Huawei MediaPad M2 10 Review – A stylish Android tablet
The tablet market has gone a bit quiet in the past few months. Even Apple’s iPads haven’t been selling quite as well as expected. There’s a feeling that maybe everyone who wanted a tablet has got one and is quite happy with it, thank you. They don’t get broken as easily as phones, and we don’t rely so much on their cameras, so there are fewer incentives to replace or upgrade them.
No doubt we’ll see more new models trying to tempt us with eye-catching features like extra-large screens and built-in projectors, but Huawei has stuck to the essentials with the MediaPad M2 10. Aside from the fingerprint sensor in the Home button, there’s nothing especially advanced here, but the metal case, in silver or gold, is beautifully made and only a fraction thicker and heavier than the one with a half-eaten fruit on the back.
The 10in display is closer to widescreen format than the iPad’s, making it a little more unwieldy to hold, but giving narrower black bars when watching videos. Although its 1920×1200-pixel resolution is relatively coarse by today’s standards, it looked sharp to us, and despite covering only 86 per cent of the sRGB color range, high levels of brightness and good contrast gave the screen impact.
Like the new iPad Pros, the M2 has four speakers so that it can direct stereo output to the left and right whichever way round you’re holding it. These are made by the reputable audio manufacturer Harman Kardon, which ought to be a good sign. We didn’t find the sound as rich or clear as the iPad Pro’s, but it beat most other tablets.
In theory, the rear camera, with 13 megapixels and a bright f2/0 lens, should be great indoors and out. In practice, we got decent shots out in the sun (albeit lacking a little detail), but indoors it struggled. For a tablet, however, both this rear camera and the 5-megapixel ‘selfie’ camera were acceptable. At 10 hours of video playback in our tests, the M2 10’s battery life is at least as good as an iPad’s, even if it can’t match pricier Android tablets such as Sony’s Xperia Z4.
As we mentioned when we tested the company’s P9 smartphone, Huawei’s Kirin processors can keep up with their fastest rivals in some tests, but across a range of everyday tasks they fall behind. When playing games their inferior graphics performance is unmistakable. An equally frustrating limitation of the M2 10 is its 16GB of storage, which leaves you with too little space for more than a few apps, movie downloads and photos. Huawei could have helped by providing a microSD card slot for more.
Instead, it offers a Premium model with 64GB, a neat case and an M-pen stylus, supported by handwriting recognition software. This also has 3GB rather than 2GB of memory, improving performance when you’re flicking between apps or web pages. Unless your budget is tight or you won’t want to store much, you should pick this model. At the time of writing, however, stocks were low, pushing up the price from the £330 we saw soon after launch.
And price is really the M2 10’s problem. It’s undeniably cheaper than an iPad: the similarly sized iPad Air 2 starts at £349 with 16GB and no case or stylus, and with 64GB it’ll cost you £429. But the M2 10 runs Android 5.1 (Lollipop), not the latest version (6.0, Marshmallow). Apple’s new iOS 9 is far superior to Android 5.1.
VERDICT of Huawei MediaPad M2 10 Review
The attractive M2 10 sneaks into four-star territory, but lacks standout features to balance its flaws.
SPECIFICATIONS of Huawei MediaPad M2 10 Review
10.1in 1920×1200-pixel screen • 13-megapixel rear camera • 5-megapixel front camera • 16GB flash storage • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.0 • 3G/4G • 240x173x7.3mm (HxWxD) • 496g • One-year warranty.