Huawei MediaPad: tomorrow, the world

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A great screen, solid specs and a size to suit everyone – the Chinese manufacturer’s first Android tablet makes the best of Google and gives you more bang for your buck, but without cutting any corners

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei might not have established itself in the UK just yet, but it’s already thinking big.

Over the next 10 years it expects to increase its total turnover from $31 billion to $100 billion of which about a fifth comes from devices.

Grabbing a slice of the tablet market is part of Huawei’s plans to make its Devices division a significant contributor to that growth.

And the first step to realising those rather lofty ambitions? The MediaPad, the manufacturer’s first Android-powered tablet device.

On paper, it’s not a particularly ambitious piece of kit – there’s no killer USP; no easily marketable pizzazz. But to be fair, 2011 saw a number of tablet launches fall flat in humiliating style.

Clearly, Huawei has realised that rather than running before it can walk, a highly accomplished all-rounder is called for. And in that sense, the MediaPad is a success, capable of going toe to toe with Samsung’s seven-inch Galaxy Tab.

In fact, its hard to fault the MediaPad – both in terms of build and spec. At 10.5mm it can still be described as ultra-thin. It’s compact, with a businesslike design and high-quality finish comparable with similarly priced rivals.

Huawei vaguely hinted that it chose the seven-inch route (rather than the 10-inch) so the MediaPad would fit into handbags, and appeal to women. But there’s little to suggest this will be the case – unless a collaboration with Louboutin is in the offing.

Dream screen
Picking the MediaPad up for the first time is a pleasant surprise. It’s light and the aluminium body is extremely comfortable to hold. And if the MediaPad does have a standout feature, it’s the screen.

While many budget and mid-range tablets are blighted by a tragically bad screen resolution, the MediaPad’s seven-inch LCD touchscreen offers an impressive 1,280×800 pixels, outstripping the Galaxy Tab’s 1,024×600 offering.

Head to head, the MediaPad’s display is better than those found on some 10.1-inch tablets. What’s more, it features the same IPS technology found in the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire, ensuring an excellent viewing angle.

Sensibly, Huawei has realised that rather than invest a small fortune on laboured Android tweaks, it has pretty much left the standard Honeycomb 3.2 OS alone.

Pre-installed apps include the standard (Facebook and Twitter) along with Let’s Golf and Huawei Office, which gives the device out-of-the-box compatibility with PDFs, Word and Excel documents. It’s pretty much the only OS flourish you’ll find.

Full article in Mobile News issue 507 (February 13, 2012).

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