Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4
From €349 (£TBC)
Tablet launches are few and far between these days, so the MediaPad M5 is something of a rarity. It’s the follow-up to the MediaPad M3 – the number four is considered unlucky in China – and has similarly premium specifications.
Price will depend on capacity and whether you go for LTE or not. UK prices are yet to be announced, but the entry-level Wi-Fi only 32GB model costs €349.
There’s an all-new design for the M5, and it no longer looks like an scaled up Huawei Mate smartphone. Gone is the stripe at the top of the rear, replaced by an antenna line, which hugs the edges.
The lozenge-shaped fingerprint scanner stays below the screen on the front, though. It comes in two colours – Champagne Gold and Space Grey – and brings everything up to date by replacing the Micro-USB port with a reversible USB-C port.
Unfortunately, as with many recent phones, the MediaPad M5 ditches the traditional headphone jack and bundles an adaptor in the, box so you don’t have to use USB-C headphones. It isn’t a deal-breaker but adaptors are annoying, especially when you lose them or leave them behind.
Either side of the USB-C port are grilles, one of which houses a speaker. There’s a second at the top of the tablet, which means you get better stereo sound when watching videos in landscape mode. In our brief tests they sounded decent enough, but no better than you’d expect from a thin tablet.
Cameras have been updated so there’s now a 13Mp sensor at the rear and (as before) 8Mp at the front. Conditions were much too dim in the hands-on session to assess whether they’re any good, so we’ll reserve judgement until we can take the tablet out in the real world.
The screen retains the 2560x1600 resolution of its predecessor, which means it also has the same 359ppi pixel density. It’s a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is handy for watching video. It’s taller and thinner than the 3:2
aspect ratio you’ll find on any iPad. To all intents and purposes, it’s the same as the M3’s screen. That’s no bad thing, as colours are vivid, viewing angles wide and both brightness and contrast are very good. There’s a blue-light reduction mode for night use, a feature you expect to find on all modern tablets.
As before, there’s a nano-SIM slot for LTE, so you can pop in a data SIM and get online when out of Wi-Fi range. However, that’s only on the SHT-AL09 model. There’s a Wi-Fi only version (model SHT-W09), and it’s unclear which regions will get which version.
What we do know is that the tablet will come in 32-, 64- and 128GB versions, and all have a generous 4GB of RAM. They also have a microSD slot for adding up to 256GB of extra storage.
Aside from the design, the main upgrades are the cameras and the Kirin 960 processor. The M3 had the 950, and the 960 is the chip used first in the Huawei P10 phone. When asked why it didn’t use the more recent 970 from the Mate 10 Pro, Huawei essentially said that would have been overkill.
It’s likely true, too: Android Oreo felt responsive when we tried various apps and there were no noticeable delays launching or switching between apps. You don’t get the artificial intelligence of the 970, but the 960 does have ‘machine learning’.
Combined with Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 software, you can expect the MediaPad M5 to stay fast even when lots of apps are installed. That’s certainly the case with the company’s phones: EMUI does a great
job of optimizing RAM use and also has plenty of power-saving tricks.
You’ll get – according to Huawei – 11 hours of HD video playback from the tablet and it takes under 2 hours to fully charge from completely empty.
It’s too soon to say anything definitive about the MediaPad M5 8.4. What we can say is that it’s very similar to the M3, but with a faster processor and better cameras. Jim Martin
• • • 8.4in (2560x1600, 359ppi) IPS LCD capacitive display Android 8.0 Oreo HiSilicon Kirin 960s processor
• Octa-core CPU • 4GB RAM • 32/ 64/128GB storage, microSD up to 256GB • Fingerprint scanner • 13Mp rear-facing camera: phase detection
autofocus, LED flash • 8Mp front-facing camera • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 • A-GPS • USB 2.0 Type-C • Non-removable lithium-polymer 5,100mAh battery • 212.6x124.8x7.3mm • 316g
The MediaPad comes with Android Oreo