Equipped with a Kirin 960 SoC, not the Kirin 970, which is proudly featured in the brand’s lareview Mate 10 and P20 smartphones, the Huawei MediaPad M5 is a high-end 10.8-inch tablet. Working with EMUI 8.0.0, the overlay house in 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 cannot use the 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.
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 brightness close to 400 cd / m², a high contrast of 1400: 1 and faithful colors (provided you choose the right setting), the tablet turns out to be an ideal companion for watching films on a train or plane, as well by the quality of the image as by the lightness of its case (512 grams). In 16: 9 format, the 10.8 inch screen of MediaPad M5 has the advantage of not adding large black bands to your movies, unlike iPad and their 4: 3 format.
Inside, the four Harman Kardon speakers (owned by Samsung) live up to the promises of “Mini sound bar” from Huawei. The sound is simply incredible for a device of this size. Whether listening to music or watching a movie, we are far above the sound quality offered by the competition, with the possible exception of the iPad Pro and its four equally powerful speakers .
We nevertheless regret the incomprehensible choice of Huawei not to include a jack on its tablet. If this decision can possibly be understood on a smartphone, we deplore this choice particularly for a product of this size. A USB-C / mini-Jack adapter is certainly supplied in the box, but the damage is done…
Note that the fingerprint sensor, present on the main button on the front, is a treat to use. The tablet unlocks very quickly, with a simple touch, and gesture navigation, which eliminates virtual buttons, is really user-friendly. A touch to go back, a long press to go to the home screen, a swipe to display multitasking and off you go.
However, we do not understand Huawei’s choice to place the power button directly under the volume buttons. Far too often, we put the tablet to sleep by simply wanting 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 displays good performance. In our benchmarks, the tablet logically comes 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 efficient in optimal mode, the tablet shows its true capabilities and passes the review 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. Enough to ensure a Paris-San Francisco flight without any recharge, provided you take a short break between each film!
Finally, Huawei offers an interesting feature especially for professional use: the desktop mode. Android apps then work like Windows and can overlap and grow as you wish. After a number of open applications, the tablet may experience some slowdown. This is not the case if we just juxtapose the Chrome and Word windows. We then work as on a PC, once the tablet is connected to a keyboard.
Bugs, slowness, and lack of optimization
If on paper the Huawei MediaPad M5 seems to live up to the promises, using it as the main computer has revealed major shortcomings in terms of software optimization. In third-party apps, the tablet is sometimes a little scary. To exit a video in full screen in YouTube, it is sometimes necessary to repeat it several times, the application does not correctly interpret the gestures. Same in Facebook or Instagram, where scrolling through your news feed can get very slow. A shame for such a powerful device.
Another annoying problem: some menus or certain applications are not adapted to the landscape mode of the tablet and tend to suddenly switch to portrait mode, which turns out to be particularly annoying in use. Just to configure the device when it first started, we had to alternate between vertical and horizontal almost ten times to get to the home screen. Huawei seems to have favored portrait mode for the use of its tablet. She thinks she is a big smartphone, and that’s a problem.
Note also the presence of 13 preinstalled third-party applications, such as Facebook, Netflix or even a 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 with a tablet, the quality of the camera is not there. If in high light, 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 one could have hoped for better from the creator of the P20 Pro. Especially since the sensor is 13 Mpix.
The front camera (8 Mpix) is doing 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 its favor.
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