Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8
M5 Pro from €499 (£TBC) M5 from €399 (£TBC)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
• 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