The Huawei MediaPad runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb free of any modifications. We're not complaining about the lack of intervention on Huawei's part. Many prefer the vanilla interface and a third party launcher isn't hard to obtain.
Before we begin here is a video demo of the user interface in action.
The Honeycomb interface was designed specifically for tablets and it served as the basis for Ice Cream Sandwich. The navigation keys are in the bottom left corner of the homescreen: Back, Home and Tasks. The search shortcut is on the top left, the app drawer on the top right and finally, but certainly not least importantly, the notification area is in the lower right corner.
The notification area has several toggles - Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Auto-rotate screen Notifications, Sound and Brightness. An SRS shortcut is available here too - tapping it allows you to modify the global sound enhancement settings.
The three always visible virtual keys- back, home and task switcher - are a part of Honeycomb and share the bottom status bar.
There's another way to place shortcuts on the homescreen - you press and hold on an empty area of any homescreen and you'll get a tabbed interface to select app shortcuts, widgets, wallpapers and other items.
The search shortcuts (voice and text) are in the top left corner of the homescreen, while the app launcher and homescreen edit buttons stay in the top right.
The app launcher has two tabs - All and My apps. The first shows all available apps (duh), while the second one shows only non-native apps, making the apps that you installed easier to locate.
Shortcuts in the launcher are placed in side-scrollable pages. A tap and hold on a shortcut reveals several options - Uninstall, Info and the thumbnails of the 5 homescreens so you can drop the app on any one of them.
A cool thing about the task switcher is that it has grown tabs too. The first tab - Recent - shows you apps just like you're used to. The second tab is called Running and as the name suggests list only currently active apps that you can force close.
The Huawei MediaPad packs two Scorpion cores running at 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM at their disposal and there's an Adreno 220 GPU. Let's see how that combo compares to some of the other tablets we've tested.
BenchmarkPi shows that the MediaPad is the slowest of the bunch, while Linpack has it neck and neck with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Performance depends on the workload we suppose.
The Huawei MediaPad has more pixels on its screen than the Tab 7.0 Plus and exactly as many as the Samsung Galaxy Note. Here the Adreno 220 matches the Mali-400MP that the two Samsung devices use.
The web browser benchmarks have the MediaPad trailing the performance of Tab 7.0 Plus, but ahead of a Gingerbread Note. When the Ice Cream Sandwich update hits, the performance will increase significantly.