The Huawei MateBook X Pro is a pretty nice little laptop, featuring a 13.9 inch, 3000 x 2000 pixel touchscreen display with super-slim bezels, an all-metal chassis, and support for up ton an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics.

Huawei recently announced that the MateBook X Pro is coming to America, and it’s up for pre-order from B&H.

The company sent me a top-of-the-line $1500 model to test, and while the computer ships with Windows 10, one of the things I was curious to find out how well it handles Linux. The computer does have a few unusual features after all, including a camera that hides away in the keyboard when it’s not in use.

So I loaded Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on a flash drive and took it for a spin.

It’s pretty easy to boot from a USB device. The MateBook X Pro has one USB Type-A port and two USB Type-C ports. Just plug in the device you want to boot from, hit the power button, and press the F12 key during startup to get a boot menu.

I selected the drive I wanted to boot from and Ubuntu was up and running a moment later. The MateBook X had no difficulty connecting to my WiFi network and I was able to surf the web, play audio and video, and install applications right away.

The volume, brightness, and keyboard backlight shortcuts on the keyboard were immediately recognized. But a few Fn keys like the microphone mute and wireless toggle didn’t work.

The camera worked about as well under Linux as it does in Windows… which is to say that it’s awkwardly located and provides a nice view of your hands while you’re typing or the underside of your face when you’re not.

But loading the Cheese application immediately activated the camera, allowing me to snap a picture… even before I pressed the button that makes the camera pop out. Sure, the picture was black, since the camera was pointed at the inside of the keyboard. But it worked.

Pop up the camera and you can get slightly more flattering shots, and there’s an LED light that shines to let you know when the camera is active. Closing Cheese made that status light turn off, indicating that the camera was no longer in use.

One thing to keep in mind about the MateBook X Pro is that its 3000 x 2000 pixel display is very, very sharp. Most of the time I’ve kept the Windows DPI scaling set to 175 percent or 200 percent, because anything smaller makes text and images too difficult to see.

Ubuntu hasn’t always played well with high-DPI displays in the past, but the out of the box experience was pretty good, with graphics and text scaled to 200 percent, which was pretty comfortable. You can open the display settings and switch to 100 percent or 300 percent scaling, but I wouldn’t really recommend either option since they make text way too small or big, depending on the setting.

The touchscreen works too… for the most part. It recognized touch input, allowing me to move an on-screen cursor and tap app shortcuts, among other things. But I noticed that tapping the “Show Applications” icon made the app list expand and disappear quickly. I think it’s registering single-taps as double-taps.

Fortunately the touchpad supports multi-touch gestures, so it’s easy to tap, scroll, and perform other basic actions that way.

Update: Our full review of the Huawei MateBook X Pro is now live:

Huawei MateBook X Pro review

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41 replies on “First look: Huawei MateBook X Pro with Ubuntu 18.04 Linux”

  1. I’m running Ubuntu not for novelty but for necessity.

    I’ve run Win 10, MacOS and Ubuntu on this laptop. Ubuntu — by far — outperforms the others. I have better battery life and the [always too hot] CPU components stay cool. Windows ran so hot that my motherboard fried and Huawei had to send me another. (Abandoned all hope, ye users of JetBrains!)

    When I got the replacement, Windows was still running hot so I installed MacOS hoping that a BSD/Unix system would run cleaner. Didn’t want to risk another board. MacOS *does* work on this machine, but it’s not very stable and some components don’t work (like on-board wifi). Not easy to get Mac running. A fun experiment for those who like to tinker, but don’t count on it as an every day driver.

    Ubuntu installed easily and works just as Brad outlined here.

  2. Hey guys 😉 ,
    May someone here share us screenshots of all UEFI’s sections (aka the BIOS’s sections ; like info, security, boot options, etc) of the Matebook X Pro Core i7 model, via a link or something else please ?

    And second of all, is there any person interested in sharing the file spec.txt created by the output of these commands (in a linux terminal/console, without quotes, one by one):
    “sudo lspci -vnn > spec.txt
    echo ######SEPARATOR OF FILES###### >> spec.txt
    sudo lsusb >> spec.txt”

    Thank you very much, it would be very appreciated 😀

  3. You can’t seem to actually install Linux only live boot. Just loads to a black screen

    1. Hey guys 😉 ,
      May someone here share us screenshots of all UEFI’s sections (aka the BIOS’s sections ; like info, security, boot options, etc) of the Matebook X Pro Core i7 model, via a link or something else please ?

      And second of all, is there any person interested in sharing the file spec.txt created by the output of these commands (in a linux terminal/console, without quotes, one by one):
      “sudo lspci -vnn > spec.txt
      echo ######SEPARATOR OF FILES###### >> spec.txt
      sudo lsusb >> spec.txt”

      Thank you very much, it would be very appreciated 😀

    2. @Jim As Geremi said, can you share us screenshots of all UEFI’s sections ?

      Did your distribution load properly in LiveUSB, without installing ?
      Also how did you created your LiveUSB ? (With which tool?)

  4. Thanks a lot for reviewing this tempting computer with linux. Not many websites do that and it’s precious info to be able to buy with confidence.

  5. hello, I am thinking to buy the huawei matebook x pro, but I want to install it linux ubuntu like you did but keeping a partition for windows, so can you tell me how to do that? and if it’s possible can you make a video showing it, if not can you tell me wich boot usb program should Iuse rufus or UUI, and when it boots does it have Bios or UEFI?
    Thank you very much

  6. Having an issue getting the F12 boot menu to display my USB as a boot option.
    I’ve done this plenty before on other hardware, currently using Rufus to create a simple bootable USB with a lubuntu ISO – which I have successfully tested on a different PC. I have also disabled Secure Boot from the UEFI BIOS menu on the matebook.

    I read on another forum that Huawei has actually DISABLED booting from anything other than the installed HDD recently. Is that true? If not, am I doing something wrong?

    1. The only thing I can tell you is that I didn’t disable secure boot to get it working on my demo unit, and if booting from third party devices had been disabled I wouldn’t have been able to do everything shown in this post. But I cannot say if Huawei had made changes since this was published.

      Have you tried using a different flash drive? I’ve found that sometimes that makes a difference.

      Also, can you point me to trust forum post? Maybe if I can find some more information about the issue I can bring it to Huawei’s attention and try to get a firm answer.

    2. I got mine June 6 and installed the latest Ubuntu by pressing f12 and had no issue at all. First time I install linux so I have zero special knowledge. I have the i7 version in case this is somehow relevant.

    3. I just got mine today and am experiencing the exact same problem. I tried everything! Booted into windows, went to the troubleshooting recovery options in settings, got into the *real* BIOS and disabled secure boot. Still no USB boot option and cannot select any other option other than using the “Windows Boot Manager”. Really need help on this. Don’t want to have to return it.

      1. Ok success!!! I guess I didn’t exactly try *everything*. I was using a Micro SD to USB adapter when I tried before. Seems there is some issue with this and the MateBook X Pro. I went down to my local electronics store and purchased a USB flash drive. dd’d the iso and it is able to boot into it!!! I read on other sites that simply changing the medium worked for some people.

        1. @malkauns, thank you for sharing that you used dd instead of other tools. That was the key for me as well. The dd tool actually adds the necessary files in a folder efi (or uefi) rather than putting all in the root of the media. That seems to be the right trigger for matebook pro to get started. I’ve tried both manjaro and ubuntu, both gets discovered correctly when burnt with dd.

  7. Yeah, fair play for this review. I hadn’t even checked on this model, until now, because the original Matebook X had a myriad of issues running Linux. Looks like I’ll be buying this on my next trip to SE Asia…

  8. I would just like to put this out there for anyone trying to install Ubuntu on this laptop: If the ubuntu installer crashes during installation in live session, try changing scaling from 200% to 100% and retrying the installation. This is a known bug that still persists in Ubuntu installation. It took me forever to figure this one out.

  9. Is this the same Huawei corporation which the United States House of Representatives Intelligence Committee described as

    “cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems.”

    Is this the same Huawei corporation which Facebook says it has a deal with to share user data?

    If so, well done on promoting the products of a foreign corporation which is potentially being used as a tool against the American people by a foreign Communiust government.

    1. Dis the same murrica governed by trump ? if so, well done promoting murrica’s corporate protectionist lobbying propaganda.

  10. Too bad it doesn’t ship with Ubuntu Linux installed. It’s just another overpriced WinTel ‘Ultrabook’ running Windows 10.

  11. Do both speakers work or is there some “dolby magic” preventing it? I ask this because I have read that it is an issue with the original matebook x. Also does accelerated graphics work? Thanks for the review!

      1. Appreciate your response but that doesn’t answer the question. The original matebook x has 2 speakers but only 1 reportedly works on Linux. Was wondering if there is a similar issue on the matebook x pro.

          1. 2 speakers (bottom ones) work 100% initially or the top 2 are very low and doesn’t really work on matebook x pro, but sound is shit compared to windows with dolby atmos.

            Even on windows, if you disable dolby atmos, it doesn’t compare to dolby atmos enable. Dolby atmos disable on windows still sounds better than sound on linux.

            Dolby does an excellent job enhancing sound and it is unavailable on linux. Using an equalizer on linux, sound can be improved drastically, but I cannot find a perfect match with dolby atmos and it is frustrating!

            If anyone as a EQ setup to fix it, don’t hesitate to tell me!

  12. Kudos to you Brad for testing Linux support. I wish more laptop websites would do this

    1. Absolutely! This is very valuable information for those of us who often purchase Windows laptops and immediately install Linux. It is often a hit or miss affair with new hardware. There are a few companies that sell laptops with Linux pre-installed, but that leaves potential customers with few choices.

    2. Completely and wholeheartedly agree. I’m beginning to wonder if(for the most part) the computing community is asleep at the wheel regarding this? I’m seeing more and more customers from all walks of life switching over to linux DESPITE zero support from tech sites/companies. I myself wouldn’t allow an iOS or Microsoft computer in my house. Not to mention…I don’t let Google and Facebook through the door either.

    3. Agree! Agree! Did I say agree? Almost nobody does this so I would love to see more Linux testing on any devices. Both the good and the bad, honest reviews like this one, it helps a ton!

      Upvote that comment above!

    1. Doesn’t seem to work out of the box with Ubuntu 18.04, and since I don’t plan to install Ubuntu to the SSD it’d be tough to try to get it working because nothing is saved when I logout of a live session.

    2. Ubuntu 18.10 is supposed to have better fingerprint reader support. Great job, Lilyputing, for trying Linux on hardware for a review! Might be interesting to cover how badly botched this launch has been, though, as there’s none of these machines available anywhere yet…

        1. by the way, if you order from the Microsoft store you can get $150 off by using the student/parent/military option. Worked for me without any additional checks. 🙂

    3. Fingerprint sensor does not work on ubuntu 18.04.1 out of the box. I have Huawei Matebook X Pro 16GB/512GB SSD. I have tried installing the fingerprint-pol package and it does not recognize the sensor.

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