Huawei has just launched its latest mid-range tablet, the Huawei MatePad 10.4, which looks great thanks to its matte but reflective surface in midnight gray.
With 4 speakers – 2 each on the short sides – you will also find the on / off switch, the volume rocker and a USB-C port on the thin 7.5 mm sides.
Call me dated, but this is actually the first device I use that doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack. But don’t worry, Huawei provides an adapter in case wired headphones ever need to be paired with the pad.
Each short side has 2 stereo speakers.
The synthetic leather exterior of the Magnetic Keyboard makes anyone who carries this pad look nifty and elegant, like a board director trying to give a killer presentation. During use, the tab locks securely into place, turning the tablet into a laptop on which I am writing this article.
More than just looks
Is it just me or is its color more dark blue than gray?
The MatePad 10.4 is thin and light at 460 g. It is easy on the wrist and shoulder when you carry it in your hand or put the rough Notebook B5 in a handbag.
The 6.5 mm black bezels around the 10.4 inch screen (hence the name) make it easy to hold without accidentally triggering commands. The front camera is also located here in landscape format on the screen.
The horizontal orientation of the tab provides the best performance for the entire laptop or cinema experience.
Multitasking worked fine on the tab. The multi-screen windows allowed me to watch Netflix while checking my email. Not to mention the 4 stereo speakers that reproduce the sound of my show loud and clear.
As an inexpensive tablet, the display is not a fancy AMOLED, but an LCD. Though you probably can’t tell by the pre-installed Huawei wallpapers that vibrate when you lock it.
I would say the LCD trade-off is most noticeable when you watch videos on YouTube or Netflix.
The pre-installed background images are vibrant and colorful.
The resolution is high enough with good brightness that can be seen even when used outdoors during the day, albeit with some glare.
Huawei also offers the Eye Comfort and eBook modes in the MatePad 10.4. The former is a blue light filter to reduce eye fatigue, while the latter allows the entire screen to imitate the newspaper.
When the latter is on, the texture of the screen is grainier and the colors are converted to grayscale, which is intended for reading articles or eBooks.
The The most annoying part
The first thing I do after getting a new device is installing my frequently used apps. So I never realized how dependent I was on Google for work and entertainment until I turned the pad on.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room: Huawei’s software doesn’t come with either Google Play or its services due to the US-China trade war. If I wanted to use Microsoft Teams or Netflix, I had to download their APK versions, which made me feel more vulnerable.
In fact, I’m writing this piece on the pad’s pre-installed editor because I couldn’t access Google Docs and I’ve lost my Microsoft Word login credentials.
However, the MatePad 10.4 overcomes this by giving you a pre-installed app called Petal Search. Here you can easily find and download the APK of each app. So I was able to install Google Chrome and Netflix.
Despite repeated attempts to do this for YouTube and Gmail, it kept failing. As a result, I got stuck with the browser versions, which was a subpar, if not frustrating, experience.
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It’s thin and light, great for my weak little hands.
Overall, the MatePad 10.4 is ideal for on the go, from simple mobility to a good “click feeling” for the magnetic keyboard.
Eye comfort and eBook modes are also welcome, especially for those who are sensitive to blue light and prone to eye strain.
I think it’s pretty obvious that the incompatibility with Google Apps is the biggest downside for me. Of course, if you rely primarily on Microsoft instead, you shouldn’t be too affected by it.
However, since these are just my first impressions of the MatePad 10.4, it may grow on me the longer I spend with it.
- Here you can pre-order the Huawei MatePad 10.4 for 1,499 RM.
- You can find more information about Huawei here.