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HUAWEI MediaPad M5 hands-on: More than multimedia

HUAWEI MediaPad M5 brings video, audio and gaming together in the ultimate media tablet.

Published onFebruary 25, 2018

HUAWEI just announced its newest Android tablet, The HUAWEI MediaPad M5, at MWC 2018.

Coming in two sizes, the MediaPad M5 is a consummate media consumption machine, but the addition of an optional keyboard and stylus make it more than just another screen for watching Netflix.

Speaking of streaming, Ankit Jhaveri, HUAWEI’s senior director of mobile computing, told us Netflix’s decision to allow users to download content for offline viewing has been a boon for HUAWEI’s tablet business. The company has been seeing double-digit growth in some markets since Netflix launched offline viewing in November 2016. That’s a rare breath of air for this kind of product, which has struggled to attract new customers for years now. It’s telling that HUAWEI’s previous MediaPad tablet dates back from September 2016.

The MediaPad M5 is available in 8.4-inch and 10.8-inch screen variants, with both versions featuring 2560 x 1600 pixel “ClariVu” IPS LCD displays. To enhance the media experience, the tablets feature speakers tuned by Harman/Kardon. The smaller model comes with dual stereo speakers, while the 10.8-inch model goes up a notch with four speakers placed on each of the tablet’s sides.

The two tablets feature a sleek, if slightly unimaginative design, mixing an aluminum body with 2.5D contoured glass on the front. There’s more than a passing resemblance to the HUAWEI Mate 9 here.

We would’ve loved to see the AI-ready Kirin 970 inside the MediaPad M5, but HUAWEI opted for the 2016 Kirin 960 instead. That provides slightly less performance — and no AI doodads — but that probably won’t matter much for the vast majority of users. The tablets feature 4 GB of RAM and 32, 64, or 128 GB of storage.

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Movies are the main distraction we use our tablets for, but gaming is not far behind. The MediaPad M5’s EMUI 8.0 OS has a couple of optimizations designed with gamers in mind. It can give games processing priority and disable notifications from social apps while gaming.

The 8.4-inch MediaPad M5 (5,100 mAh) can fully charge in under two hours, thanks to its quick-charging feature, while 10.8-inch model (7,500 mAh) hits 100 percent in under three hours. HUAWEI claims you can watch up to 11 hours of Full HD video content on the smaller model, and 10 hours on the larger one.

If you’re interested in doing something productive on the MediaPad M5, you’ll probably want to pick up the 10.8-inch Pro model. Not only does it give you more screen real estate, you can make better use of it with the M-Pen stylus.

The M-Pen has been newly redesigned and enhanced. It lasts 50 days on a charge (it charges over USB Type-C) and can detect 4,096 levels of pressure, which should give you a more natural experience when doodling and jotting down notes on your tablet.

The Pro model supports an optional keyboard dock that plugs in via pogo pins, providing decent-sized keys and a touchpad, as well as a little clasp for the M-Pen.

In addition to the MediaPad M5, HUAWEI’s other tablet announcement at MWC 2018 is the Intel-powered Matebook X Pro, running Windows 10. There was no smartphone announcement from the Chinese giant, as the HUAWEI P20 launch was pushed back to March.

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