing the expected autonomy.
In the package, however, Huawei includes a charger (with removable USB-C cable) from 65W which guarantees a full charge 0-100% in just over an hour. In case you don’t have an hour to spare, you’ll get just over 90 minutes of battery life in about 15 minutes of charging.
Price and Conclusions
The price at which Huawei proposes this laptop is 899€, maybe a bit exaggerated if we think about some of the shortcomings I mentioned, first of all the absence of the keyboard backlight and the materials apparently too “cheap” for the market range. However, it must be said that with the discount code below you can buy it now, on the Huawei store, for €759: a much more appropriate price for a notebook with the features of this new D15.
That said, the Matebook D15 still boasts high-level performance, a good battery and good portability. It’s not a gaming notebook and it doesn’t have a display suitable for precision graphics work, but for office and/or home use, I’ll reiterate, the choice is more than apt.
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