Huawei is gradually moving its smart devices to its own HarmonyOS platform. The latest device to make the transition — after the Huawei Watch 3 — is the Huawei MatePad Pro. For those new to HarmonyOS (version 2 is out), it is basically Android by another name, though Huawei will disagree. The MatePad Pro also works best within Huawei's own ecosystem. You're missing some of its best features without a Huawei notebook or smartphone.
- 10.8-inch (2,560 x 1,600 pixels) IPS touchscreen
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage
- 7,250mAh battery
The MatePad Pro feels like a souped-up version of the Huawei MatePad. While the design is largely similar, the Pro feels more refined with its slimmer screen bezels. The processor, memory and storage have also been upgraded. The display, in particular, is a pleasure to look at, despite being an LCD instead of an OLED screen. It is crisp and bright, while its 16:10 aspect ratio gives you slightly more vertical screen real estate to work with. The hole-punch selfie camera, which is also used for face unlock, is located right at the top left corner. Thus, it may require some adjustment if you're holding the tablet in landscape orientation.
Also impressive are the MatePad Pro's quad speakers. They sound surprisingly good, with more depth than some notebook speakers. In fact, the MatePad Pro is almost like a laptop when attached to Huawei's Smart Magnetic Keyboard (S$218). This keyboard offers good travel with well-spaced keys, though it lacks a touchpad and backlight. Huawei has also tried to make the MatePad Pro more suited for multitasking. For instance, the new App Multiplier feature (for HarmonyOS 2 tablets) splits supported apps into two windows when in landscape mode. You can then lock or freeze one window while continuing to use the app in the other. In the Lazada shopping app for example, I can browse other items while keeping an item in the locked window. This makes it easy to compare prices and features between two products.
But some of the MatePad Pro's features require another Huawei product. For instance, you can link the MatePad Pro to a Huawei notebook (wirelessly or wired), and then extend or mirror the screen of the notebook to the tablet. Files can also be easily copied from one connected device to another. However, I was unable to try it as I don't have a Huawei notebook. To its credit, Huawei has done well at compensating for its lack of Google apps and services. Its AppGallery store already has many essential apps for Singaporeans, from Singpass to major banking, telco and shopping apps. Meanwhile, Huawei's Petal Search can find apps that are not in AppGallery from unofficial app stores like APKPure. Of course, you have to be wary when downloading from these places.
The Huawei MatePad Pro has excellent hardware, as you'd expect from a S$998 tablet. Battery life is merely decent at around 6hr 45min, albeit at a very bright (540 nits) setting. There's both wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. But as is the case for any recent Huawei gadget, the pertinent questions to ask are: Can you do without Google? And do you already have another Huawei device? If your answer to both is yes, then the MatePad Pro will offer a good, seamless experience when used within Huawei's device ecosystem. It's available from Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Huawei.
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