Today Huawei is announcing the launch of its newest high-end tablet: The MatePad Pro 5G. The device isn’t exactly a new product as the company had launched the 4G version in China back in November, but it is now also launching in the western markets as 5G variant and we’ve had some hands-on experience with the new unit.

 

The Android tablet space has been relatively lacklustre over the last several years. The two only vendors who really are still trying to bring out new premium models are Samsung and Huawei, and Samsung has the tendency to skimp out on the internal hardware of its tablets, most of the time using last generation SoCs rather than employing the latest and greatest.

Huawei’s approach with the new MatePad Pro here is different, as the company is opting for the best hardware the company can integrate. As such, the new MatePad Pro 5G comes with the company’s new Kirin 990 5G chipset, which isn’t just only an upgrade over the 4G variant of the Chinese models, but should also represent a significant lead over other high-end tablets in the market.

Huawei MatePad Pro 5G
  Specifications
SoC HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G
2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.86 GHz
2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.36 GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.95 GHz
Graphics Arm Mali-G76MP12 @ 600MHz
Display 10.8-inch
sAMOLED
2560×1600
Storage 128 GB
256 GB
512 GB
Nano Memory card slot
Memory 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi Direct,
Bluetooth v5.1
GPS A-GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS
Connectivity USB 3.1 Type-C for data and charging
Camera Rear Camera: 13 MP
Front Camera: 8 MP
Video Recording: UHD 4K (3840×2160) @ 30 fps
Playback: ?
Audio 4 × Speakers
USB-C headset
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Compass
Battery 7250 mAh
Dimensions 246 × 159 × 7.2 mm
460 grams
Color White, Black, Green and Orange
OS AOSP 10 with EMUI 10
Price 6GB+128GB Wifi: 549€
8GB+256GB Wifi: 649€
8GB+256GB Wifi + Pencil + Leather: 749€

6GB+128GB LTE: 599€
8GB+256GB LTE: 699€

8GB+256GB 5G: 799€
8GB+512GB 5G: 949€
Accessories MatePad Sleeve: 39€
Smart Keyboard: 129€
M-Pencil: 99€
Folio Cover: 39€

As noted, the MatePad Pro 5G comes with the new Kirin 990 5G chipset which gives it sufficient oomph to power even the latest applications with ease.

We have yet to get the full specifications of the western device configurations, but if the Chinese variant of the MatePad Pro are any indicator of what to expect, then we should see 6 or 8GB RAM configurations along with options of 128, 256 and 512GB storage.

 

The MatePad Pro is defined by a 10.8” AMOLED screen coming in with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. In our hands-on with the device, we noted excellent picture quality, and the viewing experience on the tablet is really defined by the very narrow bezels, currently the smallest of any tablet on the market coming in at 4.9mm.

Huawei is launching the MatePad Pro with two main accessories: The keyboard case, as well as the pencil. 

 

The keyboard case is a relatively straightforward accessory and allows you for fast typing on the tablet. The case is fully magnetic in its design and latches onto the back of the MatePad Pro. The keyboard case has the ability to rest the tablet in a vertical position at two fixed angles. Key input was relatively ok on the unit, however I’m not too convinced of such form-factors given that there’s no proper way to rest your palms while typing so I don’t think it’s fit for a proper productivity environment, such as say Microsoft’s Surface keyboards.

There’s also a pencil accessory which pretty much works as you’d expect. The M-Pencil charges wirelessly and is attached magnetically to the top side of the MatePad Pro, with total battery life of up to 10h and charging times of 1h to full capacity, or 30s charging for 10 minutes of usage. Huawei advertises very low latency input lag of as low as 20ms and pressure sensitivity of up to 4096 levels.

Both the keyboard case and the M-Pencil are separately bought accessories for the MatePad Pro.

 The device comes with a quad speaker setup, which is again something quite rare in the Android tablet market.

I quite really enjoyed the ergonomics of the MatePad Pro and I think it’s amongst the best tablet designs on the market right now. The rounded corners were very comfortable to hold, and Huawei says it has improved its software touch rejection to avoid accidental touches on the new narrow bezel design.

  

In terms of cameras, we see a front-facing 8MP unit integrated into the screen via a hole-punch design, while the rear unit is a 13MP module integrated into a more classical design alongside a microphone and flash.

  

The MatePad Pro 5G looks to have excellent hardware specifications, but of course the device’s success isn’t only about hardware, but also software. Huawei’s ban on using Android and Google services still is a major handicap for the company’s devices in western markets, and will undoubtedly make this a much less attractive purchase. Huawei is investing a lot of money and resources into bringing the alternative HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) to market, and they claim we’ll be seeing the first products this year, and products such as the MatePad Pro will be receiving updates as well.

WiFi and LTE versions of the MatePad Pro start at 549 and 599€ and will be available in April, while the 5G variant starts at 799€ with availability depending on markets.

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  • MikusR - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    So Kirin 990 is significantly faster than Snapdragon 855? Reply
  • cfenton - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    Are they using the 5G version of the Kirin 990 for both the wifi and 5G versions? If so, is this a way to salvage chips that have a defect in the modem area? It just seems a bit odd to me that they are using the more expensive version of their SOC and then disabling its main feature for the wifi version. Reply
  • wr3zzz - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    Who are the markets for premium Android tablets? Reply
  • Retycint - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    Beats me. Literally everyone I know uses an iPad for notetaking, and in my 2 years of uni I have seen precisely 1 Android tablet being used in class. The iPad and its user experience is just so much better, not to mention a lower barrier of entry (cheapest iPad + Pencil is still cheaper than the base model of this and the Samsung tab S6) Reply
  • bernstein - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    true, but if you want a tablet with slim bezels and are ok with the apps available for this, it's only 2/3-the price of an ipad pro Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    Why would you compare devices with budget screens, like the iPad pro, to something with a proper display?

    The market for Android tablets? People who want contrast on their devices.
    Reply
  • halcyon - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    US bubble. There's the 7.4 billion of rest of us... Reply
  • p1esk - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    How many of those 7.4B are looking to buy a $600+ tablet? Reply
  • halcyon - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    Outside USA, esp. Asia. Huawei has been mainly targeting China for it's premium tablets. They would also sell some in Europe, if they were widely available. Reply
  • MikusR - Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - link

    People who want expandable storage, ability to use apps not blessed by thegatekeepers, ability to simply copy files to their device, ability to write apps without buying specific blessed hardware, Termux, etc. Reply

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