Huawei has had a bumpy street on account that it was once banned from doing enterprise with Google. It has shifted its gadgets away from Google’s Android and the Google Play Store and launched a homebrewed answer known as HarmonyOS. It is, for all intents and purposes, Huawei’s model of Google’s Android. But notwithstanding it having all the identical facets and connectivity, it’s genuinely now not the equal Android barring Google’s apps.
It’s a bummer for the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6, which is a severely brilliant piece of hardware. Unfortunately, the pill isn’t accessible for sale in the U.S. due to the fact of the hardware ban, however Huawei despatched over a MatePad Pro so I ought to dip my toes into HarmonyOS. It’s a succesful working system, however I couldn’t get admission to most of the points I count on at some point of my day-to-day. The MatePad Pro is a gorgeous pill otherwise, and it made me want I ought to be distant places to get a actual style of what Huawei can do.
Seriously Sexy Hardware
I know, it’s a little extraordinarily balk when we name devices “sexy.” But please let me have this due to the fact it’s been a lengthy time for the reason that I went “ooh” whilst unboxing an Android tablet. Anyway, it’s to be anticipated of Huawei, a employer that’s lengthy made a identify for itself international with its top class hardware design.
The MatePad Pro 12.6 is no exceptional with its svelte chassis, regardless of the specifically plastic construction. At 6.7mm thick and about 1.3 pounds, the pill feels sturdy besides feeling like it’s going to stress your wrist. It’s great to use when paired with the Smart Magnetic Keyboard, which is as relaxed as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S keyboards I’ve used before. I managed ninety nine phrases per minute in a typing test, which is a proper indicator that I can use the pill to get some run-of-the-mill writing done.
The Huawei MatePad Pro’s largest promoting factor is its 12.6-inch ultra-wide display. The 16:10 ratio makes it appropriate for streaming content material of all kinds and ensures adequate display house when the usage of the split-screen mode on Harmony OS. Huawei boasts that at 90%, its MatePad Pro has the world’s best screen-to-body ratio amongst capsules on the market, about 5% extra than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Regardless of the technicality, I recognize a little greater area for coping with the pill barring activating the touchscreen.
There is one caveat: The MatePad Pro’s 60Hz refresh fee isn’t pretty as marvelous in contrast to the 120Hz refresh fee on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and iPad Pro. If you’re a video fiend, it may grow to be considerable as greater units begin adopting a greater refresh rate. The saving grace is the MatePad Pro’s remarkable shade reproduction.
Huawei’s modern day pill is WiFi 6-compatible, has 256GB of storage space, and no headphone jack. The extent rocker is placed at the pinnacle of the device, on the facet with the 8-MP front-facing camera. I couldn’t use Google Duo to dial out or Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom. I was once unable to take a look at any video calling services. However, my youngster and I snapped a couple of selfies with the camera, and they seemed targeted and well-lit. The identical goes for the rear cameras, of which there are two. Those 13-MP and 8-MP wide-angle lenses are quality to have on hand, and they’re even succesful of taking pictures a few long-exposure night time shots.
It Doesn’t Run On Qualcomm
Whereas most of the very few top class Android capsules offered in the U.S. have a tendency to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon cell processors, Huawei makes its personal silicon for its devices. The MatePad Pro 12.6 runs on a 5nm Huawei Kirin 9000E processor. It’s an 8-core chip with a 22-core Mali-G78 for the GPU. However, I struggled to benchmark it due to the fact none of the suites I use for Android gadgets and Chrome OS are reachable for Huawei’s HarmonyOS.
So I went with a few outdoor sources to see how the processor performs for these who can absolutely benchmark it. According to CPU Monkey, the Kirin 9000E scored properly in GeekBench 5, ample that it positioned without delay beneath AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 2950X and Intel’s 9th-generation Core i5 and 7th-generation Core i7 processors. It’s now not Huawei’s top-of-the-line silicon, and it’s much less boosted than the ordinary Kirin 9000 chip. But in benchmarks, the Kirin 9000E is an astonishing CPU that can preserve up with the Snapdragon 888 with most tasks. However, it’s now not the most succesful at dealing with processor-intensive graphics, and its gaming overall performance is on par with the Snapdragon 865 Plus. Overall, the pill felt fast and responsive.
Since the MatePad Pro sports activities a huge display screen intended for productivity, there’s a whopping 10,050 mAh battery inside. It’s now not a whole lot higher than what Samsung affords on the Tab S7+, even though the 60Hz refresh fee in contrast to Samsung’s 120GHz bodes properly for battery life. The pill managed 10 and a half of hours in our inner battery test. It’s additionally distinctly first rate at managing current battery life. I used to be thrilled to see barely 10% burned thru after leaving it on standby for the night. It’s additionally well worth noting the MatePad Pro has 40W wired quick charging and 27W wi-fi charging. Flip it to the back, and there is additionally reverse 10W wi-fi charging capabilities, so you can cost up a pill or smartwatch when you’re out and about.
Apps, Or Lack Thereof
One of the matters I loved about the MatePad Pro is its vast and vibrant display, so I indulged in observing a lot of videos. However, I barely had any to pick out from considering that my favored streaming offerings aren’t reachable in Huawei’s AppGallery. There is no YouTube TV to download, nor can you sideload it or navigate to it in the browser. Google is blocked off in each and every form or form. The solely video app accessible in the Huawei AppGallery was once Plex, my domestic server that I haven’t up to date with content material considering I began paying for all these streaming services. I was once capable to get my weekly fill of Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210 via Paramount+, even though solely thru the browser—and solely due to the fact I hadn’t signed up for it thru my Google account.
I tried to come across over a dozen apps that I use every day in Huawei’s AppGallery. Allow me to illustrate, in bulletpoint form, what got here up when I searched for the following apps:
- AllTrails: No
- Blue by means of ADT: No
- Samsung SmartThings: Externally, thru an APK site
- TP-Link Kasa: No
- Philips Hue: Only third-party apps had been prioritized, with the professional app requiring I get it from an exterior APK site
- Digitally Imported: No
- Spotify: No
- ExpressVPN: Yes! I set up it from the Huawei AppGallery
- HBO Max: No
- Paramount+: No
- Instagram: No, however Snapchat and TikTok have been provided as options and on hand to download
- Patreon: No
- Pokemon Go: No, tragically
You can get admission to some of these offerings via their respective internet apps or the browser. But you can’t without difficulty get right of entry to some thing that’s linked via a Google account. I tried logging in thru three one of a kind browsers, which include the inventory Huawei browser protected on the MatePad Pro, Ecosia browser, and Opera. All three timed out. I was once capable to use Google as a search engine, however, however barring logging in to any of my accounts.
I used to be continuously confronted with this error message when attempting to log in with my Google account.
A screenshot of Huawei’s MatePad Pro displaying I can not signal into my Dropbox account due to the fact it makes use of my Google login credentials
You’ll additionally be locked out of any third-party apps that use Google’s OAuth.
Without that sort of Google access, I’m in actuality locked out of the entirety I need, even if I ought to discern out a run-around. I can’t get entry to the dozens of ebooks I’ve bought thru Google Play Books. I don’t have any clever domestic controls seeing that I use Google to unite the whole lot in my home. (For that matter, I don’t have get entry to to Amazon Alexa, either, barring downloading an externally-hosted APK.) I don’t have Google Docs or get right of entry to to my photos, in particular no longer some thing that I didn’t formerly returned up to Dropbox. I used to be in a position to get admission to that account, at least, to fill up the MatePad Pro with one-of-a-kind sorts of documents for testing, however I did all that via the pill browser.
To add insult to injury, the MatePad Pro doesn’t technically understand that I’m in the United States, even though I may want to set it up with my neighborhood time zone. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to pick the U.S. as a region. Since I already had a Huawei account from a preceding machine review—set up with my Gmail address, by using the way, however no longer authenticated via it, so I used to be capable to log in—I was once right away located in Romania, as I’d set it up lengthy ago. I moved myself to the United Kingdom to see if that would open up extra preferences however to no avail.
Otherwise, the entirety about HarmonyOS two is very Android-y. The notification color is nevertheless there, with speedy editable settings to boot. Navigating the interface is the same, even though there’s no long-press on the domestic display to add widgets, and you can select between whether or not to have an app drawer or let your apps splay all over. I desired the first alternative considering the fact that it used to be a good deal much less chaotic to navigate. Huawei even affords its version of Google’s Digital Wellbeing, known as Digital Balance, and a digital assistant named Celia, which can function easy duties like enjoying a music or including a calendar entry. It’s now not the Google Assistant, obviously, and feels very a lot like a Samsung Bixby situation.
If you do determine to go rogue and sideload apps as you want them, hold in thought that you’re accountable for updating them, too. Unless you use some other sideloaded helper app, there is no Play Store to routinely replace those apps in the history and get you patches you want to use the pill safely.
Perhaps the most nerve-racking phase of the use of the MatePad Pro is when apps work solely in portrait mode. It’s the identical frustration I get when an Android app forces me to use the Chromebook sideways. HarmonyOS already consists of a accessible compelled split-screen graph in sure apps when in panorama mode, and it would have been a great trick to see Huawei parent out how to core apps made for phones.
There’s a Pen!
I prefer to shortly convey up the Huawei M Pencil stylus due to the fact it’s as pleasant to use as the tablet. Granted, I don’t have Infinite Painter as I would on a Chromebook or Samsung pill to use with a stylus. But I was once capable to attempt it out with a few other illustration apps.
I’m now not an artist, so you won’t be getting scrawlings out of me. I like to have a pill round to draw on images and make notes, as that’s how we format out tasks in my household. The M Pencil stylus feels like a sturdy, high-class BIC pen. It has 4,096 tiers of sensitivity, and it docks, charges, and pairs by way of connecting magnetically to the pinnacle of the tablet. It took me a 2d to discern out that this used to be possible, however I was once impressed by using the magnet’s strength.
You Can’t Buy It
If you’re studying this and you’re backyard of the U.S., you have to have an simpler time buying the MatePad Pro 12.6 tablet. Huawei says the gadget is “available internationally,” with Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East getting it first. It is no longer on hand for sale in the U.S. Even if Huawei weren’t to go lower back to licensing apps and offerings from Google, the thinking of some other Android-based running machine coming into the fold ought to have been exciting, furnished Huawei had the suitable partners. But till the political barrier that maintains it from efficaciously doing commercial enterprise is taken down, Android will have to defer to producers like Samsung to compete with the iPad.
The factor of this evaluation was once subsequently to illustrate what HarmonyOS is succesful of as an Android fork. Despite Huawei’s marvelous hardware and intuitive interface, it’s an disagreeable journey except get entry to to Google’s apps and services. I additionally realized that I be counted way too a good deal on my Google account to log in to 0.33 events and services. If you’re like me, you won’t get a lot out of importing the MatePad Pro.