Huawei MatePad Pro 5G: hands-on with the iPad Pro lookalike

Huawei MatePad Pro 5G: hands-on with the iPad Pro lookalike
Huawei is one of the biggest players in the tablet market. Yesterday it unveiled a new product designed to compete with Apple’s iPad Pro and other premium tablets – the Huawei MatePad Pro 5G – and we had the chance to go hands-on with it straight after the event.

The highest screen-to-body ratio on a tablet

As some of you may remember, Huawei released the MatePad Pro tablet in China a few months ago. The international model comes in three variants – Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, and 5G – with the third option featuring a slight chipset upgrade in the form of the Kirin 990 5G.

The MatePad Pro looks unapologetically like the iPad Pro but, as you’d expect, Huawei says its version is better. It features a large 10.8-inch punch-hole display coupled with extremely thin bezels.

The bezels are so thin, in fact, that Huawei claims to have achieved an incredible 90% screen-to-body ratio. That’s the highest in the world for a tablet and much better than the Galaxy Tab S6 and iPad Pro, which offer 83% and 84.6% respectively. 

Huawei has combined the immersive display with quad-speakers and an improved microphone setup for better noise cancelation, two things we unfortunately didn’t get to try out during our short time with the tablet.

Overall, the product both looks and feels premium in the hand. It’s also available in two finishes – fiber glass and premium leather – which create a more original look.

Huawei's done a good job on the software and hardware

What truly distinguishes the MatePad Pro 5G from rival products is the internal hardware and software. The Kirin 990 5G ensures an incredibly fast experience – Huawei says it’s the fastest 5G tablet in the world – with download links that are up to 10x faster than 4G and noticeably smoother cloud gaming.

Also included is a huge 7,250mAh battery that supports 40W wired fast charging tech. Huawei has added support for 27W wireless charging too and even reverse wireless charging, allowing you to charge other products by placing them on the back and making the tablet the first in the world to support wireless charging.

This is all combined with a streamlined software experience that really helps with productivity. Huawei’s custom App Multiplier gives users the chance to open two windows inside one app at the same time.

It worked as expected during the demo and the windows can be easily adjusted by dragging the edge of tabs to one side or the other. Users of select Huawei and Honor smartphones can control their devices from the tablet too.

Unfortunately, like the foldable Huawei Mate Xs, the MatePad Pro 5G comes with one major downside in terms of software – a lack of access to Google services and apps, although these are arguably less important on a tablet.

Meet the Smart Keyboard and M Pen

Accompanying the Huawei MatePad Pro 5G are two very important accessories. One is the Smart Keyboard, which looks and feels virtually identical to Apple’s product of the same name, and therefore provides a decent typing experience.

The other is Huawei’s so-called M Pen. It’s quite simple and light from the perspective of design but supports 4096 different pressure levels and worked pretty seamlessly in our hands-on with the tablet.

It attaches to the MatePad Pro magnetically, which automatically initiates the charging process. A full charge takes one hour but just 30 seconds can apparently provide up to 10 minutes of use. 

Huawei MatePad Pro pricing and accessories

The Huawei MatePad Pro will be available starting this spring across Europe. The Wi-Fi model starts at €549 with a 6/128GB configuration but rises to €649 for the 8/256GB model.
A Vegan Leather edition of the latter is available for €749, although this one includes the M Pen as part of the package, which more than justifies the higher price tag.

The 6/128GB and 8/256GB versions of the 4G LTE model, on the other hand, cost €599 and €699 respectively. As for the MatePad Pro 5G, it will be available later this year for €799 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, although the €949 version includes 8/512GB.

Those of you on the lookout for the official accessories will want to know that the Smart Keyboard retails at €129 and the M Pen costs €99. Official folio covers and sleeves are planned for €39 each.

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