With its new tablet, Huawei offers a high-end experience and dreams of competing with Apple’s iPad Pro. A promise that the brand holds hands on the design and quality of the device, but the navigation comes to spoil.
Equipped with a SoC Kirin 960, and not the Kirin 970 yet proudly highlighted in the latest smartphones Mate 10 and P20 brand, the Huawei MediaPad M5 is a high-end tablet of 10.8 inches. Working with EMUI 8.0.0, the overlay home reinforcement of Android Oreo, this model has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, expandable by micro SD. Thanks to magnetic connectors, you can connect a physical keyboard (sold separately) but you can not use the pen M-Pen, exclusive to the Pro version.
The Huawei MediaPad M5 is marketed from 399 euros for the Wi-Fi version, and from 449 euros for the 4G version.
A remarkable screen and sound
With a beautiful definition of 2560 x 1600 pixels, the screen of the MediaPad M5 is very pleasant to use. With a luminosity close to 400 cd / m², a high contrast of 1400: 1 and faithful colors (provided you choose the right setting), the tablet is an ideal companion for watching movies on a train or plane, as well by the quality of the image as by the lightness of its case (512 grams). In the 16: 9 format, the MediaPad M5’s 10.8-inch screen has the merit of not adding large black stripes to your movies, unlike iPads and their 4: 3 aspect ratio.
Inside, the four Harman Kardon speakers (owned by Samsung) live up to the promise of Huawei’s mini sound-bar. The sound is just amazing for a device of this size. Whether listening to music or watching a movie, we are way above the sound quality offered by the competition, with the possible exception of the iPad Pro and its four equally powerful speakers. .
We regret, however, Huawei’s incomprehensible choice not to include a jack on his tablet. If this decision can be understood on smartphone, we deplore this choice especially for a product of this size. A USB-C / mini-Jack adapter is certainly provided in the box, but the damage is done …
Note that the fingerprint sensor, present on the main button in front, is a treat to use. The tablet is unlocked ultra quickly, with a simple touch, and navigation by gesture, which eliminates virtual buttons, is really enjoyable. A touch to go back, a long press to go to the home screen, a swipe to show multitasking and go.
On the other hand, we do not understand Huawei’s choice of placing the power button directly below the volume buttons. Far too often, we put the tablet in standby by simply want to lower the volume …
A powerful and enduring tablet
Equipped with the Kirin 960 SoC, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, the MediaPad M5 performs well. In our benchmarks, the tablet logically arrives behind a model equipped with a Kirin 970 processor or an Apple A10X, but gives quite satisfactory results (142198 in AnTuTu 6). By trying to push the tablet to the maximum of its performance with a game like Riptide GP, energy-intensive mode optimal, the tablet shows its true capabilities and passes the test hands down without any slowdown.
In versatile autonomy, we recorded a good performance of 10 hours and 51 minutes for the MediaPad M5. In video playback, the tablet is strangely less but remains relatively enduring with a score of 9 hours and 51 minutes. What to ensure a flight Paris-San Francisco without any recharge, provided to take a small break between each film!
Finally, Huawei offers an interesting feature especially for business use: desktop mode. Android applications then function as Windows windows and can overlap and expand as you wish. After a number of open applications, the tablet may experience some slowdown. This is not the case if we just juxtapose Chrome and Word windows. We work then as on a PC, once the tablet connected to a keyboard.
Bugs, delays, and a lack of optimization
If on paper the Huawei MediaPad M5 seems to be up to the promises, using it as the main computer has revealed significant gaps in software optimization. In third-party apps, the tablet is sometimes a little scary. To leave a full-screen video in YouTube, you sometimes have to do it several times, since the application does not interpret the gesture correctly. Same in Facebook or Instagram, where to scroll through his newsfeed can become very slow. A height for such a powerful device.
Another annoying problem: some menus or some applications are not adapted to the landscape mode of the tablet and tend to suddenly switch to portrait mode, which is particularly troublesome to use. Just to configure the device at its first start, we had to alternate between vertical and horizontal position almost ten times to get to the home screen. Huawei seems to have favored portrait mode for the use of his tablet. She takes for a big smartphone, and it’s a problem.
Note also the presence of 13 pre-installed third-party applications, such as Facebook, Netflix or Spider-Man game that occupy … 2.82 GB of internal storage. Fortunately, they can be uninstalled, but the user should not have to do it himself.
A disappointing camera
As often for a tablet, the quality of the camera is not at the rendezvous. If in high brightness, the result is quite honorable, the tablet collapses in low light. Images lack precision, are distorted and colors lack fidelity. Of course, the camera is not the most important function of a tablet, but we could have hoped better from the creator of the P20 Pro. Especially since the sensor is 13 Mpix.
The front camera (8 Mpix) is doing well, it relatively well. The quality is largely up to its use for video calls or more rare selfies.
In video, the tablet suffers from some difficulties: it loses focus with each movement too fast and the lack of stabilization does not play in his favor.