Tablets Guide

Huawei MediaPad (3G) review

Huawei MediaPad - Mainstream Slate

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Overall rating 7/10
Design:
8
Features:
7.5
User-Friendliness:
7.5
Performance:
6.5
Value:
7
THE GOOD
Solid design
High resolution display
Decent battery mileage
THE BAD
Frequent app crashes and system lags
No differentiating feature from other Android tablets


Multimedia and Battery Performance

Crowd Pleaser?

Tablets are mainly used as devices to consume multimedia content on-the-go. Huawei appears to understand this concept and equipped the MediaPad with a high resolution display. We have seen other 7-inch tablets that come with 1024 x 600 pixels resolution but this is the first time a 7-inch tablet sports a 1280 x 800 pixels resolution on its display.

Having said that, the Huawei MediaPad has a pixel density of 217ppi, which puts it ahead of all tablets including the HTC Flyer (170ppi), the Apple iPad 2 (132ppi) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (149ppi). By default, the Huawei MediaPad's screen resolution is set at a standard mode of 1024 x 600 pixels. To switch to the higher resolution, you have to go to Settings > Screen > Resolution > High. Take note that switching the screen resolution from Standard to High will require a restart of the device. Needless to say, after the restart, we found the multimedia viewing experience on the MediaPad to be excellent. Colors were lively, text appeared sharp and the display offered great viewing angles with minimal color or contrast loss. 

What's a great screen if you can't hold enough content to enjoy it? Those who intend to use it as a portable multimedia device will be happy to know that the MediaPad comes with a microSD card slot, which allows you to increase the default 8GB of onboard storage capacity to a maximum of 32GB. As mentioned earlier in the article, we had difficulties removing the back cover to access the memory card, so do make a mental note that the MediaPad's card slot wasn't really designed for quick and easy swapping of the flash memory cards.

To top off its multimedia capabilities, Huawei equips the MediaPad with two cameras - a 1.3-megapixel fixed focus front facing camera and a 5-megapixel autofocus rear camera. As usual, we put the the Huawei MediaPad's rear camera through our usual camera quality test to assess its imaging capabilities: - 

Seeing that the camera quality leaves much to be desired, the camera function serves more like an emergency stopgap measure than something you can really rely upon. Rounding off our tests, we arrive at the final but most gruesome benchmark of all - the battery performance. For this benchmark, we compare the Huawei MediaPad with the Acer Iconia Tab A100, HTC Flyer and BlackBerry PlayBook as all the devices come with 7-inch displays. Our standard battery test includes the following: 

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
     
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
     
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter. 
Tablets Compared
Specifications/Device Huawei MediaPad Acer Iconia Tab A100 BlackBerry PlayBook HTC Flyer
Processor
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Single-core 1.5GHz
Display Size
  • 7-inch
  • 7-inch
  • 7-inch
  • 7-inch
Display Type
  • IPS-LCD
  • LCD
  • TFT-LCD
  • LCD
Display Resolution
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1024 x 600 pixels
  • 1024 x 600 pixels
  • 1024 x 600 pixels 
Dimensions
  • 190 x 124 x 10.5mm
  • 195 x 117 x 13.1mm
  • 194 x 130 x 10mm
  • 195.4 x 122 x 13.2mm
Weight
  • 390g
  • 410g
  • 425g
  • 420g

Based on the results above, we found the battery stamina of the Huawei MediaPad to be decent. It managed to stay alive close to five hours before powering down. The leader of the pack, the BlackBerry PlayBook has a larger battery capacity of 5300mAh, hence giving it an edge in this test. Packed in the slim metallic chassis of the Huawei MediaPad is a 4100mAh battery, which is a tad higher than that of the HTC Flyer (4000mAh). The HTC Flyer has a slightly longer battery life (about 18 minutes more) mainly due to its lower screen resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. Having the smallest battery capacity (1530mAh) of the lot, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 naturally clocked the lowest battery life. 

The portability of the device is affected by not just the battery life, but also the overall dimensions and weight. To give it a tangible measurement, we calculate it as a portability index. Typically speaking, a higher battery life, coupled with a lower weight and volume, will make a device much more portable. Hence, when it comes to the portability index, higher is better.

Portability Index = Ratio of Battery Life to (Weight x Volume)

In the Portability Index, the Huawei MediaPad managed to outshine the HTC Flyer due to its more compact and lighter form factor. It is fair to say that Huawei did a fine job here with the MediaPad.

Our battery test above stimulates fairly intensive usage conditions on the device, hence you can expect better battery life on the Huawei MediaPad under normal usage conditions. And that means you're looking at the usual web surfing, reading and perhaps even multimedia streaming off the MediaPad at reasonable intervals. Under those sort of conditions, the MediaPad lasted for a full working day in our casual usage, so you'll do well to recharge it at the end of the day.

Do take note that actual battery life varies according to different usage patterns.