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Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Review: Hands-on

Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Review: Hands-on
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Not particularly well-known yet in the UK, Huawei has yet to carve out a name for itself in the tablet world. Its MediaPad range has been around for a long while, though, and three new models were launched at MWC 2018.

Two of those have a 10.8in screen and are essentially identical aside from the fact that the Pro version comes with a stylus – the M-Pen – in the box.

We’ve had a short amount of time with the tablets, so this is our initial hands-on review which we’ll update once we’ve had a chance to run our usual benchmarks.




PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Here's the breakdown of prices (in Euros) for the MediaPad M5 10.8. When we have US and UK pricing, we'll add it to the tables below.

Connectivity
Storage
Price
Wi-Fi Only
32GB
399 €
Wi-Fi Only
64GB
449 €
Wi-Fi Only
128GB
499 €
Wi-Fi + LTE
32GB
449 €
Wi-Fi + LTE
64GB
499 €
Wi-Fi + LTE
128GB
549 €

Initially, the tablet will be available from March 2018 in the following countries:

UK, US, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary.

Below is pricing for the M5 Pro.

Connectivity Storage Price
Wi-Fi Only 64GB 499 €
Wi-Fi Only 128GB 549 €
Wi-Fi + LTE 64GB 549 €
Wi-Fi + LTE 128GB 599 €

FEATURES AND DESIGN

Unsurprisingly, the 10.8in version of the MediaPad M5 looks exactly like a larger version of the 8.4in model. It’s also offered in either Space Grey (with a black screen bezel) or Champagne Gold (with a white screen bezel).


The metal unibody chassis tapers at the edges to make it feel thinner than it is, and it looks good. As with the smaller model, you’ll find a USB-C port rather than microUSB.

This is used for everything: charging, data transfer and also audio output. That means using the included USB-C to 3.5mm adapter if you want to use existing headphones, and also that you can’t listen with headphones while charging the tablet.


Despite having a larger screen, resolution is the same as the 8.4in model at 2560x1600 pixels. Pixel density is therefore lower at 280ppi, but it’s higher than Samsung’s 10.6in Galaxy Book at 218ppi.

There's a version of the M5 and M5 Pro with a nano-SIM slot. There are also Wi-Fi only versions, and we don't yet know if these will be sold in all regions or not.

All versions have a microSD slot for adding up to 256GB to the on-board storage. For the standard M5, that's 32, 64 or 128GB  but the M5 Pro doesn't bother with the smallest capacity and will only be offered with 64- or 128GB. All versions have 4GB of RAM.

Like some of Huawei’s older 10in tablets, the M5 has quad speakers. When held in landscape mode, the lower speakers on each side produce mid- and low frequencies. At the top are a pair of tweeters, producing the treble.

It was tricky to assess quality during our short hands-on time with the tablet, but volume was respectable. We’ll have to wait until we can properly listen to judge outright quality, though.

What we can say is that when held in portrait mode the stereo arrangement doesn’t change as it does with the iPad Pro.


On the rear are three gold contacts: these are for the keyboard case, which works with the Pro and standard versions of the tablet. Unfortunately, no keyboards were around to test out. Huawei says it has ‘full-size’ keys.


M-Pen

As mentioned, the stylus is included in the box with the M5 Pro. Huawei couldn’t confirm if Wacom tech is used or another company’s, but it did say that the M-Pen won’t work on the standard 10.8in MediaPad.





Like certain rivals, it has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and has sensors to detect the precise tilt angle, which is useful if you want to shade as you would with a pencil.


Usefully, its rechargeable and a 100-minute charge is said to give 50 days’ use. Cleverly, a USB-C port is located under the clip which rotates to hide it.


From our short time scribbling with it, we’d say it’s just as responsive as rivals with no noticeable delay: ink appears on screen at the same rapid pace as Microsoft’s Surface Pro and the Galaxy Book.

Software

The MediaPad runs Android, which is perfectly fine for the standard version. For the Pro, it’s not ideal.

Samsung’s Galaxy Book, just one of several rivals, runs Windows 10. That’s arguably a better choice for productivity, but whether or not it’ll be an issue for the MediaPad M5 Pro’s target audience remains to be seen.

As mentioned, we were unable to test out the keyboard and this also means we couldn’t try the Desktop View software mode. Similar to the Mate 10 Pro’s Windows-like mode when you hook it up to an external monitor, the M5 Pro will automatically switch to this environment when you attach the keyboard.

It lets you run multiple apps in windows and multitask but, if it’s similar to the Mate 10 Pro, it isn’t as refined as Windows.


Apps are also a potential issue. There’s no shortage of Android apps, but not many are designed to be run in a window and resized at will.


Huawei doesn’t even pre-load much software to use with the M-Pen. All you get is MyScript Calculator and ‘Nebo for Huawei’ which is a notetaking app, and only a demo at that.


For the non-Pro tablet, the combination of Oreo and Huawei EMUI 8.0 is great, as it’s designed primarily as an entertainment device. We’ve still to benchmark both tablets for performance, but both seemed swift and responsive in general use.


Huawei has yet to say anything about future Android updates. If previous MediaPads are a sign to go by, then don’t hold your breath for Android 9.

Battery life

We'll run our battery benchmark shortly, but Huawei says the 10.8in MediaPad M5 will play HD video for 10 hours, and then less than three hours to recharge again from flat. 

SPECS


  • Android Oreo 8.0 + EMUI 8.0
  • 10.8in 2560 x 1600 IPS touchscreen, 280ppi
  • Stylus: Included in box, 4096-level pressure sensitivity
  • Kirin 960 octa-core processor
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB (microSD up to 256GB)
  • 13Mp main camera
  • 8Mp front camera
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 4G LTE (nano-SIM slot)
  • Non-removable 7500mAh battery
  • Dimensions: 258.7x171.8x7.3mm
  • Weight: 498g

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