Tablets can be considered the neglected child of the Android world, many major companies are not putting a big emphasis on these kinds of devices. Mainly due to the fact, that your smartphone is probably capable of doing everything a tablet can in a smaller form factor minus the larger screen. However, Huawei is one of the companies that still have a focus on tablets, but perhaps it feels like they created the Huawei MediaPad M5 for the sake of creating a tablet.
The MediaPad M5 comes with an aluminium unibody which is a relief in an age where companies are opting for a glass back, but an aluminium body always feels better in my option compared to glass. It gives you a solid feel and has a better grip in general. Whether you are holding it in one or both hands, it will be a nice fit in any hand which is also thanks to its curved sides.
The front houses an 8.4-inch IPS LCD screen which produces colour rather well, it is not as good as the entry-level iPad but it should be sufficient enough for watching movies or even YouTube. At the bottom of the screen lies a fingerprint sensor which similar to other Huawei products, is fast and accurate.
Finally, the tablet comes with a USB Type-C port, but it is extremely disappointing that the tablet does not come with a 3.5mm headphone jack and while I should expect that the headphone jack will be removed, but the company marketed it as a media and gaming tablet but restricts how a user would consume media on it. It also seems like the form factor of the tablet could easily compensate for a headphone jack.
Specs wise the MediaPad M5 comes with a Kirin 960, I am at a lost on why the company decided on placing a previous generation chipset in this tablet as it seems like the company is equipping devices from their high-end range to mid-end range with the Kirin 970 as seen with the Honor Play and Nova 3. Other than that, it comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
While it uses the previous generation Kirin processor, overall usage of the table is smooth and apps load up just as fast as it would on a device with the Kirin 970. But the misstep of placing a previous generation processor is shown when it comes to gaming, as games like Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile does not perform as well as a device with a Kirin 970.
There are obvious slow-downs as well as inconsistent frame rates when running both the games in its highest settings. It does make sense why this occurs when using a previous generation chipset, the GPU will also be a previous generation and that’s probably the issue as these games were developed during the age of the Kirin 970 and Snapdragon 845 processors. Setting the games to medium or low graphics will eliminate the problem but it is just not satisfying to play these games with mid-to-low settings on a larger screen.
It also supports a SIM card which will allow you to surf the internet and even make calls if, for whatever reason, you need to make calls on the tablet. However, there is no receiver or microphone holes, so you are left with connecting a headphone with a microphone or a Bluetooth earpiece.
Where it shines the most is in its audio, just like how I praised the MediaPad M3 with its Harman Kardon speakers, the M5 comes with Harman Kardon tuned speakers as well. It definitely helps that the tablet has speakers on the top and bottom, but perhaps that same design choice spoils the audio listening experience.
The speakers are overall excellent and loud without loss of clarity, but when you are holding the tablet in landscape mode, my hands block the top and bottom speakers which, again, spoils the audio experience. It’s not a problem with the bottom speakers so much as the top.
But if you are using it to take some pictures of documents and such, it will be fine just as long as you are taking the picture in a brightly lit environment.
Night shots, again have lost of details and the noise is far more obvious. Its safe to say that if you are carrying around a smartphone, you are better off using that to take pictures. The front houses an 8MP camera and again, don’t expect wonders from this camera as well.
It takes a below average selfie, colours are washed out and if you like details in your selfie shots, you are definitely not going to find it on this tablet as there are better options out there.
Huawei has paired this tablet with a 5100mAh battery, it might sound small when compared to the Asus ZenFone Max Pro which comes with a 5000mAh battery but I am still getting standby times of up to a week and normal usage will see at least 3 days of battery life. If we take it up a notch and play hours of gaming as well as watching Netflix, I could easily squeeze out 2 days of battery life from the MediaPad M5. Its safe to say the smaller than expected battery size will not hinder the usage of this tablet. Even with a SIM card in it, and using mobile data to surf the internet and play games, you can easily get up to 1 and a half day of battery life.
- Nice display
- Great audio quality
- Good battery life
- Supports SIM card
- Hand covers speaker when holding in landscape
- No headphone jack
- Previous generation Kirin chip