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February 06, 2012

Huawei MediaPad Review

Huawei made big news last year when it announced the first Android 3.2 tablet running on a dual-core processor. That was in June 2011 and we first saw it in Singapore that day during the CommunicAsia 2011. Last December, it finally landed in the Philippines. Check out our full review of the Huawei MediaPad after the break.

When it was first announced, the Huawei MediaPad promised a great combination of specs, updated Android OS and an affordable price. Around this time, that specs is already a bit common so the first-to-market advantage has somewhat been diluted.

With a 7-inch form factor, the Huawei MediaPad sits in the middle of a very saturated tablet market. The design is simple but its got a very solid build, relatively thin (as in 10.5mm thin) profile and a bit of a heft because of the aluminum body.

The power button sits at the top left corner along with the volume rocker. On the left side is the 3.5mm audio port while the right side are the ports for the micro-USB, micro-HDMI and the charging port (the tablet does not charge via the micro-USB port).

The back panel of the MediaPad is made of aluminum with some parts covered by a thin sheet of black polymer — on one end, houses the 5MP camera (no flash) and on the other end, flips out cover for the SIM card and microSD card slot.

The display is bright and crisp with a really wide viewing angle, thanks to that IPS LCD. With a 7-inch screen, the 1280×800 pixel resolution provides better clarity, good contrast and probably the one with the highest pixel density in any tablet. The black bezel is thinner than what I’ve seen in other tablets of this size.

With a pixel density of 217ppi, it’s even higher than the one on the Galaxy Tab 7.7 which is only 196ppi. The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and BlackBerry Playbook are even lower 169ppi.

The tablet runs on Android 3.2 Honeycomb, one of the first few ones to come out with it back in June 2011. Today, it’s basically the standard flavor on most Android tablets that are released in the market (save for a rare few that are on ICS).

Performance of the tablet is pretty good — the screen is responsive, apps and games load fast and smooth, web browsing is exceptional thanks to that 1280×800 pixel resolution.

Games like Asphalt 6 HD was already pre-installed on the tablet when I booted it. The game played really well and smooth. More games are available in the Android Market along with hundreds of thousands of apps.

The tablet plays HD videos really well and there’s no noticeable lag between playbacks either. Supported file formats include .AVI, .MP4 and even MKV movies at 720p format.

It’s a bit odd that the two speakers are all situated on the left side of the device (when in landscape position) so the sound experience isn’t that even despite the good audio quality and high volume levels of the speakers.

Since the MediaPad also comes with a SIM card slot, you can basically use it with any local SIM and make calls or SMS with the tablet. When subscribed to a data plan, you can also connect to 3G via the telco’s HSDPA network.

Theoretically, it supports mobile internet speeds of up to 14.4Mbps but actual performance will vary depending on the internet service provider and your location. The OS also supports WiFi tethering (WiFi hotspot) so you can use the mobile internet on the tablet and share it to other devices via WiFi.

Benchmark results showed pretty good performance numbers. Our Quadrant Standard results gave us about 1,782 points and Antutu Benchmark gave a total score of 5,449. NenaMark 2 gives it a GPU rating of 32.6fps.

Huawei MediaPad specs:
7″ IPS LCD display @ 1280×800 pixels, 217ppi
Qualcomm SnapDragon 1.2GHz dual-core
Adreno 220 GPU
8GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
HSDPA 14.4Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1
GPS w/ aGPS support
mini-HDMI output
5MP autofocus camera
1.3MP front-facing camera
720p video capture
HiFi audio player
4100mAh battery, up to 6 hours
Adobe Flash 10.3
Android 3.2 Honeycomb

The internal storage on the device is pegged at just 8GB (actually, it’s lower since the system uses up some of it) which is way smaller than what most other tablets offers (normally in the 16GB or 32GB range). You can always expand storage via a microSD card but an additional 16GB or 32GB will set you back a couple thousand pesos.

Huawei included a number of its own apps into the tablet. Of note is the Huawei Office that features a worksheet, presentation and document editor; Hi Suite which is a data manager for the device and a PC that works both via USB or WiFi; and Aldiko for managing and reading e-books.

The 5MP camera is decent and can take good photos under well-lit conditions but quality degrades easily when you don’t have ample light. There’s no built-in flash in here but I guess that would not do any good either.

See sample photos below. Decent but not that very good and has a lot of noise and problem with white balance.

Here’s a sample video recording as well (likewise, it’s decent but not very crisp).

Battery life on the MediaPad isn’t as impressive as I expected. I managed to complete around 9 to 10 episodes of Fringe on a single full charge with volume at 50% and screen brightness set at 50%. Huawei promises up to 6 hours of normal use on a single charge and with my tests, I was able to stretch it out to around 7.5 hours.

The Huawei MediaPad has a suggested retail price of Php21,990. It’s wasn’t as affordable as we initially thought it would but it’s got some pretty good specs and it’s already 3G-capable which still makes it one of the more affordable tablets in its category.

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24 Responses to “Huawei MediaPad Review”

  1. igiveitamehoutof10 says:

    certainly the specs are decent, but with unless it has a super amoled screen of the galaxy tab, tegra 3 of the upcoming asus 7 inch or the price of ainol, it’s gonna take a lot more than decent specs @22k to get people to notice this in 2012

  2. jdGONEMAD
    Twitter: jdGONEMAD
    says:

    master, this vs the samsung galaxy tab 7.0 plus, which would you choose?

  3. Carlcabs says:

    I think the Samsung Galaxy tab 7 plus is better coz it has a full mobile phone function. If this was priced below P20k, it would have been a great advantage.

  4. anonymous says:

    is the camera autofocus?..and can you please make a video for your review?

  5. akosijayboy says:

    I think I would just buy an Ainol Aurora.

  6. coachjojoc says:

    Was given one last Xmas. Agree with all your comments specially on battery performance.

    You cannot transfer files to the sd card simply because Honeycomb does not allow it, but I was told that with the Tab 7.0 Plus you can…(maybe somebody can confirm this).
    Also there’s no native sms messaging app…again because of honeycomb.

    Let me see…There’s zoom from 1.02 to 4.0, white balance, camera settings and color effect…that’s about it.

    Glad Huawei confirmed the Mediapad is ICS 4 upgradeable which would solve the sd transfer and sms drawbacks.

    But who am I to complain? I got it for free.

  7. allan d. guinto
    Twitter: togints
    says:

    hi sir, i would like to ask you if you will recommend the Huawei MediaPad? i’ve been looking for an Android based tab that is less expensive but ok on specifications and features. tnx God bless.

  8. Biztech0514 says:

    I’m now using MediaPad. It has phone and SMS functionalities too. Soon, ICe Cream Sandwich will be released, as announced.

  9. gerrycho says:

    i don’t know — but huawei mediapad looked kinda cheap | katulad ng mga knock-offs sa divisoria…

    i have high hopes on the mediapad 10″ though | sa specs na pinakita – mukang kaya nyang tumapat sa iPAD 3 :)

    it’s really a good idea to wait for an LTE tablet para hindi naman sayang ang investment. :D

  10. Maui says:

    I happen to own one. It runs on Honeycomb 3.2, it ahs full phone functions and when you mount it on usb connection, it allows the pc to access both the built in storage and the sd card. :)

    It’s just hard to find a leather case with stand, though it came with a free leather pouch.

    My office-mates own ipad2 units but they still get the wow factor whenever they use my mediapad, since January 2012. :)

    @gerrycho – that’s what I thought so at first, but when I got the chance to hold it with my hands, naimpress ako dahil sobrang solid ng build nya

    guys if you’re into finding accessories for the tablet, samsung is the best choice since madaming available na accessories like leather case and jellycase. but if you’re into performance, I would recommend mediapad. BTW, samsung units come with touchwiz so it means you wont get the whole ‘honeycomb’ or ‘ICS’ UI experience at all.

  11. Rony says:

    It looks like an HTC Flyer.

  12. robert says:

    just bought this yesterday at memoexpress P17,840 at 3 months 0 interest.

  13. randz
    Twitter: bulatenggala
    says:

    Saw one at a store in GB5 …. P21,990?????

  14. Maui says:

    guys, don’t upgrade to ICS muna. bumilis nga yung performance pero laggy and nagpipixelate yung video playback kahit HD format ung file :-/

  15. rotero
    Twitter: rubyotero
    says:

    im looking forward on this device….

  16. Mikael Arhelger says:

    I do not think people will like it that much. It is a Chinese product!

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