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Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite Review

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It may look like a rare breed nowadays, but tablets are still a thing. They seem to bridge the novelties offered by smartphones and the productivity capabilities that can be found on laptops.

This is why brands like Huawei are still making them. Although they are not coming up with new tablets on a monthly basis (unlike their mobile offerings), they produce them just enough to bring something on the table.

Today, we will be taking a look at the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite. The brand’s latest and only tablet offering in the Philippines. And in our full review, we’ll see if getting a tablet at this age is still a great idea. Let’s begin.

Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite Specs

  • Android 8.0 Oreo, EMUI 8.0
  • 10.1-inch WUXGA display, 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, ~224ppi
  • 1.7GHz Kirin 659 octa-core processor
  • 3GB/4GB RAM
  • Mali-T830 GPU
  • 32GB/64GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • HSDPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Dimensions: 243.4 x 162.2 x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 475g
  • Colors: Space Grey, Champagne Gold
  • 7,500mAh non-removable battery

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The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite brags a large 10.1-inch IPS screen. Thanks to its slim bezels, the device doesn’t feel as large as what most tablets are. However, it feels noticeably heavy. In fact, it’s actually a bit heavier than the similarly-sized iPad Pro.

On the bottom of the screen, we have a fingerprint scanner that doubles as a home button. A more complete set of navigation button can be found on the screen. There’s also the Huawei logo on the top, which actually helps to let you know which orientation you should use it with when in landscape mode.

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There’s a headphone jack on the left, sitting very close to the USB Type-C port. Way up top is a microSD card slot. The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite is available in an LTE variant, hence the blank SIM card slot right next to the microSD.

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On the other side, there’s the volume controls and the lock/power switch. The buttons are really satisfying to press and feel really well built.

The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite’s back panel is entirely made with metal for a premium aesthetic with the subtle Space Grey paint job.

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Going back to the display, the 10.1-inch screen on the MediaPad M5 Lite only has 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution. Definitely not the sharpest screen, especially for a panel this large. But small texts are still readable and details in videos are still good.

In addition, the colors pop and contrasty. And partnered with its Harman Kardon quad speakers, it provides a really great viewing experience.

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The four speakers are positioned in each corner on the top and bottom, so it wouldn’t be blocked by your hands when watching or playing games in landscape orientation.

Actually, the speakers are probably my favorite feature of the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite. The well-positioned drivers provide a really immersive and 3D-like experience. Plus, the volume is really loud. This is clearly the perfect device for binge-watching on Netflix or going in the rabbit hole on your favorite YouTube channel.

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While the multimedia experience was definitely great, the gaming performance is just mediocre. Most triple-A games run smoothly like Mobile Legends and NBA 2K19. However, PUBG Mobile did struggle. The resolution was set to the lowest, making details look really ugly.

The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite sports a Kirin 659 chipset, which is slightly outdated as it’s the same processor that the Nova 2i had from 2017. The unit that we have here has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, decent enough for most apps nowadays.

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Other than gaming, the overall performance was pretty satisfying. Browsing through the interface feels smooth and seamless. The multitasking experience is great, flicking through social media apps is flawless, and taking pictures is fast.

Benchmark test scores

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Speaking of pictures, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite has an 8-megapixel camera in front and the back. And I’ll say this right away, the image quality is pretty bad, which is fine since you shouldn’t be taking too much photos on a tablet anyway.

The camera quality is just enough for making video calls with friends and family. There are noises everywhere, especially indoors, but at least it’s well lit.

As what you’ve probably noticed by now, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite is big on entertainment. To back it up, the device should have a great battery life so it can keep up with your binge-watching and long gaming sessions. Thankfully, it does.

The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite has a 7,500mAh battery, a typical capacity you’d see on most tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. But the important part is, it delivered good longevity on the M5 Lite.

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I was able to crunch about 6 hours of screen-on time from its battery. That’s hours of playing games, browsing through social media, and watching TV series on Netflix. If you’d only be using it for laying back and chilling online, you’d get at least 2 days between charges.

In addition, one of the MediaPad M5 Lite’s biggest features is the included M-Pen stylus. It comes on a separate box, but will be included on the package when you purchase the device.

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You can use it for drawing, but the recognition is not the best. I think Huawei primarily designed it as a note-taking accessory. While the Pen is already good for writing, the Nebo for Huawei app made the entire experience better.

For as long as your penmanship is decent, the app can translate it into a real text. You can also do intuitive gestures to do different actions: Scratch the texts to delete them, draw a vertical line to split two words apart, and more.

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Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite runs on Android 8.0 Oreo with the company’s EMUI 8.0. It’s yet to be updated to Android 9 Pie under EMUI 9. Hopefully, it arrives soon.

But so far, the device’s interface is pretty satisfactory. The split screen feature really helps you maximize its large 10.1-inch for productivity and other features that make using the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite worthwhile.

However, it feels like a lot of apps and the EMUI itself was still built around a smartphone, which has a smaller screen. This is why you can see a lot of unused space, or stretched out elements that attempt to fill the gigantic screen.

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Moreover, the Swiftkey keyboard takes some time to get used to. When in horizontal mode, the keys are a bit thin and — as what I was saying earlier — stretched out, resulting in wrong key presses. I found that typing in portrait mode is actually easier.

Verdict

There are not a lot of compelling tablets in the market today. Of course, there’s the iPad, which is a great tablet, but has that Apple premium price and runs on iOS. There’s also Android options like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5, but has a price tag that may be too much for some people.

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With the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite, the company was able to check some boxes in our list. First, it’s a great entertainment powerhouse, thanks to its large display, mind-blowing quad speakers, long battery life, and a decent processor.

Secondly, at its price tag, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite is at the right sweet spot. If you’re one of those people who use tablets as a backup device or just for handling specific tasks (entertainment, note-taking, word documents, etc), then I bet you don’t want to spend that much money on it, as you’ve probably already lushed out on a more premium and reliable smartphone and laptop for your day-to-day needs.

The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite, as the name suggests, is big in entertainment, and it surely did deliver.

Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite pricing and availability in the Philippines

The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite is available for a price of Php18,990. You can get it as Huawei concept stores, kiosks, and some multi-brand shops nationwide. It’s also available online through Huawei’s official store in Lazada and Shopee.

Pros

  • Large display, thin bezels
  • Top notch quad speakers
  • Great battery life
  • Decent productivity prowess

Cons

  • Poor gaming performance
  • Uninspiring camera quality

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