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Huawei's new trio of MateBooks pack some serious new features

At an event in Berlin today, Huawei introduced a trio of new MateBooks, including the MateBook X, D, and E. The MateBook X and D are 13- and 15-inch laptops, while the MateBook E is a follow-up to last year's tablet, which was the company's entry into the Windows 10 PC market.

When the company introduced the original MateBook last year, it explained that it was going for the hybrid PC market because it's the fastest growing, but the laptops that it introduced today can't be considered hybrids by any means. The X and D models are premium, non-touch laptops, but they're still innovative.

Huawei says that the MateBook X is the first 13-inch laptop that has a fanless design and an Intel U-series processor. This allows for a very slim design.

The device only has two USB Type-C ports, one of which can be used for power, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. If you want a standard Type-A port, you'll need the new MateDock, which comes bundled with the laptop. Unfortunately though, the new MateDock only has one USB Type-A port, unlike last year's model that had two.

But the headlining feature of the MateBook X is likely to be the Dolby Atmos Sound System. While audio quality tends to take a back seat on laptops, Huawei made it a priority. We got a chance to try it out, and to be honest, it's the best audio quality that I've ever heard from a laptop. The company says that it's the first 13-inch laptop to use Dolby Atmos.

The device also packs a 1440p 16:9 display, with just a 4.4mm bezel, and again, the firm says that it's the world's narrowest on a 13-inch laptop. It's not a touchscreen, which is probably the only drawback to this device. It comes with up to 8GB of RAM, and configurations of 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage, although only 256GB and 512GB will be offered in the US.

Speaking of availability, the Rose Gold model that you see above will only be offered in China, with the rest of the world only getting Prestige Gold (top image) and Space Gray.

The MateBook D is the 15.6-inch version of the X, with some subtle differences and it's not meant to be quite as premium. While there are no USB Type-C ports (it uses a standard charger), it offers up to 16GB of RAM and an optional Nvidia GeForce GTX 940MX GPU. Of course, it will still have an aluminum unibody and Dolby Atmos audio.

And then there's the MateBook E, which is the follow-up to last year's tablet. It's still 6.9mm thin, but the Core m-series processors have been bumped up to Intel's seventh-generation Kaby Lake chips, so of course, the higher-end ones are Core i Y-series.

When we reviewed last year's model, one of the biggest downsides was the keyboard, and how the keys weren't 'islanded'. That's been fixed in the MateBook E, but there's bad news for owners of the original device; as you can see from the image above, the E uses three pins to connect, so the accessories aren't compatible with each other.

Another pain point that's been resolved is that the keyboard cover offers a kickstand, rather than the previous folio-style that only offered two different viewing angles.

The display is still 12 inches; however, the resolution has been bumped up to 1440p. Like last year's model there's just a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and with the new MateDock, that Type-C port can only be expanded to a single Type-A port, so if you grab the MateBook E, you might want to look into a third-party dock.

Huawei's new MateBooks should be arriving in the United States in July, and we should learn pricing soon. We do have European pricing though, and the MateBook D will start at €799, the MateBook E will start at €999, and the MateBook X will start at €1,399.

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