Linux on Huawei Matebook X Pro
I bought my new laptop Huawei Matebook X Pro few weeks ago. I have been using Apple's laptop for so many years, to be honest, Apple is a great company with great product, but I have never loved Macbook because of its close source OS and special eco-system. I am big Linux fun, though I used Macbook Pro, I spent almost \(90\%\) of my working time under iterm with open source software installed by brew. What I really want is a pure Linux laptop. Unfortunately, Linux had serious power management problem under laptop environment years ago, and Windows laptop sucks comparing with beautiful designed Macbook.
I am so happy to know current Linux has already solved its power management problem (see power management section below), and more important thing is I finally find a laptop which is better, yes totally better than Macbook Pro in terms of both design and hardware performance. The laptop is Huawei's new Matebook X Pro.
The machine is just beautiful as image shows With almost the same price as Macbook Pro ( even a little bit cheaper), its spec. is impressive
|display||13.9 inch touchscreen LTPS LCD|
|resolution||3K: \(3000\times 2000\)|
|CPU||Intel core i7 8550U|
|HDD||512GB SSD (NVMe PCIe)|
|graphics||NVidia Geforce MX150, GDDR5 2GB|
|speaker||Dolby Atoms surrounding speakers|
|interface||USB-C X 2, USB-A X 1|
|size||304mm X 217mm X 14.6|
I don't go to details of how Matebook X Pro is so good because this is a memo of how install Linux on the machine but not a product review. One can easily find many review articles about the machine. I personally think this is by far the only laptop in market better than Macbook Pro. Huawei really rocks!
Here I make a memo of my Linux (Debian 10) installation on Matebook X Pro below:
Following website: https://techbear.co/matebook-pro-debian-linux-guide/ to make an USB stick using debian testing netinst iso file, then restart computer (push F12) to enter installation process. It is very simple. The only thing should take care is as mentioned in the website:
- debian netinst does not include drive of Matebook Pro X's Intel wireless card, it should be manually added to the USB before installation. Download the drive at https://packages.debian.org/buster/all/firmware-iwlwifi/download , place the driver file in the newly created ‘firmware’ directory on the USB stick.
Applications and configures
My everyday work heavily depends on Google drive, unfortunately Google has not released Linux version of Google drive ( I am SO disappoint with Google on this). In Gnome, one could add Google account in Gnome's online account to use Google drive as local folders. However, it is not a sync. scheme but online mount by google-drive-ocamlfuse which could be very slow in some situations especially for large file transfer. There are several commercial Google drive clients for Linux, I find the best one for me is insync.
Matebook X Pro has HiDPI display with \(3000\times 2000\) resolution, which makes most of Linux applications' default window very small. I use Gnome as my desktop manager, it takes care of this by enlarging its application with a certain scale. I don't have general solution for non-Gnome applications, but for QT based application,one can follow this website to modify application's default resolution. Take insync ( my Google drive client for Linux) as example. Make a below script and use it instead of insync's original command to start the application
QT_AUTO_SCREEN_SCALE_FACTOR=1 insync start
Matebook X Pro has great fingerprint sensor, unfortunately Linux can not recognize it. Some guys are now working on fingerprint sensor's drive for Linux, but the projects are still in progress. Hope this project be officially released soon. I personally do not need fingerprint for quick login, so this problem does not bother me.
nvidia and intel graphics
Matebook X Pro has both onboard intel graphics chip and a nvidia MX 150 GPU. For better battery life, it is better to disable nvidia GPU. The simple way to do this is, is to leave nvidia drive uninstalled. If one want to have options to switch between Nvidia GPU and Intel one, the below are some discussions:
- https://www.reddit.com/r/MatebookXPro/comments/9ac7xf/matebook_x_pro_external_display/ For my use case, I don't need to use Nvidia GPU on a laptop.
Linux has suffered from not having good power management on laptop for long time, however things seem have changed in recent years. TLP is a great power management tool on Linux. There are many reports on internet about how TLP dramatically improves battery life of laptop. ( example report 1 , exmpale report 2 ) To use TLP, simply
sudo apt install tlp tlp-drw tlpui # tlpui is a python GUI for tlp.
With TLP, in my case, a full charge can support at least up to 7 hours usage.
Matebook X Pro comes with great 4 speaker system supported by DOLBY Atmos. To make it available under Linux, see "Update 1" of this blog.