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Huawei MediaPad M3 review: Camera, battery and verdict

By Max Parker

Updated:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Huawei MediaPad M3 – Camera

In my opinion, tablet cameras aren’t actually for taking "real" pictures; they’re for such mundane tasks as scanning documents, snapping photos for eBay, collating receipts and video-calling.

mediapad 15

In all these respects, the 8-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front-facing cameras on the MediaPad M3 are perfectly acceptable. There’s enough detail captured by the sensors, and there are plenty of options in the camera app to get you through.

But I’d advise against using the device as an actual camera. Unlike the Huawei MediaPad's camera, which was surprisingly decent, the M3's camera falls flat. Colours lack vibrancy and detail in landscape shots is poor. The shutter response is also very slow, meaning you might be left waiting for the picture to actually take if the conditions aren’t perfect.

pic Even pictures taken in good light don't look very good

There’s no flash and low-light snaps are barely usable. In general, detail is poor, there's noise around pretty much everything, and dirty spots everywhere. I just wouldn’t bother.

Huawei MediaPad M3 – Battery Life

Tucked under the metal unibody chassis is a good-sized 5,100mAh battery. For comparison, the much larger Asus ZenPad 3S 10 with 10-inch display ships with a 5,900mAh cell that’s stated to easily last the day.

During my time with the Huawei MediaPad M3, there wasn’t any moment when I was worried about the battery. It holds charge well, and Huawei has optimised the software so that standby times are equally impressive.

For instance, an hour of Netflix streaming with the brightness set to 75% consumed just 6%, while an hour of stored HD video coming from a microSD card takes it down between 4 and 5%. It's a similar story with gaming: 3D games used up around 7% per 30 minutes.

Related: IFA 2016 – Everything You Need To Know

mediapad 11 There's no USB Type-C here

Using the devices for a couple of hours a day over a week, I reached for the charger only twice. Standby times are great, too – another important feature for a tablet. On a day that I didn’t unlock the device at all, it lost only 2%.

It seems slightly odd that Huawei has reverted back to micro-USB, with the majority of its phones now using USB Type-C. I was told this was due to size requirements, but it seems a little lazy really.

Should I buy the Huawei MediaPad M3?

I do like the Huawei MediaPad M3, but it’s far from an essential purchase. It doesn’t do anything that a cheaper Android slate doesn’t; it just does those things with an added hit of style.

The screen is decent, if overly reflective, and the metal-clad chassis is thin and light yet maintains a solid feel. The speakers, too, are superb for a small tablet.

Slightly odd performance issues and ugly software aside, the MediaPad M3 is almost like a souped-up Nexus 7. And that’s certainly a compliment.

Verdict

Sleek and well-specced, Huawei’s mini media machine has plenty going for it.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Build Quality 7
  • Design 8
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Software & Apps 5
  • Sound Quality 8

gadgety

September 2, 2016, 2:57 pm

16:9 WAY better than 4:3. Makes it pocketable!

I've been using the 8 inch Note 8 for a couple of years and the form factor is way better than 4:3. Hampered web browsing?? Never experienced it. I wouldn't even look if this was 4:3.

Stephane Labarre

September 3, 2016, 12:38 pm

Totally agree. I owned a Galaxy Tab 7.7 and now a Tab S8.4. Such great devices. Looking for a replacement, for I broke the screen of the latter one. I am sick of all those 4:3 tablets that try to follow Ipad's bandwagon. I want 16:9. For internet, might no be as good, but for Media, at least I don't lose half of the screen to black bars. As for books, I don't even see the problem.... Sadly, if I want AMOLED and 16:9, seems I'll wait for a while

Brad Lewin

October 17, 2016, 2:33 am

The author seems to indicate that there are a lot of choices for an 8 inchAndroid tablets with full HD (1920x1080) or better resolution. I think there are only a handful. Samsung Galaxy tab S2 ($399), Nvidia K1 ($199), Asus S 8.0 ($179), and Huawei Mediapad M3 ($299). Samsung is quite expensive, Nvidia K1 is quite thick (great 3d performance though) and the Asus uses an Intel atom processor that is not only quite a bit slower but has some compatibility issues. The various 8" Lg G pads are mostly ridiculously underpowered. So I think the Huawei is definitely filling a need of a decently powerful 8" tablet with good resolution without being as expensive as Samsung or as thick as nvidia. Unless Huawei changes their marketing on this one, I would not expect it to be a huge success. I will likely get one. However I bet there will not be much choice for covers due to it not being well known. And as the author stated theemui interface might be quite annoying, but because it is Android can always change that by installing a launcher.

Manfred Schulz

November 1, 2016, 4:54 pm

The author mentions a 8MP rear and a 5MP front facing camera. I'm looking at the specs of the thing right now and both the cameras are 8MP. You you dont like the skin, well, it's an Android, you can customise it, unlike any one of the iPads.The author praises the battery life then gives it only 7 points!! Somehow I am not getting a great feeling about the author, but after spending the last couple of days looking for a decent, small tablet, that is not a iPad, this one looks pretty good to me.

DP Cheng

December 15, 2016, 12:59 pm

I've been looking for a good replacement for my Xperia Z3 tablet compact which is always low on storage and this is it - the Huawei Mediapad M3.
Like smartphones, tablets should also be in the 16:9 format which is a lot easier to carry and handle than the clumsy 4:3 old fashioned "fat" format. I never had any problems using a 16:9 tablet reading books and browsing the Internet.
It's a pity that some makers abandoned the good 16:9 for the awkward handling 4:3 in tablets, leaving users with little or no choice.

Krill Siluroid

February 16, 2017, 7:13 pm

I bought an M3 recently and I don't want other readers to be misled by the reviewer. 16:9 is the right ratio for this device to play all media. I also use this as my E-reader and never even thought once about the ratio and only reviewers concern themselves with that anyway to find content for their articles. I had a Samsung 10 inch tablet that bricked with an update and decided to go with this and am very happy. The colors are vibrant and lush and the screen sharpness is a big upgrade from my Samsung. In terms of value I give the nod to Huawei, this is a powerful device with the powerful CPU, 4 GB Ram, 64 GB Ram SD Card space and I have a Data Sim in it as well and runs fast. I also received the pair of AKG headphones with this and combined with the high quality DAC the audio is superior to most phones and all tablets I looked at in this size. So yes, if you stream high quality signal music or listen to downloaded files you can do this on the M3. You have have all media types covered in one device.

Simon

March 27, 2017, 4:06 pm

Totally agree

Louis Browne

April 28, 2017, 10:43 am

I agree with you about manageability when holding a 4:3, but it all comes down to, what your mainly using it for. Personally I'm torn between the M3 and new Asus Zenpad lte. Both have great sounding speakers but I'm a artist and the pressure sensitive active stylus you can get for the Zenpad is a massive plus for me which also makes the ratio more idea.

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