Chinese manufacturers that sell laptop computers are very present in the US market. Are these laptops worth buying? Generally speaking, the idea is probably no. This typically boils down to the fact that customer service isn’t quite the same like it is here in North America, and who wants to buy a device that may take a head-dive and not have the customer service to replace or repair it? Not me, and certainly not too many people that I know. However, there are two laptops now that are Chinese that have been released now in Northern America. The Huawei Mate Pro X for $1,200 and the Xiaomi Mi Notebook 13 for $900 are now available on Amazon and Newegg.
Both of these laptops have the MX150 graphics card and the 8th generation four-core CPU, the i5, and they are both very similar in performance. There are some important differences between them.
Let’s first start with the Huawei Mate Pro X. It has a better build quality and is very well-built. They really have to be taking notes from Apple’s and Asus’ hardware. It has very nice machining with no sharp edges around the device and a fantastic display. It’s really bright. It’s big. It has a respectable color gamut and thin bezels. For brightness, you’re looking at 430 nits and 93% RGB and 61% Adobe RGB. The display really is the main attraction of this Matebook. Also, the 57 watt-hour battery has a pretty good life.
This device also has some nice features like the fingerprint sensor on the power button, and also there is a great keyboard layout that’s comfortable to type on and it’s very similar in feel to the 2015 or earlier MacBooks
There are some negatives though. The speakers are ok but only up to a certain volume of 50-60%. The whole unit gets distorted and vibrates and buzzes. It also has a pop-up webcam like we’ve seen before and it’s super cool. The problem here is the horrible angle it photos from. Also, I won’t give the trackpad much love. It is using Windows Precision drivers but the tracking is not perfect and sometimes it doesn’t detect the gestures which is a little bit annoying. Overall, the Matebook Pro X is a really solid device for the money.
Ok, moving on to the other device, the Xiaomi Mi Air 13 laptop. The best thing about this device is its price tag. It sounds kind of strange calling “price” a “feature”, but we are always budget-minded and this is one of the best values you can get for the MX150, 8th generation CPU on a 13-inch laptop. It’s just really well priced. The build quality is good. It is not as well built as the Huawei, the finish isn’t as well done and there are some sharper edges on the bottom panel, but it is still good. I also like the fact that the top panel has no branding whatsoever and it looks simple and clean.
The screen is also nice. It’s not as big or bright as the Matebook’s, but it still gets 370 nit and 95% RGB and 63% Adobe RGB. On this device, the touchpad is pretty decent and uses Windows Precision drivers. For whatever reasons I was getting better tracking and gestures on this machine as opposed to the Huawei.
There are a few things I don’t like about this though. One of which is the location of the fingerprint sensor in the top right-hand corner of the trackpad; it just gets in the way. The keyboard is ok, it has a good layout, but the keys are a little bit softer on the stroke than I like. I feel that the typing experience is better on the Matebook than it is on the Xiaomi product. Other things that I don’t like are the weak speakers. Also, if this machine is under any heavy load for any period of time it will throttle quite a bit. It’ won’t really do it often, but when it does you certainly notice it.
Like I mentioned earlier, these are both available in our American market now and are both decent pick-ups. They are not the same type of product so they are priced to reflect that. The Huawei is a premium version and the Xiaomi is a less premium version. That being said, if you buy these from a US outlet you will get peace of mind with having some customer service; however, if you’re after the bottom line and the cheapest version of either of these they are better to buy directly from the Asian market. But if anything goes wrong, be prepared to not have any service support.