It’s been a very long time since I’ve tested anything from Huawei so jumped at the opportunity to try out their MatePad tablet. On paper, it looks to be fairly well spec’d and the price is very appealing indeed. Let’s take a look.

Specification

  • 10.4″ IPS Display
  • 2000×1200 resolutions / 16.7 million colours / 470 nit brightness
  • HUAWEI Kirin 810 7nm processor
  • GPU Mail-G52
  • OS EMUI 10.1 (Based on Android 10)
  • 3 or 4GB Ram
  • 32 or 64GB Storage (expandable upto 512GB with microSD)
  • 8MP front and rear cameras
  • Battery 7250 mAh (12hr usage / 4hr full charge @ 10W)
  • 245W x 155H x 7.3D mm (450g)

Unboxing & First Impressions

The tablet arrives in a white box, with some subtle branding and offers a premium unboxing experience. In the box, you get the tablet, charger, USB-C cable, USB-C to 3.5mm jack lead, eject pin and quick start guide. The tablet oozes sophistication and finesse. It has a glossy black screen, with a relatively slim bezel of just 8mm. It’s very thin at just over 7mm and the back panel has a satin grey finish to it. It’s lightweight & thin, it’s curvy on the edges and it’s very elegant. I’m very impressed with how the MatePad looks and feels.

To the front, centrally at the top (if held landscape) is the front-facing ultra-wide camera, while at the rear is another camera and a flash. Top left is your volume control, left-hand side is your power on bottom and to the right is the USB-C port. Each side of the table, when held landscape, has two sets of speakers (4 total), which is good but when held, the bottom two speakers are covered by your hands.

Setting up the tablet was straight forward, you just go through the options upon first startup. Note you do have to create a Huawei account and accept several terms and conditions. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in fact, during set up and while using, continually asked to accept this and that, it’s quite off-putting in fact.

It’s worth noting we got the 3GB / 32GB version, so I expect the 4GB Ram version to offer slightly improved performance.

Performance

Visual performance was fantastic, the display is crisp and vibrant. I watched a number of videos from YouTube, Netflix and Amazon, all of which offered a very good image. With 450 nits, you’ll be able to use the tablet in reasonably bright conditions too. The display is pretty nippy, sliding left, right, up or down, it’s very responsive.

matepad_2

The MatePad’s audio is very loud considering the size of the speakers provided. With speakers either side, you get a nice representation of both left & right audio channels, which is great while watching a movie. As mentioned before, if I was holding the tablet landscape, I’d cover the bottom two speakers with my hands but I didnt notice a significant drop in volume or quality by doing so, which was good. Listening to music is fine but it does lack on the bass front.

Performance while using apps was great, very quick and smooth. I tried some social media apps, plus a couple of games, all of which worked very well. I played a game called Free Fire, your typical battle royale and in my first game, I won. I must have been playing against bots or something because I don’t usually win games. The game ran very smooth and the graphics were better than expecte. The controls during the game were easy to reach and use with both of my thumbs.

free_fire-min

The camera quality was ok, it’s not overly crisp or vibrant so don’t expect to take any award-winning images with it. That being said, the front-facing camera looked good for video calls. There are a number of options and presets included within the camera app, as well as a digital zoom. Beauty mode aka remove the wrinkles mode is available for selfies. There is also a pro mode if you wanted to get specific but the quality of the sensor just isn’t good enough to make the pro feature worth using (in my opinion). You can of course record video aswell, it’s a little grainy but it’s perfectly watchable. Who uses a tablet for taking photos and videos anyway?

matepad_photo-min

The weak link in the MatePad is the operating system and it’s crying out to be official Android, but we will leave politics out of it. Although Huawei has done a nice job with their default system apps, their app store is ever so limited, with a number of popular apps missing, waiting to be added or require a third party APK install. To get Netflix, I was redirected to a random website to download the APK file and install the software. It worked fine but I wasn’t keen on it all. I wanted to try a number of games I’ve played before, they we’rent available, nor were things like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Lightroom, YouTube, I could go on…

Battery life was very good. I used it on and off for a week, mainly for work stuff and watching Netflix. I think I chagred it twice, once before set up and once mid week and I was using it quite alot. Other worthwhile mentions include an eBook options, which sort of turns it into a Kindle and you can also multi task, i.e. have two thing on the screen at once. Oh, you can also pruchase a seperate pencil, the M Pencil, if you wanted to get your art on with the MatePad.

Verdict

The MatePad is a fantastic tablet, it looks and feels superb, the display is crisp & vibrant, it’s nippy, it’s responsive and battery life is good too. It lacks a little on the camera front and the lack of popular app availability in the Huawei app store is very disappointing. If you’re happy to potentially live without some of your favorite apps, I would highly recommend checking out the MatePad.

The 3GB version we tried retails at £229, which very well priced for the market. The 4GB is £269 and if you want more power, they do offer a Pro version too at £449, which includes a number of upgrades.