[Review] Featuring HarmonyOS 2: The HUAWEI MatePad (2022)
HUAWEI MatePad (2022)
+ Lightweight and sleek
- Lack of Google Mobile Services
+ Good battery lfie
- 60Hz display
+ Good audio quality
+ Great Super Device system if you use HUAWEI devices
Just launched is HUAWEI's latest version of its MatePad and we're excited to test the new HUAWEI tablet with its own HarmonyOS 2. Whether it's using EMUI or HarmonyOS, you still don't get Google Services like YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, and more. So, is the lack of such services tolerable? Let's find out!
The 2022 version of the HUAWEI MatePad still retains the same design of its previous generation with a matte grey finish that looks sleek and curves inwards slightly at the edges. It also has a magnesium alloy frame, adding to the already solid feeling even though it only measures 7.3mm thin. On the back, there's only the HUAWEI logo in the middle and a Harman Kardon branding at the bottom.
In the landscape orientation, you'll see four microphones and the volume rocker on the top, as well as a SIM card slot at the bottom. The power button is on the left while the USB-C charging port is on the right. Meanwhile, there are 4 speakers on both left and right, 2 on each side.
It comes with narrow bezels with a punch-hole design for the selfie camera on the top with an IR sensor. While it supports face scanning for biometric identification, apart from the usual unlocking methods, there's no fingerprint scanner.
Available in the Matte Grey color option only, the MatePad is slim and smart-looking especially for work. Although it is very light, weighing only 450g, it feels very solid when carrying it. It can fit into your bag or even tote that you can easily bring around with.
Display, Cameras, and Audio
The new MatePad keeps the same 10.4" IPS LCD display with a 2000 x 1200 resolution, 225 PPI, and a screen ratio of 84%. Screen brightness can be set to automatically adjust itself depending on the surrounding lighting. In the settings menu, you can choose between the default, warm, or cool color temperature of the screen based on your preference.
It also has a few features for eye protection to provide you with a comfortable viewing experience, including dark mode, eye comfort mode, and ebook mode. On top of that, it has passed the TUV Rheinland low blue light and flicker-free certifications, which reduce harmful blue light.
For its price, you get only a standard 60Hz refresh rate so you'll notice visible lags when you're browsing the web, scrolling, and launching apps. Despite the not-so-smooth experience, the screen is crisp and sharp; pretty great for watching videos. The touchscreen also supports HUAWEI's 2nd Generation M-Pencil but we'll mention more about it later.
For HD video conferencing and average selfies, there's an 8MP front-facing camera that also supports face unlock. The dual-camera module on the back includes a 13MP main camera and an 8MP wide angle camera. It can capture 1080p videos at 30fps. Don't use the cameras on a tablet if you have a smartphone by your side because you won't go anywhere with them.
In terms of audio, the quad-speaker sound system tuned by Harman Kardon is loud enough to fill a mid-sized room and bass is surprisingly powerful enough. Since the speakers are on both sides, it feels like you get to enjoy surround sound. The microphones are equipped with noise reduction features to differentiate voices and noise in real-time when you're making video calls or having online meetings. There's no headphone jack present here but since most phones also remove that now, you should get used to it too (?).
In terms of specs, it is powered by a Kirin 710A SoC consisting of 4 Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and 4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz, as well as a Mali G51 GPU. It is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There's also another cheaper variant available with a smaller 64GB of storage. You can expand the storage up to 512GB as it offers a micros card slot.
As this tablet is designed for work and play, mostly work and little play, this configuration is sufficient if you're looking for a mid-range option. Switching between apps and split-screen multi-tasking work just fine except they won't be very smooth due to the low refresh rate.
Underneath its hood is a large 7250mAh battery that supports the 22.5W Huawei SuperCharge bundled in the packaging. On a single charge, the tablet can last for up to 12 hours of local 1080p HD video playback. HUAWEI also claims that it can be fully charged in 2.5 hours. In the real world, the battery dropped 35% after we watched more than 4 hours of videos online. As for charging, it took us over 2 hours to top up from 9% to 100%, which is pretty close to what's claimed.
The MatePad 2022 runs HUAWEI's HarmonyOS 2.0 out of the box. One of the main highlights of the new operating system is the Super Device feature. Basically, it allows you to enjoy an interconnected experience to multitask across multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and PCs. You'll be able to choose from three modes: Mirror, Extend, and Collaborate via Tablet-PC multiscreen collaboration.
In Mirror mode, the tablet's interface will be mirrored or duplicated to a PC for you to view content on a larger display. Meanwhile, in Extend mode, the tablet functions as a second screen to your PC for you to see content more easily especially when you have to view a few tabs simultaneously. Lastly, Collaborate mode lets you drag and drop or transfer images, texts, and files between the two connected devices. As seamless and cool as that sounds, this feature only works between Huawei devices so if you're not using a Huawei smartphone running EMUI 10.0 and above, you won't have access to it.
The user interface is easy to navigate with apps grouped together based on their categories and a launcher Dock at the bottom with the recently opened apps next to it. By default, you'll see an interface that lets you swipe the screen to navigate. Swiping left and right from the edge will bring you to the previous screen while swiping up will lead you back to the home screen. Swipe up and hold to view recent apps. Swipe left and right at the bottom edge to switch between apps. The drop-down interface is divided into two halves with the left drops notifications and the right displays the settings control panel.
To enable the Multi-Window mode swipe left or right from the edge and hold until the icon of the Multi-Window Dock pops out. Drag the apps that you want to use out of the dock to the left and right or top and bottom of the screen and the display will appear in a split-screen view. For apps that don't allow split-screen view, you can opt for a floating window. Instead of dragging the second app out of the dock, simply click it and it will launch in a floating window. You're allowed to open up to two floating windows at the same time with another app in the background.
The App Multiplier has been updated in the new operating system, which makes multitasking easier in landscape orientation. In apps that support the feature, a second window will pop out when you click on an entry on its home screen. For example, when you click on the search bar in Petal Search, the second window will appear on the right. This feature can be enabled in the settings menu.
Yes, it doesn't support Google Mobile Services so no PlayStore here. Instead, you can download apps via the Huawei AppGallery or download APKs that you can search via Petal Search. It can be quite bothersome when you need to manually search for apps like YouTube on third-party app stores.
HUAWEI M-Pencil and HUAWEI Smart Keyboard
The HUAWEI MatePad is compatible with the second generation of M-Pencil, which resembles the look of a real pencil with a smart silver finish. The stylus has 4096-level pressure sensitivity.
It's accurate when it comes to writing and drawing, and is easy to use. Latency is not low enough as we noticed some lags between the duration of writing and registering. Besides a new transparent tip and platinum-coated nib, it also comes with 2 replaceable tips.
Inside its box, you'll get a cable that can be plugged into its USB-C charging port and you only need to attach the stylus magnetically onto a dedicated bar for charging. You can use it for approximately 10 hours after an hour of charging.
By default, you can double-tap the M-Pen on the side to prompt a shortcut menu with a "Take Snippet" and an "Annotate" feature. If you're writing or drawing, you can change the double-tap function in the settings, including switching between current tool and eraser, switching between current and previous tool, as well as opening the color palette.
The HUAWEI Smart Keyboard can be automatically connected to the tablet via Bluetooth once it clicks in place. It has a 1.3mm travel distance, which works nicely for your daily tasks. It took us some time to get used to the keyboard because of the crammed keys on the small keyboard.
As I'm a fast typist, it took me even longer to get used to the keyboard. It registers inputs at a slower pace and when you try to 'backspace' words or sentences at a faster speed, you will notice the lags.
The keyboard is certainly not the best out there but it is still useful especially when you want to use the tablet for work as a laptop. It also doubles as a dock that allows the device to stand and tilt for you to type while looking at the screen comfortably. The magnetic strip in the keyboard holds the keyboard firmly and you don't have to worry about it detaching even if you hold it in one hand. There are also several shortcut key functions onboard for more convenience.
Pairing it to the tablet is a breeze. Turn on the power button at the edge of the keyboard edge and connect it via Bluetooth. There's a battery level indicator located at the top right corner above the Backspace key. There are 3 levels of indicators: green, yellow, or red to let you know roughly how much battery you have left. It will blink in red when the battery level is too low and needs charging.
Buy or no buy
The 2022 version of the HUAWEI MatePad 10.4 is a good device for multitasking, entertainment, and productivity. It has a nice display and more importantly, a long battery life, which you'd need for work. Add the optional smart keyboard and you'll get a super lightweight portable laptop, and the M-Pencil and it will be a good device for creative work. The HarmonyOS 2.0 also offers everything that you need, including the Super Device feature (a huge bonus if you are using HUAWEI devices).
As the case for HUAWEI devices, it doesn't support Google services so it can be a dealbreaker for many especially if your work relies heavily on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You probably won't mind the low refresh rate since this one's mainly for work but there are more budget options in the market offering better displays.
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