As more Kiwis continue working from home, a new range of laptops have been launched with features likely to make life away from the office that bit easier.
The laptops – described by Newstalk ZB tech reviewer Glenn Hart as "elegant business laptops perfect for getting work done but also great for watching Netflix" – are part of the Matebook Windows 10 series released into the New Zealand market by Huawei.
The Matebook series is available on pre-order from any PB Tech stores or online and are priced starting from $1199 (RRP only).
The company has launched three models - the Matebook D15, Matebook D14 and the Matebook X Pro – all of which include Huawei Share, an app that speeds moving files, photos and clipboard contents between devices.
With Huawei Share, multiple devices interact seamlessly to provide a more connected experience – no cables or third-party apps to transfer files – though Huawei Share will only be compatible with certain Huawei devices.
Huawei designed the models with built-in privacy features and all have almost borderless screens that take the display right up to the edge of the laptop lid, giving a 91 per cent screen to body ratio.
Business users will appreciate the touch feature on the Matebook X Pro which supports 10-point anti-fingerprint multi-touch, meaning users interface with the device in a more precise and natural way than ever before.
Hart is one of the first New Zealanders to spend time with the MateBook X Pro. Describing it as an elegant business laptop, he says the first thing he noticed was the screen.
"It's a surprise when you open it up," he says. "On the outside you see a compact, thin business laptop about the size and weight of a normal 13-inch laptop. But the thin bezels around the edge of the screen mean you get a huge 13.9-inch display."
Hart says the 3:2 screen ratio is ideal for working. "It means there is a lot of screen real estate; you can open many windows at the same time; there's a 3K resolution which means there is plenty of depth and the screen is very bright with vivid colour gamut.
"It is great for watching Netflix and it's also perfect for getting work done," he says.
Hart says this screen is front and centre when using Huawei Share and is, for him, the MateBook X Pro's standout feature.
"If you have a Huawei phone and you take pictures on it or create notes, it's often a challenge getting that stuff from the phone to the laptop and back, especially if you are out and about.
"With Huawei Share, you tap the phone against the NFC (near field communication) panel next to the laptop's touchpad and the laptop starts talking to the phone. Because it uses NFC, you don't need an internet connection or anything."
Hart says once connected, the phone screen appears on the laptop exactly as it appears on the phone – meaning you can use your mouse or trackpad to use the phone screen.
"Better than that, if you highlight a picture on your phone's camera roll the laptop will suck the image from your phone and appear on the laptop screen. At that point you can edit or send it or copy content both ways; it's fast and efficient, there's no fiddling around."
Hart says the MateBook X Pro reflects Huawei's phone-making pedigree in other ways - transferred images on the laptop screen can be edited while a series of phone-like touch gestures makes these tasks easier.
If a captured image contains text, the software extracts the text. Hart says this means you can use the MateBook and a phone to capture text from books or printed documents and is faster than using a scanner.
Huawei also uses its phone-making expertise with the fingerprint scanner, a popular feature on the company's phone handsets. The scanner is a fast and safe way of using the computer as it logs into Windows with a single press.
The Matebook series provides full-scenario connectivity like multi-screen collaboration which not only enables file transfer between laptop and smartphone but makes that collaboration seamless. Huawei has cleared the obstacle of the difference between the basic architecture of Windows and Android systems – realising the full potential of seamlessly connecting the two.
Laptop accessories such as keyboard and mouse can now be used as peripherals of a smartphone, providing a more convenient experience. The laptop is then able to share more advanced office applications with a phone, providing a much more secure and convenient office environment.
Multi-screen collaboration on the X Pro series goes even further, enabling users to initiate calls, video chat or receive incoming phone notifications. In the other direction, they can open documents on a phone with laptop applications and compose or edit them with superior software – an efficiency booster in an era of flexible, on-the-go work and leisure.
Now that many more people work from home, videoconferencing has moved centre stage. While most laptops have a web camera on the top edge of the screen, that's not possible with the MateBook X Pro because the edges are so thin.
Instead the MateBook's one-megapixel web camera sits in a pop-up key between F6 and F7 on the top row of the computer's keyboard. This is a privacy feature and means there is no possibility a remote user can watch what's going on without the user knowing.
Hart says the pop-up camera takes clear images: "You push the key to make the camera pop-up and it is only there while you are actually using it. This is another aspect of the MateBook that feels like a smartphone.
"It's durable, there is no flex to it and the hinges are solid," he says. "Unlike some laptops it doesn't feel like you should treat it with kid gloves."
The keyboard is a standard size and Hart says the keys feel solid with the right amount of action when he types.
He likes the adjustable keyboard backlighting. He also likes the speaker which he says is loud enough to hear from across the room and works particularly well with voices.
One other stand out for Hart is the MateBook X Pro's microphone arrangement: "There's a quad mic array that can pick up voices from all directions and from a fair distance away.
"With other computers I need to use a headset and mic for calls, but these mics have noise reduction so people on the other end can hear you without any problems."
To pre-order, please visit: www.pbtech.co.nz/promotions/huawei-matebook-x-pro-2020.
For more info, please visit: https://consumer.huawei.com/nz/laptops/matebook-x-pro-2020/