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Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54 Convertible Review

Sebastian Jentsch, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 07/31/2016

Light, but not that mobile. The smartphone-behemoth Huawei releases a Windows convertible - and aims high by targeting business customers in the premium segment. Is the small 2-in-1 a threat to the likes of a Surface Pro 4 or the HP Spectre x2 12?

The MateBook - is Huawei on a roll with Windows as well?
The MateBook - is Huawei on a roll with Windows as well?

For the original German review, see here.

With their MateBook, Huawei enters the world of Windows computing. The manufacturer - so far mainly known for producing smartphones - picked an attractive segment of the market. If Windows at all - or so seems to be the reasoning - it should be a workhorse of a tablet with suitable keyboard dock and few compromises as far as the connectivity and the performance are concerned. Users, after all, want a notebook experience packaged in form of an attractive tablet. 

Microsoft spearheaded this segment with their Surface Pro and HP, Lenovo, and Acer followed suit. Now it's Huawei's turn. The manufacturer decided on Core m hardware, which the Spectre x2 12 and the IdeaPad Miix 700 are also equipped with. Core m makes fanless designs possible, which can be much thinner as a result. Acer's Aspire Switch 12S uses the same technology, but the Switch Alpha 12 - which, at this point, is pretty unique - uses liquid cooling, thus allowing Acer to use a standard notebook processor (a Core i5 6200U). Despite that, the Alpha 12 starts at less than 800 Euro (~$880). How does the MateBook, which sells for 1300 Euro (~$1430), compare to its competitors?

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Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54 (MateBook Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, LPDDR3L Dual Channel
Display
12 inch 3:2, 2160 x 1440 pixel 216 PPI, capacitive multi-touch, native pen support, TMA 1200 Unknown Vendor, IPS, support MatePen, glossy: yes, detachable screen
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-Y Premium PCH
Storage
SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027, 256 GB 
, not clear - likely SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027, 194 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: Kopfhörer, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: ambient light sensor, fingerprint, accelerometer, gyroscope, hall sensor
Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Broadcom BCM4356 802.11ac 2x2:2 (876 Mbps) (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 6.9 x 278.8 x 194.1 ( = 0.27 x 10.98 x 7.64 in)
Battery
33 Wh Lithium-Ion, [email protected], Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 10 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 5 MP front only
Additional features
Speakers: dual speakers, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, USB-C power adapter; USB-C power port; to Micro-USB Cable; USB to USB-A Adaptor; Safety and Warranty Documents, MateBook Assistant, MateTrans, SketchBook, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
1.167 kg ( = 41.16 oz / 2.57 pounds), Power Supply: 114 g ( = 4.02 oz / 0.25 pounds)
Price
1200 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The slim chassis is surprisingly robust and resists twisting motions fairly well. Normal pressure on the panel doesn't lead to distortions. The aluminum frame does much for the good looks and contributes to the high stability around the edges. The back and the edges are a single component, which improves the overall sturdiness.

A quick glance at the graphic below shows that Huawei's tablet is the thinnest amongst its Windows competitors measuring just 6.9 mm. Next in line is the Surface Pro 4 m3 at 8.5 mm. The two convertibles from Acer are quite thick by comparison and heavy as well, as they weigh 1.4 and 1.3, respectively - compared to the MateBook's 1.2 kg (all these measurements are with the dock). The tablet component weighs 651 g; the Surface Pro 4 m3 weighs 774 g and the Acer Switch Alpha 12 tips the scales at 920 g.

313.4 mm / 12.3 inch 206.1 mm / 8.11 inch 17.3 mm / 0.681 inch 1.4 kg3.09 lbs303 mm / 11.9 inch 209 mm / 8.23 inch 13.1 mm / 0.516 inch 1.2 kg2.71 lbs293 mm / 11.5 inch 224 mm / 8.82 inch 14.5 mm / 0.571 inch 1.1 kg2.38 lbs291 mm / 11.5 inch 201 mm / 7.91 inch 11 mm / 0.4331 inch 1.3 kg2.84 lbs292 mm / 11.5 inch 202 mm / 7.95 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 1.1 kg2.35 lbs278.8 mm / 11 inch 194.1 mm / 7.64 inch 6.9 mm / 0.2717 inch 1.2 kg2.57 lbs

Connectivity

Headphone jack, ...
Headphone jack, ...
... volume rocker switch with fingerprint reader (!) and Type-C USB 3.0 - that's it.
... volume rocker switch with fingerprint reader (!) and Type-C USB 3.0 - that's it.

Communication

The aluminum back feels great to the touch, but is also the reason for the ho-hum WLAN transfer speeds - and that's despite the fact that the convertible comes equipped with a Broadcom BCM4356 802.11ac module. The theoretical limit is 867 MBit - 500 MBit is the maximum we achieved during our test under ideal conditions (1 m from the AC router). The Alpha 12 is much better here as the graphic clearly shows. At least the dock supports Ethernet thanks to a Realtek PCIe GBE controller.

Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
568 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Broadcom BCM4356 802.11ac 2x2:2 (876 Mbps)
534 MBit/s ∼94%
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Intel Wireless-AC 7265
439 MBit/s ∼77% -18%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
566 MBit/s ∼100% +25%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Broadcom BCM4356 802.11ac 2x2:2 (876 Mbps)
453 MBit/s ∼80%
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Intel Wireless-AC 7265
323 MBit/s ∼57% -29%

Security

Huawei doesn't really bother with security features and both TPM and a BIOS with various options are lacking. Security or admin tools are also not included. The "MateBook Assistant" is simply a guide, which appears to have been written to aid new Windows users (example: "Use the Windows Store to install Apps and Games").

Accessories

While the entire package seen here looks impressive, unfortunately not everything is standard equipment. Both the MatePen as well as the Type C dock are optional components (at the time of writing, the price is unknown and the components aren't available for purchase anywhere). For 1180 Euro ($1300), the user gets the MateBook including keyboard sleeve, charger, USB Type C cable, USB Type C to Mirco-USB cable, Micro-USB to USB Type A adapter, as well as some security and warranty pamphlets.

The docking station comes with two Type A 3.0 ports, but unfortunately no Type C port. During desktop use, the cable from the dock occupies the only Type C port to charge the device -  - in other words, the Type C port is occupied by the power adapter. The consequence: since no other Type C port is available, nothing else can be plugged in - the MatePen, for example, can't be charged while the dock is connected.

The monitor output is also a bit restricted, as HDMI 1.2 only supports 1080p. The Type C port unfortunately doesn't function as a DisplayPort and doesn't support Thunderbolt, either.

 

Camera

The decent camera is front-facing and produces vivid, high-resolution video - but of course it's not really possible to take "regular" photos, since Huawei neglected to integrate a rear-facing lens. The quality is quite decent and at least as long as there's sufficient daylight, the resulting pics are very sharp.

During the day, lots of contrast ...
During the day, lots of contrast ...
... and sharp pictures.
... and sharp pictures.
Indoors: high image noise.
Indoors: high image noise.

Maintenance

The Matebook cannot be opened up for maintenance purposes.

Warranty

In Germany, the MateBook is covered against manufacturer's defects for a period of 24 months.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The wide keys are very close to each other, but since the key travel is generous and the feedback very decent, the typing speed is not hampered at all. Unfortunately the keyboard itself flexes somewhat because it sits slightly elevated. Putting something underneath the keyboard to support it takes care of this problem. We prefer typing on the Spectre x2 12, since its keyboard is sturdier thanks to the aluminum construction.

Touchpad

The clickpad is a pleasure to work with because the click response is very distinct. The click travel distance is short, but adequate. The matte surface works well even when the fingers are slightly moist. 

MatePen

The MatePen supports up to 2000 different levels of pressure and is equipped with a laser pointer - a nice gimmick. The pen needs to be connected via Micro-USB for charging. The nib is fairly soft; one of the buttons functions as an eraser.

Click response is great   ...
Click response is great ...
... and the backlight features three levels.
... and the backlight features three levels.
MatePen
MatePen

Display

Subpixel array 2160 x 1440
Subpixel array 2160 x 1440

A resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels on a 12-inch display results in a pixel density of 216 ppi. Just like Acer and Lenovo, Huawei decided to integrate a high-resolution panel. HP's Spectre x2 12 only features Full-HD. The panel is supremely sharp with a high contrast ratio of 1219:1 and the colors and contours really pop. The screen is a pleasure to look at. In addition, the display is very bright and doesn't dim much on battery power. Huawei doesn't offer any other type of panel - but the competitors don't, either.

361
cd/m²
388
cd/m²
412
cd/m²
452
cd/m²
451
cd/m²
449
cd/m²
434
cd/m²
444
cd/m²
435
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
TMA 1200 Unknown Vendor
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 452 cd/m² Average: 425.1 cd/m² Minimum: 7.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 372 cd/m²
Contrast: 1219:1 (Black: 0.37 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 11.04 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 10.45 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
100% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 74% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
TMA 1200 Unknown Vendor, , 2160x1440, 12
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
LGD04A5, , 1920x1080, 12
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Samsung L_QLLTN120QL01L01, , 2160x1440, 12
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
AU Optronics B125HAN01.0, , 1920x1080, 12.5
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Panasonic VVX12T041N00, , 2160x1440, 12
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Samsung SDC3853, , 2736x1824, 12.3
Response Times
-71%
-7%
-3%
-40%
-83%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
25 (9, 16)
47 (16, 31)
-88%
30 (11, 19)
-20%
25 (10, 15)
-0%
20 (5, 15, detail 5 schraffiert)
20%
46 (17.2, 28.8)
-84%
Response Time Black / White *
17 (4, 13)
26 (5, 21)
-53%
16 (4.4, 11.6)
6%
18 (4, 14)
-6%
34 (15, 19, [email protected]% mit/ohne PSU)
-100%
31 (6, 25.2)
-82%
PWM Frequency
200 (18)
1000 (100)
50 (50)
Screen
-7%
-1%
8%
3%
17%
Brightness middle
451
353
-22%
341
-24%
383
-15%
345
-24%
389.2
-14%
Brightness
425
347
-18%
318
-25%
378
-11%
328
-23%
392
-8%
Brightness Distribution
80
91
14%
87
9%
92
15%
91
14%
92
15%
Black Level *
0.37
0.44
-19%
0.36
3%
0.34
8%
0.38
-3%
0.27
27%
Contrast
1219
802
-34%
947
-22%
1126
-8%
908
-26%
1441
18%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
11.04
6.09
45%
6
46%
4.8
57%
8.4
24%
3.61
67%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
14.92
8.77
41%
11.9
20%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
10.45
6.24
40%
8.12
22%
2.8
73%
4.3
59%
3.8
64%
Gamma
2 110%
2.41 91%
2.23 99%
2.25 98%
2.63 84%
2.16 102%
CCT
8849 73%
7238 90%
7011 93%
6676 97%
7368 88%
5969 109%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
74
46
-38%
63.4
-14%
41
-45%
62
-16%
63
-15%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
71
-29%
97.4
-3%
64
-36%
97
-3%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-39% / -18%
-4% / -2%
3% / 6%
-19% / -5%
-33% / -1%

* ... smaller is better

As shipped, the DeltaE deviation isn't great and a bluish tint is quite obvious (see the first row of CalMan screenshots). A calibration with a photospectrometer improves the situation significantly and the DeltaE-values for gray and color drop to 4.6 and 6.1, respectively. That's still not great, but at least the calibration eliminates the bluish tint (second row of CalMAN screenshots).

CalMAN Graylevels
CalMAN Graylevels
CalMAN Saturation
CalMAN Saturation
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Graylevels calibrated
CalMAN Graylevels calibrated
CalMAN Saturation calibrated
CalMAN Saturation calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated

The color space coverage of 100 % sRGB is a pleasant surprise, as even professional graphics and photo editors might find the MateBook useful - after a calibration, of course. The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 match the MateBook in this regard, however.

Color space sRGB 100 %
Color space sRGB 100 %
Color space AdobeRGB 74 %
Color space AdobeRGB 74 %

Thanks to the high brightness, outdoor use in the sun (shade is preferred!) is possible despite the fact that the touch panel is very reflective.

Viewing angle stability is a non-issue as well: the content of the IPS panel remains readable from all positions. All competitors do equally well here, as TN panels aren't common at this price point any longer.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Outdoor use

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
17 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4 ms rise
↘ 13 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 19 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
25 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 9 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 14 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.5 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9268 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Viewing angles 12-inch IPS display, 2160 x 1440, multi-touch
Viewing angles 12-inch IPS display, 2160 x 1440, multi-touch

Performance

In Europe, Huawei sells the MateBook with Core m5-6Y57, 8 GB RAM, and a 256 GB SSD (53016496) or with Core m3-6Y30, 4 GB RAM, and a 128 GB SSD (53016492). The latter, entry-level model, sells for 880 Euro (~$970). Neither version includes the MatePen or the dock.

Systeminfo CPU-Z CPU
Systeminfo CPU-Z Mainboard
Systeminfo CPU-Z Memory
Systeminfo CPU-Z Cache
Systeminfo GPU-Z
Latency Checker

Processor

Our review system was shipped directly to us from China and is equipped with a Core m5-6Y54 - different than the model available here in Germany. The clock speed of the processor is identical to the m5-6Y57, however Intel Core m5 6Y57 SoC(1.1 GHz). The respective spec sheets provide more information.

During the Cinebench test, the MateBook started out at 1.7 GHz, but dropped to 1.2 GHz after a few minutes. This pattern does not change with the convertible running on battery power and the R15 scores are identical. The results of the processor tests are very close to those of the Aspire Switch Alpha 12 with Core i5 and surpass those of the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 (which is equipped with the same SoC) and the HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng with Core m7. The Spectre doesn't do well here because of throttling; the Miix 700 seems to have issues ridding itself of the heat it generates. The MateBook trails the leader Aspire Alpha 12 with standard 15-watt CPU and liquid cooling by 25 to 35 %.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Intel Core i5-6200U
114 Points ∼52% +7%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel Core m5-6Y54
107 Points ∼49%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Intel Core m5-6Y54
99 Points ∼45% -7%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
Intel Core m3-6Y30
91 Points ∼42% -15%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
88 Points ∼40% -18%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Intel Core m7-6Y75
80 Points ∼37% -25%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Intel Core i5-6200U
289 Points ∼7% +25%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel Core m5-6Y54
232 Points ∼5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
206 Points ∼5% -11%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Intel Core m5-6Y54
200 Points ∼5% -14%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Intel Core m7-6Y75
177 Points ∼4% -24%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
Intel Core m3-6Y30
172 Points ∼4% -26%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
107 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
232 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
35.18 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Help

System Performance

So is the MateBook a top pick for those who want the best portable Windows performance? The PCMark tests provide some guidance - and the convertible actually trails all other competitors when running the Work sub-test. We can't quite explain how the HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng with its throttled m7 CPU manages to score 50 % higher. The PCMark 8 benchmark subtests are obviously not the ultimate authority: the MateBook comes in in third place when running the Home portion of the benchmark.

Aside from that, working with the MateBook is generally a pleasure, as installations are rapid and programs load very quickly. The SSD with a capacity of 256 GB is split into an 80 GB system and a 157 GB data partition.

PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
4078 Points ∼63% +50%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
3996 Points ∼61% +47%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
3837 Points ∼59% +41%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Lite-On CV1-8B128
3596 Points ∼55% +32%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3186 Points ∼49% +17%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
2721 Points ∼42%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
3281 Points ∼54% +21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
2733 Points ∼45% +1%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
2717 Points ∼45%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
2675 Points ∼44% -2%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Lite-On CV1-8B128
2536 Points ∼42% -7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2426 Points ∼40% -11%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2717 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
2721 points
Help

Storage Device

The subjectively high performance can be partially attributed to the fast SSD, which scores very well compared to others. Especially the write performance stands out - no matter if the files in question are small or large (see table). Our tools couldn't accurately determine the make and model of the SSD (device manager, AS SSD -> SanDisk SD7[…] 128 GB). Most likely the SSD in question is a SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027 (HWinfo).

Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
Lite-On CV1-8B128
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-22%
-2%
-43%
-8%
-16%
Write 4k QD32
178.2
147.8
-17%
154
-14%
106.5
-40%
197.1
11%
149.2
-16%
Read 4k QD32
269.6
196
-27%
389.5
44%
137.9
-49%
272
1%
243.7
-10%
Write 4k
64.47
53.52
-17%
95.48
48%
19.09
-70%
76.83
19%
68.02
6%
Read 4k
31.83
27.4
-14%
36.2
14%
12.17
-62%
29.3
-8%
30.14
-5%
Write 512
295.2
241.6
-18%
154.5
-48%
181.6
-38%
201
-32%
158.2
-46%
Read 512
376
260.8
-31%
401.2
7%
330.6
-12%
374.9
0%
313.1
-17%
Write Seq
462.1
316
-32%
153.5
-67%
179.9
-61%
199.9
-57%
158.2
-66%
Read Seq
512.3
410.1
-20%
497.9
-3%
445.2
-13%
518.1
1%
662.5
29%
SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
Sequential Read: 512.3 MB/s
Sequential Write: 462.1 MB/s
512K Read: 376 MB/s
512K Write: 295.2 MB/s
4K Read: 31.83 MB/s
4K Write: 64.47 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 269.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 178.2 MB/s

GPU Performance

The Intel HD Graphics 515 (for details please see the link) won't wow anybody with its performance, but with the RAM running in dual-channel mode, the scores are where we would expect them to be for a Core m unit. Users hoping for slightly better performance from their convertible need to consider the Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 (HD 520), which scored about 30 % better when running Cloud Gate Standard Graphics. The HD 515 primarily reduces the burden placed on the processor with QuickSync and video decoding.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
1428 Points ∼3% +83%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
1206 Points ∼2% +54%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m5-6Y54
1014 Points ∼2% +30%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m7-6Y75
996 Points ∼2% +28%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m5-6Y54
781 Points ∼2%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
730 Points ∼1% -7%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
810 Points ∼2%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m7-6Y75
725 Points ∼2%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m5-6Y54
697 Points ∼2%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
494 Points ∼1%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
7307 Points ∼4% +30%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
6597 Points ∼4% +17%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m7-6Y75
6298 Points ∼3% +12%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m5-6Y54
5638 Points ∼3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m5-6Y54
5259 Points ∼3% -7%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
3982 Points ∼2% -29%
3DMark 11 Performance
851 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
3384 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The MateBook isn't really suitable for gaming - that's even more true for standard PC games, which is what we used for testing purposes. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Thief give us insight on how the HD 515 compares to the HD 520 (Switch Alpha 12): the latter offers frame rates that are 100 to 130 % higher. Even then, the games mentioned are barely playable.

Rise of the Tomb Raider
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
10.8 fps ∼5%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B512 M.2 512 GB
9.1 fps ∼4%
1024x768 Lowest Preset
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
17 fps ∼5%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B512 M.2 512 GB
15 fps ∼4%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
7.3 fps ∼2%
Thief
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B512 M.2 512 GB
15 fps ∼10%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B512 M.2 512 GB
15 fps ∼10%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
6.7 fps ∼5%
1024x768 Very Low Preset
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B512 M.2 512 GB
27.1 fps ∼18%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-70EQ
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Lite-On CV1-8B512 M.2 512 GB
27.1 fps ∼18%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
13.9 fps ∼9%
Battlefield 4
1366x768 Medium Preset
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
31.4 fps ∼16%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Lite-On CV1-8B128
12.4 fps ∼6%
1024x768 Low Preset
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
45.8 fps ∼23%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Lite-On CV1-8B128
17.7 fps ∼9%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 26.5 21.7 12.3 fps
Thief (2014) 13.9 6.7 fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 7.3 fps

Emissions

Temperature

Prime95 @1.2 GHz constant - 55 degrees Celsius
Prime95 @1.2 GHz constant - 55 degrees Celsius
Stress test @0.5 GHz constant - 50 degrees Celsius
Stress test @0.5 GHz constant - 50 degrees Celsius

During normal use with lots of idle time, the MateBook always remains warm to the touch, although the 30 degrees C we measured on the top and the bottom aren't really a reason for concern. There are a few hot spots though at 34 degrees. In those areas, the temperature increases to 48 degrees C on the back when the SoC is under heavy load. The tablet reached those temperatures only during the stress test - during normal use, these conditions are unlikely to occur. 

One can't really expect consistently high performance, either, since the SoC is subjected to throttling fairly early during the Intel Core m7 6Y75 SoCPrime95 CPU tests. At the start we recorded 1.7 GHz; after 5 minutes the frequency had dropped to 1.2 GHz at a temperature of 55 Grad Celsius. Since the frequency doesn't drop below the base clock speed, this does not constitute throttling. 

Max. Load
 45.7 °C
114 F
37.2 °C
99 F
35.9 °C
97 F
 
 32.6 °C
91 F
33.7 °C
93 F
32.2 °C
90 F
 
 34.1 °C
93 F
35 °C
95 F
35 °C
95 F
 
Maximum: 45.7 °C = 114 F
Average: 35.7 °C = 96 F
39.1 °C
102 F
40.6 °C
105 F
38.6 °C
101 F
36 °C
97 F
37 °C
99 F
35.5 °C
96 F
34.6 °C
94 F
34.8 °C
95 F
34.4 °C
94 F
Maximum: 40.6 °C = 105 F
Average: 36.7 °C = 98 F
Power Supply (max.)  45.1 °C = 113 F | Room Temperature 22.7 °C = 73 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 35.7 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 30.3 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Convertible.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 45.7 °C / 114 F, compared to the average of 35.4 °C / 96 F, ranging from 21.8 to 55.7 °C for the class Convertible.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40.6 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 28.5 °C / 83 F, compared to the device average of 30.3 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35 °C / 95 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.9 °C / 84 F (-6.1 °C / -11 F).
Temperature idle top
Temperature idle top
Temperature idle bottom
Temperature idle bottom
Temperature load top
Temperature load top
Temperature load bottom
Temperature load bottom

Speakers

The stereo speakers are located on the front of the tablet. The maximum volume is pretty loud, but the sound isn't very nuanced or balanced and seems to emphasize the mids. Lows are lacking, while the highs are reproduced pretty clearly - nonetheless, the tablet won't reach the sound quality of a good stereo notebook speakers in combination with high-end drivers.

The dual-array microphone also fails to impress: voices sound tinny, so it doesn't help much that the level remains pretty constant even at increased distances.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.532.233.5253231.7323135.131.835.14031.631.431.65032.430.432.46330.326.830.38028.526.828.510029.526.129.512533.52633.516036253620038.224.338.225038.922.738.931547.22247.24005621.35650052.520.652.563061.419.661.48006819.168100065.118.865.1125058.918.658.9160063.718.863.7200062.618.362.6250063.418.663.4315066.218.666.2400065.118.765.1500058.318.858.3630055.918.955.9800056.719.156.71000050.81950.81250044.818.844.81600036.318.736.3SPL74.931.274.9N331.633median 56median 19median 56Delta10.41.310.432.234.231.730.131.832.831.431.830.433.826.827.626.827.926.126.62627.22527.124.324.822.725.12232.921.34120.653.719.65519.156.118.862.218.660.118.864.218.360.218.664.518.666.418.767.218.864.718.967.219.166.71961.918.856.218.756.631.276.11.634.3median 19median 56.61.312.5hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseHuawei MateBook m5-6Y54HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng

Comparison frequency diagrams (select checkboxes above!)
Value 1: pink noise 100% vol.; Value 2: audio turned off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption under load is as expected for the type of device, although the Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 are outliers here. The idle draw on the other hand is quite high, which might explain the short run times.

Battery charging continues even during the stress test, during which the convertible consumes about 19 watts. The power adapter is rated at a maximum output of 24 watts - potentially a limiting factor, since we recorded a power draw of 24.5 watts even 30 seconds after starting Prime95 on its own.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.46 / 0.75 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 7.4 / 11.6 / 11.6 Watt
Load midlight 16.8 / 19.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027, IPS, 2160x1440, 12
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
6Y75, HD Graphics 515, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006, IPS, 1920x1080, 12
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2, IPS, 2160x1440, 12
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, Lite-On CV1-8B128, IPS, 1920x1080, 12.5
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
6200U, HD Graphics 520, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2, IPS, 2160x1440, 12
Power Consumption
15%
-2%
4%
-15%
Idle Minimum *
7.4
4.5
39%
4
46%
6.3
15%
7.3
1%
Idle Average *
11.6
7.7
34%
8.6
26%
9.4
19%
10
14%
Idle Maximum *
11.6
8.3
28%
9.3
20%
12.3
-6%
10.15
12%
Load Average *
16.8
19.8
-18%
18.6
-11%
18.6
-11%
25.2
-50%
Load Maximum *
19.1
20.6
-8%
36.3
-90%
19
1%
29.3
-53%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Our WLAN browsing test simulates real-world battery usage pretty accurately. A script automatically visits various websites with the display set to a brightness of 150 cd/m² (level 6). The battery was drained after 4 hours and 23 minutes. We conducted all tests with the keyboard dock (backlight turned off), but without the USB dock. Charging the convertible while it's idling takes about 4 hours. We ran our test a second time end ended up with a very similar run time of 4 hours 28 minutes.

The maximum battery life confirms the rather disappointing results of the WLAN test. An idle run time of eight hours at the lowest brightness makes us wonder how Huawei can claim 10 hours of productivity or 9 hours of video playback. Considering the high idle power draw and the battery capacity of 33 Wh, we shouldn't really expect much more. The Spectre x2 12-a003ng (42 Wh) and the Surface Pro 4 Core m3 (38 Wh) have a clear advantage here. The Spectre x2 12-a003ng lasted for six hours during the browsing test - at least in part because it consumes much less during idle. The reason here could be the more frugal FHD panel.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 58min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
4h 23min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 46min
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 33 Wh
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
6Y75, HD Graphics 515, 42 Wh
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 41 Wh
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 34 Wh
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
6200U, HD Graphics 520, 37 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 38 Wh
Battery Runtime
65%
65%
26%
21%
60%
Reader / Idle
478
954
100%
861
80%
530
11%
640
34%
791
65%
WiFi v1.3
263
361
37%
440
67%
343
30%
321
22%
488
86%
Load
106
166
57%
157
48%
145
37%
112
6%
138
30%
H.264
450
337
468

Pros

+ bright, colorful display
+ sRGB coverage is 100 %
+ thin but sturdy
+ well-designed Type-C dock
+ dock features Gigabit LAN and HDMI/VGA
+ good camera
+ keyboard with crisp feedback
+ lots of storage
+ next to no delays while working

Cons

- short battery life
- no rear-facing camera
- TFT should be calibrated
- dock/pen need to be purchased separately

Verdict

In review: Huawei MateBook. Test model courtesy of Huawei
In review: Huawei MateBook. Test model courtesy of Huawei

The MateBook takes top honors for the thinnest design and lowest weight. No competing manufacturer offers such a light Windows tablet which has sufficient power to allow the user to work without major slowdowns.

The display features the highest contrast ratio and best sRGB coverage among its competitors and is quite impressive  - and thanks to the high brightness even outside. Even though there's some keyboard flex, touch typing is a pleasure and the webcam quality is top notch. The performance trails the Aspire Switch 12 Alpha (i5 6200U) - the current reference for fanless tablets - by about 25 - 35 %. Together with the USB 3.0 dock, the tablet is suitable for office-type tasks - although a DisplayPort is lacking. At least there's Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, and two Type A USB ports.

Unfortunately, the user can't venture too far away from any outlets - and once plugged in, charging unfortunately takes a full four hours. This is the most significant weakness in our opinion. The Core m3-6Y30 version sells for 880 Euro (~$975) and seems to be the better choice: if the m3 should utilize the Turbo thanks to the good thermal properties as well as the faster m5, it shouldn't actually be much slower. The battery life likely isn't going to be much different though - see our review of the HP Spectre x2 12 m3 (m7/m3 comparison).

Users who want the utmost in performance - and save some money as well - might want to take a look at the Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM. Thanks to the i5 6200U CPU, this convertible outperforms the competitors. A USB 3.0 dock and the stylus are also optional, however.

As far as sheer mobility is concerned, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3 and Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 are both top tier with run times of 8 and 7.5 hours, respectively. The Lenovo has less convincing input devices, but the Surface Pro 4 is almost as good as the MateBook in that regard.

If the keyboard is the deciding factor, the Spectre x2 12 - which is available in an entry-level m3/LTE version for 900 Euro (~$1000) - is an attractive choice. The HP comes with two quite decent camera modules (RealSense R200) and an outstanding microphone. The Spectre also lasts about 6 hours (m3 and m7 version). Users interested in a convertible should definitely take a look at HP's offering.

We can't wholeheartedly recommend the MateBook. The price of the m5 version (1180 Euro / ~$1310) is simply too high, although the m3 version is more affordable at 880 Euro (~$975). The short battery life is a real drawback, however.

Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54 - 07/21/2016 v5.1(old)
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
87 / 98 → 89%
Keyboard
92%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
50 / 80 → 63%
Weight
73 / 35-78 → 88%
Battery
77%
Display
82%
Games Performance
49 / 68 → 72%
Application Performance
74 / 87 → 85%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
46 / 91 → 50%
Camera
67 / 85 → 78%
Average
75%
84%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54 Convertible Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2016-07-31 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).