Huawei MediaPad Review, 7-inch tablet that feels just right
The first time I laid my eyes on the 7-inch Huawei MediaPad, I thought to myself, not too shabby. Not a bad device at all from a relatively untested brand in the tablet market. The solid build, materials used and the gorgeous display really caught my attention.
I’ve been playing with one unit for quite some time now and indeed, the Huawei MediaPad is a nice handy tablet you would want to bring with you anywhere.
As I mentioned earlier, the design on the Huawei MediaPad looks really polished. It has a buttonless front with the front camera situated on the upper left corner (if you’re holding it in landscape mode). The sides and back are covered in a brushed aluminum casing giving it a sturdy look. The thickness is just right and the tapered edge made it look slim and easy to hold in one hand.
Top side (again in landscape mode) is the power/sleep button and the volume control which pretty much makes up the physical buttons this tablet has. What’s nice about the volume control here that I haven’t encountered in other devices is that it follows the orientation. If you hold it in portrait mode, upside down, or whatever, the left or lower button (depending on orientation) will decrease the volume. I like it.
On the left side is the audio jack and also two tiny speaker grills which you would often unintentionally cover when you’re watching a video. On the right side are the microUSB port for data connection, the microHDMI port and also the AC port. Just like other tablets, you can’t charge the device using the USB port.
The back features a brushed aluminum shell which makes it immune to smudging and hides scratches well. The 5-megapixel lens is located on one side so it’s prone to being covered when taking pictures in landscape mode. The back also has two rubber-textured triangular patches on both ends for improved grip. One of these is actually removable and houses the SIM card and a microSD card.
Display and UI
The 7-inch display on the MediaPad in short, is really gorgeous. With its 1280 x 800 resolution, expect sharp and vibrant images and videos with really good brightness and contrast. Being an IPS display, it also has very nice viewing angles although glare might be too much when viewing it under bright light.
Actually, based on Elixir which gathers information about the device’s specs, the display is only 1218 x 800. Huawei could’ve stripped off a bit of bezel on the long ends of this tablet. No biggie though in practical use.
This tablet runs on Android 3.0 Honeycomb so UI is made specifically for tablets although not much modification was done on this one. This means widgets are limited to the basic ones although there are lots of free customization options in the Android Market.
The Huawei MediaPad is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm chip and 1GB RAM. Switching apps and transitions are snappy but not as smooth as other tablets. Still, not bad at all.
Here’s the Quadrant score of the Huawei MediaPad (1789)which is at par (sometimes higher) with other NVIDIA-powered 10-inch tablets we have right now.
There’s only 5.8GB internal storage with 345MB dedicated to the file system. Other tablets have 16GB to 32GB internal storage but you can easily slap a microSD here if you need more space, something other tablets are lacking.
3G speed is really good on this tablet. You can also use your SIM to send text messages via the Messaging app. Consequently, you can’t make calls with this tablet which is common to all Honeycomb devices.
Multimedia and Games
With the high display resolution on such a small screen, no doubt gaming and watching videos will be a treat for the MediaPad user. However, I had troubles viewing 720p mkv files. It’s either I can’t view them or I’ll have sync and stuttering problems when I can. FLVs, 720p MP4s, and AVIs run pretty smoothly though.
Sound is just alright but not loud enough to hear when there’s ambient noise in the room. And there’s also the placement issue of the speakers which you would most likely cover when handling the tablet. Use earphones (not included) instead or external speakers if sound volume is important to what you’re doing.
There are only a few games installed in the Huawei MediaPad (although you can install more from the App Store): Asphalt 6, Angry Birds and Let’s Go Golf 2. Tried Asphalt 6 which is probably the most resource-extensive game among the three and it ran quite smoothly with no stuttering at all. It looked really good on the tablet’s display.
I think a 7-inch display is enough for web browsing. Pages render fast and Flash components can be viewed as well provided you download the Adobe Flash Player from the Android market. You can also view embedded Flash videos and live streaming websites powered by Flash on this tablet.
Probably my only qualm here is that the browser keyboard doesn’t have the “space” key so if I can’t use multiple words when I want to search using the Address field. A different keyboard downloaded from the market can fix this.
The MediaPad has a 5-megapixel camera at the back without flash. Since the position of the lens is on the left side when holding it in landscape mode, it’s easy to cover it with your fingers. Anyway, you should just be mindful about it when taking photos.
Here are sample photos taken with the Huawei MediaPad:
Photos under good lighting conditions are actually nice but if it’s too bright, things can get a bit oversaturated.
The front camera is required for video chatting. I was able to successfully use it to video conference on Skype and Google Talk.
Running time on a single charge is pretty short for a tablet at about 6 hours, but this is with WiFi on and continuously watching videos. However, standby would last for days which I’m very satisfied with.
The Huawei MediaPad is really nice, solid tablet. It has the looks, the build and the specs respectable for a 7-inch tablet. The only design issue I have is the placement of the camera lens and speakers which I think they made with the intention that the tablet is meant to be held in portrait mode.
There’s also the problem with huge high-def MKV videos (1.5GB and up) which the tablet had a hard time playing. Guess you better stick with MP4 videos instead. Other than that, things are pretty dandy with the Huawei MediaPad. Despite the limited 5GB storage, the support for external microSD is a huge bonus. Then there’s also the report that Huawei will be releasing the Ice Cream Sandwich update this quarter which would give the MediaPad a much better performance.
Right now, the Huawei MediaPad has an SRP of Php21,990 and we still haven’t heard of any price drop which I think this tablet needs to pose some sort of challenge to Samsung’s reign on 7-inch Android tablets.
|Huawei MediaPad Specs:|
|1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon|
|Adreno 220 GPU|
|7″ IPS LCD capacitive WSVGA touch screen (1280 x 800)|
|Android Honeycomb 3.2 OS|
|5GB internal storage, expandable to 32GB via microSD|
|5 megapixel autofocus rear camera with 720p HD video recording|
|1.3 megapixel front-facing camera|
|HSDPA, 14.4 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps|
|Li-Polymer 4100mAh battery (up to 6 hours)|