HUAWEI MateBook X Pro (2021) review: great just got better!

We have no reservations in recommending the 2021 MateBook X Pro for those who want a beautiful laptop that’s fast, lightweight, portable, and, most importantly, future proof.

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Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 review: best Windows laptop for most (video)

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is one of the best Windows laptops you can buy in the premium bracket, and this is our full review, both in video and text format, for your viewing pleasure.

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Windows 10 taskbar is getting a personalized makeover

Microsoft has announced the roll-out of news and interests on the Windows 10 taskbar. It will be rolled out to customers over the next several weeks. It is being made available in a phased manner and a broader availability will occur in the coming months. The Windows 10 taskbar makeover will make it easy for you to catch up on the things you care about. News and interests on the taskbar will provide a convenient and personalized experience centered around you.

After testing the feature with Insiders, Microsoft is rolling out news and interests to Windows 10 taskbar. Essentially, it creates a shortcut on the taskbar that allows you to check the weather, latest news, sports scores as well as stock prices. If you tap on a story, it will open in a browser. Moreover, you can save an article for later reading and share it if you so desire. As of now, there won’t be any ads in the new tool.

You can obviously tweak the selection of topics you see in your feed. Plus, you can select the publications Windows uses to source articles so you can easily have access to Pocketnow stories. You also get flexibility in how the icon appears on your taskbar. Plus, you can turn off the feature if it doesn’t please you and if you don’t want to see it at all. Hence, it is not a forced update.

According to Microsoft, adding news and interests to your Windows 10 taskbar will make finding high-quality and relevant news content easier. Further, the company says that most people already have a routine where they’re constantly checking what’s going in on the world throughout the day. Therefore, it is making the process seamless by including a way to check the weather, news, and other things. The feature will begin rolling out to customers over the next several weeks.

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Microsoft details the next major Windows 10 update arriving in first half of 2021

Microsoft follows a biannual approach for releasing major Windows updates. The first one of these for the ongoing year, codenamed 21H1, will arrive in the first half, likely with a ton of new features and some visual tweaks in tow. Today, Microsoft’s VP of Program Management for Windows Servicing and Delivery, John Cable has announced that the Windows 10 21H1 update will start rolling out in the first half of 2021.

The installation experience for Windows 10 21H1 will be faster, akin to a monthly update

The Microsoft exec mentioned in his blog post that the Windows 10 21H1 update will focus on improving security, remote access and the overall experience of users based on their current remote work lifestyle. The biggest change is that you’ll be able to use an external webcam (provided it has been certified) for Windows Hello authentication on machines that already have an in-built camera for Windows Hello login.

READ MORE: Windows 10 taskbar is getting a collapsible news and interests feed that won’t distract you

What this means is devices such as Microsoft’s own Surface family will let you connect an external webcam that will pull the double duty of Windows Hello sign-in as well as your day-to-day video calls. Notably, those running the current build (Windows 10 20H2) will be able to install Windows 10 21H1 faster than usual feature updates and more like a monthly update.

Windows 10 21H1 update is now rolling out in Beta and Release Preview channels

Things in the Insider channel are a tad quick though, as the 21H1 Build 19043.844 (KB4601382) of Windows 10 has already been released in the Beta and Release Preview channel. You can find more details about the bug fixes and improvements that arrive with the Windows 1o 21H1 update in the official release post here.

Windows 10 21H1 key changes

Following are the key changes arriving with the 21H1 update highlighted in the blog post:

Windows Hello multicamera support to set the default as the external camera when both external and internal Windows Hello cameras are present.

Windows Defender Application Guard performance improvements including optimizing document opening scenario times.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updating performance improvement to support remote work scenarios.

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Windows 10 taskbar is getting a collapsible news and interests feed that won’t distract you

Microsoft is about to make the Windows 10 taskbar a lot more useful and in a neat, non-distracting way. Ever found yourself opening a new browser tab to check the latest news or match score, or launching an app to see the weather info while working? I do it, a lot. Thankfully, Microsoft is adding a collapsible news and interests feed to the Windows 10 taskbar that is just a click away and won’t push your ongoing workflow to the background

Currently available for Windows Insiders only

“With news and interests on the Windows taskbar, you get quick access to an integrated feed of dynamic content such as news and weather that updates throughout the day,” explains Microsoft. The news and interests feed has arrived with the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21286 that is being rolled out for Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. 

Showing news and interests on the taskbar with the flyout of content just for you.
The collapsible news and interests feed in action (Image: Microsoft)

The news and interests feed can be fully personalized to show you news headlines, sports updates, weather information, and a lot more. Microsoft says the feed can be populated with content from over 4,500 international publications that include the likes of The New York Times and BBC to name a few. 

The news and interests feed is customizable

And the best part is that when you click on an article, it opens in a ‘streamlined reading view’ with minimal distractions so that your workflow remains intact. And in case you don’t find it interesting, just right click on the taskbar to turn off the news and interests feed.

READ MORE: Microsoft reveals SolarWinds hackers gained access to its source code

Users can register their preference for the kind of stories they like in their news and interests feed on the Windows 10 taskbar with dedicated “More stories like this” or “Fewer stories like this” buttons. Additionally, the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard offers controls that will allow users to see and limit ad-tracking. 

Users will need to have Edge browser on their system though

As mentioned above, the new news and interests feed on the Windows 10 taskbar is only rolling out with the Build 21286 for Windows Insiders. And to make it work, users are required to install the latest build of Microsoft’s Edge browser that is based on the Chromium engine. It must also be noted that the new feature is currently limited to testers in Australia, Canada, India, UK, and the US. 

READ MORE: Microsoft Edge starts enabling cross-device history and tab syncing
Managing Storage Spaces in the Settings up via Settings ></div></figure><p>System > Storage.” width=”517″ height=”409″ /></a></p>
<p>Go to <strong>Settings > System > Storage</strong> and click the <strong>Manage Storage Spaces </strong>under “More storage settings” to get started.</p>
<p><strong>This feature is rolling out to a subset of Insiders in the Dev Channel at first, to help us quickly identify issues that may impact performance and reliability. Rest assured they will be gradually rolled out to everyone in the Dev Channel.</strong></p>
<h2><strong>Introducing New File System Command Line Tool DiskUsage</strong></h2>
<p>As some Insiders have noticed, we’re working on an enhancement to the file system utilities family – called <code>DiskUsage</code>, enabling users to view and query disk space usage via the command line. With DiskUsage, you can now track files and directories which are consuming excessive amount of space on the drive. It scans the specified directory recursively or the entire drive with detailed information on how much each subfolder is using. It also supports extensive filtering and output customization options.</p>
<p>For example: <code>>> diskusage /d:1</code></p>
<p>This will display the used space under each folder of the current directory.</p>
<p>Get started today by typing <code>diskusage /?</code> in a command line window for more options and usage information.</p>
<figure class=

The latest Windows 10 update also makes it extremely easy to create a storage pool or manage a disk, which means you no longer have to struggle with the whole partition fuss. All this can be done from the Storage Spaces inside the Settings app, as you can see in the GIF above.

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HUAWEI MateBook X review (2020): best ultraportable?

I’ll start my HUAWEI MateBook X review for the 2020 model by talking just a little bit about the MateBook X Pro, I had the pleasure of using in spring. I called it “one damn fine laptop” because it was spot on for everything I personally require on a daily basis from an ultra-portable computer. 

Back in May, I was pretty sure HUAWEI can’t do any better, but to my surprise, the company proved me wrong. Not because there is something wrong with the 2020 MateBook X Pro, which I still recommend, but because the company totally nailed it with the 2020 model of the MateBook X, which we’re currently reviewing.

They say a piece of paper is as smart as the words you put on it. In the case of the MateBook X, we’re looking at a damn smart piece of paper, as the computer not only fits on a sheet of A4 (297 x 210 mm), but it’s actually smaller. So what can you expect from a computer that’s this small and lightweight? Let’s find out in our HUAWEI MateBook X review below.

We’ve been using the HUAWEI MateBook X for two weeks exclusively, typing two reviews (this included) on it, as well as for everything else work and play.


You have the option of choosing either the Forest Green or the Silver Frost (our current review unit) colors. Weighing just 1kg, the MateBook X measures 284.4 x 206.7 x 13.6mm, making this a very lightweight and portable machine. Don’t be fooled by its rather small footprint; it “makes up” for it in many other departments.

Designed for the fashion-aware urban user who’s on the go, the MateBook X has an elegant build and design. By utilizing an aluminum-magnesium alloy unibody, HUAWEI managed to keep the weight at 1kg, and by spray painting five times the company added a finish on top of it that speaks luxury and premium.

The design is so minimalistic that nothing distracts you from admiring the actual machine and finish. A subtle, polished HUAWEI logo on the top, and two delicate cutouts on the bottom curvature towards each side for two (of the total of four) speakers. No air vents, no grills, just uninterrupted finesse.

A thickness of 13.6mm (should be thinness) doesn’t allow a lot of wiggle room when it comes to ports. The MateBook X features 1 USB Type-C port on each side, granted, these support data transfers, display port, as well as charging.

There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left-hand side, which doubles as a microphone input port as well, being a 2-in-one jack.


That’s all there is to it on the outside, but the real surprise comes when you flip it open. You’ll be amazed that such a small footprint can be home to a full 13-inch display. HUAWEI achieved that by slimming down the bezels to an insane amount. Dubbed the Infinite FullView Display, it offers a whopping 90% screen-to-body ratio which is a sheer pleasure to look at.

The aspect ratio is 3:2 by design and on purpose, as HUAWEI claims it offers more screen real-estate than the traditional 16:9. This is true, but it also means that you’ll have some letterboxing going on when watching videos.

The 13-inch panel is LTPS, and one of the prettiest we’ve seen yet. At a resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels, it brings 278PPI density, and the colors and contrast it delivers are amazing. Claimed brightness is 400 nits and viewing angles at 178 degrees, but the only thing that sometimes hinders the viewing experience is the glossy finish of the display and the reflections on it.

The panel is also 10-point touch-enabled and has been treated to an anti-fingerprint coating to minimize the smudges on the screen after operating it by touch. 


It should come as no surprise by now, if you’re even somewhat familiar with HUAWEI (and HONOR) laptops, that the webcam is located on the top row of the keyboard. This serves two purposes: not only allows for ultra-slim bezels, but it ensures your privacy, being a pop-up camera. It also has the inconvenience of a lower angle, hence by now the overused “nosecam” name it was labeled with.

The keyboard has a scissor approach for its buttons, offering a comfortable key travel (1.3mm). It is a full-size keyboard though, don’t let the compact design trick you. It is also backlit with nice, even, and quite bright light. We’ve seen no visible bleeding or dark spots, it gets as even as possible across all keys.

On top of the keyboard, you’ll spot the power button. It has an integrated fingerprint scanner which intelligently uses caching so that the same press of the button that turns the computer on is used to sign you in, without the need of touching the button once again. HUAWEI says it comes in pair with a smart optimized BIOS in order to improve Windows log-in speed and reliability.


For the 2020 model, the trackpad (or clickpad, as HUAWEI calls it) on the MateBook X is not only larger, but it now offers haptic feedback for a better tactile experience. The company calls it HUAWEI Free Touch, as it debuts on this model, but the changes don’t stop there.

Do you remember the NFC tag/stickers on previous models, used for pairing the laptop with the phone in order to use HUAWEI Share and Multi-Device Collaboration? They’re now gone, as HUAWEI built the NFC tag underneath the clickpad. 

The smarts

The 2020 MateBook X comes in two processor configurations: you can opt for the 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10210U processor or the corresponding Core i7-10510U. Both feature the same amount of memory, at 16GB of RAM (dual-channel, LPDDR3 2133MHz), as well as the same storage in the form of a 512GB PCIe SSD.

This is not a gaming laptop, and most who will opt to buy one (should) understand that. It is equipped with the integrated Intel UHD Graphics which is enough for office and multimedia, but, while it will handle less demanding gaming titles, it is not recommended for demanding ones.


The webcam we mentioned earlier, as a pop-up camera on the top row on the keyboard is a 720p HD camera. It gets the job done, granted, you’ll have to get used to the angle, but if you absolutely can’t, just buy an external webcam for your video calling needs. Make sure to unplug it, if you grab one, to protect your privacy, which is as easy as pressing it down into the chassis when it comes to the built-in camera.

There are four speakers on the MateBook X, of which two tweeters are embedded under the keyboard to enable the laptop to deliver sound from its input devices. The MateBook X also supports virtual 5.1 channel output for a more immersive experience, as well as two microphones.

Also debuting on the MateBook X is the edge microphone setup, which delivers, according to HUAWEI, better signal-to-noise performance. Sensitivity-wise the microphones pick up sound from up to five meters and AI intelligently removes echoing that occurs in large conference rooms.


Aside from the two USB Type-C ports on each side, the MateBook X features Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax at 2.4GHz and 5GHz as well as Bluetooth 5.0. Of note that there’s another first on HUAWEI laptops with this model: it features, for the first time, Wi-Fi 6, with advertised potential speeds of up to three times those of Wi-Fi 5.


There’s a 42Wh battery pack powering the MateBook X, and inside the box, you will find a 65W charger. Talking about in-the-box accessories, you’ll also find a USB-C power cable, and the HUAWEI MateDock 2, which, once plugged into the USB-C port, offers you a multitude of output options (HDMI, VGA, USB-A, and USB-C).

Performance and battery life

While I usually do more than a fair amount of testing and real-life usage with my review units, I’ll be honest: I think I exaggerated with the MateBook X. Not because I was trying desperately to find flaws, but simply because I couldn’t put it down. Once pressing publish on this review, I’ll be sad to see it go!

I carried it everywhere with me and it turned eyes everywhere it was seen. This of course means that I worked more than the usual hours that I do, but I didn’t mind, as the MateBook X made it a sheer pleasure.

For work: I’ve written reviews (including this one), responded to emails, created documents and spreadsheets, manipulated imagery, and had a fair amount of Skype and video calls. I’ve basically moved in making it my permanent mobile office for the review period.

For fun: I’ve listened to music, watched Netflix and YouTube videos, with a fair amount of chatting, whether through dedicated apps, or web versions of specific clients.

Nothing I threw at this machine made it ever hiccup or make me doubt that it’s going to get the job done, in a buttery smooth manner. I’m not a gamer, and I already advised above against trying to play demanding games on this machine. 


If you’ve been following Pocketnow for a while you must already know by now that we’re not fans of benchmarks. We rely mostly on real-life usage scenarios, as that’s more likely what you’ll do (except if you’re the type of person who only runs benchmarks for a living).

However, we do understand that some of you appreciate seeing analytical and synthetic data, so we’ve run a couple. You can find the results below.

When it comes to battery life, things get a little bit tricky, and, it all comes down to your usage scenario. If you’re doing basic office work with documents, browsing, email, etc., you’ll likely make it through the day.

The higher the brightness on the display (say if you’re outdoors and you need to crank it up, or you are watching or streaming videos), the shorter your battery life will be.

The shortest we’ve got out of the MateBook X was close to six hours of streaming video with full brightness. For the benchmark people among our readers, that translated to 7 hours and 44 minutes on PC Mark 10.

Regardless of what’s been thrown at it, the system stayed fairly cool and silent.

Software and experience

The HUAWEI MateBook X ships with Windows 10. Our unit arrived with Windows 10 Home, and our experience refers to the operating system and drivers being up to date.

The entire experience is smooth, with nothing to report. Things just work as they should, and if you’re a Windows person you’re probably already used to how the OS handles updates and requires restarts. But once it’s settled in, things are buttery smooth.

There’s little to no bloatware on the device, but it does ship with the PC Manager app, which serves two purposes: 1. It makes sure your system stays in top-notch shape by checking hardware and drivers and 2. It’s the interface between connecting your smartphone and the computer.

We’ve detailed Multi-Screen Collaboration and how HUAWEI Share works among HUAWEI and HONOR (sadly limited to these two) smartphones with the occasion of our HUAWEI MateBook X Pro and HONOR MagicBook 14 reviews. Check those out if you need more details on how useful these features are.

The overall experience is top-notch, offered by a beautifully designed piece of jewelry you’ll be proud to show off. The system is silent and cool, and if you’re consuming multimedia, you’ll absolutely love how loud and clear those four speakers are.


About the only thing stopping us from saying that this is potentially the best ultrabook out there is competition from HUAWEI itself. We wouldn’t hesitate if there wasn’t a HUAWEI MateBook X Pro, but then again, we’d hesitate to call that one the best, because of this model.

HUAWEI did a great job of having two offerings which are both just as good choices, depending on the target audience, as they fall into two different categories.

With a beautiful design, lightweight and small footprint, great display, and some “first on a HUAWEI laptop” features, we have no doubts in highly recommending this computer. Whether it’s your MacBook Air replacement, or the first computer for someone who is constantly on the go, its beauty, smarts, and small/light unibody structure will make it a pleasurable companion.

Officially announced for €1,599 (Core i5) and €1799 (Core i7), the price varies, just like the configuration options, from market to market. HUAWEI currently sells the i5 version in Germany and France for €1,499, and in Romania for the equivalent of €1,530.


+ beautiful design;
+ small and light;
+ gorgeous screen;
+ snappy performance;
+ good battery life.


– only two USB ports;
– odd webcam angle;
– poor graphics for gaming;
– a tad on the pricier end;

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