I’ll be honest with you. Android tablets are fairly boring. They were rather exciting about 3 years ago, when every new tablet offered just a bit more, or that extra screen size gave you something more. However, since then, apart from the usual software updates, we haven’t really seen much in the Android tablet space that has struck us as amazing. Huawei are trying to buck the trend with their MediaPad M2 10. We look at the Premium Edition of this beautiful tablet, which not only features Harmon Kardon speakers for both bass and treble, but also comes with the Huawei M-Pen stylus and the Wacom Bamboo app to take your note taking and art work on the go to the next level.
Quick look at the Specifications
- Available in Silver and Gold
- 239.8mm x 172.75mm x 7.35mm, 500g
- IPS Display, 10.1″, 1920 x 1200, FHD
- Hisilicon Kirin 930, Quad 2.0GHz + Quad 1.5GHz
- EMUI3.1, Android 5.1
- ROM: 64 GB (premium edition)/16 GB (standard edition)
- RAM: 3 GB LPDDR3 (premium edition)/2 GB LPDDR3 (standard edition)
- 4G/3G models available
- Front Camera: 5MP
- Rear Camera: 13MP with Flash
- M-Pen features 2048 pressure points and high identification accuracy
- Battery: 6660mAh
- 4 Harmon Kardon Speakers
- In the box: Standard Version: Handset 1, Charger 1, USB cable 1, Quick Start Guide 1, Needle 1
- In the box: Premium Version: Handset 1, Huawei M-Pen 1, Charger 1, USB cable 1, Quick Start Guide 1, Needle 1
I ended up making a short unboxing video with all the images I took as I stitched it together:
Forgive the poor quality, as it has been done using YouTube editor. Videos will improve over time!
Look and feel
I won’t lie. This one definitely looks the part. With beautiful curves and brushed metallic edges, this has premium written all over. At less than 500g and 7.35mm thin, it definitely fulfils the lightweight requirement too.
The front features the FHD screen, the front camera as well as the fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor can be used both for unlocking the device as well as swipe gestures (more on that below). The back, apart from the logos has the camera which actually comes with a flash.
The top and bottom feature the Harmon/Kardon speakers, two were treble and two for bass. The top also features the 3.5mm headphone socket.
On the right side you will find the power and volume keys, while the micro USB port for charging and the SD card slot can be found on the left.
Once in the case, you have access to all the ports as expected, as well as the flash and camera at the back. The case, like almost any other tablet case, provides you with some protection as well as ability to use it as a stand.
All in all, the tablet features smooth shiny curves, attention to detail and a finish you will proud of showing off among both your stylish as well as business colleagues.
The first thing that is featured on the product page is the audio quality, featuring Harmon Kardon speakers, so we start with that. I popped up my usual test Spotify playlists, featuring some classical bits as well as some modern music. Things I listen to frequently, so know what to expect.
The first thing you notice when you play anything on this tablet is just how loud those speakers are. The amount of sound produced is tremendous, and thanks to the extra bass and treble packed in, you can definitely ‘feel’ it as well as you can hear it.
And what about the audio quality? While it worked great for most modern music, sadly you can really tell that it misses a mark or two when you start playing classical music on it. The depth just isn’t there, but under normal day to day music, and specially for watching films (high action and explosive ones), this is the device to use. For a device which is focused around media usage, this ticks the box, but shame about the classical music though.
Once again, it comes with high promise, and it delivers well. I watched and streamed a lot of video, and this did not disappoint. Once again, use this to watch films, and you will not be disappointed. In fact, with the size it offers, and the 64GB it packs, you will be silly not to use this while you travel around the world. The brightness and detail are both there, and you can definitely see the screen in sunlight too.
Fingerprint sensor and gestures
Huawei has already brought us fingerprint gestures with its Huawei (and Honor) phones. They allow you to swipe up, down, left or right to do different things. Tablets are yet to see such functionality, but Huawei is trying to be a trend setter once again. The MediaPad M2 allows fingerprint gestures (and they work whether you enrol for security or not) to allow you to go to Home Screen, look at Recent Apps, or just go back a screen. Pretty much what you can do with your bottom menu bar on most Android screens, but good to have a physical back up to use. There is definitely more potential here, and kudos to Huawei for exploring this.
As far as fingerprint security goes, there has already been enough said on the matters of security. Huawei have packed in their efficient fingerprint sensors at the front, and much like their phones, they allow you to unlock the screen in an instant. It must be noted that Huawei fingerprint technology has been the fastest we have tested.
Using the M-Pen
For me, the real value comes from the M-Pen for this device. The M-Pen allows you to use four features:
- Taking Notes
The Help is obvious, as it in tells you what to do, and I guess so is Mail.
Where it really shines is the Calculator (if you’re nerdy) and the Note app which really works well if you are into your drawing.
The M-Pen has a couple of buttons on it. The lower button allows you to use it as a single tap to bring up the menu (which gives you those four options), or press and hold to take screen shots. The upper button functions as an eraser during apps.
The Calculator is rather clever, and is not that different from the kind of ‘scribble your equation’ apps we have seen. However, this time you are allowed to use an actual pen instead of a finger, and I must say I was rather impressed! It can do your Pi and your e and log and your natural log. However, it cannot do integration and such like. Of course, if you’d rather use a conventional calculator, you have the choice to do so too.
The Bamboo Note app is taken and developed from Wacom itself, the company already known for making graphic tablets that are used by artists all over the world. The app is wonderful, and while there are some features that you have to pay for, such as types of pens/brushes, basic usage allows you quite a lot of interesting usage. The pen offers you up to 2048 levels of pressure, which means you get some brilliant feedback and results depending on how you use the pen.
Me being me, was only able to achieve the following:
I quite like it. I may have had some cats around me. I may have found them a bit annoying. I may have wondered about boxes in which cats may be dead or alive. I may or may not be a sad and cruel person.
Also notice the jagged edges of that image? That is M-Pen taking a selection screenshot!
Okay. I am totally not about taking images from a tablet, but I have to admit, the camera works reasonably well. It isn’t amazing, and as obvious, it really isn’t a match for most camera phones, but it is okay to take images while you are in a meeting and need to take some images.
Though it definitely struggles with funny light conditions. Most would though, and once again, I will definitely not be using this as a main photo device, so I will not be judging!
As you can see, a bright screen was enough to throw this one off!
The overall performance of the device is fairly reasonable, and it does pack in a decent set of specs. Apps open quickly, the M-Pen works reasonably well, and not much to complain about.
Same goes for battery life. I have used it over the last few days, and it hasn’t needed another charge since the initial one.
Like any other Huawei Android device, this comes with EMUI on top. As somebody who has used plenty of Huawei devices, this doesn’t really get in the way, but if you are used to stock Android, expect a few changes. For example, you don’t get an App Drawer, and various Settings have been ‘streamlined’. Having said that, like most tablets, there are a few quirks thrown in, and while they may take a little getting used, there are no major show stoppers here.
More information on the Huawei MediaPad M2 10 can be found on the Huawei website.
Personally I would recommend the Premium Edition. The M-Pen and the higher specs at a small increase of cost makes it a rather easy one.
What we have in the MediaPad M2 is a premium tablet, made to look the part, and designed to perform the part. The M-Pen takes the functionality up a huge level, and for that alone, this one is worth your money! Also, one word: doodling!