Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: a beauty with one big problem
The Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) truly is a marvel. Anyone who needs a tablet for anything creative would, and should, be desperate to get their hands on one. Unfortunately though, because it runs on Harmony OS 2, you’re very limited in which apps you can download from the Huawei AppGallery. So for a lot of people, it just won’t be right.
- Large, bright, clear display
- Loads of useful productivity features
- Long battery life
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To sum up this Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: if you already own Huawei devices and you need a new tablet with a big screen, this will be one of the best tablets for you. But anyone who relies on Google apps like Gmail should most definitely steer clear because you won’t have access to them on Harmony OS 2.
With a 12.6inch screen and the magnetic keyboard attached, the Huawei Matepad Pro (2021) looks and feels like a 2-in-1 laptop. Really, you’ll only want to splash out on one if you need a large-screen tablet for work as well as play.
In this Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review, I’ll take you through everything you need to know. starting with its availability, then looking at its design, display, performance and battery life, before running you through which other tablets you could consider. Let’s get down to it.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: price and availability
As things stand, we don’t know when the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) will be hitting the UK and Australia, I’ll update this article as and when we find out more.
If you’re in the US then tough luck, as it’s won’t be available to buy there.
The tablet I tested also came with the Huawei M-Pencil (2nd generation) and the Huawei Smart Magnetic Keyboard.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: design and display
Premium is the best way to describe the design of the Huawei Matepad Pro 12.6 (2021). The display stretches across the front with a screen-to-body ratio of 90%. The super slim bezels and rounded corners paired with the Matte Grey colour makes it look sleek, even though it is largely plastic. It’s only 6.7mm thick as well, so feels comfortable to hold over longer periods of time. On the back, there’s a small camera module and a discreet Huawei logo.
The 12.6inch OLED display has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. The display can produce 16.7 million colours with DCI-P3 wide colour gamut. Honestly, it’s a beautiful screen with impressively accurate colour reproduction. Bright, vibrant, glossy. it really is ideal for creative tasks like photo editing or sketching. You’ll find that streaming video content on it is a pleasure as well, there’s plenty of depth and definition. The large screen is big enough to work on, but small enough to fit into your bag, and weighing 609g, it’s very light considering.
When it comes to actually using the touchscreen display, it’s ultra-responsive, accurately picking up my touch when I made quick sketches or typed out documents. That doesn’t mean it picks up any accidental taps though because it doesn’t. I’ve really not got a bad word to say about the quality of the display, although the refresh rate could be better. It’s only 60Hz which is nowhere near the 120Hz of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: performance and battery
Packing Huawei’s own 5nm Kirin 9000E chipset, the Huawei Matepad Pro 12.6 (2021) is certainly speedy. Not once did I have any problems with lag or stuttering. It coped with everything from photo editing to sketching with complete ease. I couldn’t download any benchmarking apps but after having used it for a couple of weeks, it seemed there was nothing it couldn’t do, switching between apps and loading games within seconds. Using Wi-Fi 6, you’re sure to get the fastest internet speeds possible too.
Running on Harmony OS 2, the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) does feel intuitive to use. It’s very Android-esque. The app bar along the bottom gives quick access to your favourites, the apps and widgets are organised neatly into folders and you swipe down from the top right corner to access the control centre where you can switch on the Eye Comfort mode, adjust the brightness or take a screenshot, amongst other things.
The big problem with their operating system is that it doesn’t have Google services integrated. That means you can’t get Google apps like Gmail or YouTube, nor can you use the Google Play Store. That limits you to using Huawei’s own AppGallery which is nowhere near as comprehensive. You can download some of the apps it doesn’t have through the browser, although you’ll have to be wary not to download anything malicious. That’s sure to immediately put some people off.
Huawei has packed in a large 10,050 mAh battery, I tested it out by running a local video on full brightness over two hours. In that time the battery level dropped by 10% suggesting that it would have lasted 20 hours in total. That’s incredible really, you’ll be able to use it for more than a day’s work without needing to charge it back up again. It also comes with 40W Huawei SuperCharge. What’s really great though, is that you can use the tablet to wirelessly recharge your other gadgets on the go using the 10W reverse wireless charging.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: cameras and speakers
Tucked inside one of the bezels is the 8MP selfie camera, it’ll definitely give you better quality video calls than a lot of other tablets will. And the rear 13MP 8MP cameras were surprisingly alright too, you won’t be taking professional-looking shots for social media but it’ll pick up enough detail for more casual photos.
Built into the tablet are eight separate speakers, you didn’t read that wrong, eight! It was great for watching movies and even listening to music and meant you could happily take video calls without headphones in. It also has four microphones so you come across crystal clear in calls. Plus the AI noise cancellation technology improves the quality of your calls by intelligently filtering out ambient sounds and boosting the volume of your voice.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: Huawei M-Pencil (2nd Gen) and Huawei Smart Magnetic Keyboard
Connecting the stylus and keyboard couldn’t have been easier. You literally just put them near the tablet, it then automatically recognises them and does the rest for you.
Attaching or removing the keyboard is simply a case of snapping it on or off magnetically. The keys on the keyboard felt a little flat to the touch which meant I did sometimes mistype. Eventually, I got used to that though, and it does mean that it’s all pretty compact. You can easily slide it into your bag on your commute. With the keyboard connected and the new OS, it feels like a laptop and acts like one too. For me, that’s ideal as you’re getting the best of both worlds.
The Huawei M-Pencil (2nd generation) magnetically pairs to the tablet, and wirelessly charges in doing so. Its hexagonal shape makes it really comfortable to hold for long periods. The pen didn’t miss a stroke, although the pressure sensitivity wasn’t that apparent in the drawing app I was using. It was the most effective for quick notes or sketches.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: verdict
Almost everything about the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) is fantastic. Featuring a genuinely stunning screen, Smart borderless design and fast performance, it really is an excellent quality tablet.
But, and there is a very big but, without access to the Google Play Store and to Google’s apps, the tablet isn’t going to convince many people. The massive limitations on app choice make it difficult to recommend buying despite how impressive it looks and feels. After all, beauty isn’t everything.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) review: also consider
iOS users should first consider the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021). it’s the best premium tablet you can buy. Extremely fast and powerful, with a stunning display and very capable cameras, the iPad Pro is sure to wow you.
If you want a tablet with a big screen, and Google apps are a deal-breaker, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus will be the one for you. Running on Android, it works seamlessly with all things Google and its 12.4inch display is gorgeous. You’ll also get the S Pen included.
Both of the above will be great for working on, especially if you buy the optional keyboards to go with them. But perhaps you are looking for something more like one of the best 2-in-1 laptops, in which case the Microsoft Surface Book 3 will be a stellar choice. You can detach the 13.5inch touchscreen to use as a tablet, or keep it attached to the keyboard. It runs Windows 10 so is perfect for productivity.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 Review
Huawei has launched new MatePad devices powered by HarmonyOS operating system, and the MatePad Pro 12.6 is Huawei’s most advanced tablet, and therefore the most exciting model of the 2021 lineup.
At a high level, this is a competitor for devices such as the iPad Pro or the Galaxy Tab S7. As a peripheral computing platform (in addition to your computer and phone), it works best if you are already invested in the Huawei ecosystem as it interacts in more advanced ways with Huawei’s other devices.
For example, this tablet can turn into a formidable “sketching pad” for a Huawei laptop or turn into a 12.6” secondary laptop monitor. Of course, data-sharing, file-sharing, or even keyboard sharing (use the laptop’s keyboard to type on the tablet) are incentives to stay within the Huawei ecosystem.
ПОЛНЫЙ ОБЗОР И ОПЫТ Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6
The tablet is built around a beautiful 12.6-inch OLED display (2560×1600) that represents 90% of the entire front surface of the device. It looks nearly borderless and provides an immersive experience that lets you FOCUS on the task, or entertainment, at hand.
The color accuracy has a delta-E of 0.5, which means that color reproduction is perfect to the human eye (below d-E 2.0 most people can’t see the difference). OLED displays also feature true black and insanely high contrast ratios (1M to 1 in this case), so watching dark movies in a dimly lit room yields a fantastic experience.
The display quality also makes it an excellent platform to present Creative work the way it was intended to be seen, and anyone who makes presentations requiring high-quality graphics could benefit from this kind of quality (architecture, fashion, design, and more).
Design compute platform
The chassis design is exquisite, with a weight of 609g and a thickness of only 6.7 mm. Even with the optional keyboard and pen, the whole package is agreeable to carry in your hand or bag.
The keyboard case uses strong magnets to retain the tablet, and the display can be oriented at two different angles. The keyboard keys are firm, and the key action is even a bit clicky and clearly one of the more pleasant experiences I’ve had with folio keyboards. The 1.3mm travel distance is impressive given how thin the keyboard is.
” CLEARLY ONE OF THE MORE PLEASANT KEYBOARD EXPERIENCES”
The keyboard keys surface is matte and doesn’t pick up the fingers’ oil at all. It is one detail that differentiates between a cheap material and an expensive one like we have here. I’m particularly sensitive to the keyboard quality because I type a lot. You won’t be disappointed by this keyboard.
Inside, the tablet is powered by a Kirin 9000E processor. It is a derivative of the Kirin 9000 (non-E) processor, and the main difference between the two is the graphics performance of the E version, which is about 27% lower than the non-E model.
This choice of processor makes the MatePad Pro 12.6 slightly underpowered compared to Samsung’s Tab S7 (849) and its Snapdragon 865 graphics performance. And both of these are well behind the Apple M1 iPad Pro 12.9 (1199).
When using the MatePad Pro 12.6, the tablet’s user interface feels extremely fast and responsive. That is a testament to the work that Huawei has put into its HarmonyOS graphics interface. The overall UI speed and fluidity are comparable to an iPad Pro and better than most Android tablets we’ve used.
“THE USER INTERFACE FEELS EXTREMELY FAST AND RESPONSIVE”
I found the Harmony user interface Service Widgets and bottom Dock to be very usable. They take advantage of the large tablet display format, which was always a weak point of Android, which is still a phone-first user interface.
The control panel is easy to navigate and occupies just the right amount of screen real estate. That’s much better than the ChromeOS control panel, for example. HarmonyOS also allows for up to four apps to appear on the screen simultaneously, but for me, one or two apps across a split-screen are typically enough.
I’m no designer, but I love the Huawei M-Pencil electronic pen industrial design, overall feel, and responsiveness. The pen has a slight indentation that makes it very stable in your fingers and doesn’t “roll” or slide when you’re using it. That is an issue that I bump into frequently with many E-Pen as their surface is perfectly round and slippery.
The responsiveness and speed are extremely good for note-taking, and it’s basically at the point where there’s no noticeable lag (only 9ms according to Huawei) that gets in the way.
It now comes down to how good the pen-driven apps are, and the default Nebo app is okay for that purpose, but its built-in gestures collided with my doodling. Anytime I drew a box or a cross shape, they were interpreted as gestures.
I’m no designer, so I’m not sure how good the tablet would be for Creative usage but the specs look very good: 4096 pressure levels and tilt support should provide the technological foundation for a great sketching or writing experience.
Huawei devices often have a great sound system, and the 8-speakers audio system is out of this world. The sound quality is excellent, with the sound having a great body and an excellent spatial component.
“THE 8-SPEAKERS AUDIO IS OUT OF THIS WORLD”
It’s astonishing to have this kind of quality and power in such a small chassis. It’s tough to tell “where” the sound is coming from. That’s because it’s coming from “everywhere” as speakers are present at all corners of the device.
This tablet sounds better and has more powerful sound than laptops that are many times its volume. That’s incredible!
The MatePad Pro 12.6 camera system inherits many traits from Huawei’s smartphone experience, and as such, it is much superior to any traditional laptop’s camera. The rear camera system also has dedicated zoom and ultrawide modules, just like modern phones. I bet that it would fare quite well in our CAMERA HW benchmark.
Whether it is the rear or front camera systems, Windows or Mac computers can’t match this level of quality. It is not even close. You would look much better during video calls, and this reminds us how far behind the PC industry has fallen.
The 10,050 mAh battery capacity of the MatePad Pro 12.6 is consistent with major competitors. It can be charged at 40W via the USB-C port or at 27W via a sufficiently powerful wireless pad. Reverse wireless charging is also available in case you want to charge small devices.
The MatePad Pro 12.6 has an excellent battery life and can reach 15 hours of video playback, depending on the screen’s brightness. Independent reviews show that it has higher battery endurance than the Samsung Tab S7 in these tests.
I suspect that’s because Samsung’s tablet has a higher display resolution (2800×1752) and a higher display refresh rate (120Hz vs. 60Hz). That said, most of these tablet platforms have sufficient battery life to reduce users’ battery anxiety, so I don’t expect this to be a sway factor.
Software is probably THE most crucial sway factor for this device. The MatePad Pro 12.6 runs on HarmonyOS and does not have access to the Google App store, or Google services like GMail, etc.
Only some of the Android apps people are familiar with are available on the Huawei AppGallery. Huawei spared no effort working with developers to have their apps available on its platform, but app coverage still needs growth.
For example, popular apps like Yahoo Finance, Authy, Kakao, Nine email and more are not available in the Huawei AppGallery.
Huawei facilitates the “sideloading” of these apps by providing direct links to sites like APKPure, but this can put off many users as they don’t know or trust these app sources. Sideloading refers to installing apps outside of the Appstore, and people do it on Android too.
I installed the and YouTube app from there, but I would rather see many of these apps coming from Huawei’s store directly.
You can browse the Huawei AppGallery from your browser to see what’s available, check what APKPure is about, and read the user reviews of that service on Trustpilot or Quora.
If you’re already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem or don’t care that much about Google services because you don’t use them, your situation would be completely different from someone coming from another platform.
The Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 is a tablet that features an excellent hardware design, and the overall look and feel of the tablet are impeccable. This is a platform decision. If you are comfortable with the app selection, you will not be disappointed by the MatePad Pro experience.
There is an extra productivity incentive for people who already own other Huawei devices such as laptops and phones, as these devices would become more than the sum of their parts.
Still, the MatePad Pro 12.6 faces stiff competition from Samsung and Apple. The Galaxy S7 12.4” costs 849.99 and offers at least the same type of performance. On the other hand, the iPad M1 has higher performance at a similar price level. I expect the iPad to lead in high-performance computing applications such as video editing.
It’s great to see such ferocious competition in the tablet space, and the MatePad Pro 12.6 remains one of the top contenders if you’re okay with switching to HarmonyOS. It might be an uphill battle to make that OS a more mainstream platform, but such a device makes that OS that much tempting.
Huawei MatePad Pro review
The MatePad Pro has a bright display and elegant hardware design – but can it overcome Huawei’s software woes? Find out in our review.
The Huawei MatePad Pro’s hardware pros are let down by its software cons. Unless you’re already an Huawei customer, that is.
- Bright, pixel-packed display.
- Elegant and streamlined design.
- Loud, impressive sound.
- Superb battery life.
China’s Huawei has had a turbulent few years following a ban in May 2019 in the US. Not only were Huawei’s phones not allowed to be sold in the country, but the company was also initially told it couldn’t sign licence agreements with US-based companies, and this included Google. Since this point, a few of the restrictions have been lifted to varying degrees, but the ban still largely remains, and this means Huawei’s phones and tablets don’t look like traditional Android devices.
The biggest being that they don’t have the Google Play Store by default. This means that Huawei devices don’t support any Google apps – including Chrome, YouTube, Google Drive and more – and that you can’t get the full catalogue of Android apps available on rival devices.
In our Huawei MatePad Pro review, we look at whether the hardware and design can make up for these software shortfalls and how well Huawei’s proprietary alternatives for US services and chips stand up on their own. To compare this tablet with more options, don’t miss our best budget tablet, best tablet and best tablet for kids articles.
Huawei MatePad Pro review: summary
Price: £499.99 (RRP)
- 10.8 inch Huawei Mobile Services tablet
- Powered by the octa-core Huawei Kirin 990 processor
- Four speakers tuned by Harman Kardon that feature Histen 6.0 sound effects
- 6GB RAM and 128GB built-in storage
- Up to 12 hours battery life
- A 13MP camera on the rear, with an 8MP on the front
- Free cover (worth £29.99) and keyboard (£129.99) when the tablet is bought via Huawei
- Wireless charging plate can be used to charge the tablet, but also share battery charge with compatible Huawei devices
- Support for Huawei MatePad M-Pen (£99, sold separately)
- Only available in “midnight” grey
- Bright, pixel-packed display
- Elegant and streamlined design
- Loud, impressive sound
- Superb battery life
The Huawei MatePad Pro is available at Huawei for £499.99 (Wi-Fi) or £549.99 (Wi-Fi and LTE). It is also available at select UK retailers.
What is the Huawei MatePad Pro?
What does Huawei MatePad Pro do?
Huawei MatePad Pro covers streaming, gaming, working, and more but the selection of apps from which to do all of these activities are limited.
- Unlike other regular Android tablets, the MatePad Pro has very few pre-installed apps and those which it does preload only include its own productivity and entertainment apps – Video, Tips, Kids Corner and various tools like a calculator and voice recorder.
- Google Assistant is embedded within the operating system, which turns the Huawei MatePad Pro into a lower-spec alternative to the Google Home Nest Hub.
- The Huawei MatePad Pro can be used to control and manage compatible Smart home devices via the Google Home app.
- Available in one shade of “iron” grey.
How much is Huawei MatePad Pro?
The Huawei MatePad Pro comes in only one storage size – 128GB – and is available with Wi-Fi or Wi-Ficellular.
The price, when bought directly from Huawei, is as follows:
You can also buy the Huawei MatePad Pro from the following places:
Is the Huawei MatePad Pro good value for money?
The Huawei MatePad Pro’s price puts it on par with the Lenovo P11 Pro and the Apple iPad Air. Yet, while it easily competes in terms of hardware, it lags behind in software terms.
Everything that’s missing can, in one form or another, be accessed via a browser and bookmarks or by what’s known as sideloading apps. You can also jailbreak the device to take control of its software – we don’t advise doing either of the latter, but you have options.
The hardware afforded by the Huawei MatePad Pro is a major selling point. It’s an attractive, super-fast tablet with superb battery life. The wireless charging feature is great. However, none of these features are so revolutionary that they’re worth the software hassle. If the price was lower, it would be worth the sacrifice, but sadly it’s not.
The way you’ll get the most value for money with the Huawei MatePad Pro is if you already have a Huawei phone. If you’re not, it could be a struggle.
Huawei MatePad Pro features
The Huawei MatePad Pro has a 10.8-inch display with a resolution that puts it at the 2K mark. Unlike the vast majority of tablets on the market, it doesn’t run Android or iOS. It runs on Huawei’s own operating system called EMUI, which is built using open-source Android files but isn’t a pure, pre-loaded version of it.
Обзор Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 — первый планшет на HarmonyOS
This means that Huawei’s tablet isn’t compatible with Google Play, so you can’t get access to the full catalogue of traditional Android apps out of the box. Instead, Huawei has built its own App Gallery store. It is possible to get popular apps, like. Snapchat, TikTok and more, by downloading the APK (Android Package) files via the App Gallery, but it’s not as straightforward as using the original Play Store.
Other software features include support for Multi-screen Collaboration, as long as you have a Huawei phone running EMUI 10.0 or later. Once connected, the two devices are effectively merged into one, and this allows you to make calls, send messages and check photos from your phone on the tablet screen. You can also drag and drop files between the two devices and edit them. The latter is a small yet highly effective tool that helps when using the MatePad Pro as a laptop alternative. It can also help you better control your storage on either device.
Speaking of storage, the Huawei MatePad Pro comes in only one storage size – 128GB. This can be expanded to 256GB via microSD, but neither offers huge space for files and apps.
Hardware-wise, the MatePad Pro is powered by the Kirin 990 processor, backed up by 6GB RAM. This flagship setup has been designed to make the tablet super fast and power-efficient, and Huawei promises a 12-hour battery life when streaming Full HD video. You can charge this battery via USB-C or on a wireless charger. This charging plate on the rear of the tablet can also be used to share charge with Huawei phones when placed on top of each other.
On the front of the MatePad Pro is a 13MP camera, while on the rear is an 8MP sensor. There are then four speakers, tuned by Harman Kardon, on either side of the device (two on each side when held in landscape mode). These speakers feature so-called Hirsten 6 3D stereo sound effects designed to offer a rich, immersive sound.
We tested a Huawei MatePad Pro with a keyboard. This, along with the M-Pen, don’t come as standard and cost £129.99 and £99, respectively, but they elevate the tablet considerably. Out of the many, many tablets we’ve tested, the keyboard on the MatePad Pro was the most comfortable and easy to use, making us more productive. It’s also a great stand when watching content. If we had to pick out one flaw, though, it would be that the tablet wobbles and shakes as you use the touchscreen when it’s attached to the keyboard.
Plus, if you’re using this tablet for work or as a laptop alternative, Huawei’s operating system comes with a PC Mode which can be easily enabled with just one touch. This is similar to the Productivity Mode on the P11 Pro and allows you to zoom, drag and arrange your application Windows how you would on a desktop. Some files can be saved directly on the desktop too. It’s not perfect – without the full touchpad and mouse controls seen on PCs and laptops, we don’t think a tablet can ever truly mimic the desktop experience – but it’s not as poor as Lenovo’s Productivity Mode.
Huawei MatePad Pro screen and sound quality
With a resolution of 2560 x 1600, the MatePad Pro’s screen quality is highly impressive and comes in at 2K. It falls short of the quality, vibrancy and brightness of the Samsung Tab S7 range, but we prefer it to Apple’s Liquid Retina Display. Colours are bright, blacks are inky, lines are sharp, and the overall experience makes Full HD content absolutely shine.
The bezels on the display are the thinnest we’ve seen on a tablet for a very long time, and this gives the MatePad Pro a 90% screen-to-body ratio. This screen real-estate does the impressive display technology even more justice and is perfect for everything from working, gaming or streaming.
The sound that comes from this device is equally impressive. The four speakers manage to highlight subtleties in voices when listening to podcasts while also providing booming bass when you’re playing music or watching shows. The quad-speaker setup performs very well at full volume, but because the sound quality is so sharp, you never feel like you have to whack the speakers up to get the best out of them.
Thanks to the addition of Huawei’s Histen sound effects, this sound experience is even better through headphones. This software tweak adds 3D surround sound support and delivers vibrant, crisp sounds. This is ideal when watching shows and particularly when gaming. There isn’t a headphone jack on this tablet, but there is an adapter included in the box that allows you to use any existing 3.5mm headphones.
Huawei MatePad Pro design
In addition to extending the viewing angle, MatePad Pro’s super-thin bezels give this tablet a huge screen-to-body ratio. This makes the device look and feel more premium than its mid-to-high-range price tag, as does the use of the sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy frame around this glass display.
Instead of hiding the camera in this frame, Huawei has put the front-facing camera within the display itself, in a small punch-hole cutout in the corner. This is barely noticeable other than when it very occasionally gets in the way of on-screen buttons that happen to be in the top corner.
The MatePad Pro has rounded corners, and the rear is made of plastic to make it possible to use with a wireless charger. This use of plastic does lessen the premium feeling somewhat, but we’ll take this hit for the addition of wireless charging.
The Huawei MatePad Pro has two speakers on each shorter side and a USB-C charging port.
Huawei MatePad Pro set-up
The fact the MatePad Pro runs on an Android-derived operating system means it’s not quite as straightforward to sign in to your Google account and have your Settings copied over. It’s not difficult, but it’s not quite as seamless as on standard Android tablets.
There is a step-by-step tutorial that guides you through the process, and Huawei doesn’t overwhelm things with many, many menus and choices as seen on the likes of the Lenovo devices. It still takes a fair amount of time.
If you already have a Huawei phone or account, the process is much more simple. You can sign in to the device, or you can use Huawei’s Phone Clone tool, which pulls over files, settings and data from one device to another with ease.
Huawei MatePad Pro battery life and performance
For all of our software criticisms about the MatePad Pro, its hardware is fantastic, and this means its performance is built to match. The processor and high RAM makes the MatePad Pro lightning fast. Opening apps, streaming videos and playing games were instant, and we didn’t experience any lag. It’s the fastest tablet we’ve ever used.
Another boon in Huawei’s favour is its battery life. Huawei promises up to 12 hours of video playback, and in our looping video test, in which we stream HD video over Wi-Fi at 70% brightness, we exceeded this. It lasted almost 14 hours. For everyday tasks – watching the odd YouTube video, playing a couple of games of SimCity, two video calls with our parents and everyday browsing – this battery lasted three days. For a device with such a high-quality screen and so much power, this was a very pleasant surprise.
Having support for wireless charging also makes it a doddle to charge up between uses. Simply lay it on the charger, give it a boost, and you’re good to go again. This would easily prevent you from ever having to charge the device from flat to full.
Our verdict: should you buy the Huawei MatePad Pro?
It’s such a shame, almost frustratingly so, that the Huawei MatePad Pro has its software woes because it’s a great tablet; fast, powerful, practical, AND attractive.
We’re big fans of the keyboard, but you have to pay extra for it. You’ll also need to pay extra for a wireless charging plate if you don’t already have one. These both add not insignificant costs to a device that was already relatively pricey.
If you don’t mind the software shortfall, or if you’re a Huawei user already, this is (and should be) the tablet you go for. However, unless you fall into these two camps, the lack of familiar apps and software will likely be a dealbreaker.
Overall rating: 4/5
Where to buy Huawei MatePad Pro
Still looking for the perfect tablet? Check out our expert reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, Apple iPad Air (2020) and the Amazon Fire HD 10.
Huawei’s Harmony OS-equipped MatePad tablets are official
Today is a big day for Huawei! The Chinese company officially announced a trio of new MatePad tablets, running its in-house developed operating system Harmony OS. There are two MatePad Pro models. a 12.8-inch version and a smaller, 10.8-inch one, alongside a non-pro MatePad 11.
Huawei announced its next flagship wearable today as well. The new Huawei Watch 3 series is now official and it’s also running Harmony OS. But back to the tablets. The MatePad Pro 12.6 is the interesting one, as it can be a true iPad Pro competitor, judging by the specs.
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 and 10.8
Even though both tablets employ the “Pro” moniker, they’re actually quite different. The bigger 12.6-inch model sports an OLED display with 2560×1600 resolution and an aspect ratio of 16:10. Huawei calls it a FullView display due to its narrow bezels and the 90 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Huawei’s own Kirin 9000E chipset is the beating heart of the MatePad Pro 12.6, and the tablet comes with 8GB of RAM and 128/256GB of onboard storage. There are a total of eight speakers and four microphones around the frame, and on the back, you’ll find a triple-camera system. The speaker system is tuned by harman/kardon.
The huge 10,050mAh battery inside the MatePad Pro 12.6 should last 14 hours of mixed usage on a single charge. There’s fast charging on board too. you get 40W wired, and 27W wireless fast charging, and you can also top-up other gadgets thanks to the 10W reverse wireless charging tech.
The smaller MatePad Pro 10.8 uses an IPS LCD screen with a 120Hz refresh rate (the 12.6-inch OLED model can only do 60Hz). There’s a Qualcomm surprise inside, as this model comes equipped with a Snapdragon 870 chipset. The MatePad Pro 10.8 features the same memory configuration. 8GB of RAM and either 128/256GB of internal storage.
Huawei MatePad 11
The non-pro model is again very different from the other two. It sports a 10.95-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 and a fast 120Hz refresh rate. This one uses a Snapdragon 865 chipset, which is starting to age a bit now.
The MatePad 11 comes with a 6GB/128GB memory configuration, and a quad-speaker setup. There’s a 7,250 mAh battery inside this model, supporting 22.5W fast charging. All the aforementioned tablets support Huawei’s new M-Pencil stylus, and the Smart Magnetic Keyboard.
Harmony OS 2.0
Harmony OS 2.0 offers some cool features such as Mirror Mode, Extend Mode and Collaborate Mode. These modes allow the MatePad tablets to connect seamlessly to a Windows PC and either act as a second display (Extend Mode) or mirror your PC screen on the MatePad tablet (Mirror Mode) and use the M-Pencil to draw or scribe.
The Collaborate Mode is even more interesting. it enables cross-platform actions between Harmony OS and Windows. You can simply drag images, documents or files between the two connected devices.
There’s also enhanced mouse support baked in the Harmony OS, alongside live app previews for a true desktop-like experience.
During the launch, Huawei also announced two accessories for its new tablet range. The M-Pencil has been upgraded and now features a platinum-coated pen nib, supports 4,096 levels of pressure, and has a 9ms latency.
The Smart Magnetic Keyboard made its debut today. it’s a full-size keyboard with some nice tactile features such as a 1.3 mm key travel. This accessory supports wireless charging and can be easily paired with the new MatePad tablets via Bluetooth.
Price and availability
The and availability of the new MatePad tablets may vary depending on the market. We have the European pricing and it’s as follows:
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6. € 799 Huawei MatePad 11. €399
There’s no information about availability in the US at this time.