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Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 tablet review

Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 tablet

£330
8.3

Build quality

8.5/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Battery life

8.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Value for money

8.0/10

Pros

  • Audio output
  • Price
  • LTE connectivity
  • Great M-Pen
  • Great fingerprint reader

Cons

  • Chunky bezel
  • Runs previous Android version
  • Portrait aspect might not be for everyone

huawei mediapad m2 and penThe Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 is set up to be the Chinese company’s challenger to Apple and Samsung. Huawei have made no secret that they aim to actually overtake those two over the next couple of years. Has the MediaPad M2 got the chops though?

Months without a new Huawei device to review and then there’s two in a matter of weeks – not that I am complaining, of course!

Following on from my P9 review, I have just spent the last 10 days living with the premium version of the MediaPad M2 10.0. This is a landscape-focused, 10-inch Android tablet that’s both thin and light and has a classy aluminium build.

This, on paper at least, makes it a direct challenger to Apple’s iPad Air 2. It certainly looks and feels more polished than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.

Could this be the iPad and Samsung Tab S2 alternative you’ve been looking for?

Huawei MediaPad M2 design

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 kinda looks and feels like an aluminium iPad.

huawei mediapad m2 corner detailThe M2 is constructed from an aluminium alloy. Its full-metal body features precision-crafted curved edges and a sandblasted finish.

It feels like an expensive tablet – no one that has held it has rightly guessed how much it costs with everyone estimating way over the asking price.

You get not one, two or three Harman Kardon speakers – but four, one at each corner!

huawei mediapad m2 coverIn a rather unusual twist, the MediaPad M2 10.0 favours landscape orientation for its buttons.

huawei mediapad m2 edgeThe power button and volume rocker are on what would be the ‘top’ side of the frame when you hold it in portrait mode. This, to me, seems to be a way to encourage users to hold the tablet in landscape mode so that it’s on the more natural right side.

huawei mediapad m2 trayThe fingerprint sensor follows this aspect appearing, as it does, on what be the lefthand side bezel if held in portrait. The lower bezel in M2 terms.

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 has a 7.35mm body. That’s pretty thin, although nothing record-breaking from a tablet maker – the iPad Air 2 is a skinny 6.1mm, for example. Some of that chunk on the M2 must be from the speakers though.

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0’s dimensions are 239.8 x 172.75 x 7.35mm, and it weighs 490g. The iPad Air 2 that this tablet draws so much inspiration from is 437g.

Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 performance

The MediaPad M2 is equipped with a 10.1-inch display featuring a full HD IPS screen and 1920 x 1200 resolution.

Not satisfied by simply taking on the 9.7-inch iPad, this premium version also seems to fancy its chances with the iPad Pro and comes loaded with the M-Pen stylus. Its handwriting feature has an impressive 2048-level pressure sensitivity.

Under the hood the engine-room is powered by a Hisilicon Kirin 930 processor with a faster quad 2.0GHz chip and energy-saving quad 1.5GHz chip. The 3GB of RAM also helps this tablet move along fairly slickly.

Huawei MediaPad M2 backMated with all that is the Mali-T628 MP4 (680MHz) graphics chip taking care of all the visual duties.

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0’s battery is a 6660mAh lithium polymer power pack.

Although I do tend to laugh at people taking photos and video using tablets this one has two cameras: a front-facing 5MP shooter and rear-facing 13MP camera with autofocus, flash and a f/2.0 aperture.

While the tablet runs Android, it’s not launching with Android Marshmallow. Instead, it’s like a lot of last year’s Google-powered tablets and sets off by running Android 5.1 Lollipop.

On-board storage on the premium version is 64GB but there is a 16GB standard offering too – remember that this is expandable via microSD card.

When it comes to design, the MediaPad M2 10.0 greatly resembles Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series. It even sports a nearly identically shaped fingerprint reader. Its metallic unibody chassis is quite thin too, measuring 7.35 mm, and it feels super sturdy and well built. Weighing in at 500g, it’ s a bit heftier than the latest iPad Air. The tablet also comes in a choice of Luxurious Gold or Moonlight Silver. Overall, it’s an attractive tablet but not a unique one.

MediaPad M2 audio

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 speaker system is thanks to Harman Kardon almost all the way down the line.

They’ve used two drivers for mid and high range and two bass radiators on the bottom — four speaker units in all, which is way more than I am used to seeing on a tablet. This tends to be more the realm of gaming laptops as far as I am aware.

huawei mediapad m2 headphone port and speakersThe M2 10.0 also uses Harman’s Clari-Fi technology, which restores the audio quality of compressed digital music.

Huawei has a thrown in their own SWS 2.0 tech which does its best to approximate surround sound.

So how does it actually sound?

The MediaPad M2 10.0 is certainly the loudest tablet I have had the pleasure of testing.

The audio sounds richer and more immersive than the audio from my Shield Tablet, which I think is fairly reasonable.

Volume is one thing but the clarity of the M2 is also darned fine. It is not going to replace a decent Bluetooth speaker or plugging in some decent cans.

MediaPad M2 in use

The MediaPad M2 10.0 runs on a HiSilicon Kirin 930 processor with 3 GB of RAM. Unfortunately, the unit that that we tested was not a final tablet for the U.S. market, and as a result we could not run benchmark software and other apps from Google Play. That said, performance seemed pretty good overall.

huawei mediapad m2 rear cameraThe tablet packs in a 13 MP rear camera with an f/2.0 large-diaphragm lens and a 5 MP front camera, which has an 88-degree ultra-wide angle lens that is great for video calling. Overall, the tablet’s cameras are quite good for what is generally expected from tablet snappers. Skype and Google Hangout vid calls were clear.

The fingerprint reader works well, and this has been a consistent finding throughout Huawei’s products.

Huawei MediaPad M2 reviewI was really impressed by the M2’s bundled M-Pen stylus. This is as good as anything I have tried from Wacom and its 2048-level pressure sensitivity really made using it a truly interactive and pleasurable experience.

huawei mediapad m2 drawI really liked the circular menu that appears when you hover the M-Pen over the ‘page’.

When it comes to apps, the tablet comes preloaded with a healthy selection of apps, including Huawei cloud+, Kids Corner (basically a parental control app), WPS office, Bamboo paper (handwriting using the stylus), and some useful tools including a mirror app, a flashlight app, and a file management app.

Apps load quickly and flicking from page to page is smooth without any noticeable lag.

Huawei MediaPad M2 review conclusion

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 tablet is a 10-inch Android slate that costs much less than an iPad but, looking at build quality and usefulness, really challenges the fruity tab.

The M2 10.0 is a well-rounded tablet with a decent feature set and an attractive, albeit safe, design.

I am afraid that the MediaPad M2 10.0 dropped points for running an older version of Android.

For me it’s the Harman speaker system and the M-Pen that really makes the M2 stand out over others. This is definitely one for media, pen-toting types.

Huawei MediaPad M2 price and availability

The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 premium, with its 64GB of storage and bundled in M-Pen, will cost you £329.99, whereas the 16GB standard version can be had for around £250 from Dixons Carphone. Personally, I think it’s worth spending the extra for the pen and the additional storage.

Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 tablet review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 5 min
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