As you probably know, I am a huge fan of interesting hardware that also boasts a high-quality build. For a long time, I used an Intel-based Lenovo Flex 15. While it was nice, it was a bit too large for my needs. Therefore, I decided to search for something lighter and smaller – a device with a nice screen and a more comfortable keyboard, as copywriting and translations constitute the bulk of my job. I don't necessarily need new equipment, so I began browsing local listings. After a while, I narrowed down a few candidates for my new Linux typewriter, including the Huawei MateBook 13.
MacBook or MateBook?
There was a great local deal for a MacBook Air 2018 at $300. Visually, it was in really good shape; besides a few scratches, it looked brand new. However, being a 6-year-old laptop, its battery wasn't in the best condition, having endured 800 charging cycles. I also came across a similar deal for an MSI Modern 14. Since I'm not particularly fond of MSI, I didn't consider it seriously. Eventually, I discovered an intriguing listing for a Huawei MateBook 14. According to the description, it was in really good condition with just a few minor scratches. The only issue was its location, about 50 kilometers away. Nevertheless, the price was attractive and the description seemed promising. So, I got in my car, drove to see it, and ended up buying it.
My New Daily Driver!
It turned out to be not a MateBook 14, but a 13. For my needs, this is even better! Its small size and comfortable keyboard make writing in bed finally possible. The listing was accurate; the laptop's overall condition is almost perfect. There's a small dent on the palm rest, one barely visible white spot on the display, and a few scratches on the top, but that's to be expected with a used laptop, right? Before acquiring this little gem, I used my laptop only when absolutely necessary. Now, I must admit, I'm thoroughly enjoying my 'new' (old) Huawei MateBook 13 and plan to make it my primary machine. Goodbye, desktop! Well, the desktop will stay put, but there's a lot I can now accomplish on my laptop.
The first feature that caught my eye was the display, which boasts an unusual 3:2 screen ratio and a resolution of 2160 x 1440 — impressive for a 13-inch laptop, right? It displays vibrant colors and offers really good viewing angles. While it may not be exactly on par with a MacBook's display, it's pretty darn close.
Comfortable Keyboard and Big TouchPad
Continuing my exploration of the Huawei MateBook 13, the keyboard demands attention. My overall thoughts? It's quite impressive. The keys are well-spaced and offer a satisfying tactile response, which is a boon for someone who spends a significant amount of time typing. Each keystroke feels precise, and there's a comfortable amount of travel that strikes a fine balance between the shallow keys of some ultrabooks and the deeper ones found in traditional keyboards.
One thing to note is the absence of a numerical keypad. This is a common trait in 13-inch laptops due to space constraints. However, for users who frequently work with numbers, this might be a slight inconvenience. The workaround? There are numerous external numeric keypads available that can be easily connected if needed.
The touchpad, while not the primary focus here, deserves a mention. It's spacious, responsive, and supports multi-finger gestures, making navigation a breeze.
The battery is the biggest surprise of this buy! Do you remember I mentioned the MacBook Air with 800 charging cycles at the beginning of this article? My MateBook had only 94 charging cycles when I turned it on for the first time! After 3 years of usage battery lasts 3 hours of mixed usage without any problem. This deal was a steal! Did I mention I've paid 250$?
MateBook 13 and Linux
To be honest, the Huawei MateBook 13 excels as a Linux laptop. As someone who enjoys distro hopping, and constantly exploring new distributions each month, this laptop has proven to be a reliable companion. My experiences have allowed me to extensively test various distros, each with its unique strengths and minor quirks.
One such instance was with Ubuntu 23.10. The experience was generally positive, with the dual graphics being recognized right out of the box—a commendable feat. However, I encountered some issues with GNOME extensions, particularly with Dash to Dock. This extension didn't function correctly after the laptop woke from sleep. I suspect this might be due to some extensions pre-installed by Canonical, but the exact cause remains unclear.
Next, I ventured into Fedora, which presented an almost flawless experience. The only notable drawback was the lack of drivers for the fingerprint sensor. While this isn't a deal-breaker for me, it's something to keep in mind for users who rely on this feature.
Based on my experiences, I'd confidently give the Huawei MateBook 13 a 9 out of 10 for Linux support. It adeptly handles various distributions, making it an excellent choice for enthusiasts and professionals who prefer the Linux ecosystem. For the price, it's a steal!