Huawei has been in the tablet game for more than a decade now. And with the recent success of the MatePad, the company is keen on pushing further to make their mark and compete with Apple’s iPad.
Over the past few years, tablets became a powerhouse in terms of productivity with the rise of magnetic keyboards and other smart accessories. Once regarded as smartphones with bigger screens, tablets finally established their use cases, and they are now a formidable option for work-from-anywhere professionals and students who attend online classes.
While not necessarily laptop replacements, some people are using them as such. Tablets are lighter and more portable than laptops, which makes them easier to bring everywhere compared to full-fledged laptops.
NOTE: The unit we reviewed here is the WiFi + cellular version of the Huawei MatePad Pro 11. As of writing, only the WiFi version is available in the Philippines.
Today, we’re reviewing the Huawei MatePad Pro 11, a HarmonyOS 3-powered machine that comes with all the bells and whistles anyone would expect from a high-end tablet. Since the review unit we got included the detachable smart magnetic keyboard and M-Pencil, we decided to change things up a bit. Instead of the usual reviews we do around here, we’ll share with you our experience on how it fairs as a work computer. So, I shelved my laptop and tried using it for the last couple of weeks to see if it’s really viable for work or not.
But before diving into the functionality, let’s start with the design.
The Huawei MatePad Pro 11 is one of the most gorgeous tablets I’ve seen. It looks and feels premium in the hand, plus it’s surprisingly light, especially for its size. It measures 5.9mm at its thickest point and weighs only 449 grams, which means that it’s easy to hold even for an extended period of time. The bezels around the screen are also very slim, as it has a 92% screen-to-body ratio. It also has excellent palm rejection which reduces accidental inputs.
There’s no denying that the aesthetics are heavily inspired from the iPad Pro, and that’s not really a bad thing. It’s mostly on the front, though, as the MatePad Pro 11 has a distinct design on the back with Huawei’s circular camera system usually found on its high-end smartphones like the P50 series.
Like the design, the Huawei MatePad Pro 11’s OLED FullView screen with 120Hz refresh rate and WQXVGA 2,560 x 1,600 pixel resolution (16:10 ratio) is absolutely gorgeous. The display is vibrant and crisp, which makes browsing and watching media content very enjoyable. It can also go up to 600 nits of brightness, so it’s usable even under direct sunlight.
The only thing I didn’t like about the MatePad Pro 11 is the front camera placement. The quality is very good, but it’s kind of weird to use for selfies and online meetings because it’s on the side. Other than that, everything has been excellent.
When it comes to performance, the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 is a powerhouse. It’s equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (PH version uses 870), 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage. Since it’s using a high-end processor, it goes without saying that the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 handled everything we tested without a hitch. Well, aside from the occasional app freezes, but that’s more on the software side of things.
Aside from the usual tasks like web browsing, word, and photo editing, multi-tasking is also a breeze. Running apps side-by-side on a multi-window setup and/or on top of one another is not an issue either. To seamlessly switch between apps, users may opt to collapse certain apps into a bubble akin to Messenger, to make going back and forth much easier. Widgets can also be grouped together or stacked, depending on the user’s organizational preference.
I initially thought that 8GB of RAM would be insufficient for this kind of device. As it turns out, it’s very good at memory management and can still handle numerous apps open at the same time without problems. My usual usage is a mix of relatively heavy applications like Facebook Messenger, JNotes, Spotify, Browser, YouTube, Slack, and Nifty.
I also tried the Super Device feature with the P50 and MateBook. The phone’s screen can be shared and controlled with the MatePad, although I don’t think doing this has any serious benefits. I’d rather use the phone itself than tinker with it on the tablet. It’s probably faster, too.
On the other hand, I really like Super Device’s ability to turn the MatePad into an additional screen for the MateBook. This is very useful in cases where you need extra screen estate for your laptop. It’s not that big as it’s only 11-inches, but it’s still a great help when I need the extra space.
The 256GB storage is spacious enough for plenty of photos, videos, and other media files. Almost all people stream everything nowadays, so there’s no reason to keep the files locally on the tablet. During the review period, I barely filled it up aside from the games we downloaded for testing. However, if you’re going to fill it up with plenty of movies and large files, it will probably run out pretty quickly.
Speaking of games, the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 is also great for gaming. We played PUBG Mobile on the highest settings and it ran smoothly, even on crowded areas where other devices usually struggle. With Asphalt 9, the impressive graphics of the game is elevated further with the MatePad’s stellar OLED display. Both games ran on 120fps and the experience is buttery smooth all throughout. The best part is it doesn’t heat up while gaming, probably thanks to its six-layer and three-dimensional heat dissipation architecture.
Watching or listening to any type of media content on the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 is definitely a delight. With Huawei Sound, the tablet provides an immersive “cinema-grade” audio experience. The speakers’ volume is ridiculously loud, perfect for watching movies with family or friends. For those who want to use wired earphones, it’s a no go because this one doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack like most modern smartphones.
Now that we’ve listed most of the things we liked about the tablet, let’s dig into the software. The Huawei ecosystem has improved a lot for the past few years, but it still has a long way to go compared to Apple.
As I’ve said earlier, the experience with the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 is pretty smooth all around, aside from software glitches happening from time to time. There are still random app freezes and crashes, which honestly is quite annoying when it happens while I’m in the middle of something. Android has been far behind iOS when it comes to tablet-supported apps, but it’s still the case today. Most apps are just blown up smartphone apps and don’t have tablet UI. It has improved significantly, but there’s still plenty of work to be done to catch up.
AppGallery has plenty of apps to choose from and most of the popular ones are already there. If it’s not yet in AppGallery, you may use Petal Search to find the apps and games on third-party app stores. With my experience, I was able to use 90% of the software I normally use for work and entertainment without any problems.
Like its smartphones, Huawei’s MatePad Pro 11 also doesn’t have Google Mobile Services (GMS). It’s not as big of a deal in tablets, but it’s still an inconvenience if you rely on Google products a lot.
While it’s not officially supported, Google apps can be used on HarmonyOS 3 with the help of an app called GSpace. Inside, users will be able to access the Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, and more. It’s not as convenient as having it integrated natively, but it’s good enough. You have to pay if you want to get rid of the ads, though.
One of the selling points of productivity tablets like the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 is the smart accessories it supports. I was able to try the smart magnetic keyboard and M-Pencil, but depending on the work you do, you might not need them both.
Let’s start with the Php6,999 detachable smart magnetic keyboard. It fits magnetically on the back of the tablet and can be used as a stand-alone folio case, or a more PC-like setup detached from the keyboard. Since the keyboard is smaller than usual, it takes time to get used to it. Our work involves a lot of typing, so we spent a lot of time using the keyboard. In fact, some parts of this review were written using the tablet itself. It’s comfortable to use, but I can’t recommend it for long periods of typing.
The Php5,999 M-Pencil, on the other hand, is a pleasure to use for note-taking and drawing stuff. In my case, it makes it easier to jot down notes and draw directly on images to let our graphics editor know which parts to improve on. Huawei says the MatePad Pro 11 can also be used by professionals who do modelling with an app called Nomad Sculpt.
While tablets aren’t usually used for taking pictures, the MatePad Pro is still equipped with decent shooters. A lot of work today is doing daily online meetings, so it’s now important for tablets to have good cameras. Fortunately, this one didn’t disappoint. Take a look at some of its sample shots below.
Another highlight of the MatePad Pro 11 is the ability to use it for making music. VStomp, which was previously exclusive to iOS, is now available in the AppGallery. It features 20 classic cabinet models, 26 amplifier models, 5 effector models, and more.
Probably one of the things I liked the most about the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 is the battery life. With 8,300mAh capacity, I was able to use it almost all day every day. Productivity work doesn’t consume as much power as gaming and binge-watching shows on Netflix, so I rarely drain it before the end of the day. And in case it needs a recharge, the 66W fast charging brick fills it up fairly quickly. Plug it in for a short 15-minute charge and you’ll get enough juice for the rest of the day.
So, should you buy the Huawei MatePad Pro 11? Well, I would say it depends on your needs. If you are already deep in Huawei’s ecosystem, say you have a Huawei phone and laptop, it makes sense to get the MatePad to complete the experience. It’s also a good choice if you just want a premium Android tablet, as there are not many options available in the Philippines.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tablet for just about everything, but it’s really hard to recommend it when it’s priced nearly as expensive as the iPad Pro. If you got it during the pre-order period with the free smart keyboard and M-Pencil (worth over Php15,000), I would say it’s a very good deal. But Php41,999 for the tablet alone is a bit of a stretch, especially it’s the WiFi only version.
Overall, I would still say that the MatePad Pro 11 is an incredible productivity tablet that could do anything you throw at it. And if you really like Android and HarmonyOS, it’s probably the best option available in the market today.
The Huawei MatePad Pro 11 8GB + 256GB WiFi variant is currently available in the Philippines for a price of Php41,999.
Huawei MatePad Pro 11 Specs
- HarmonyOS 3
- 11-inch WQXGA OLED display, 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution, 274ppi
- 120Hz refresh rate, 1440Hz PWM dimming
- P3 color, 600-nits, TUV Rheinland Full Care 3.0 certified
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 870/888 octa-core processor
- 8GB/12GB RAM
- Adreno 650/660 GPU
- 128GB/256GB/512GB internal storage
- 16-megapixel front camera
- 13-megapixel (f/1.8, AF) + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide, f/2.2) rear cameras, LED flash
- 4 microphones
- 6 speakers (2 tweeters, 4 woofers)
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band
- Bluetooth 5.2/5.1
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, GALILEO, BDS
- USB Type-C, 3.1 Gen 1
- Dimensions: 160.38 x 249.23 x 5.9mm
- Weight: 449g
- Colors: Golden Black
- 8,300mAh non-removable battery
- SD 888: 66W support, 40W included | SD870: 40W support, 22.5W included