Overall, there isn’t much you can’t do with the MatePad when it comes down to everyday usability. Of course, more experienced users may want a beefier device, capable of doing a lot more than the MatePad can. But those more interested in portable entertainment for less than R5,000 will be pleased with what's on offer here.
Tablets have been increasing in popularity due to the ever-increasing number of work-from-homers. Whether you need a tablet for reading, entertainment or just a device with better battery life, it is hard to turn down what the MatePad T 10s has to offer.
With a price point of R4,500, you’re paying for an excellent screen, a decent battery, and great speakers. And, believe it or not, it’s actually worth it.
Deep Blue Sea
The MatePad T 10s looks a lot like the MatePad 8. It even comes in the same colour – ‘Deepsea Blue’. Even though it’s not nearly as thin as its competitors, the MatePad weighs just 450g and has a thickness of 7.85mm, making it feel more premium without any of the extra cost.
The backplate is metal with a matte finish, and a thin plastic edge on the top of the tablet.
Along the edge, you won’t find much besides the USB C 2.0 charging port, headphone jack and a slot allowing for a nano sim card and a MicroSD which can be expanded all the way up to 512GB. Speakers live along the top and bottom, with the power and volume buttons being where you might reasonably expect them.
While the metal backplate makes the tablet look and feel great, it’s prone to attracting smudges. A case is advised if you don’t feel like wiping your tablet down five times a day.
It’s easily portable and a great companion to take with you.
The Huawei MatePad T10s has a 10.1-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. If all you’re looking to do is scroll social media, browse the web and watch videos, then you’re all set.
The best feature of the display is hands down eBook mode. Turning on eBook mode filters out all blue light, helping to reduce eye strain while getting to the end of your next favourite book. It’s a pity that the regular display mode can be a little finicky.
Conventional brightness levels leave room for improvement. Unless your brightness settings are set to the max, sitting outside in a brightly lit area will be almost impossible. At times, the screen also felt a little blurry, with the resolution not living up to the stats shown. The reason is simple. By default, Huawei adjusts the resolution for users based on what they’re doing. Turning off Smart Resolution is a must if you’d prefer your resolution to be constantly crisp.
If you’re looking to get a tablet to take great pictures, then this may not be the tablet for you. And you need your head examined.
The front-facing 2MP camera is centrally located when using the MatePad in landscape view. Its position allows for easier video calls, though you may be better off sticking with your smartphone’s standard camera. The resolution isn’t anything remarkable.
The 5MP rear camera is a slight improvement. But only slight. It gets the job done as best it can – especially for how cheap the MatePad is in the current market. This price point in a smartphone wouldn’t suggest an excellent camera. There’s no reason to expect any better from Huawei’s tablet.
Game for most things
The MatePad sports one of Huawei’s Kirin 710A core processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. If 64GB isn’t enough to satisfy your storage needs, you are given the option of slotting in your own 512GB SD card. Or something smaller, we won’t judge.
While not optimal for gaming, the MatePad holds up pretty well. While there are slight stutters in faster-paced games, it never feels slow. Titles such as Asphalt 9 run smoothly, as long as there aren’t too many apps pulling power from the background.
Gaming is still the main drawback of the hardware – everything else runs and opens exactly as it’s meant to. Replying to your latest Snapchat won’t offer even a hint of lag. When it comes to budget tablets, this is most definitely a win.
Running Android 10 and EMUI version 10.1, the MatePad is certainly no slouch. There is one major problem though.
There’s no Google Play Store. Or any of Google’s services. Instead, there’s Huawei’s own AppGallery which is… lacking. Due to current American restrictions, the MatePad isn’t able to include any of Google’s staple apps. You can still get along fine with the web versions of missing apps; although it ends up leaving AppGallery feeling a little empty.
When turning on the MatePad for the first time, you’re greeted with plenty of shortcuts to apps on the AppGallery. Essentially, they’re just ads. Don’t sweat it – one tap of a button and they’re gone.
Despite all that, it’s still Android, only with Huawei putting their own spin on things.
Load shedding buddy
Arguably one of the better features of the MatePad is the 5,100mAh battery. You’ll never be stuck in the dark (thanks, Eskom). The MatePad to keep you busy for a couple of hours at least — it’ll give you around five hours of intensive usage, with the internet running, before it conks out. This can be extended by turning off internet access and toning down brightness.
The only downfall in the battery department is that there’s no Fast Charging option. While some may find this a dealbreaker, most casual users will be content with charging it throughout the night. Well, what would you expect from a tablet that was first launched in 2020?
Surprisingly, the speakers are where the MatePad shine. The audio quality is much higher than expected for a tablet in this price range. It’s loud enough to hear every lyric of your favourite tune and subtle enough to hear the whispers when watching videos.
With a budget in mind, it would be hard to close your ears to the MatePads excellent sound quality. Combine that with the display (suitably tweaked), brightness, and enough battery life to outlast all but the most determined of Eskom interruptions and we’re looking at a slab of glass and plastic that is worth your time.
Huawei MatePad T 10s Verdict
While the Huawei MatePad T 10s won’t be stepping into the ring with either Samsung or Apple anytime soon, it set its sights on becoming the best ‘cheap’ tablet around. If you’re looking for a tablet that has a great battery along with great speakers, you’ve come to the right place. You won’t trounce any kids in Fortnite, unless you don’t mind the occasional lag spike. But that’s fine. Weighing only 450g, the MatePad will be your best friend on your travels, being compact enough to easily slip in a carry-on. For a tablet newbie on a budget of R4,500, and as long as you’re not welded to the idea of Google’s services, it’s hard to go wrong with the Huawei MatePad T10s.