Huawei MatePad Pro: The Workflow Gamechanger

The Huawei MatePad Pro is one of Huawei’s many tablets in the market, jumping straight into the flagship category. I personally enjoy the notion of having a tablet over an ultrabook, prioritizing portability over all-out performance. With this MatePad Pro, it was easy for me to get into it for all the right reasons. 

Flagship Class Spec-sheet

If it’s going to be a flagship tablet, it better have flagship specs. Coming in strong with a reliable Kirin 990 SoC as seen on the Mate 30 Pro, the MatePad Pro comes with an accompanying 256GB of internal memory and 8GB of RAM. IF that’s not enough, you may add up to an additional 256GB via Huawei’s proprietary NM (Nano-memory) cards, sold separately of course. The standard package comes with the tablet itself, a 20W quick-charge powerbrick, USB-C to 3.5mm adapter and sim-ejector pin. The core accessories which are the Magnetic Keyboard Case and M-Pencil are sold separately, but I’d say they’re DEFINITELY essential for the full experience. 

The tablet comes in two colors, being Midnight Grey and Pearl White. My unit is in Midnight Grey, my preferred choice over the White. It weighs about 460 grams, not too light, and most certainly not too heavy. 

The tablet comes with a comfy 10.8-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio that I personally enjoyed, especially when I’m using Office and watching videos. There’s a punch hole 8MP f/2.0 front-facing camera on the top-left corner of the display which I’m not a fan off but can live with. At the back you’ll spot a 13MP f/1.8 rear camera complete with a large flash module.

Colors are punchy and with decent brightness, can beat most laptops that are available today in it’s price-class. 


Versatility in the field

One thing I have to stress about using the MatePad Pro is the versatility it offers in terms of user experience. You can use it tablet mode and desktop mode, which are two very different experiences. This may factually be an Android tablet, but it feels more like an Android Laptop, which is why I use it on desktop mode 90% of the time. The Desktop mode offers a refined laptop experience, and it made me forget about the device not having Google Services on board. Just like a laptop, I used the browser for everything. I logged-in to my gmail and I did everything as I did on a laptop. I still managed to watch Youtube, view my Google Documents and manage my Drive all in the browser with the only compromise being in the keyboard shortcuts that aren’t present on Huawei’s native internet browser app. That’s something that can come in any other time in an update and I hope it will happen to sweeten the deal. If you’re someone that had concerns over the Google Services matter, it’s not difficult to find workarounds that can satiate your app dependency.  

For the best ecosystem, it’d be good if you also own a Huawei Smartphone too, as you can share files, answer calls and reply texts via Huawei Share, exclusive to EMUI 10. I found that a compelling feature as I was able to drag photos from my P40’s gallery to my tablet’s, reducing a fraction of my time wasted on offloading media files via cables and dongles. If you don’t have Huawei device, it’s fine, you can always just upload to Huawei Cloud or other services to achieve the same thing!

Either way, I found my workflow to be a lot more optimized, so I recognize this tablet as a viable productivity solution.

Killer Speakers


The speakers on the MatePad Pro are good. REAL good. The quad-speaker system is a definite highlight, with two on each top and bottom side of the tablet. Playing Spotify and Videos sounded crisp and the bass was good, adding points to the media consumption side of things. As mentioned from our friends at NasiLemakTech, be sure to update to EMUI 10.1, as the Widevine DRM is part of the update package, enabling users to watch Netflix on the tablet without hindrance. There were even times I forgot to connect it to my speakers as the loudness just enough to fill up my room without any crackling or hissing.

Accessories

Smart Magnetic Keyboard Case

The Smart Magnetic Keyboard Case is made of a leather-ish design, with cutouts for the ports and rear camera. Its full body folding stand design quickly transforms your MatePad Pro into an ultra-portable laptop. The tablet snaps onto it magnetically and connects via bluetooth. It tap’s into the tablet’s massive 7250mAh battery so you don’t have to charge it separately. 

In the beginning you’ll feel the keyboard feels a little bit cramped but after a real quick while you’ll get used to it and you might actually enjoy it. The typing experience turned out to be pleasant, a lot better than the iPad Pro’s keyboard if you ask me. It would have been nice if the keyboard had a little space for a trackpad or some backlighting for typing in the dark, but for RM 499, the keyboard is able to do its job well. One thing I did was simply pair it with my Logitech Pebble Bluetooth mouse everything became easier to navigate, if you didn’t decide to pick up the pencil too that is. 

M-Pencil

With 4096 levels of pressure, the M-Pencil is of a simple design, sporting a hard tip. Writing and drawing is fun, with palm-rejection being done very well on its 10.8-inch landscape.

The active stylus is charged wirelessly when you attach it to the side of your tablet and communicates via Bluetooth. Charging. It takes about 30 seconds to charge to get 10 minutes of work, so perpetually you’ll always have a charge on your M-Pencil. 

 There are no buttons present so navigation could feel limited at first, but after awhile you’ll forget about it, especially if you have paired a mouse with it as well.

The Notepad app is straightforward, but lacks a lot of customization and organization features that I have gotten used to on other apps. I foresee updates to improve this, so take it with a grain of salt. I especially wished there were more brush types in the app to bring out the artist in me, but there are other apps in the AppGallery that could take it place anyway. There’s a cool shortcut to immediately access the Notepad app. Simply tap the pencil onto the lockscreen and you’ll be immediately pushed to the app. Really useful for those who are constantly needing to take notes or a quick doodle of inspiration.

The RM 299 investment on this accessory really depends on whether you want to draw/take down notes more or navigate through the system more, in which for the latter I’d go for a Bluetooth mouse any day. 

2 Day Battery Life Average

The MatePad Pro has a large 7250mAh battery capacity that can last pretty long, under ideal usage patterns. You may see yourself needing a top-up after 1 1/2 day’s worth of continuous  web browsing and office work, or after a full 24 hours worth of video binging. The tablet doesn’t run very hot during these times and I find that a blessing. 

If you’re a relatively light user that just views social media or even read an ebook while listening to music, you can definitely stretch up to 3 days before the battery % is on its last legs. 

It doesn’t take too long to charge, just roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes to charge from 1% to 100% using the bundled 20W power brick. You’ll get even faster speeds if you have the 40W Supercharger power brick lying around, so you’ll just have to bring one charger with you instead of 2. If you’re into wireless charging, the MatePad Pro supports up to 27W of it, which I find a nice to have, rather than necessity. 

So, is it for you?

I never really treated this as a tablet, but more of a laptop. It’s a refreshing alternative for an entry level laptop. If you’re looking to draw, take notes and work on your documents as ultra-portable as you can, this could even prove more useful than an iPad with Pencil and keyboard (which will kill you in price). I’d also recommend this if you’re looking for a long term investment for media consumption, be it videos or gaming. The specs are definitely competent enough to run any game without kicks or heat.

Tablet alone, it commands an RM 2399 price tag which is fair, considering its specs of flagship class. Taking the pencil is on the fence for me, if you’re not planning to draw. Pairing it with a bluetooth mouse is great, especially with that Smart Magnetic Keyboard case. 

There’s a pretty sweet deal now too, from 28th April till 7th June 2020, where you can get the MatePad Pro, Keyboard and M-Pencil for RM 2898, which is a no-brainer for me. You can live on just the browser and some already available apps, trust me. AppGallery still has a long way to go but they’re working hard on adding more native apps by the day. Definitely my favorite tablet of 2020. 

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