Huawei MateBook D16 – Serious workplace for college or work

I’ve always been a fan of big screen laptops, especially when I know I’m not going to give it a try and need something very portable. 15-6-inch screens have become the default screen size for laptops, but the Huawei MateBook D16’s slightly larger 16-inch screen is an excellent combination of size and portability.

The Huawei MateBook D16 weighs only 1.7 kg. Photo: Noel Campion.

The MateBook D16 has small bezels on either side of the display with a slightly larger bezel at the top housing the 1080p webcam — there’s no longer a discreet webcam hidden under a key like on previous models. The bottom bezel is larger than the top and has a small Huawei logo in the middle.

The cover isn’t as thin as the one on Huawei’s flagship MateBook X Pro and while it does have a certain amount of flexibility, it feels sturdy with a solid and sturdy hinge. So solid in fact, unlike the MacBook, you won’t be able to open the lid with one hand.

Huawei MateBook D16 has a 1080p webcam on the top edge.  Photo: Noel Campion.
Huawei MateBook D16 has a 1080p webcam on the top edge. Photo: Noel Campion.

The aluminum body is solid and well built with only a minimal amount of flex. On the base there is a long ventilation strip for cooling fans, flanked on both sides by two grilles for stereo speakers.

At 1.7 kg, the MateBook D16 is relatively light for a 16-inch laptop. For reference, my MacBook Pro 16 weighs 2.1 kg. Also, the 65W charger is relatively small and lightweight.

Width – Bigger is better

Huawei MateBook D16 features a 16-inch screen.  Photo: Noel Campion.
Huawei MateBook D16 features a 16-inch screen. Photo: Noel Campion.

The 16-inch screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and features a matte anti-glare coating which is great for reducing glare but also reduces clarity and contrast compared to a glossy screen. I didn’t think the text was as sharp as others I’ve seen with similar pixel densities even at the recommended original resolution.

There’s everything you love about screen size, including the sleek 90% screen-to-body ratio that gives the laptop a modern, premium look. I find the additional screen feature excellent for everything from productivity to media consumption.

Screen size is not the only positive aspect of this screen which has amazing contrast with IPS panel and good viewing angles. My color tests with the Spyder Elite X delivered good results at 99% sRGB, ideal for viewing content in apps and on the web.

It is also suitable for watching animations, TV shows, YouTube and for general media consumption. Unfortunately, while the picture looks great, the stereo speakers aren’t great. They are adequate for general sound but lack any real bass or volume, so I recommend using headphones or separate speakers.

My test results in other color spaces were not encouraging with 75% Adobe RGB and 75% DCI-P3, meaning this isn’t a particularly accurate display for creative professionals doing any kind of color-sensitive work for print or video.

Huawei is keen on screen brightness claiming a peak of 300 nits, but in my tests it scored a peak of 325 nits.

The screen is solid when opened and does not wobble when touched which is a pity as it is not a touch screen.

Contact and I/O

In terms of port selection, you get two USB-C ports on the left side and both can be used to charge your laptop but neither supports Thunderbolt. You also get a full-size HDMI 2.0 port and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack.

The right side contains USB-A (USB 3.2 Gen1) and USB-A (USB 2.0) which is always handy since most peripherals still have USB-A connections.

For connection there is support for WiFi 6 but not 6E or Ethernet, but of course you can use a dongle to provide the latter. There is also Bluetooth 5.1 technology for connecting audio devices such as headphones as well as external keyboards and mice.

Keyboard and trackpad

Huawei MateBook D16 has a full-size keyboard.  Photo: Noel Campion.
Huawei MateBook D16 has a full-size keyboard. Photo: Noel Campion.

The keyboard is really excellent for typing and the keys feature 1.5mm of travel for positive tactile feedback and a reasonably quiet sound. It’s a full-size keyboard with a numpad, but the off-center majors messed up my typing muscle’s memory and I kept hitting the wrong keys. In particular, I’ll press “0” on the Numpad instead of the right arrow. It took me a long time to get used to this, but if this is the only keyboard you’re typing, it won’t be a problem because you’ll be building new muscle memory.

The trackpad is also off-center with a much larger palm rest to the right. It is placed to the right of the space bar and also needs getting used to. It works fine and has a positive click but I prefer using click and Windows gestures to navigate.

amazing performance

The Huawei MateBook D16 with i7-12700H processor performs well in benchmarks and in real-world tests.  Photo: Noel Campion.
The Huawei MateBook D16 with i7-12700H processor performs well in benchmarks and in real-world tests. Photo: Noel Campion.

The Huawei MateBook D16 I received for this review was an Intel i7-12700H with 512GB of NVMe PCIe SSD storage and 16GB of RAM. Overall performance is excellent with good temperatures that do a good job of keeping heat low and performance consistent.

It scored well on Geekbench 5 with a single core score of 1810 and a multi-core score of 11011. For context, the MacBook Pro 16 M1 Pro scored 1772 (single-core) and 12575 (multi-core).

The PC Mark is a realistic benchmark that tests all aspects of the system and the MateBook D16 has an impressive score of 5973.

What’s even more impressive is that the laptop runs great and is relatively quiet. Of course, when you put too much load on the CPU, it will spin the fans, but in general use, you don’t really hear them, and even at full tilt, they don’t buzz.

The Huawei MateBook D16 isn't great for serious gamers.  Photo: Noel Campion.
The Huawei MateBook D16 isn’t great for serious gamers. Photo: Noel Campion.

All of these results are achieved with Power Delivery and you can expect lower results on battery power. Also, the 60Wh battery doesn’t provide all-day battery life, especially when working on CPU-intensive tasks for long periods. Editing photos from the Lightroom catalog was a serious battery drain test that was able to get the D16 down to 20% in just a few hours. With lighter loads and with some battery management tweaks like dimming the screen and putting it in low power mode, you should expect to get up to six hours.

The 512GB internal SSD on my loan unit was split into a primary C drive and storage D configuration. Using the Blackmagic speed test, I read speeds of 3,009MB/s and write speeds of 1,169MB/s. For context, the MacBook Pro 16 M1 Pro had maximum write speeds of 4,579 MB/s and read speeds of 5,178 MB/s.

Rule

The Huawei MateBook D16 is a powerful laptop with excellent performance and a large screen. Although I wasn’t a fan of the keyboard and trackpad layout, I was happy to use both once I got used to them. The D16 is a true workhorse that performs well in everything except for serious games due to the lack of a discrete graphics card. Battery life isn’t amazing thanks to the 60Wh battery – as a result, the D16 is lighter and more portable.

Huawei MateBook D16 RRP 899€ Huawei