Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue Review
Like it or not, the Android 4.1.2 build running on the Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue has been modified from its original form. The company's very own EmotionUI 1.5 comes loaded out of the box, bringing both major and minor alterations affecting the overall user experience. One of them is the lack of an app drawer; every app that is installed has its icon placed straight on the home screen, from where it can be grouped with others in a folder if needed. This is supposedly meant to make the UI simpler, yet we don't want to imagine what having 218 apps loaded onto the device would look like.
We like that the notification panel is placed at the bottom corner where it is closer to the user's thumb. Also, it is nice that the camera, dialer, and messaging apps can be launched straight from the lock screen via shortcuts that are permanently placed there.
What we're frustrated with, on the other hand, is that the UI can be unresponsive. If your tap is even slightly off-center, tapping on an app icon won't launch it.
By default, most of the home screen is occupied by the Me Widget, which combines several smaller widgets into one. These mini widgets can be customized, removed, or reorganized, depending on what features the user needs most frequently. Unfortunately, while the widget does come in handy quite often, it is the root of performance issues we experienced constantly during testing. Each time the Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue is rotated, this widget has to be redrawn, causing an unacceptable lag of at least a second. Eventually, we removed it from our home screen.
The Huawei on-screen keyboard feels okay, but it isn't the best we've ever tried. Nevertheless, after a few minutes of practice, we could type comfortably on it regardless of its orientation. We find the built-in gestures for quick input of symbols and numbers pretty neat. Still, a split layout in addition to the default one would have been nice having.
Processor and memory
The K3V2 system-on-chip, or a variation of it, is found in many of Huawei's recent devices, including the MediaPad 7 Vogue. It sports a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and a 16-core GPU, which seems like a decent hardware combo when paired with 1GB of RAM. However, we simply can't describe the user experience as smooth, especially with the issue we described above. Sometimes the tablet runs just fine, but then suddenly, the UI would get choppy and would lag when exiting or switching between apps. At least most of the games we tested ran fine, although some of the the heavier titles run at poor frame rates.
Even light users will find the 8GB of on-board storage insufficient as only about 4.7GB of it are free. Thankfully, there's a microSD card for adding up to 32 gigs extra.
Internet browser and connectivity
The stock internet browser on the Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue takes some time to load heavy pages, but once that's done, the app handles them well. Zooming, scrolling, and other navigation gestures are smooth and respond accurately to the user's touch input. But on a low-res screen like this, text in web pages is nearly impossible to read without zooming in, and that spoils the whole web browsing experience. Feature-wise, the browser hasn't been tweaked and comes with just the standard set of tools, such as support for multiple tabs, embedded YouTube videos, and saving pages for offline use.
One thing we don't see often on a tablet is a cellular radio capable of making regular phone calls. The Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue does have one of these and it happens to be among its stand-out features. It will also get you online at HSPA+ rates of up to 42Mbps. GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi with DLNA support are also on board.