Huawei’s recently released MatePad Pro is their answer to Apple’s iPad Pro, and at first look, it’s a mighty contender. It has a gorgeous screen, functionality, sound, and other features that make it stand out as a tablet. But there is something very glaringly missing from the MatePad Pro; Google. And yes, while we’ve spoken about this many times before, this was my first experience with a Huawei device without Google Mobile Services, and well, it has a pretty adverse effect on this review.
Though to Huawei’s credit, it isn’t their fault they’re missing Google and a whole host of software, though the effect is still sorely felt. That being said, let’s get into the review of Huawei’s MatePad Pro!
Screen And Design
The screen on the MatePad Pro is a gorgeous 10.8-inch WQXGA FullView Display and boasts a massive 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. Literally, the device has such a fantastic screen that I really can’t take my eyes off it. There’s just a tiny punch-hole camera cutout on the display, which makes for an otherwise full screen experience that I personally, haven’t experienced on a tablet. The display is also TÜV Rheinland certified, which helps protect eye health by significantly reducing blue light.
The body is made of some sort of metal which gives it a sleek, thin, ergonomic feel to it. Most times, I paired the tablet with it’s pretty well made M-Pencil and Intelligent Keyboard case, which made it feel like I had a mini-laptop with me at all times. I will say though, with my experience using the attachments wasn’t the best.
For me personally, I felt as though the keyboard was a bit too small and often felt cramps while using them at first. Eventually, I got used to it, but it’s still a hard adjustment. You’ll also probably type inaccurately, considering the smaller than usual keyboard form factor, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Other than that, I had no qualms with the design, or the stunning display. It really was a first for me to use a tablet that I actually enjoy using.
The MatePad Pro comes with a Kirin 990 chipset, their latest flagship processor which makes for a smooth, well performing tablet. I didn’t have any issues with daily performance, with any stuttering and lag and for the most part the MatePad Pro is a capable performer. It also features a Mali-G76 MC16 GPU architecture enhanced by GPU-Turbo technology which makes games and movies look better. However, being limited to a workaround Netflix app which wasn’t capable of HD resolutions, I couldn’t really gauge the difference.
Often times using the device, I would set up a split screen to simultaneously write and read information via their Multi-Window feature. Like I mentioned, it was smooth but I did sometimes notice apps closing by themselves ever so often. Might’ve been related to certain unoptimised apps or APKs, but for the most part, it was a joy to use.
The Kirin 990 paired with a well-sized 7250mAh battery made for an all-day use of streaming videos, music, using WPS for documents, and even drawing. It lasted, so I was happy with that. The charging on the other hand is a bit on the slow side, with only a 20W fast charging capability. However, the MatePad Pro also comes with wireless charging capabilties at 15W wireless and 7.5 reverse wireless charging.
The tablet comes in a couple of variants when it comes to RAM and storage, ranging from 6-8GB RAM and up to 512GB of storage. I ended up with the 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage, which is more than enough to get you through the day.
The Elephant In The Room: Google
Okay and now to address the thing people would be most concerned about: The missing Google Mobile Services. And yes, I cannot stress this enough, missing Google features and apps have made an otherwise flawless tablet experience, flawed. The missing functionality was felt the moment I opened the box, got to the setup, and had to setup the device from scratch.
No restoring from Google, as I usually do with every Android device I review.
But overtime, as I used it more and more, I saw that Huawei had actually created a well crafted device, which was capable of withstanding the loss of Google. It wasn’t as bad as I had thought it’d be. What you’re really missing are fundamentally apps, which with some research, you can still somehow find a way to get onto the Google-less device. It’s not ideal, but it’s definitely doable.
Trust me, from someone who vehemently spouts on about Google’s software and library of apps, and Google Mobile Services. Huawei Mobile Services is just that, with a little less functionality, but with a few workarounds, is going to get you through the day and more.
The Huawei App Gallery has pretty much every app you’d need as a Malaysian, except Netflix, WhatsApp, the whole host of Google apps. I didn’t really like the App Gallery just because I’m so used to the Google Play Store, but it was manageable. It really depends on you, and if you’re willing to do the extra stuff to get what you need out of the MatePad Pro.
The Other Stuff
There’s a dual camera setup on the back of the device which, well, took photos. The MatePad Pro is equipped with a 13MP f/1.8 aperture shooter on the rear, and an 8MP, f/2.0 aperture selfie camera. It did the job to take a quick shot of something around the house, or whatever you need to get a shot of.
Now, let’s talk about one of the more important aspects of the device: the M-Pencil. With this addition of a ‘stylus’ essentially, it opened up a new realm of possibilities with the MatePad Pro. Taking notes was easy, and using Huawei’s in-built app which converts written notes to text, it made it all the more easier.
The accuracy of this conversion was often times very good, but if your handwriting is unintelligible, the software will have a tough time decoding what you’re writing. Overall, with the variety of uses in note taking, drawing and even adding in notes on presentations and documents, it made for a great experience productivity wise.
The MatePad Pro also has Histen 6.0 3D stereo speakers tuned from Harman/Kardon, which makes for a loud, crisp, and pleasant sounding speakers. It really is a great entertainment device, which would probably have destroyed the rest of the tablets out there, if it had Google built in. But like I said, if you’re willing to go the extra-mile for the workarounds, it’s well worth the money.
Huawei’s MatePad Pro has changed my perception of a tablet. What was once, to me, seemingly a useless ‘device’ because I had a laptop AND a smartphone, I never saw the need for a tablet. But after extensively using the MatePad Pro to send emails, write posts, watch TikToks, Netflix, and all kinds of uses, I was very much satisfied with the experience. The device is powerful, has a great display and sound, well made M-Pencil and Intelligent Keyboard attachments, in an attractive well-built package. It just works, and more so than I expected it to.
The only con: No Google.
But then again, I didn’t think I’d be able to adapt to a Google-less device, but I did. And trust me, if I can, anybody can. For the RM2399 price point including the Intelligent Keyboard case, M-Pencil and whole host of other goodies, it’s truly an offer I can’t refuse.
Huawei MatePad Pro
The device is powerful, has a great display and sound, well made M-Pencil and Intelligent Keyboard attachments, in an attractive well-built package. It just works, and more so than I expected it to. The only con: No Google.