Huawei MateBook D16 Review: Big creator laptop for smaller budgets

The Huawei MateBooks have established themselves within a short time and usually offer a lot of performance for the money. With the Huawei MateBook D16, you can play along with the large displays.

Huawei MateBook D16 Review
Pros
  • Feel
  • Display
  • performance
  • Connection variety
  • Additional SSD can be installed
Cons
  • Position of the webcam

At first glance, it is reminiscent of the Honor MagicBook Pro that we tested here. At a second glance, however, you discover a few updates and upgrades compared to the (earlier) sister model. Huawei has given the MateBook D16 an upgrade to two USB Type-C ports, both of which come with USB 3.2 Gen 1 including DisplayPort integration. There is also an upgrade to WiFi AX or WiFi 6. Huawei MateBook D16 now uses DDR4 RAM with 3200MHz clock frequency as standard.

Huawei MateBook D16 keys

Otherwise, it has all the features that distinguish Mate Books. The webcam is hidden in the keyboard, the display is only surrounded by an extremely slim frame and the fingerprint reader for Windows Hello login is integrated with the power button. Multi-screen collaboration with Huawei smartphones is also still on board, the NFC sensor for coupling has moved under the touchpad, as with the Mate Book 14. The Huawei Mate Book D16 also uses the well-known Honor Magic Book Pro basis for the technical basis: An AMD Ryzen 5 4600H with integrated Vega 7 GPU provides the necessary performance, plus there is always 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.

Technical specifications Honor MateBook D16

Display16.1 inch (40.9cm) Full HD IPS anti-reflection in 16: 9 format, 137 PPI
resolution1920 x 1080 pixels, 300 nits maximum brightness
processorAMD Ryzen ™ 5 4600H, 6x 3.0 GHz, turbo up to 4 GHz, 11 MB cache
graphicAMD Radeon ™ Graphics (512 MB VRAM)
random access memory16GB DDR4 3200 MHz (firmly soldered)
hard disk512GB PCIE NVME SSD
networkBluetooth 5.1
Wi-Fi®6 IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax
connections2x USB-A (3.2 Gen1)
2x USB-C (3.2 Gen2)
1x HDMI 2.0a
1x 3.5mm jack
battery pack56 Wh
Input devicesbacklit keyboard
Precision touchpad
SoundStereo speakers
camera720p HD webcam
securityFingerprint reader in the power button
operating systemWindows 10 Home Edition (64-bit)
Dimensions369mm (L) × 234mm (W) × 18.4mm (D)
Weight1.74 kg
priceapprox. 900 € (512GB) *

Processing and feel

As usual, Huawei relies on aluminum for the case. The workmanship is consistently very good and nothing rattles or creaks. The keyboard and touchpad feel and look like the previous members of the MateBook series. The keyboard is very pleasant to write with a clearly noticeable pressure point and the touchpad reacts very well to inputs and multi-touch gestures. The touchpad is also nice and large, only it can’t keep up with the gigantic Mac touchpads. Only the assignment of the special keys takes getting used to, especially when writing longer texts. Special keys such as insert and print are assigned twice with F11 and F12, keys such as end, home, or page up / down are completely missing.

The stereo speakers are still on the left and right of the keyboard. In terms of sound, they are really more than okay and even quite good for series and films. Music is OK, but there is a little lack of dynamics and bass.

The 720p webcam built into the keyboard is still at best mediocre and it’s not really fun to use. The viewing angle is unusual and typing during a video call is visually unpleasant for the person opposite. In addition, the resolution and image quality are not what I would expect in 2021.

Display

The display measures (as the name suggests) 16 inches – 16.1 “to be precise. IPS technology is of course used in the panel. According to Huawei, there should also be 100% sRGB coverage. An Innolux N161HCA-EA3 is built into my test device. The measured values ​​are then completely okay: 97% sRGB and 77% AdobeRGB are good values. The color rendering is also good with a DeltaE of 0.69, and calibration doesn’t change that much either. However, depending on the brightness, the contrast of 700 to 800: 1 could be higher. The illumination deviates from the maximum value by up to 10%, depending on the brightness. The lower left corner is particularly noticeable in the measurement. However, you don’t notice much of this in everyday life.

Huawei MateBook D16 Review

Overall, however, it is a very good display that is also suitable for photo and video editing without any problems. With a maximum brightness of over 300 nits and the matt coating, it can also be used outdoors or in very bright surroundings.

Thanks to the slim display frame, the large display is still relatively portable. Other 15.6 “notebooks are already larger than the MateBook D16, despite the smaller display diagonal.

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software

Basically, Windows 10 is used first, so nothing special. What is nice about Huawei is that no bloatware is installed. Only the Huawei PC Manager is preinstalled, besides there are only the “useful recommendations” from Windows 10 directly. So far so good. It is annoying, however, that Huawei still divides the system drive into two partitions – drive C: for Windows and D: for the rest. Why exactly I don’t understand, in the end it causes more problems than it does. So it is best to first delete partition D: and enlarge C: accordingly.

Of course, you can also connect your own Huawei smartphone directly and use multi-screen collaboration and direct data exchange without cables. The catch is that it has to be an up-to-date Huawei smartphone, which unfortunately is less common due to the restrictions that still exist. Otherwise, we have already presented and tested the feature in more detail a few times – and this is exactly how it works in the MateBook D16.

Performance, temperatures and upgradeability

Probably the most important area in a notebook in this price range. We already tested the platform in this form with the Honor MagicBook Pro, so there shouldn’t be any big surprises. The SSD is similarly fast because a Samsung PM981 is also installed here, i.e. the OEM version of the Samsung SSD 970 EVO.

Synthetic benchmarks show the strength of the Ryzen 4600H: multicore-optimized software. With the 6 cores and 12 threads alone, you can easily leave Intel behind in the multicore area. This is particularly noticeable in performance-intensive tasks such as video editing when they are designed to use multiple cores. Our DaVinci Resolve benchmark shows this quite clearly: The MateBook D16 is one of the fastest notebooks without a dedicated graphics unit in this benchmark. A Core i5-1135G7 is almost 70 seconds slower, while a Core i7-1165G7 is around 20 seconds slower. Even the MateBook 14 with Ryzen 7 4800H has to admit defeat here – probably due to the poorer RAM performance in comparison and the slightly larger and more powerful cooling system of the D16.

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It is therefore ideal for a lot of multitasking. However, it would be nice to have an option for 32GB RAM. It is not possible to upgrade at a later date. But even the built-in 16GB should be enough for a while.

When it comes to pure single-core performance, the Ryzen 5 4600H has to admit defeat – at least mostly. This manifests itself in slightly lower performance in applications such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. On average, the MateBook D16 took between ten and 20 seconds longer than the competition. It also has to admit defeat in the Photoshop benchmark.

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Whether the performance is sufficient for your own requirements is therefore primarily a question of the programs used. Here, of course, the price also plays an important role: The Intel models, which are somewhat faster in Adobe applications, are usually significantly more expensive than the MateBook D16.

Gaming is another topic that should of course be mentioned. Simpler games like the well-known esports titles are usually not a problem. Counter-Strike Global Offensive runs even on high details in 1080p with an average of over 50 FPS, but more complex titles are more difficult then. Rise of the Tomb Raider only runs at around 20 to 25 FPS in minimal detail. Anno 1800, Far Cry 5, and Co. look very similar. So it’s not really made for gaming, but it’s enough for a short round in between.

To get the performance, the Ryzen 5 4600H needs up to 45W. On average, it is 28 watts. The Huawei PC Manager also offers the option of selecting the energy profile accordingly. In balanced mode, the dual-fan cooling system easily copes with the waste heat and is barely audible. Only in the performance profile, when the limitations have been lifted, the cooling system becomes more audible and the temperatures rise to up to 100 ° C. This is still okay for the AMD platform, but of course, the temperature should not be that high over the long term. The case only gets warm, but not hot. Lap operation is therefore possible without any problems.

In balanced mode, the CPU reduces the clock rate and the power consumption after about five to five and a half minutes. The average TDP is then around 30 watts and the temperature is correspondingly lower. In contrast, the maximum TDP of 40 watts is permanently maintained in performance mode.

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It is interesting that the CPU speed remains almost identical in both modes. The average clock rate is only slightly higher in performance mode than in regular mode. Nevertheless, the performance is measurably reduced. The Lightroom export takes just under 50 seconds, the Resolve export around 2 minutes longer.

The upgradeability is of course still an issue. Compared to the previous MateBooks, the MateBook D16 was relatively difficult to open, although the structure is fundamentally the same. But then it could be persuaded with a little gentle force. To my surprise, not only can the M.2 SSD be exchanged – a second M.2 SSD can also be installed. If the 512GB is not enough for you, you can replace the existing SSD and install an additional SSD. In addition: The second M.2 slot also supports PCIe SSD and not just SATA SSDs.

Battery life

Interestingly, Huawei does not state any battery life on its own product page. The comparably equipped Honor MagicBook Pro achieved a runtime of around 9 hours in our test, but there are some changes to the hardware. Depending on the load, the runtime is sufficient for a whole working day.

With different usage scenarios, I usually got 6 to 9 hours of running time with the battery. There were even fewer days when many photos or videos were edited. It should be clear, however, that with such a high load the battery kneels much faster.

Conclusion

Huawei continues to offer value for money like no other. If you are looking for as much performance as possible at a moderate price, you will definitely find it here. There are actually no major negative points. The size is of course a matter of taste, as is the 16: 9 form factor. An SD card reader would still be nice, but the remaining connections make up for it a little. If you are looking for a good webcam, you have to look elsewhere or connect an external solution.

Otherwise, I would only like to see more model variety. The platform has a lot of potentials and a model in this form factor with Ryzen 7 5000, 32GB RAM, and a high-resolution display would be pretty exciting. Huawei is likely to leave this field to the MateBooks without the “D” suffix.

All in all, the price for the MateBook D16 speaks for itself: the RRP is 899 euros, which is a pretty fair deal. In addition, the Huawei Display 23.8 is currently available for free. The new home office is almost complete with this bundle.

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