Product: Huawei Mediapad
Specifications: 1.2GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Android 3.2 Honeycomb, 7in LCD 1280x800 IPS LCD display, 5MP autofocus camera with 720p HD video, 1.3MP front-facing camera, up to 32GB expandable storage, 4,100mAh battery, 190x124x10.5mm, 390g
THE COMPACT Huawei Mediapad is a modest tablet that doesn't want to compete with "the new Ipad" or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1in tablet. Instead, the dinky slate hopes to tempt consumers looking for a handbag-friendly alternative, which it manages thanks to its slender frame and 7in screen. However, with its cheap price tag come a number of niggles, including its below-par rear facing camera, disappointing battery life and often over-complicated interface.
Hey, good looking
We were immediately impressed by the look and feel of the Huawei Mediapad, its aluminium casing screaming premium and feeling robust enough to handle scratches and tumbles. The tablet's size is just as appealing, as at 190x124x10.5mm we even managed to squeeze it into our pocket, although it's not that light at almost 400g.
In terms of ports and buttons, the Mediapad is fairly streamlined. You'll find a volume rocker on the right hand side of the tablet, and a power button resting on the top. You'll also find mini-HDMI and mini-USB ports on the bottom of the device, and a 3.5mm jack sitting on the top. However, despite the inclusion of a USB port, the device doesn't come with support for USB charging, which means you'll have to lug a heavy cable around with the slate.
We should mention, although we were given the mooted silver version in for review, the tablet will also be available in shadow black, classic brown and a garish passion pink model.
7in screen is impressive
The screen on the Mediapad is not the best we've had the pleasure of testing. However, the 7in 800x120 WXGA display is by no means one of the worst, either, boasting resolution usually found on larger 10in tablets. Its in-plane switching (IPS) LCD means it has impressive viewing angles and manages to look good in direct sunlight too, as long as the brightness is set at 100 per cent. The display also touts a decent 217 pixels per inch (ppi), which means it's more crisp looking than the 7in 196ppi screen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
No taste of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich just yet
The Huawei Mediapad runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb out of the box, with an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) said to be coming. However, with no ICS on the tablet at launch some customers will no doubt be put off.
Android 3.2 Honeycomb might not be as old as Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but we can't help but think it already feels more dated. The three shortcut buttons in the corner of the screen make navigating the tablet often over-complicated, despite the largely vanilla user interface. The lack of ICS also makes for a lack of apps such as the Google Chrome web browser, which, as we mentioned in our HTC One X review, is the best browser available on Android devices.
One nice thing we did come across though is Huawei Office, the company's own mobile office suite. Ideal for professionals looking to be proactive while on their way into the office, this app enables users to create and edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint projects, and much to our surprise it does so really well.
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