Unlike last year, Huawei is not coming to MWC with a new P-series smartphone, namely the rumored P20, probably due to Samsung unveiling its highly anticipated Galaxy S9 at the show.
Anyhow, we are happy to see that the Chinese manufacturer is launching premium Android tablets instead, the MediaPad M5 series. And once again the rumored specifications were spot on.

The successor of the MediaPad M3 introduced at IFA 2016, the Huawei MediaPad M5 comes in three flavors: the MediaPad M5 8.4-inch, the MediaPad M5 10.8-inch, and the MediaPad M5 10.8-inch Pro equipped with a digital pen. Each model will be available in Space Grey and Champagne Gold, and no word on the launch date or the pricing. From the rumors, we know that the expected price would be around $400, stay tuned for the update on that during MWC.

Tablets do not get the traction they once used to have, that explains why Huawei last major release was over a year and a half ago. Interestingly, the product line is missing the M4 which would be a logical name to succeed to the M3. Well, in Chinese numerology the number 4 is bad luck, so we sure have our explanation here.

The new Huawei tablets get Huawei’s EMUI 8.0, runs on Android 8.0 Oreo, and features the previous generation flagship Kirin SoC (launched 2016), the octa-core Kirin 960. For reference, the latest Huawei smartphone flagship, the Mate 10 Pro features the latest Kirin 970 processor.

What’s new?

New form factor and a pen:
The new Huawei M-series Android tablet comes now in the 10.8-inch form factor with a Pro version, which has all the same features as the regular 10.8 except for the M-pen that comes with it.

New rear camera:
the MediaPad m3 featured an 8MP camera on the front and on the back, and the M5 gets a 13MP rear shooter while keeping the 8MP resolution on the front.

Processor upgrade:
As usual, Huawei uses its previous-generation high-end processor for its Android tablets, the M3 got the Kirin 950 during the year the Kirin 960 was the new kid on the block, so we expected the M5 to get the octa-core Kirin 960 while the high-end phones run on the Kirin  970.

Different but quite similar dimensions and weight for the 8.4:
At 7.3 mm, the new MediaPad 8.4 delivers the same thinness as its predecessor but is a hair larger at 124.8 mm (vs. 124.2 mm for the M3) and slightly shorter at 212.6 mm (vs. 215.5 mm for the M3)

Similar display and battery capacity: The WQXGA IPS display looks the same with its 2560×1600 resolution and 359 PPI pixel density. Like the previous 8.4-inch model, the M5 8.4 provides 5100 mAh battery capacity.

Industrial Design

The unibody metal chassis combined with the 2.5D display glass feels high-end and is comfortable to hold in hand.  Huawei bragged about the U-shaped antenna, and we suppose that it may provide a better reception since this unique shape may allow the antenna to be partly out of the way of your hand.
The 8-inch and the 10-inch features the same 7.3mm thinness, the larger body measure 258.7mm in width and 171.8mm in length.

See below photos of the Mediapad M5 8.4-inch:

MediaPad M5 10.8 with Quad Speaker and detachable keyboard Besides the size and the battery capacity, the key difference between the MediaPad M5 8.4 and the 10.8 models are the Pogo Pins that come with the larger device, which allow attaching an external keyboard.
The optional detachable keyboard is comfortable to use, and comparable in quality as the one featured in the Samsung galaxy tab S3, but not as good as the one you find in the Surface Pro 4.
On the audio side, all devices come with Harman Kardon sound, but the smaller one only offers dual speakers while both versions of the 10-inch feature Quad Speaker.

MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro with Quad Speaker, detachable keyboard, and M-pen

The only difference between the M5 10.8 and the M5 10.8 Pro is the M-pen, a 4096 pressure level digital pen that comes with a Type C charger. The M-Pen last for 50 days on a one-hour charging session. The hardware in the pen is made by Huawei, and Wacom provides the software.

Display

Nothing surprising on the display side, the WQXVGA IPS display offers the same 2560×1600 resolution on all devices, which delivers higher pixel density at 359 PPI for the smaller 8.4 form factor than the 10.8 model (280 PPI).  The image quality is very good, with deep contrasts and bright colors.
Unlike the Samsung Tab S3 launched last year at MWC 2017, the new Huawei android tablets do not offer an HDR-ready screen panel. That may not be a decision-making factor for consumers since it is hard to know which content is available with the feature.

Camera

Unlike smartphones, cameras in tablets are not the killer feature people expect since the device is now probably mostly used to consume content at home. Huawei upgraded the rear shooter with a 13MP camera module with autofocus and an 8MP front camera with fixed focus.

Hardware and Performance

As explained in the introduction, since the tablet market is not the one leading the mobile devices profits, manufacturers tend to select cheaper but still powerful processors to run the show. The best bet is to use the previous year flagship SoC, which most people are familiar with regarding performance.

The MediaPad M5 runs on an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 (launched in 2016) and 4GB of RAM. The M5 8.4 and 10.8 will be available in three flavors 32GB/64Gb/128GB while the M5 10.8 Pro will only get 64GB or 128GB (only in China) of internal memory. All devices’ internal storage can be expanded with up to 256GB, thanks to the microSD card slot.

Software: Android 8.0 and EMUI 8.0

The MediaPad 5 gets the latest Android version, Oreo 8.0 (the 8.1 will be available soon), released by Google last year. On top of Android, the Huawei devices run a custom user interface, the EMUI, and the latest 8.0 version, the successor of the 5.1 version,  launched last year with the Mate 10

Connectivity

M5 series tablets provide a Nano SIM card, for LTE connectivity, only supported in Huawei MediaPad M5 model numbers SHT-W09, CMR-W09 and CMR W19. All models support Wi-Fi: (IEEE802.11a/b/g/n/ac; 2.4 GHz/ 5 GHz) and Bluetooth: 4.2. Additionally, all three versions get a fingerprint sensor. On the connector side, the MediaPad M5 features a Type C USB port and no audio jack. Huawei provides a Type-C to 3.5 mm jack adapter in the box.

Battery (regular)

The 5100 mAh battery in the 8-inch model delivers 11 hours of video playback while the 10-inch 10 hours of video on its 7500 mAh Lithium Polymer battery, according to Huawei. Thanks to quick charge, it takes only 1.9 hours for the 8-inch to fully charge and the 10-inch requires 2.9 hours, due to its larger capacity.

Conclusion

The new MediaPad M5 high-end Android tablets deliver good performance for the expected price (to date, rumored at around $400). The slim and elegant form factor is a little thicker than the Samsung Tab S3 but for the 10.8-inch form factor is larger.

Key Features

Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4-inch

  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 212.6mm x 124.8mm x 7.3mm
  • Weight: About 316g
  • Colors: Space Gray, and Champagne Gold
  • Display: 8.4 inches IPS display
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1600, 359 pixels per inch(PPI)
  • CPU: Huawei Kirin 960, Octa-core
  • Operating System: Android 8.0 + EMUI 8.0
  • Memory ROM: 32GB/ 64GB/ 128GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Micro SD card slot:  with up to 25 6GB capacity
  • Wireless Connectivity: LTE (for LTE models only) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth: 4.2
  • Sensors: Ambient light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, Hall effect sensor, fingerprint sensor
  • Audio: Built-in microphone, dual speakers, HUAWEI Histen stereo sound effect
  • Front camera: 8MP, fixed focus
  • Rear camera: 13MP, autofocus
  • Battery: 5100 mAh Lithium

Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8-inch

  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 258.7mm x 171.8mm x 7.3mm
  • Weight About 498g
  • Colors: Space Gray, and Champagne Gold
  • Display:  IPS 10.8 inches display,
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1600 280 pixels per inch (PPI)
  • CPU: Huawei Kirin 960s, Octa-core
  • OS: Android 8.0 + EMUI 8.0
  • ROM: 32GB/64GB/128GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Micro SD card slot:  with up to 25 6GB capacity
  • Wireless Connectivity LTE (LTE models only) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth: 4.2
  • Sensors: Ambient light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, Hall effect sensor, fingerprint sensor
  • Audio: Built-in microphone, Quad speakers, HUAWEI Histen stereo sound effect
  • Front camera: 8MP, fixed focus
  • Rear camera: 13MP, autofocus
  • Battery: 7500 mAh Lithium polymer

Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8-inch Pro

The MediaPad M5  10.8-inch Pro has the same features as the MediaPad M5 10.8-inch except for the M-pen and no 32Gb model, the 128GB model is only for China. The processor for the Pro version is the Kirin 960, while the 10.8-inch regular version features the 960s, which is “optimized for tablets” according to Huawei, and we have no idea what that means, so we cannot tell what the difference is.

Update: Prices for the Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 and 10.8 start at €349 and €399 respectively. The MediaPad M5 Pro 10.8 starts at €499. The MediaPad M5 Series will be available in spring 2018 in North America, Europe, China, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.

 

Filed in Breaking >Reviews >Tablets. Read more about Android, Huawei, MWC, MWC 2018 and Tablet.

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