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Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review and RAM upgrade

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review and RAM upgrade
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HUAWEI MateBook D 14″ is equally suitable as a home laptop. An ultra-slim, full-featured, 14-inch notebook packed in a 13-inch chassis, the HUAWEI MateBook D 14″ is perfect for someone always on the go. Reveal more in Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review. Can you do Huawei MateBook D 14 2020 ram upgrade? Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop has Dolby ATMOS Sound System quad-speaker and split frequency setup with sounds that flow above and around you for an immersive experience. Windows 10 Signature Edition comes clean with no bloatware to slow you down and powered by an AMD R5 processor.

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Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 Specs

BrandHuawei
CPU2.0-GHz AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor
Company Websitehttps://consumer.huawei.com
Display Size14
Graphics CardAMD Radeon Vega 8 Mobile Graphics
Hard Drive Size256GB SSD
Hard Drive TypeSSD
Highest Available Resolution1920 x 1080
Native Resolution1920×1080
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Ports (excluding USB)USB Type-C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Headphone/Mic, HDMI
RAM8GB
RAM Upgradable to8GB
Size12.72 x 8.7 x 0.62 inches
Touchpad Size4.1 x 2.5-inch
USB Ports3
Warranty/SupportOne-year limited warranty
Weight3.41 pounds
Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 – availability and price

Launched a year ago, MateBook 13 surprised more than one journalist at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. Released a year later, the Matebook D continues Huawei’s adventure into the laptop market. Announced at the end of February as the mid-range laptop, its price is quite affordable. You can find it at £650 in the UK, which puts it in direct competition with brands such as Asus and its Vivobook S, Acer and its Aspire 5 or HP and its Pavilion Gaming PC. You can buy the MateBook D 14 at the following online shops today.

Compare Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020

Huawei Kepler MateBook D 14″ – AMD R5 – 8GB+256GBAcer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 inches Full HD IPS DisplayASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop- 13.3” Full HD Wideview
Computer Memory Size8 GB4 GB8 GB
CPU Model ManufacturerAMDAMDIntel
CPU Speed2 GHz3.5 GHz3.9 GHz
Display Resolution Maximum1920 X 1080 pixels1920 x 10801920 x 1080 pixels
Screen Size14 inches15.6 inches13.3 inches
Display TechnologyLCDLED
Hard Disk Size256 GB128 GB512 GB
Item Dimensions12.72 x 8.70 x 0.62 inches14.31 x 9.74 x 0.71 inches12.20 x 8.50 x 0.50 inches
Item Weight3.46 lbs3.97 lbs2.50 lbs
Operating SystemWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 SWindows 10 Home
Processor Count424
RAM TypeUnknownDDR4 SDRAMDDR3 SDRAM
Wireless Communication Standard802.11abg802.11acBluetooth, 802.11b/n/ac

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review

Design and build

When I told my colleagues I would receive the Huawei MateBook D 14, they immediately made the comparison with Apple products, reminding me that the design of Huawei notebook is very similar to MacBooks. Being a MacBook Pro user for ages (to be honest, my parents gave me an iBook 20 years ago already), I thought I was going to get not so much a grey aluminum notebook but at least a type of design that was very familiar to me.

Finally, I opened the package and came across the grey non-metallic version of this device. I was immediately hooked on it in this color which I find frankly very beautiful. The surface is very pleasant to the touch and you don’t feel like you’re handling a mid-range computer on a daily basis. Luckily for me, I was able to test all the features with a Huawei Mate 20 Pro. When you place the two devices next to each other, they combine very well. Apart from the name, Huawei seems to be gradually finding its own signature in terms of design and aesthetics (Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review and RAM upgrade).

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review and RAM upgrade
Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review

Dimension

It was a great surprise to see that this light 1.4kg notebook is nevertheless very robust. Its compact dimensions (286 x 211 x 14.9 mm) make it a perfect companion for trips to the library or to the café. As such, it fits perfectly in a satchel or backpack. You can even ride your bike with a backpack on with this inside and you won’t feel its weight at any time. Unfortunately, it has a flaw that is common to many mid-range computers: it tends to heat up quite quickly. The fan makes a noise when you put the MateBook D14 on a surface that is not completely flat, such as a bed or your knees.

Bezel

The bezels that surround the 14in 1080p FullView display have been shrunk to 4.8mm, an improvement on the 2018 variant, although there is still a thick bezel at the bottom of the display so it’s not exactly the same as the high-end variants produced by Huawei. The 16:9 display is bright and crisp with a maximum brightness of 244nits – slightly less than the claimed 250nits – and the narrow bezels provide a clean look that doesn’t look out of place in 2020.

Ports & connectors – Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020

Sober and elegant. These are the words I would use to describe this computer. At 15.9mm at its thickest point, Huawei offers a device designed for nomads and students. It is thus at the service of connectivity. The MateBook D14 offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, three USB ports (1x USB-C, 1x 3.0 and 1x 2.0) and an HDMI socket. Contrary to the current trend, the Chinese giant insists on maintaining the classic ports and not on replacing them with the single USB-C port. Personally, I regret the absence of an Ethernet port, but one must keep in mind that this is a notebook costing $700.

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review and RAM upgrade
Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review – Ports

Screen resolution

With a classic 1920 x 1080 pixel display, the MateBook D14’s screen produces crisp, clear images. Add to that a 14-inch screen that makes sense when using the PC for telecommuting where you have to open several tabs at once and use the entire directory of office tools. The feature that intrigued me the most is that the screen can open 180° and thus lie flat. At the beginning of my test, I tried to see in what kind of situations this option could be useful to me. After several weeks, I have to admit that I never use it but I recognize that it can be interesting to orient the screen as you wish. There’s no touchscreen though.

Despite the undeniable quality of the screen, the MateBook D14 suffers from the same problems with brightness as the MateBook 13. The contrast ratio of 800:1 and brightness of 250 cd/m2 are too low for comfortable use in bright ambient light. If you like to work on a terrace at a café or on your balcony, you can increase the brightness of the screen, but this will never solve the problem. This issue deserves to be mentioned here because, as the representative of Huawei France confirmed to me, the brand targets a young, nomadic and student audience. However, this target audience is certainly mostly urban, but these people move around in public places with their computers. It is important to point out that this audience represents the bulk of MacBook users in Europe.

Fingerprint

The fingerprint sensor is, for me, the main asset of this computer. I was lucky enough to get a taste of it during an interview with one of the representatives of Huawei France. He talked up this feature as one of the main quality-to-price advantages of this model. Once I had the computer in hand, I immediately tested this feature and I must admit that I like it very much because of its speed. Personally, I am more satisfied with the fingerprint unlocking the laptop than I am with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. The MateBook D14 has become my leisure computer in the containment phase and I find the fingerprint sensor to be perfect. It works great with Windows Hello.

Webcam to catch every details

The bezels around the screen are small. Huawei’s explanation is that it was necessary to make room for the large display. This type of advantage can be useful if you are a heavy user of Skype or Hangouts Meet video conferencing. But for everything to work properly, you need a proper webcam. Here the webcam is placed at the keyboard level. It opens and closes manually. The result is a disaster. I know the term is strong but I use this computer every day (the force of COVID-19 makes that I have and will have this product with me beyond the time dedicated to product testing in our tech newsroom) and it works very badly. For example, when you are doing a Skype, the other person never sees your face correctly. They see your chin and not your eyes. The low angle can be unflattering if you are videoconferencing for work or video flirting. Again, remember that this notebook is aimed at a young audience. The webcam is very important.

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review and RAM upgrade
Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review

Huawei Share to transfer files

Despite its setbacks with the North American authorities, Huawei can count on the support of Microsoft, which provides Windows 10 for this product. This notebook perfectly integrates all the functionalities of this operating system. But the most interesting is elsewhere. The MateBook D14 fits perfectly with Huawei Share –  a rival of Apple’s AirDrop of sorts. Here, there is no need for the Internet, let alone Bluetooth. Simply connect your Huawei smartphone to the MateBook and away you go. The operation is simple. Just place it on the Huawei Share sticker, and you’re done. The PC Manager connection wizard (the central hub of your Huawei computer, which includes checking that the drivers are up to date) will do the rest of the work.

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 review

The results are pretty impressive. Let me remind you that this is a mid-range laptop. The OneHop feature (a direct corollary of Huawei Share) allows you to transfer files or images between your smartphone and your computer in the blink of an eye. I appreciate the ease of this feature. Just open a photo on your smartphone. Then simply drag it on your computer. The photo will appear instantly on the D14’s screen. The reverse is also true: open a compatible picture or file on your computer and then drag it to your phone to retrieve it.

Immersive audio

Apart from Apple, which is doing a remarkable job with the sound of its MacBooks, Windows manufacturers seem to care little about this issue. This is not the case of Huawei which offers more than acceptable sound for a mid-range device. The speakers on either side of the chassis produce good quality sound, especially when it comes to bass. The inclusion of a headphone jack is justified for the use of wired headsets. I tested the sound with my mid-range Bluetooth wireless headphones and the result was more than satisfactory. Taking advantage of the time spent with the device, I tested the volume in different situations, including with Bluetooth speakers, and I conclude that the sound does not suffer from any noticeable distortion – even at high volumes.

Huawei MateBook D 14 2020 RAM – AMD Ryzen 5

This device uses with a Ryzen 5 3500U processor and offers 8GB of RAM. As for its GPU, it is an AMD Radeon Vega 8. The D14 is, therefore, a mid-range computer in terms of hardware as well as price. In spite of its assets, it is not a computer for gamers or for the use of greedy software. Its processor offers a relatively low frequency. The graphical user interface suffers for example when playing arcade games. As mentioned earlier, the device gets out of breath when it is overloaded, such as when launching a heavy application. The computer then has a slight heat stroke and begins to exhaust heat noisily through the single fan located under the chassis. Another problem to report is that it will be impossible to add RAM to the computer (it is soldered to the motherboard).

7 hours of battery life

The battery life is one of the nice surprises in the MateBook D14. The battery really lasts. The AMD Ryzen 5 3500 U and its 15 W TDP allow the MateBook D 14 to last a little over seven hours at full power, i.e. at full-speed business use (Microsft office, Slack, video conferencing, Google Chrome), surfing the web, watching videos on YouTube, watching series on Amazon Prime Video and using WhatsApp Desktop. The seven-hour endurance is quite satisfactory for a computer in this price range.

Heat

The MateBook D managed to sustain steady, cool temperatures. After streaming a 15-minute HD video, the underside reached 92 degrees Fahrenheit, staying below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard hit 91 degrees, while the touchpad measured 81 degrees. The hottest temperature that the MateBook D reached was 97 degrees, located at the center of the underside near the hinge.

Software and Warranty

Huawei is minimalist when it comes to its own branded software. The only app the company included is called PC Manager, which provides tools to check your hardware, manage drivers and find customer support links.

There is, of course, your typical Windows 10 bloatware, like Candy Crush Soda Saga, Dolby Atmos and Royal Revolt 2: Tower Defense.

The MateBook D comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Configurations

The MateBook D 14-inch that I tested costs $621 and is outfitted with a 2.0-GHz AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 Mobile GPU. The only other configuration costs $1,099, and comes with an Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU.

Huawei MateBook D 14 laptop 2020 Performance review

Armed with a 2.0-GHz AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 Mobile GPU, the MateBook D showed signs of slowdown only when I opened the Camera app, Paint, Steam, 30 Google Chrome tabs and a 1080p YouTube video all at once.

On the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, the MateBook D scored 8,845, which is nearly a 1,000 points below the 9,794 category average. The Avita Clarus 14 (Intel Core i5-7Y54) was even worse at 6,337, but the Acer Spin 3 (Core i5-8250U) excelled at 13,203.

The MateBook D matched 65,000 names and addresses on our Excel test in 1 minute and 48 seconds, sliding past the 2:01 category average as well as the Avita Clarus 14’s 3:08. The Acer Spin 3 finished nearly 20 seconds faster, at 1:29.

On the HandBrake benchmark, the MateBook D took 21 minutes and 30 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p. That blows past the 27:41 category average. The Avita Clarus 14 completed the test at more than double the time (46:31), but the Acer Spin 3 once again beat the MateBook D at 21:09

Copying 4.97GB of data took 46 seconds for the MateBook D’s 256GB SSD, for a rate of 110 megabytes per second. That’s slightly slower than the 134 MBps category average and the Acer Spin 3’s 128GB SSD, which hit 146 MBps. The Avita Clarus 14 mustered just 58 MBps with its SSD.

The MateBook D scored 63,302 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark. While that doesn’t meet the 70,427 category average, it surpasses the Avita Clarus 14’s Intel HD 615 GPU and the Acer Spin 3’s Intel UHD 620 GPU score of 52,877 and 61,440, respectively.Advertisement

The MateBook D fared better in real-world graphics testing, as it nailed 65 frames per second on the Dirt 3 benchmark, surpassing the 46 fps category average as well as the Avita Clarus 14 (34 fps) and the Acer Spin 3 (47 fps).

Can you do Huawei MateBook D 14 2020 RAM upgrade?

Users always ask is it possible to do Huawei MateBook D 14 2020 RAM upgrade? Getting inside the MateBook D 14 is extremely easy: simply undo the nine screws on the base and pop the panel off. However, when you’re inside, you can’t upgrade the RAM because it’s soldered in. The 8GB of dual-channel 2400MHz DDR4 RAM is what you’re going to have to live with.

It’s made more confusing by the fact that the soldered RAM is specific to the 14-inch, AMD Ryzen 5 variant of the MateBook D. There is also a 15.6-inch version powered by an Intel processor which does have replaceable RAM.

Nevertheless, there are some areas you can add a little extra performance to your MateBook D 14.

Supports NVMe SSD

Huawei MateBook D 14 2020 RAM upgrade

As standard, the MateBook D comes with a 256GB Sandisk m.2 solid-state drive (SSD), but only running at SATA speeds. What you may not have known is that the m.2 slot on the laptop actually supports NVMe (non-volatile memory express) m.2 SSDs, which means you can get a significant uptick in read and write performance if you upgrade.

When you take the bottom off the laptop the SSD is easily accessible without having to remove any further components. You simply unscrew the existing one, then insert the replacement. When doing an SSD upgrade like this we always recommend starting again with a clean installation of Windows 10 over cloning the existing drive.

Just remember to visit the Huawei support page and download the laptop specific drivers, and the Huawei PC Manager app if you want that back.

As for the upgrade, our current recommendation goes to the Samsung 970 Evo Plus thanks to its insane performance, attractive price, and fantastic reliability. Find out why we like it so much in our review.

Upgrade the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well

One other thing you can upgrade in the MateBook D 14 is the Wi-Fi card. It’s a standard m.2 form factor, which means you can swap it out for something a little better if you want to. The standard card in the laptop is an Intel 8265, which is pretty good, but upgrading to the better performing Intel 9560 with a max data speed of 1.73 Gbps.

The 9560 also has Bluetooth 5.0, and it’s a really affordable upgrade to complete that may well give you a bit better life going forward.

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