I got good opportunity to get tablet from my mobile operator, so I have decided to get Android tablet. For our comp-blog.com I’m writing primarily about world of Apple, so this was reason to get Android tablet, because I wanted to explore Android. I have already iPad Pro and Lark FreeMe X4 7 HD. That Lark was my first Android tablet. It had Android 4.4.4, very annoying operating system on low-end tablet, so my first contact with Android tablet was terrible experience, but please note, that it was old Android version on low-cost device. It’s something like my iPod touch 4th generation with iOS 6, which is unusable too. While Android developers usually create apps for older Android versions too, so Android 4.4.4 is still useful, in case of iOS you often have to upgrade to latest iOS. On mentioned iOS 6, usually only old, deprecated apps are able to run on iOS 6, but some apps work on both iOS 6 and iOS 9 (and upcoming iOS 10, which I’m testing on my iPad Pro). Time flies and new versions of Android operating system are getting better and better. In combo with mid-class tablet, experiencies with Android are much better. Reviewed product is Huawei MediaPad M2 8 LTE with Android 5.1.1 and Emotion UI 3.1
I was really looking forward for this tablet. When my tablet was delivered, it was in beautiful box with USB-to-microUSB cable and tablet itself and, of course, documents required by law. First I looked on display, it was amazing. Display was clear with accurate colors and resolution of 1920×1200, so 8-inch display is sharp. It’s IPS, so viewing angles are very good. Tablet weights only 330 grams, so for me as an user of 12.9-inch iPad Pro it was very light tablet. Wi-Fi signal strength is not as good as it should be, but it is still usable.
Google Play. I had already Google account, because of Youtube, so I just logged in. Google Play provides more infos about apps than Apple’s App Store, like total numbers of downloads and reviews are available from all users, not only from (in my case) Slovakia. First I installed MS Office. I’m already member of Office 365 Home, so I just downloaded and logged in. Word was pretty speedy, in compare to my low-end Lark it was launched almost instantly, thanks to 8-core CPU and 2 GB RAM. Crucial app for me is Outlook, because in my ecosystem are my contacts, calendars and e-mails synced between MacBook Pro, iPad Pro and my new Huawei tablet. Next good app is OneNote, I use it on my all devices and they all are synced. That was reason why I left Apple’s Notes, even they were nicely tuned since OS X El Capitan, but it only works in world of Apple and OneNote has much more features.
Next, I wanted to see how works file management. And it works like a charm. Files are shared by apps directly, not like on iPad with “Open with…” and “Document Picker/Provider”. Because tablet only got 16 GB of disk space, I purchased 64 GB microSD card. Files are organised by folders, but when you, for example, launch Music app, you will benefit from ID3 tags, if filled. File management is better than on iPad. Just plug your microSD card into reader and copy files by drag-n-drop and then insert card into tablet. On iPad you will need some 3rd-party software to be able to work with files, like file manager (I recommend paid iFiles 2 or free Documents by Readdle) and for your Mac/PC some managenent software (I recommend iMazing), because iTunes is very crappy at file management. You can’t even rename files or browse subfolders. This Android file management I would like to see on iPad, but I think it won’t happen in near future.
I have installed some apps, like mentioned MS Office, and tablet is still not lagging, as may experience low-end Android devices users. CPU is HiSilicon Kirin 930 with 8 cores. As I said, it has 2 GB RAM. I had no issues with performance.
Weak point is GPS. I downloaded Sygic and tested it in car. GPS was sometimes inaccurate, once we were at road but navigation located us out of road. Signal is generally weak, I was not able to reach it inside buildings.
Speakers are generally good and loud enough, but not as good as on iPad Pro, but they are usable. Problem may be when you are using tablet in landscape mode, you can easily cover speakers with your hands.
Interesting is multitasking support – two apps at same screen. But it only works on few built-in apps and many 3rd-party apps won’t support it. Ratio is scallable. You have to enable this feature in system Settings. In compare to iPad, Android has better management of running apps.
Camera is not the best one, but usable. Camera review will be in stand-alone article, when I take some photos with both built-in camera app and 3rd-party developers.
One interesting fact is that this tablet can be used as genuine mobile phone in cellular network. It’s true that it is too big to wear it everywhere like mobile phone and it looks funny when someone is calling with tablet, but it is still very usefull when you need to call and that one-day-battery in your smartphone is out of juice. SMS are supported too.
So this is my first contact with Android tablet from Huawei. More detailed review will come in future.