10.8″ Huawei MediaPad M5 review: It’s like using an iPad but with Android

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The design and build quality is the first thing you will notice when opening the box and taking the Huawei MediaPad M5 out of the box.

TA-ratings-93

Android tablets are still being made, despite the fact that Apple clearly leads in the tablet space. Huawei is one of the manufacturers who continues to make them. The Huawei MediaPad M5 seems like the company’s attempt to make a premium piece of hardware that competes with iPad but with Android as the core OS. I’ll give Huawei high marks for hitting the first part of that equation but it’s Android that still isn’t that great on tablets, although there are improvements. Read on for the full Huawei MediaPad M5 review!

Specifications

The Huawei MediaPad M5 has the following features and specifications:

  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0
  • Display: 10.8″ WQHD (2560 X 1600)
  • Processor: Kirin 960
  • Storage: 32GB or 64GB
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Camera:
    • Rear: 13 MP, F2.2, Auto Focus (PDAF)
    • Front: 8 MP, F2.2, Fixed focus
  • Battery:  7,500mAh Quick Charge 9 V/2 A
  • Dimensions:
  • Weight: 498 grams
    • Width: 258.7mm
    • Height: 171.8mm
    • Depth: 7.3mm

What’s In The Box

  • Huawei MediaPad M5
  • Charger and cable
  • USB Type-C to 3.5 mm headset jack adapter cable
  • Manuals and documentation
Huawei MediaPad M5
The all aluminum look and design really compete with Apple’s iPad.

Design

The design and build quality is the first thing you will notice when opening the box and taking the Huawei MediaPad M5 out of the box. I’ve not used an Android tablet this premium in, well, ever. Huawei really is trying to take a shot at Apple’s iPad with the M5 and I think they’ve succeeded in doing that design wise.

The whole device is a thing of beauty made of aluminum and glass with nice precision. Huawei has always done an excellent job in making premium and sexy looking hardware and this 10.8″ Huawei MediaPad M5 is no exception in that regard.

Overall, the design is really nice. I had more than a fair number of people ask me if I was using an iPad. Huawei is known for borrowing some design cues from Apple and there’s really nothing wrong with that.

Huawei MediaPad M5
Huawei really did a fantastic job with this display.

Display

The WQHD display is actually very nice. It’s right up there, again, with the iPad in terms of colors, brightness, blacks, and whites. The display is nice and clear and the glass flows nicely into the aluminum body creating a beautiful piece of hardware.

Touch responsiveness is spot on and there was no lag in scrolling or any other touch gestures. I really don’t have a whole lot of bad to report here, the display is really a great panel which you should expect from a higher-end tablet.

Overall, I think this display competes head-to-head with the iPad’s. Consuming media and other content on it is a pleasure.

Huawei MediaPad M5
The MediaPad M5 runs Android 8.0 and EMUI 8.0.

Software

The Huawei MediaPad M5 is running Android 8.0 with EMUI 8.0 on top. Android on tablets has improved some over the years but there are still some apps that aren’t truly optimized for tablet use. For the most part, your major apps should work just fine, it’s those oddballs you might still be hanging on to that don’t translate well.

EMUI is basically Huawei’s skin over Android and it’s fine here. Really no big deal. If you prefer an Android-style launcher, there are plenty of options to get that look and feel.

Overall, the Android on tablets has improved leaps and bounds over the past few years but there are still some things that may not feel like they translate very well. It’s still a very usable experience so don’t let a few sour apps keep you away from this Android tablet.

The Harman Kardon speakers are absolutely awesome for a tablet!

Performance

Performance on this tablet was really impressive. I had no issues doing normal everyday tasks such as email, web browsing, Netflix, YouTube, and those types of things.

Gaming was also great. Our review model is rocking Huawei’s Kirin 960 processor with 4GB of RAM and it was good enough to push games like Asphalt 8 without problems. I didn’t notice dropped frames or any sort of performance problems at all.

You will occasionally have to perform a restart of the tablet to clear up the performance but that’s somewhat normal for Android devices. iPhones will sometimes need to have a restart as well.

Overall, the performance was solid here. No issues doing normal everyday tasks and more intensive gaming tasks were handled just fine.

Sound

The Huawei MediaPad M5 has quad Hi-Res speakers from Harman Kardon and these things are really amazing. I remember the first time I heard the iPad Pro quad speakers and was super impressed. These speakers are right up there if not better than what the iPad Pro 10.5″ has to offer.

Overall, really amazing sound here. Not the typical tinny speakers that come on smartphones and tablets. These speakers actually have some depth, spatial clarity, and even some decent bass.

It has a camera if tablet photography is your thing.

Camera

The Huawei MediaPad M5 does come with front and rear facing cameras. I’ve been pretty vocal about my dislike of rear-mounted cameras on tablets, even the iPad. I am certainly not a fan of taking photos with a tablet. That being said, the front-facing camera is certainly fine for Skype, Google Hangouts, or whatever video conferencing app you might need to use.

The rear-facing camera is decent enough and if you’re interested in taking photos with your tablet it can certainly do that. I don’t think it takes nearly as good photos as those cameras on smartphones, especially higher-end flagship smartphones.

Overall, the camera on the front is great for video-conferencing but I’m not a fan of the rear camera. Not that it’s horrible, it’s just something a tablet doesn’t need. Of course, that is simply my opinion.

Beautiful design.

Battery Life

With a large 7,500 mAh battery inside, this thing is a beast when it comes to battery life. I was able to easily get two to three days out of it without a problem. Standby time is equally impressive. You can leave it to sit there for four to five days and still have 50% battery left.

Overall, the Huawei MediaPad M5 is crazy good if you’re looking for battery life in your Android tablet. Top of the heap.

Price/Value

The Huawei MediaPad M5 is priced at around $449USD and for the hardware you get that is honestly not a bad deal. It’s the Android experience on tablets that may cause some users to question the value they’re getting here. This is really going to depend on your use case and whether or not you enjoy Android apps on tablets or not.

Wrap Up

The Huawei MediaPad M5 is really a top-notch piece of hardware. Holding an iPad alongside the M5, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference in build quality and looks. The biggest factor for many will be the usability and look of Android apps on this device. You may or may not be bothered by the user experience when it comes to Android. I’d recommend finding a store that sells the M5 and take a look for yourself. Overall, this is a solid device when it comes to hardware. You will have to decide if the software experience fits into your workflow and if your favorite apps are optimized enough for you.

*We were sent a review unit of the Huawei MediaPad M5 for the purposes of this review.

10.8" Huawei MediaPad M5

$419.99USD
9.3

Design

10.0/10

Display

9.5/10

Software

8.5/10

Performance

9.5/10

Speakers/Sound

10.0/10

Camera

8.0/10

Battery Life

10.0/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Best build quality I've seen in an Android tablet
  • Nice display
  • Snappy performer
  • Amazing speakers, really crisp and clean even with some bass support

Needs work

  • Android is still not great on tablets but has improved
  • Cameras aren't stellar but this is a tablet
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