It seems Huawei likes being the early bird at the party. At this year’s CES, it showed off three new products before the actual event proper. It goes into the 2016 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in pretty much the same way, unveiling the latest addition to their consumer products line a day before the conference formally begins.

But… there’s a plot twist. It’s not the product you were expecting. Hey Barcelona, how ‘ya doin’?

Instead of unleashing the much-awaited (and leaked) P9, Huawei went in the other direction — and debuted the MateBook instead. With bigger Apple tablets sold alongside its older lines, and an entire trove of Android-powered tablets (hybrid or not) from myriad manufacturers on the market, one can argue that we’ve reached peak tablet. Then again, tablets with detachable keyboards are hot right now. Let’s see if the Matebook can convince us to ditch our old tablet (or laptop?) and make this our new tech mate.

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Design

We’ll say it: the Matebook is real stylish. It looks like it’s gonna be as comfortable in a boardroom as it would surely be in your home, or in transit. We’re not that sure the metal unibody can withstand our pang-harabas usage habit, but that’s what protective cases are for, right?

Measuring 6.9mm and weighing 640 grams, it’s a device we can easily fit in our work bags, and have no problem slugging around during the daily commute. It’s a bit larger than what we’re used to because it houses a 12” IPS multitouch screen, the size inching thisclose to laptop territory. But it does give you more room to get hands-on, whether drawing or making notes with the MatePen (now with a laser pointer at the other end!), or simply reading through news and social media updates.

The MateBook is also on trend with its detachable Portfolio Keyboard, which adds only 450g to the total device weight. It also gives you one less excuse to hold off on replying to pesky work e-mails and last-minute requests. And because eating and drinking (non-alcoholic beverages) while working is the norm now, Huawei also made the keyboard resistant to spills and the usual wear-and-tear. Working in low light? The Portfolio Keyboard is also backlit, and adjusts to your current lighting conditions.

Quirks

Huawei takes device security and access head on with a single-touch fingerprint sensor on the MateBook’s side. We’re not all in yet with this particular feature, given the risks involved. But it’s nice to see it being implemented in consumer tech, especially with a super-thin device like the MateBook.

We’ve always preferred the wireless way of doing file transfers, and Huawei has the same sentiment. Smartphones from Huawei’s Mate P and Mate 8 product lines can swap files with the MateBook with a simple drag-and-drop. Nice.

And there’s another extra purchase for potential MateBook owners, aside from the Portfolio Keyboard and MatePen. This hybrid device works with a MateDock that looks a bit like your regular smartphone battery pack — and it does have that functionality for the MateBook. But the separate dock also offers additional USB ports (A, C, and micro), and even an Ethernet port.

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Internals

Time for a quick rundown of the MateBook’s innards:

  • The aforementioned 12” IPS display has a 2160 x 1440 resolution, and a 160° viewing angle
  • Powering the hybrid device is a sixth-generation Intel Core m processor, from m3 to m7
  • Microsoft Windows 10 is the OS of choice for this device
  • The MateBook variants come with either 4GB or 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and from 128GB to 512GB of SSD storage
  • The front 5MP camera should be enough for video calls
  • There are three ports: a headset jack, a USB 3.1 (Type C) jack, and another for the Keyboard, at the bottom of the tablet
  • The 33.7Wh, 4430mAh lithium battery and power-saving mode should be enough for a projected 29 hours of music, 9 hours of video viewing, or 10 hours of work.

Price

Time to save up! The Huawei MateBook starts at US$699 (around P33,300) for the 4GB RAM/128GB SSD storage model, and tops out at US$1,599 (around P76,200) for 8GB RAM/512GB SSD. You can also get the keyboard for US$129 (P6,140), the MateDock for US$89 (P4,200), and the MatePen for US$59 (P2,800).

For more information, visit the Huawei MateBook global website, or read the official press release for the prices of the other models.