Huawei MateBook 16s unveiled with 12th Gen Intel chips on board and FreeBuds Pro 2 also make an appearance

Alun Taylor
30 Jun 2022

Huawei unleashes two new laptops and a pair of innovative earbuds at event in Berlin

Huawei has lifted the lid on its first laptops built around Intel’s latest 12th-generation Alder Lake processors and a new set of high-tech earphones, developed in partnership with the audiophile wizards at French firm Devialet.

Pride of place went to the new Huawei MateBook 16s with its 2,560 x 1,680 3:2 (but only 60Hz) touchscreen display. Huawei says the factory-calibrated display is colour-accurate with a Delta E variance of less than 1. With that in mind, the MateBook 16s is being targeted at photographers and associated creative types as much as office users, despite the absence of a discrete GPU or an SD card reader to facilitate the easy movement of image files from a DSLR.

READ NEXT: The best laptops to buy today 

With the latest 14-core Intel Core i7 and i9 processors and 16GB of quad-channel DDR5 RAM, the MateBook 16s should be a usefully powerful machine, while the TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light and TÜV Rheinland Flicker Free Certification should ease the strain on your eyes while you’re using it.

The Huawei MateBook 16s also has a 1080p webcam with Huawei’s new AI Camera hardware enhancements designed to make life easier for remote workers. These features can create a fake background to disguise the domestic chaos behind you on important calls, make it look like you are staring directly at the camera when you aren’t and follow your head around to keep your noggin centre frame. At launch, only the Zoom and Teams services will support these features, but more compatibility is promised in the future.

The MateBook 16s also carries Intel’s Evo certification and will be available with a Core i7-12700H processor for £1,300 from 13 July, while a version with a Core i9 chip will go on sale in August for £1,500. We’re currently poking the Core i7 model with the Expert Reviews stick and a full review will follow shortly.

Next up was a revised version of the Huawei MateBook D16 with a 16:10 1,920 x 1,200 non-touch display. The D16 will be available with 12th generation Core i5 and Core i7 chips and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM for £750 and £1,000 respectively when it goes on sale on 13 July. 

The MateBook D16 comes with a full numeric keypad for dedicated number crunchers and at just 1.7kg and 357 x 249 x 18.4mm Huawei is making great play of the fact that this 16in laptop is smaller and lighter than the majority of slim and light 15.6in models on the market. Even the 60W USB-C power adapter has been shrunk in the name of portability and now weighs a paltry 176g.

READ NEXT: The best laptops to buy today 

The D16 shares the 1080p AI webcam with the MateBook 16s and, like the 16s, the camera is placed above the display rather than hidden behind a fake Fn key. Another feature aimed at the roaming worker is the new Metaline Wi-Fi antenna that, apparently, is much better at pulling in weak – although only 2.4GHz and 5GHz – signals.

As an aside, Huawei also mentioned that the MateBook D14 will get an upgrade to Intel 12th generation processors later in the year, but no exact date or price was announced. The fact that Alder Lake chips are finally arriving in more workaday laptops than the high-end and high-priced creative and gaming machines we’ve encountered them in to date can only be a good thing.

Finishing on a musical note, Huawei also announced its new FreeBuds Pro 2, which have been developed in conjunction with Devialet, a company whose fantastically stylish Phantom speakers start at over £1,000. The new FreeBuds come with active noise cancellation and, in two claimed world firsts, planar diaphragm technology and quad-magnetic dynamic drivers; design features that Huawei says improve sound quality and bass levels over standard designs. 

Without an opportunity to listen to them, we can’t say if they will turn out to be the Apple AirPod Pro killers that Huawei surely hopes they will be, but they look good in the hand and on paper. The FreeBuds Pro 2 will cost £170 when they go on sale on 6 July.

Read more