Huawei Me­di­aPad M5 10.8

M5 Pro from €499 (£TBC) M5 from €399 (£TBC)

Android Advisor - - Contents -

Not well-known in the UK, Huawei has yet to carve out a name for it­self in the tablet world. Its Me­di­aPad range has been around for a long while, though, and three new mod­els were launched at MWC 2018. Two of those have a 10.8in screen and are iden­ti­cal aside from the fact that the Pro ver­sion comes with a sty­lus – the M-Pen – in the box. We saw the 8.4 in model on

Price

UK prices are yet to be an­nounced, but the en­try-level Wi-Fi only 32GB model costs €399. Prices for the Pro model start at €499.

De­sign

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the 10.8in ver­sion of the Me­di­aPad M5 looks ex­actly like a larger ver­sion of the 8.4in model. It’s also of­fered in ei­ther Space Grey (with a black screen bezel) or Cham­pagne Gold (with a white screen bezel).

The metal uni­body chas­sis ta­pers at the edges to make it feel thin­ner than it is, and it looks good. As with the smaller model, you’ll find a USB-C port rather than Mi­cro-USB. This is used for ev­ery­thing: charg­ing, data trans­fer and also au­dio out­put. That means us­ing the in­cluded USB-C to 3.5mm adap­tor if you want to use ex­ist­ing head­phones, and also that you can’t lis­ten with head­phones while charg­ing the tablet.

De­spite hav­ing a larger screen, res­o­lu­tion is the same as the 8.4in model at 2560x1600 pix­els. Pixel den­sity is there­fore lower at 280ppi, but it’s higher than Sam­sung’s 10.6in Gal­axy Book at 218ppi.

There’s a ver­sion of the M5 and M5 Pro with a nano-SIM slot. There are also Wi-Fi only ver­sions, and we don’t yet know if these will be sold in all re­gions or not.

All ver­sions have a mi­croSD slot for adding up to 256GB to the on-board stor­age. For the stan­dard M5, that’s 32, 64 or 128GB, but the M5 Pro doesn’t bother with the small­est ca­pac­ity and will only be of­fered with 64- or 128GB. All ver­sions have 4GB of RAM.

Like some of Huawei’s older 10in tablets, the M5 has quad speak­ers. When held in land­scape mode, the lower speak­ers on each side pro­duce mid- and low fre­quen­cies. At the top are a pair of tweet­ers, pro­duc­ing the tre­ble.

It was tricky to as­sess qual­ity dur­ing our short hands-on time with the tablet, but vol­ume was re­spectable. We’ll have to wait un­til we can prop­erly lis­ten to judge out­right qual­ity, though.

What we can say is that when held in por­trait mode the stereo ar­range­ment doesn’t change as it does with the iPad Pro.

On the rear are three gold con­tacts: these are for the key­board case, which works with the Pro and stan­dard ver­sions of the tablet. Un­for­tu­nately, no key­boards were around to test out. Huawei says it has ‘full-size’ keys.

M-Pen

As men­tioned, the sty­lus is in­cluded in the box with the M5 Pro. Huawei couldn’t con­firm if Wa­com tech is used or another com­pany’s, but it did say that the M-Pen won’t work on the stan­dard 10.8in Me­di­aPad.

Like cer­tain ri­vals, it has 4,096 lev­els of pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity and has sen­sors to de­tect the pre­cise tilt an­gle, which is use­ful if you want to shade as you would with a pen­cil.

Use­fully, its recharge­able and a 100-minute charge is said to give 50 days’ use. Clev­erly, a USB-C port is lo­cated un­der the clip which ro­tates to hide it.

From our short time scrib­bling with it, we’d say it’s just as re­spon­sive as ri­vals, with no no­tice­able de­lay: ink ap­pears on screen at the same rapid pace as Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Pro and the Gal­axy Book.

Soft­ware

The Me­di­aPad runs An­droid, which is per­fectly fine for the stan­dard ver­sion. For the Pro, it’s not ideal.

Sam­sung’s Gal­axy Book, just one of sev­eral ri­vals, runs Win­dows 10. That’s ar­guably a bet­ter choice for

pro­duc­tiv­ity, but whether or not it’ll be an is­sue for the Me­di­aPad M5 Pro’s tar­get au­di­ence re­mains to be seen.

As men­tioned, we were un­able to test out the key­board and this also means we couldn’t try the Desk­top View soft­ware mode. Sim­i­lar to the Mate 10 Pro’s Win­dows-like mode when you hook it up to an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor, the M5 Pro will au­to­mat­i­cally switch to this en­vi­ron­ment when you at­tach the key­board.

It lets you run mul­ti­ple apps in win­dows and mul­ti­task but, if it’s sim­i­lar to the Mate 10 Pro, it isn’t as re­fined as Win­dows.

Apps are also a po­ten­tial is­sue. There’s no short­age of An­droid apps, but not many are de­signed to be run in a win­dow and re­sized at will. Huawei doesn’t even preload much soft­ware to use with the M-Pen. All you get is MyScript Cal­cu­la­tor and ‘Nebo for Huawei’ which is a note-tak­ing app, and only a demo at that.

For the non-Pro tablet, the com­bi­na­tion of Oreo and Huawei EMUI 8.0 is great, as it’s de­signed pri­mar­ily as an en­ter­tain­ment de­vice. We’ve still to bench­mark both tablets for per­for­mance, but both seemed swift and re­spon­sive in gen­eral use.

Huawei has yet to say any­thing about fu­ture An­droid up­dates. If pre­vi­ous Me­di­aPads are a sign to go by, then don’t hold your breath for An­droid 9.

Bat­tery life

We’ll run our bat­tery bench­mark when we get the 10.8in Me­di­aPad M5, but Huawei says its tablet will play HD video for 10 hours, and then less than three hours to recharge again from flat.

Ver­dict

We’ll up­date this hands-on re­view with a proper ver­dict once we’ve had time to fully bench­mark the tablets and also test the new Desk­top View mode. Un­til then, ini­tial im­pres­sions are mixed. The stan­dard ver­sion could be a good midrange tablet, but the Pro may strug­gle against its Win­dows-based ri­vals. Jim Martin

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 10.8in (2560x1600, 280ppi) 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 • 258.7x171.8x7.3mm • 498g

The M-Pen of­fers 4,096 lev­els of pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity

The three gold con­tacts con­nect the de­vice to the key­board case

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