Huawei MediaPad review: On the rise

GSMArena team, 21 February 2012.
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Design and build quality

The Huawei MediaPad has a simple styling and feels rock solid though by no means heavy. The aluminum case folds around the screen and its square edges provide a very secure grip. Two patches of plastic at the back break the aluminum surface and match the black screen bezel.

Before we go on, we should note that the aluminum grey and black color combo we got is only one of several versions on offer. The alternatives are Shadow Black, Classic Brown, and Passion Pink. These versions have both the aluminum and the plastic bits painted in the chosen color.

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Huawei MediaPad • MediaPad next to the Amazon Kindle Fire

There're only so many ways to design a tablet but the MediaPad does well to set itself apart. The black plastic triangles at the back give it a distinct enough look.

The Huawei MediaPad has an impressive screen as we mentioned already. With WXGA resolution (1280x800), the screen has more pixels than the majority of 7" tablets in the market.

The pixel density works out to 216ppi which, as we already mentioned, is about as much as you get out of a 10.1" 1920x1200 tablet screen (like the Transformer Prime TF700T).

It's an IPS LCD too, which really helps it with viewing angles. There's practically no color or contrast loss at an angle. Sunlight legibility is good too, at 100% brightness.

The display of the Huawei MediaPad has about 400 nits of brightness, which is the norm for tablets. The black levels are more impressive than on most tablets and as a result, the contrast ratio is very good.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Amazon Kindle Fire 0.09 82 933 0.45 401 896
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus 0.17 196 1141 0.34 424 1236
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 0.31 257 826 0.55 502 915
HTC Flyer 0.18 169 921 0.41 409 1002
Huawei MediaPad 0.19 223 1149 0.35 396 1117
Motorola XOOM 0.12 216 1853 0.21 436 2041
LG Optimus Pad 0.19 170 889 0.57 458 811
Apple iPad 2 0.18 167 925 0.55 429 775
Apple iPad 0.18 178 834 0.53 410 776

The one complaint we have about the screen is the lack of specialty glass scratch protection. To be fair, many tablets miss that feature. Nothing that a screen protector can't fix, perhaps.

Besides the screen itself, the only other items of interest on the front are the ambient light sensor and the 1.3MP front-facing camera. There's no earpiece, but talking on the MediaPad would look silly anyway. You can use the loudspeaker or a Bluetooth headset to do the job.

Let's go around the sides of the tablet. The bottom short side is home to a 3mm charger plug, a microUSB port (non-charging, but has On-The-Go functionality) and the standard microHDMI port. The tablet's sole microphone is here as well.

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The bottom of the MediaPad houses the charger plug, microUSB and microHDMI ports

The top side features a 3.5mm audio jack and the stereo loudspeakers. It would have been better if the two speakers were on opposite sides. Also, if you hold the tablet horizontally, it's pretty easy to cover one of them with your palm.

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A close up of the 3.5mm audio jack and stereo speakers on top of the talbet

The right side of the Huawei MediaPad holds the Power/Lock key and the volume rocker. The left side is left empty.

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Power/Lock key and volume rocker on the right • Nothing on the left

Time to flip the tablet over and inspect its back. The two distinctive black triangles are made of soft, matte plastic. The 5MP auto-focus camera is placed in the top one, while the bottom one is actually a removable cover.

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The two plastic triangles and the 5MP camera

You can pop it open (it can be a bit hard at first) to reveal the microSD and SIM card slots. The battery is not user accessible, but that's the norm for tablets.

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The microSD card and SIM card go here

A 4100mAh Li-Po battery powers the Huawei MediaPad. The official quote is 6 hours, but we ran our own tests.

In standby mode, the battery can last up to 10 days. But that's only if you don't touch the tablet - if you decide to do something fun with it, you can watch 6 hours of video straight. For web browsing, the MediaPad is good for 4 hours and 20 minutes.

The Huawei MediaPad is made of top-notch materials that give it a real premium feel. It feels very solid in the hand thanks to its unibody design. While it's not the thinnest or the lightest (it's still thinner and lighter than most 7-inchers), the MediaPad doesn't feel a burden at all. For the record, it measures 190 x 124 x 10.5 mm and weighs 390g.

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Holding the HuaweiMedia Pad in the hand

It's compact enough that you can easily carry it in the pocket of a coat or jacket. This means that you can take it everywhere you go pretty easily, unlike 10" tablets.

The hardware of the Huawei MediaPad left a very positive impression on us. Let's find if the software can do the same and if the Snapdragon chipset benchmarks well.

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