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Review #MWC18 4 min read 2 comments

Huawei MediaPad M5: a breath of fresh air for tablets

Tablets may have been a big trend for a while, but those days are behind us. When it comes to Android tablets, the well-known manufacturers have become very reserved. Huawei, however, is relaunching its MediaPad series at MWC 2018 and is showcasing three variants of the MediaPad M5. 

Huawei MediaPad M5 8,4 release date and price

The Huawei MediaPad M5 will be coming to the US sometime in March. We're still waiting for information on US prices for these tablets, but the European market information gives us some hints.

The MediaPad with an 8.4-inch display costs 349 Euros ($429) for the Wi-Fi version. The same size with an LTE modem, or the one with a larger display and Wi-Fi, costs 399 Euros ($490). The large display version with LTE is available for 449 Euros ($552). Then there's the MediaPad M5 Pro with LTE at 549 Euro ($674).

 

Huawei MediaPad M5 8,4 design and build quality

There's one thing you've got to hand to Huawei: the Chinese company really knows how to build hardware. The Huawei MediaPad M5 has a stylish unibody housing made of aluminum, which is a good 7 mm thick and excellently manufactured. The MediaPad M5 comes in two sizes with display diagonals of 8.4 and 10.8 inches. The larger tablet weighs 498 grams, while the smaller one weighs 310 grams.

The displays of the two variants of the Huawei MediaPad M5 are different sizes, but otherwise they're identical. The resolution of the IPS panels is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. This means that the smaller tablet has a slightly higher pixel density of 359 ppi than the 279 ppi of the larger model. Both displays are beautiful to look at, but OLED panels usually have a little more to offer, especially in terms of color and black depths.

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The MediaPad M5 / © AndroidPIT, Irina Efremova

Where did the power button go?

If you want to switch on the large Huawei tablet, you'll be in for a surprise: Where is the power button? The answer: At the bottom of the MediaPad M5, together with the volume rocker and the USB port. This feels very strange at first, but it makes sense: If you hold the tablet in landscape format, both buttons are easy to reach with your index finger. The thumb is also not far from the home button with the fingerprint sensor.

Although the Kirin 960 from Hisilicon is no longer up to date, it has more than enough power for all the tasks that a tablet is charged with. Films, high-resolution games, elaborate websites - all of this will be no problem for the Huawei MediaPad M5. The Huawei tablet is packing 4 GB RAM and 32 GB of storage, expandable via microSD. What's hard to understand is the missing headphone jack, which seems to be senseless trend-chasing, as there is actually more than enough space in a tablet for this.

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The MediaPad M5 has a great display, whichever version you pick. / © AndroidPIT, Irina Efremova

Rich sound thanks to Samsung's technology

The outstanding feature of the MediaPad M5 is its sound. Huawei once again relies on the know-how of Harman Kardon even though the company is now part of Samsung. Not that it matters much. Manufacturers always source different components from other companies, including direct competitors. In the large MediaPad M5 there are four loudspeakers, in the small model there are two. The many drilled holes allow the sound to penetrate the longer sides of the tablet. With its comparatively good sound, the MediaPad M5 - the clue's in the name - is well suited for multimedia use.

With the software, Huawei stays up to date and uses Android 8.0 Oreo with its own user interface EMUI 8. The large MediaPad M5 has a strong battery with 7,500 mAh, while the small model has a capacity of 5,100 mAh. Charging is done via USB-C and QuickCharge.

Early Verdict

The MediaPad M5 is not a revolution, of course. Huawei hasn't reinvented the tablet market with this device, nor does it have to. The MediaPad M5 is more than a solid and very stylish tablet, in both sizes, and is well suited for all possible purposes. If no nasty surprises should appear during our in-depth review, it looks like Huawei has managed a real top contender in the Android tablet world.

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