Just as many of us were bemoaning the lack of new high-end Android tablets, and their potential replacement with Chrome OS convertibles, Huawei has announced an intriguing new Android-based media powerhouse, the MediaPad M5. Available in both 8-inch and 10.8-inch screen sizes, the tablet is the first to feature a curved “2.5D” display. Huawei says this helps make the tablet lighter, although the 10.8-inch model is still a couple ounces heavier than Samsung’s 9.7-inch S3 model.
Huawei MediaPad M5 By the Numbers
There are three models of the M5: an 8.4-inch, a 10-8-inch, and a Pro version of the 10.8-inch with a faster iteration of Huawei’s Kirin 960 Octacore processor. All three come with what sounds like an impressive QHD (2560 x 1600 pixels) display. Huawei says the MediaPad M5 is the first tablet display to use curved glass, which keeps everything a little smaller and lighter.
The 8.4-inch model has two Harmon-Kardon tuned speakers, while the 10.8-inch models have four. All of them feature what Huawei calls Hi-Res audio for delivering high-definition sound, and are powered with an AK4376 audio chip. The 8.4-inch model ($319 MSRP) and base 10.8-inch tablet ($349 MSRP) come in Space Gray, while the Pro tablet ($449 MSRP) is Champagne Gold. Based on pre-release specs provided by Huawei, the only difference other than color and $100 between the regular 10.8-inch model and the Pro version is the use of a Kirin 960s processor instead of a Kirin 960.
Some Nice Design Touches
The tablet has a metal frame that’s designed to make it more resistant to bumps and knocks. That could be a nice touch if that plus the curved design allow for comfortable and safe use without a case. Of course, stylus-enabled tablets are at their best when you can prop them up for writing on a table, so except for units like the Surface Pro that feature an integrated kickstand, most serious tablet users wind up with a case anyway.
Is There a Huawei MediaPad M5 In Your Future?
If you’re looking for a better media consumption device than your smartphone or existing table, it’s quite likely the M5 will fit the bill. The active stylus and solid overall specs also make it a likely replacement for many of the pen-enabled Android tablets already on the market. Once we have one in hand, we’ll be taking a look at how Huawei’s Desktop View performs at Android multi-tasking compared with either the more traditional Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S3 tablet or the emerging crop of Chrome OS devices that can also run Android.
Living With the Huawei MediaPad M5: Solid Value, With Entertainment Focus
Huawei's new MediaPad M5 offers a powerful Android tablet optimized for media consumption at an aggressive price point. I compare one with a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 to see how it measures up.