Huawei was one of the last holdouts still producing premium Android tablets, but now even it has given up. Not on tablets, that is, but on Android – as it’s announced three new MatePad devices running its own in-house operating system, HarmonyOS.
Two new MatePad Pro models are joined by a cheaper MatePad, and the good news is that all of them are expected to launch globally (well, except North America) as Huawei begins its push to make HarmonyOS a global platform to rival Android and iOS.
Here’s everything that you need to know about the three new MatePads – or read our hands-on preview of HarmonyOS for our early thoughts on the new operating system.
When will the new Huawei MatePads be released?
Huawei announced the three new MatePad models at the 2 June launch event for HarmonyOS, but hasn’t yet confirmed when the three devices will go on sale around the world – though pre-orders are open in China now ahead of a 10 June launch.
The original Huawei MatePad Pro made its debut in December 2019 in China, finally arriving in the UK months later in May 2020, so bear in mind that there could still be a long wait for the chance to buy one.
The new MatePads were launched alongside a pair of smartwatches, the Huawei Watch 3 and Huawei Watch 3 Pro, though we’re still waiting for the Harmony-powered Huawei P50 phones, which were only teased at the launch event.
How much will the HarmonyOS MatePads cost?
Huawei hasn’t yet told us pricing for the new tablets in the West.
In China, the 12.6in model will starts from ¥4,999 (£550/$780) for a Wi-Fi model with 128GB storage, going up to ¥7,999 (£880/$1,250) for a 5G model with 256GB storage. Meanwhile the 10.8in MatePad Pro starts from ¥3,799 (£420/$600). We don’t yet have any pricing for the MatePad 11.
For a better idea of Western pricing, however, we can look at the previous MatePad Pro model, which launched in the UK with an RRP of £549 (although Huawei initially reduced this price with an introductory offer of £499).
This model is essentially the same as the new 10.8in MatePad Pro, so expect the 12.6in Pro to cost more than that, and the 11in MatePad to cost a little less.
Due to the ban imposed by the US government, Huawei doesn’t sell products in the States, so don’t expect to see the new MatePads in Best Buy or on Amazon.com.
What are the new MatePad Pro specs?
Huawei has introduced a few key upgrades to the new generation of MatePad Pro tablets – not least the fact that there are now two of them with the introduction of the larger 12.6in model.
12.6in MatePad Pro specs
Ahead of their announcement, Huawei gave me the most information about the larger 12.6in model.
This uses an OLED display with impressive colour range and accuracy: 100% DCI-P3 coverage, HDR10 support, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and a Delta-E value of less than 0.5. The main downside is refresh rate, which is limited to 60Hz, while resolution is 1600×2560.
The bezel is slim at 5.6mm – with a 90% screen-to-body ratio – despite the decision to move the front-facing camera into that bezel. That means the display is uninterrupted, with no punch-hole or notch for the camera.
In addition to video calls and selfies, that front camera is used for face unlock. That’s important, because Huawei hasn’t included a fingerprint scanner at all here – it’s either face unlock or an old-fashioned PIN.
On the rear there’s a triple camera setup: a main camera, ultrawide, and 3D depth sensor, though we’re still waiting for more detailed camera specs.
Inside, it’s powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 9000E chipset, paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage – though there may be more SKUs available. Eight speakers and four microphones deliver the audio experience. There’s no 5G, but there is a 4G LTE version, and Wi-Fi 6 is also supported.
The 10050mAh battery is rated for 14 hours of use, and it also supports 40W wired charging, along with 27W wireless charging and also reverse wireless charging for other devices.
It also includes support for a new version of Huawei’s M-Pencil stylus. This is now hexagonal in shape, with a transparent nib. It includes new touch controls, and can attach magnetically and charge wirelessly.
At 6.7mm the 12.6in model is slim, and it only weighs 609g too, despite the large display. That’s without the smart keyboard case and upgraded M-Pencil stylus, both of which are sold separately.
Finally, the MatePad Pro will be available in grey, silver, and green vegan leather – but only the grey and green models are currently set to launch worldwide.
We discuss the 12.6in MatePad – along with both other models – in an episode of our YouTube podcast Fast Charge, which you can check out right here:
10.8in MatePad Pro specs
The 10.8in model is in fact an upgraded version of last year’s MatePad Pro, with the addition of HarmonyOS and a move to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset.
You can read our review of last year’s model for a full rundown of what this 10.8in model offers. The key points of differentiation to the new Pro are that it uses an LCD, instead of OLED, display, and only has a single 13Mp rear camera. It also still uses a punch-hole camera, rather than moving it into the bezel.
The smaller 7250mAh battery should deliver slightly shorter battery life than the 12.6in overall (we saw 8-9 hours when we reviewed last year’s) but charging abilities are essentially the same. There’s also only a quad speaker setup here, not the eight speakers in the larger model.
Huawei has confirmed that the updated 10.8in MatePad Pro will also support the new smart keyboard and second-generation M-Pencil. It will launch globally in a grey finish.
What about the regular MatePad 11 specs?
The standard MatePad is simpler because there’s only one model, with an 11in display.
The screen – technically 10.95in – is the same resolution as the Pro models. It does have the advantage of a 120Hz refresh rate however – an unexpected upgrade relative to the Pros – including dynamic refresh rate support to save battery.
The screen-to-body ratio of 86% is still impressive, and like the 12.6in Pro the webcam is placed within the bezel, avoiding the need for a notch or pinhole.
It’s powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset, and delivers up to 12 hours of battery. It still has a quad mic setup, but drops down to only four speakers.
Like the Pro models it runs HarmonyOS, and also supports a smart keyboard attachment and the new M-Pencil. It will also release in grey in the West.