My new Twitter account is @radbling. Follow me for more behind-the-scenes, in-progress updates, and discussions!
— Brad Ling (@radbling) June 14, 2019
I will outline what Huawei has and has not fixed in the 2019 MateBook X Pro compared to the 2018 model. You can find the more obvious talking points on The Verge and other normie sites, but here are the small engineering changes that I noticed during my teardown and testing.
These are the tweaks I use every time I set up a Windows laptop, to make it faster, more power-efficient (better battery life), and less annoying. Some of these are pretty standard and well known; but the tweaks get more nuanced or hardcore as you go down the article.
Benefits: Skip OEM bloatware altogether and start with a clean slate. YOU decide what OEM packages you want to install back. For example, on my MateBook, reinstalling Windows and never installing back Huawei PC Manager allowed Windows Update to naturally take care of driver and BIOS updates (like it should and does on most other computers), instead of the error-prone Huawei cringeware. If your laptop has this kind of bullshit too, get rid of it; you'll feel refreshed.
Benefits: Make Windows start up faster by not allowing unnecessary programs to automatically launch.
Benefits: Does the brightness or color of your display change by itself from time to time? Intel's "image enhancement" is probably messing with you. All these "enhancements" do is make the image worse and inconsistent.
You can prevent Windows from automatically installing or updating a specific device or driver using the “Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device IDs” Group Policy, but what if you’re using Windows 10 Home and don’t have Group Policy Editor? You can do the same thing using Registry Editor.
This is the AutoHotkey script I use to type common special characters, including Spanish accented letters, superscripts, math and science symbols. I’ve also included shortcuts to simulate the media control keys.
You can copy and paste the script, or download a precompiled version that doesn’t require AutoHotkey to run.
You can put it in %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup to have it automatically run at Windows startup.
(‘!’ means Alt, ‘+’ means Shift, ‘^’ means Control so !a means pressing ‘Alt’ and ‘A’ together.)
Contrary to what Xfinity Mobile officially declares, you actually can bring your own Android phone (BYOD) to Xfinity Mobile. You just need an iPhone that you or a friend have laying around unused.
Xfinity does not have anything in place to actively block your ‘unapproved’ Android from accessing their network. Your or your friend’s iPhone will remain on their records as associated with your phone number, but you are able to use your Xfinity SIM card in any compatible phone.
I have been using my Galaxy S8+ (which I originally got from Sprint) this way without any problems. However, this may not work for your particular phone. OnePlus on Xfinity can’t send or receive SMS. But if Xfinity sells a model similar to your phone, it will probably work.
Did this work for you? Leave a comment.
Feb 24 MWC Update: turns out this is the all-new MateBook 14.
A 2019 successor to the Huawei MateBook X Pro is coming, and it’s looking good — at least in these documents from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
At first glance, the updated MateBook X Pro looks very similar to the MateBook 13’s bottom, with a wide air intake for a dual-fan cooling system. However, you can see that this is a more premium laptop: it has a machined aluminum unibody just like the current X Pro, while the MateBook 13’s body is composed of multiple, cheaper, mostly two-dimensional stamped aluminum sheets.
Measuring the body drawing to-scale, the new MateBook appears to be roughly 4mm wider and 7mm taller. So, we may be getting the webcam on the top bezel, or a slightly bigger (14″?) screen, or thicker bezels in exchange for more internal space, or none of the above — Huawei’s drawing may just be distorted.
If your CPU frequency is being reduced under load, even at low temperatures, you’re probably experiencing power throttling. On many laptops, you can get rid of it by disabling the Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework and then setting a higher power limit in the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility.
Your laptop may have an option to disable DPTF in the BIOS menu. If not:
If any DPTF devices are still present, please tell me their hardware IDs in the comments. (To check hardware ID: right click on the device, Properties, Details, select “Hardware Ids” in the drop-down menu.)
A lot of laptops have further Power Limits controlled by the EC, which is much harder if not impossible to change.
In Registry Editor, delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DeviceInstall\Restrictions.
How common are the issues plaguing the MateBook X Pro? And how many users have taken solving them into their own hands? This past month, I surveyed 309 visitors of Reddit.com/r/MatebookXPro and BradsHacks.com about their experience with the critically acclaimed Huawei laptop.
The majority of the surveyed users reported having a loose or rattling touchpad. Based on my understanding of how the touchpad is installed into the frame, I suspect that all units actually have this issue to some degree and some users just don’t perceive it as an abnormality. After all, loose trackpads are quite common in laptops.
Similarly, the issues with temperature and various types of noise are inherently subjective. For example, the same laptop can be considered too hot or loud by one user yet be completely acceptable for another. Some people are more sensitive to the buzz of coil whine and work in quieter environments, so they could notice the coil whine much more than others.
Everything is “good” according to NotebookCheck. They’ve come across devices with glaring problems, but even those get a high final score.
How are consumers supposed to distinguish between better and worse when three-quarters of all scores are between 80 and 90?
Here’s how NotebookCheck categorizes the scores: