Huawei MateBook D 15 Review
Huawei is releasing a more affordable laptop to the Philippine market, the Huawei MateBook D 15. It features a 15.6-inch IPS display, Ryzen 5 3500u processor with Vega 8 graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB+1TB storage. Could this be the laptop for you? Find out in our full review!
Design & Construction
From the outside, the Huawei MateBook D 15 may look cheap, but it’s a different story once you get a feel of the laptop. The build is solid, with no flexing and creaking when pressing down or bending the laptop. The aluminum body has a smooth finish with a little texture to help users with grip. There are two colors available, Mystic Silver and Space Grey.
On the top, there’s a large Huawei branding sitting in the middle. The lid is flat, with no angles or curves.
Underneath there’s a protruding rubber foot that spans the entire length of the laptop towards the back and two smaller protruding feet at both sides of the front. There’s also a large intake grill, and two speakers are sitting on both sides.
Located are the front are the dual-microphones, and a ledge to help users open the lid. Unfortunately, you’d need to use both hands to open the laptop.
On the left, you can find the USB-C charging port, USB 3.0 Type-A, and a full-sized HDMI port.
Situated on the right are two more USB 2.0 Type-A ports and a 3.5mm audio jack.
At the back sits a large lid that spans the length of the laptop. There isn’t much wobble when moving the laptop around, and the screen is capable of tilting to about 135°.
The keyboard used is a TKL, which is uncharacteristic of a 15.6-inch laptop. It uses a standard US layout, with slimmer up and down arrow keys to fit the frame. The arrow keys also double as navigation keys, despite the legend not showing its functionality. Holding down Fn + Left arrow is for Home, Fn + Right arrow is for End, Fn + Up arrow is for Page Up, and Fn + Down arrow is for Page down. The keys use the standard scissor-switch, chiclet-style keyboard with no pretravel, and very little post-travel. The keys are a bit inconsistent (which means they feel different when pressing towards the center and the side), although the long keys are stable. There’s also no keyboard backlight present on this version of the Huawei MateBook D 15. We would’ve wanted the same keyboard style used on the Huawei MateBook 13, though the keyboard is serviceable.
The touchpad is smooth and responsive, with tactile buttons underneath. It attracts a fair bit of oil and fingerprint, although not as bad as other laptops we’ve tested. It’s big enough to move the cursor from left to right, and I didn’t experience any misclick (or tap) during my use.
The power button also doubles as a fingerprint reader. The laptop logs in automatically when you used your registered finger to press down the button. Otherwise, you’d have to tap your finger. It works accurately and quickly, able to recognize my fingerprint within a fraction of a second.
Overall, the Huawei MateBook D has an amazing body, and we can tell that Huawei prioritized portability with their design. Save for the large Huawei branding on top; the laptop also looks aesthetically pleasing. It’s sleek, there are no awkward angles and curves, and nothing seems out of place.
Display & Multimedia
The Huawei MateBook D 15 has a 15.6-inch IPS FullView display with a 1920 x 1080p resolution and 87% screen-to-body ratio. Colors were vibrant, and there was a decent amount of contrast. Viewing angles were also great since it employs an IPS display, although you’d want to stay indoors as it’s only capable of 250 nits. The side bezels are on the slimmer side, measuring only 7mm while the top measured 6mm.
The webcam is placed in the keyboard, and you have to press the key for it to pop up. Unfortunately, the shooting angle is less than ideal. It’s capable of shooting 720p videos at 15FPS, which is standard for most laptops.
The dual-array microphones are at the front of the laptop where the ledge is. It’s set at 80 volume, +10db by default. I found it picked up higher notes more than lower ones, which was effective at muting the sound while typing, but may also affect call quality if you have a lower tone. Overall, both the webcam and mic were good enough for web calls, though if you’re trying to shoot videos, you may want to get an external solution.
The bottom-firing speakers are capable of filling up a small room and don’t lose quality and clarity even when set to 100%. Overall, sound quality is decent for casual listening and watching movies.
Performance & Benchmarks
The Huawei MateBook D 15 is equipped with a Ryzen 5 3500U processor paired with Vega 8 graphics, and up to 8GB of RAM. For storage, it has a 256GB PCIe SSD, and a 1TB HDD. By default, the system has allocated 1.1GB for the Vega 8 integrated graphics, leaving the user with only 6.9GB of usable RAM. For our benchmarks, we ran Cinebench R15 & R20, the Unigine Suite, 3D Mark’s FireStrike & Night Raid, and CrystalDiskMark. All tests were done with the laptop plugged in the socket, in a 28° C room with no airconditioning. The Huawei MateBook D was also in its vanilla state, with no OS optimizations done to improve results.
First, we have the CPU benchmark Cinebench. In both R20 and R15, the Ryzen 5 3500U can trade blows with Intel’s i5-8550U with the Intel beating Ryzen on the single-core results, and the Ryzen beating Intel on multi-core results.
Next, to test the Vega 8’s capabilities, we ran Unigine’s Superposition, Valley, and Heaven. Here are the results:
Next, we have 3D Mark’s benchmarks. Due to the VRAM set by default, we were not able to finish a full run of Time Spy. We instead opted to run Night Raid as it was less demanding and still tested for DX12 performance.
Testing for DX 11 performance, we ran 3D Mark FireStrike and got the following results:
Testing for heat and speeds, we ran Aida 64 for 15 minutes and took note of the temps via hardware info. The Huawei MateBook D was able to sustain roughly 3.1GHz on all cores, which was 1GHz faster than its base speed. It also managed to reach its max speed of 3.7GHz on three cores. As for heat, The Huawei MateBook D was able to keep itself cool, only peaking at 76°C. However, the laptop does get noticeably hot to the touch underneath due to its slim form factor and aluminum alloy build.
Lastly, we tested both the SSD and HDD using Crystal Disk Mark 6. Here are the results:
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The SSD speeds were quicker than most laptops we tested, and it even edged out the more expensive Lenovo s940.
Overall system performance is great, and the system feels snappy during my time with the device. Huawei made a good move by using dual-channel RAM out of the box to give its users more performance compared to traditional Ryzen based systems that only include one stick of RAM. The only downside is that the RAM is most likely soldered to the motherboard, hence upgrading is out of the question.
Software & Operating System
The Huawei MateBook D 15 comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed. There was only 192GB out of 222GB available for use on the SSD, and users can take full advantage of the 1TB HDD. All the usual Windows 10 bloatware was there, including Bubble With 3 Saga, Candy Crush Friends, a trial version of Microsoft Office, Spotify, and more.
Surprisingly, there are no additional Huawei apps included, except for the Huawei PC Manager that analyzes and optimizes the laptop’s health and performance. Users may also update outdated drivers through the PC Manager app. One of the most useful features of the Huawei MateBook D is the incorporation of Huawei Share. With the use of NFC, users can connect any Huawei compatible smartphone with the laptop to access your phone through your laptop and wirelessly transfer files between devices up to a distance of 30 meters.
Doing our standard video loop test, which consists of a 1080p video looped with 50% brightness, 50% volume, headphones plugged in, and airplane mode, the Huawei MateBook D 15 was able to last 6 hours and 43 minutes. The Huawei MateBook D 15’s battery life was not impressive, although it is good enough to allow users to be unplugged for most of the workday. We’re also happy to see that the Huawei MateBook D uses a 65W USB-C charger, which is compatible with all Huawei smartphones and tablets.
If there’s a phrase I’d use for the Huawei MateBook D 15, it’d be good enough. The display is good enough, the system’s performance is good enough to handle most workloads, there are a decent amount of ports, audio quality from the speakers is good enough, the webcam and mic are good enough for Skype calls. The battery life is also good enough for a 15.6-inch laptop.
Priced at PHP 37,990, the Huawei MateBook D 15 offers a lot of value. It’s a jack of all trade laptop that’s easy to recommend to people who value portability.
Huawei Matebook D 15 specs:
15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display
AMD Ryzen 3500U CPU
Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
8GB DDR4 RAM
256GB PCIe SSD / 256GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2×2 MIMO
2x USB-A 2.0
3.5mm headset and microphone 2-in-1 jack
2-in-1 power button and fingerprint scanner
1MP (720p HD) webcam
2x 2W speakers
Windows 10 Home
357.8 x 229.9 x 16.9 mm
1.53 kg (SSD only)
1.62 kg (SSD + HDD)
Aluminum alloy body
Mystic Silver, Space Grey
What we liked:
- Decent display
- Accurate trackpad with decent size
- Fast fingerprint scanner
- Overall size, shape, and weight of the laptop
- USB Type-C charging
- Huawei Share functionality
What we didn’t:
- The keyboard
- Webcam placement
- Giant Huawei branding on the lid
- Only 6.9GB of usable RAM available
- Only one USB 3.0 Type-A present