I’ve recently shifted from using 10″ tablets as my daily device to 8″ tablets. As such, switching to the Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite for the purposes of this review was a bit of an interesting experiment.
For one thing, the 10.1″ size of the MediaPad is perfect for the full HD screen (1080, not 4k–let’s not get crazy). I can’t tell much of a difference between 720 and 1080 on my phones, but the difference between a 720 8″ tablet and a 1080 10.1″ is palpable. In fact, the screen is so good it almost feels wasteful using it for e-mails or reading comics.
You know what’s even better than the video? The sound. There are a total of four speakers on the MediaPad M3 Lite. Assuming you’re watching a video in landscape, that’s two on the top side and two on the bottom side. The placement is perfect for making sure you don’t accidentally cover the speakers, and the audio is some of the clearest I’ve heard on a tablet. Normally I keep my headphones in when watching videos–I did not need to do so with the MediaPad.
With a great screen and clear sound, the MediaPad is what the name implies–a perfect device for consuming media. 16 GB of storage and a MicroSD slot mean you can load on tons of files, while 3 GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 435 chip mean most content will play with no issues. An added plus is the crazy-good fingerprint sensor. Like all recent Huawei devices, it picks up fingerprints quickly. And while it looks like it should be a button, pressing it does nothing. Protip: You can set it up to function as a button via gestures. It’s buried in the settings, but I like it.
With the good out of the way, let’s focus on the bad. Relax–it’s nothing too terrible. The design of the MediaPad is a bit dated. Visually, it reminds me of an iPad 2 or an older Galaxy Tab. This isn’t helped by the choice to use USB micro instead of USB-C. I am sure it lowers the cost, but since the rest of the current Huawei line has the USB-C port, it means carrying another cable. Although I was able to watch about 6 hours of media without the battery coming close to dying, so there is that. Other sites clocked it at 12-13 hours of battery life. That’s darned impressive at this price ($250, in case you were wondering).
If you’ve never used a Huawei device before, you may find the heavy Android skin they put over Android 7 annoying. It’s taken me a lot of getting used to. Hopefully, as time goes by, Huawei will realize less is more. For now, though, expect some visual changes and a bunch of bundled apps (Including MS Office, a nice touch).
Huawei clearly made a conscious decision here to try to make the best media-consumption tablet at a mid-range price point. I’m uncertain that they made the “best” one, but with a strong battery and spectacular audio, the MediaPad M3 Lite in my top ten for sure.
Note: Huawei lent me the MediaPad M3 Lite to review.