It looks like Huawei’s tablet strategy is to copy its smartphones, perhaps in a bid to attract buyers that have given up on tablets in favor of large-screen smartphones.
At IFA 2016 it debuted the Huawei MediaPad M3, an 8.4-inch tablet with a 2560 x 1440 resolution and 349 pixels per inch. It features what Huawei calls “aerospace aluminum,” which results in a credible, light, and attractive tablet, reminiscent of the Mate 8 and P9, Huawei’s two most recent flagships.
On the inside, it sports the octa-core Kirin 950 chipset, with four Cortex-A72 cores running a 2.3GHz clock and four Cortex-A53 cores running a 1.8GHz clock. It also has Mali-T880 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB capacity, with microSD expansion. Both the front and rear cameras are 8 megapixels, and it includes Huawei’s “Perfect makeup” mode, which the company highlighted on it recent Nova smartphones.
The 5100 mAh battery is not as promising as the other specs, but Huawei representatives claim it enables a whole day of watching movies on MediaPad M3.
And that’s what the MediaPad M3 does best. In fact, Huawei developed the Android tablet’s sound system in collaboration with Harman Kardon. The tablet has its independent digital sound-processor (DSP) which runs 192 kHz/24-bit HD music files, in addition to the Harmon Kardon speakers hidden in the top and bottom portions of the MediaPad.
The sound system adjusts to both landscape and portrait mode, ensuring an optimal listening experience, according to Huawei. We actually came away impressed during our time with it on the show floor. The MediaPad’s 1-watt speakers actually cut through the crowd noise.
The impressive display complements the sound well, particularly with its imaging sharpness. The colors shift towards the blue parts of the spectrum, but it’s slight and easy to ignore. Besides, the MediaPad M3 also offers color and brightness adjustments, particularly for night watching. Huawei called this option Eye Protection.
We also tried a few games on the MediaPad M3. Load times were longer than expected, but the games ran smoothly with no lag or glitches. The same goes with other tasks and apps.
Huawei MediaPad M3 ships with Android 6.0 and Huawei’s Emotion UI, which is very similar to iOS, aesthetically at least, making the M3 a potential iPad mini alternative. It’s certainly priced competitive. The 32GB Wi-Fi should cost around $349 in the US when it ships next month, ranging to $449 for the 64GB version with LTE support.