Huawei drops a new Android MatePad for the non-iOS camp

Not keen on an iPad? The new MatePad might be a reasonably-priced alternative, if you don't mind the lack of an official Google Play store.

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The new Huawei MatePad is positioned as a multimedia tool not unlike an iPad. WIll it deliver? Image: Huawei

Why buy any tablet other than an iPad? Well, not everyone wants iOS, so it’s down to companies like HUAWEI who still churn out alternatives. And the new MatePad looks like it fits the bill.

Their 10.4-inch tablet is a multimedia-centric device with an almost 16:10 display (16:9.6 to be exact) that has a pixel density of 225 ppi and covers 100 per cent of sRGB colour gamut. The odd screen ratio feels like a compromise between video usage and productivity, but shouldn’t feel too unfamiliar. HUAWEI also mentions that it uses ClariVu Display Enhancement technology, which leverages algorithms to enhance image and video quality in real-time.

The MatePad has all the makings of an entertainment device. Image: Huawei
The MatePad has all the makings of an entertainment device. Image: Huawei

The tablet is paired with a Harman Kardon quad-channel speaker system that natively supports multi-channel output and enhanced with Histen 6.1, which delivers 3D spatial sounds.

Given the price ($489) we’re not expecting a cutting-edge processor, but the Kirin 820 SoC will get plenty of work done nonetheless. The tablet also supports Wi-Fi 6, which will get you a bit more mileage than a couple more clock cycles – provided you already have a Wi-Fi 6 router at home, of course.

The aspect ratio is unusual but seems like a nice compromise. Image: Huawei
The aspect ratio is unusual but seems like a nice compromise. Image: Huawei

Other noteworthy specs include a large 7,250mAh battery rated to deliver 12.5 hours of local video playback at 1080p resolution. The tablet has a fast-charging feature (10V/2.25A) and needs the battery can be fully charged in 2.5 hours.

The elephant in the room is that you have to add Google Play store unofficially, but it’s not much of an issue since you can sideload key apps that you can’t find on HUAWEI’s AppGallery.

That aside, HUAWEI’s software is generally quite polished, and the MatePad natively includes features like Multi-Window to fit up to three windows onscreen for multi-tasking. If you already are a HUAWEI phone user, the Cross Device Photo Gallery will be quite useful as it lets you browse media across all your HUAWEI devices from your tablet.

The MatePad is compatible with the optional Smart Keyboard. Image: Huawei
The MatePad is compatible with the optional Smart Keyboard. Image: Huawei

The new HUAWEI MatePad will be available from 22 May 2021 at $498 (128GB, expandable with MicroSD) in all HUAWEI Experience Stores, selected consumer electronic stores including Best Denki, Challenger & Hachi.tech, COURTS, Harvey Norman, Sprint Cass and Huawei official online stores in Lazada and Shopee. The new MatePad is also compatible with the Smart Keyboard ($148) and M-Pencil ($168).

HUAWEI is also giving additional perks to sweeten the deal:

1. From 22 May 2021 – 6 June 2021, customers will receive a gift bundle worth up to $180 with every purchase of the new HUAWEI MatePad, while stocks last. The gift bundle includes a HUAWEI Smart Keyboard, 50GB Cloud Storage for the first 3 months for new subscribers. The HUAWEI WiFi AX3 router (Wi-Fi 6 Plus capable) will be offered at a discounted price of $78 (U.P. $98) as a purchase-with-purchase.

2. From 22 May 2021 – 6 June 2021, the first 200 customers will enjoy $30 off any subscription plan on meWATCH for every purchase of the new HUAWEI MatePad at all HUAWEI Experience Stores, while stocks last (terms and conditions apply).

3. The new HUAWEI MatePad is pre-installed with HUAWEI Video that offers a selection of international drama series, movies and documentaries. New users of HUAWEI Video will enjoy the first month free on HUAWEI Video+ Unlimited Pass worth $7.98 that offers ad-free streaming as well as all-access premium content.