- Page 1 Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro Review
- Page 2 Software, Camera and Battery Life Review
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro — Software
The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro runs Android 8.0 with the EMUI 8.0 interface on top. This is Huawei’s own Android skin, used in its phones and tablets.
It’s not as clean as the iPad’s iOS, but at this point it is not drastically worse than the Samsung UI of the Galaxy Tab S3. EMUI lets you use the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro with or without the apps menu. You just flick between these styles in Settings. And there are fewer strange elements than previous versions of EMUI.
Themes remain, though. You can give the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro a quick reskin with four fairly tasteful Huawei themes. To get access to the full roster, the hundreds available to Huawei phones, you’ll need the 4G version as its online service is linked to a mobile number.
There’s a little more bloat than you might like too. The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro comes with a few preinstalled games, and some Huawei kids’ apps. Childrens’ Corner lets kids play with drawing and voice recording mini apps, and contains the Monster Class educational games section. This blocks kids out of the rest of the tablet’s apps and limits their time on it per day.
If you have young kids, great. If not, you can delete Childrens’ Corner. The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro has 64GB storage, though, so you probably won’t run out of room too quickly.
Don’t expect the software to make amazing use of the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro’s large screen, though. There are five columns of apps in the app menu instead of the four you get with most EMUI phones and you can run two apps at once, split-screen. However, that’s about it. This is Android as more-or-less as it appears on a phone.
There are just two apps designed for the tablet’s stylus too, Neo and MyScript. One is a note-taker, the other a smart maths notebook that will do sums for you. However, considering Huawei wasn’t going to out-do Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro or a similarly long-standing drawing app, maybe this is for the best.
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro — Performance
The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro has a processor one generation behind that of Huawei’s late-2017 phones. It’s the Kirin 960, seen in the Mate 9.
This lacks the AI smarts of the newer Kirin 970, but is still very powerful. It has eight cores. Four are performance-led Cortex-A73s. The others are Cortex-A53s, used by cheaper tablets.
In Geekbench 4 the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro scores 6443. That’s far higher than the 3945 of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, which uses a far older Snapdragon 820 chipset.
The iPad Pro 10.5 is a lot more powerful, though. It scores over 9000 in the same Geekbench 4 test.
Still, everything tested runs well on the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro. Asphalt 8 is just fantastic on this tablet. It runs well and the speakers make the game more immersive than other tablets. Well, until you plug in headphones anyway.
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro — Cameras
Like most tablets, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro does not have amazing cameras. However, shooting it with it feels plain silly anyway. It’s just too big.
Image quality could be a lot worse too. It benefits from the same automatic dynamic range processing as Huawei’s phones and is quick to shoot.
The rear camera has a 13-megapixel sensor. Its indoor shots are pretty poor, looking blotchy and low on detail. Its close-up focusing is not great either. However, it can take decent landscapes with good lighting. Shame these are the kind of photos you’re least likely to take with the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro.
There’s no flash, none of the background blur feats Huawei’s higher-end phones have. However, the Moving Picture mode does let you take little video snippets to accompany each shot. Here are some samples:
The front 8-megapixel camera is, again, fine but nothing special. As its position is based on the landscape aspect, it points in the wrong direction when you hold the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro up like a notepad. However, hold it up landscape and you can, just about, fit a friend’s face to either side of your own.
Selfies don’t have masses of fine detail but the camera will do the job for video chat or silly face-changing apps.
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro — Battery life
The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro has a very large 7500mAh battery, just a little smaller than that of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro (8134mAh). It is significantly larger than the 6000mAh cell of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
Its longevity is very good. 90 minutes of Real Racing 3 takes 24 per cent off the battery, suggesting it’ll last for just over six hours of gaming. That’s a great result considering this is a fairly demanding game.
The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro will also last for a little over 10 hours of video streamed over YouTube, again reaching the kind of standard set by Apple’s iPads.
It’s a tablet you can use (almost) all day without running out of charge.
You recharge the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro using a USB-C port on its side. Thanks to the large capacity it takes a few hours.
Should I buy the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro?
If you’re an aspiring graphic designer who wants to dig deeper into the work of digital art, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro won’t replace a Wacom graphics tablet. However, it is great for doodling, and is a hit for the fun side of tablet use too.
Powerful speakers suit video streaming and gaming, and the processor is fast enough to cope with Android’s most demanding apps and games.
Battery life is strong too.
The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro offers no revolutions. If you want it to replace a laptop you’ll need to buy the keyboard case, and even then it’s not the perfect fit for daily work as it runs Android. However, it’s a great tablet if you don’t mind its widescreen aspect.
It may not be “Pro” enough for some, but this tablet is fun to use and has a great pressure sensitive stylus.