The MediaPad M3 takes Huawei’s tablet game up a notch.
I SPENT an entire weekend catching up on TV shows on the Huawei MediaPad M3. Believe me, it was worth the bed crumbs, skipped bathroom breaks and yelling from my mum for not doing any housework.
The tablet’s design is easy for one-handed use but unless you have Bigfoot-size fingers, holding the device this way cannot be comfortable for long.
The M3 is technically also a phone though it is solely marketed as a tablet. It is LTE-enabled, and users can opt to make phone calls using the built-in phone app.
However, you have to make do with the speakerphone mode and risk having the entire universe join in on your private phone conversations.
The 8.4in M3 may be smaller than its 10in predecessor, the M2, but it is definitely sleeker and has a generally better build.
Compared to the 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution on M2, the new MediaPad boasts an upgrade with a 2,560 x 1,600-pixel panel that’s sharp and vibrant.
Users can choose between two colour modes – Vivid for bright, clear colours or Normal for slightly muted hues. For those wanting to care for their eyes – as should everyone – the tablet also has an Eye Protection mode that gives the screen a yellowish tint, shielding users from overexposure to blue light.
I did watch a fair bit of videos on the M3, and while the clear and sharp display is absolutely welcome, it’s the impressive Harman/Kardon audio that made viewings much more enjoyable.
With top and bottom stereo speakers, the audio playback can get real loud but you can always resort to earphones if you don’t wish to disturb the peace.
The M3 comes with an 8-megapixel camera on the front and back – they take pretty decent photographs, though not without flaws. Even when there’s sufficient light, the photos can turn out looking average in terms of vividness and sharpness.
Unfortunately, they don’t do well in low-light situations either. Perhaps it is because it doesn’t come with a flash, but who takes photos with a tablet anyway? If you do, however, fret not because the M3 comes with some nice post-editing features that can help you clean up your photographs real good.
Selfie fans can utilise the Beauty filter – you can choose from Level 1 to 10 – that helps even skin tone and remove blemishes before the picture is even taken. Don’t over do it though because at Level 10, my selfie looked like the face of a rejected anime character.
How it works
The M3 has all of Huawei’s familiar makings. The Kirin 950 processor, backed by 4GB RAM and 32GB or 64GB storage – as well as a microSD expansion slot – helps the tablet run smoothly while giving you ample storage. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 software layer.
However, some reviews online have noted that it may not be the best choice for hardcore gaming as it doesn’t have the graphical horsepower to drive high-end games.
Now, all I did was solve some cases on CSI: Hidden Crimes and rebuild Springfield for Homer Simpson in Tapped Out and I found the M3 can handle these games well enough without any lags.
I am a newfound fan of fingerprint scanners and am really appreciative of the M3’s quick recognition of my stubby fingers.
The device stores up to five fingerprints, and the fingerprint reader – technically the home button – sits flush with the tablet.
The sensor also works as a trackpad for gesture controls – you can swipe it horizontally to view running apps, tap to go back a page, or long press to return to the homescreen, and turn on the Glove Mode to perform touchscreen operations even when you’re wearing gloves. This is going to be so handy if you’re visiting a cold country.
The M3 is equipped with a 5,100mAh battery, and during my weekend binge watching I only had to charge it once. A full battery allowed me about eight to nine hours of video streaming before I had to plug it into the power socket. Surprisingly, unlike most newly released Huawei products, the M3 doesn’t use a USB Type-C connectivity and has reverted to the good ol’ micro-USB instead.
Users with Huawei ID – you can register for one using the tablet – will have access to all extended Huawei services and perks (which vary according to models) like Huawei Cloud+. The M3 comes with pre-loaded apps including the oh-so-useful Tablet Manager. It has the App Lock option which allows you to well, lock apps, that only you can access using your fingerprint or password.
If you are using the tablet as a phone, you can also use the Harassment Filter to block calls and messages using keyword-based rules. This allows you to block spammers – you know, generally people you want to avoid – based on commonly used terms.
The M3 has an amazing display with excellent audio to boot. While it doesn’t take breathtaking photographs, it kind of makes up for it with a decent battery life.
All in all, the M3 is a good choice for Android lovers wanting a well-performing tablet with a sleek design.
Pros: Clear and vivid display; long battery life; user friendly.
Cons: Unimpressive front and rear cameras.
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
DISPLAY: 8.4in (2,560 x 1,600 pixels)
PROCESSOR: HiSilicon Kirin octa-core processor (4 x 2.3GHz-A72 + 4 x 1.8GHz-A53)
CAMERA: 8-megapixels for front and back
MEMORY: 32GB or 64GB internal storage; 4GB RAM
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, micro-USB
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 124.2 x 7.3 x 215.5mm
PRICE: RM1,699 (32GB), RM1,999 (64GB)
RATING: 3 stars
Review unit courtesy of Huawei Technologies Malaysia, 1800-22-3366