Huawei is starting its year 2024 not with a smartphone, but with a tablet. A high-end product moreover since it is its MatePad Pro, which this year adopts a 13.2-inch panel and intends to enter the league of the largest
Huawei and tablets, it’s a great story. For a long time offered under Android, for 2 years they have been under HarmonyOS, the manufacturer’s operating system. To date, these are the only Chinese products to run with this OS here (with a connected watch). To tell the truth, there is a lot to be done on the part of this new MatePad Pro to try to attract those accustomed to the iPad Pro and Galaxy S Tab Ultra.
Because it is the ultra high-end segment of tablets that interests Huawei with a 13.2-inch MatePad Pro, which is therefore positioned as being larger than the iPad Pro 12.9, but smaller than the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra and its 14.6 inches. A market largely dominated by Apple’s product, which has proven itself. But Huawei’s tablet has what it takes to convince, from the design to the screen, including its stylus.
Price and availability
The MatePad Pro 13.2 is already available on the Huawei website. Only one configuration (12 + 256 GB) is available and is change for 999.99 euros. For the color, there is also only one possible choice: golden black.
If the price makes you tick, Please note that Huawei is rather generous with the gifts offered for any purchase. You will receive, in addition to the tablet, an M-Pen stylus, a pair of FreeBuds 5i as well as a MateDock 3. Presents worth almost 260 euros all the same.
A design that stands out
Huawei has always been keen to offer products that mark a difference from an aesthetic point of view. This is all the more true on its high-end smartphones and it is starting to be more and more true on tablets. Lacking Android, the Chinese manufacturer had to lower its cards on other points, hoping to convince the public with a beautiful product, which encourages you to discover a little more once in your hands. We begin the owner’s tour with this front panel which will certainly amaze since it is equipped with a notch. This is obviously not the first on the market since Samsung and its Tab Ultra also do it, but it is amusing to see that another manufacturer has launched into this area. This is, of course, not the most aesthetic choice, but it allows us to offer a slab occupying more surface area (91%) and it must be recognized that the borders are ultra thin.
On the back, the tablet benefits from a “high-strength fiberglass” finish according to the manufacturer. If it is complicated to know if Huawei is telling the truth, we must recognize that it is very pleasant to the touch as well as to the eye. In this golden black color, the tablet offers very beautiful reflections in daylight. The matte finish of the device also allows for a non-slippery grip, which is always good to have when handling a tablet of this size (289.1 x 196.1 mm). A very large device, as you will have understood, but which is not as imposing as we might think. It measures just 5.5mm thick, making it one of the thinnest on the market – at the same level as the Tab S9 Ultra for example. And in the category of large tablets, the MatePad Pro 13.2 happens to be the lightest with “only” 580 grams on the scale. That’s 100 grams less than an iPad Pro 12.9 and 150 g less than the Samsung model. We might as well tell you that it knows how to be forgotten, whether in your hands, on your knees or even in your backpack.
The thinness of the tablet leaves little room for frills. There are two buttons, volume control and start. Six speakers are present on the edges high and low, but we’ll come back to that later in this test. Finally, on the back there are magnets which allow you to place a protective shell acting as a tripod or even a keyboard. Two accessories sold separately. Enough to transform the tablet into a real laptop.
Also read – Huawei Mate X3 test: an extraordinary design… and the price that goes with it
A dazzling Oled panel
The 2024 vintage of the MatePad Pro sports an OLED panel with a definition of 2,880 x 1,920 pixels, or 2.8 K according to Huawei. The screen ratio is, for its part, quite original since it is 3:2 and the refresh rate can go up to 144 Hz. A display with fairly flattering colors by default, even if everything generally leans towards blue and is therefore a little cold. To remedy this “problem”, two choices are available to you. Either you go to the setting managing color temperatures and select the “warm” option, or you choose the “Natural tone” setting. The latter is slightly different since it is supposed to mimic the natural appearance of the paper, in addition to bringing a warmer tone to the colors displayed. The visual experience is, in fact, more pleasant, especially at high brightness. In this regard, Huawei has indicated that its screen can go up to 1000 nits, for optimal comfort in all circumstances. This reading comfort is also made easier thanks to Full Care Display 3.0 certification from TUV Rheinland. Oled panel obliges, the contrast ratio is almost infinite, making watching video more than pleasant. You will be able to enjoy the best of the 13.2-inch panel, whether for working or relaxing.
As a good multifunctional tablet, the MatePad Pro has a choice accessory, a stylus. At Huawei, the latter is called M-Pen and it is the 3rd generation that is making its appearance. A completely revised stylus, which looks exactly like a pencil and which adopts not Bluetooth technology, but NearLink. A technology developed in part by the Chinese company and announced for the first time at the end of 2023. It is intended to be 6 times faster than Bluetooth, with a maximum latency of 30 ms, consumes 60 times less and allows storage up to 10 times more connection. Figures that seem wonderful on paper, but which are difficult to verify in reality, especially when it comes to measuring the connection time from the stylus to the tablet.
The M-Pen connects relatively easily to the tablet since you just need to place it on the right part of the edge where the notch is located. The MatePad Pro detects it instantly and all you have to do is initiate the connection to start writing or drawing. To recharge the stylus, all you have to do is place it in the same place as for the first connection. Such placement on the edge of the tablet remains, to date, the best integration for a stylus, unlike the storage on the back which remains quite unergonomic. Let’s add that the M-Pen is thicker than the tablet, which is funny enough to be underlined.
As said above, The MatePad Pro adopts six speakers. It is clear that who can do more can do better and this tablet can deliver excellent stereo sound, even at high volume. After the iPad Pro, this is perhaps the best tablet in terms of sound reproduction. Music, films, series or even video games will be heard wonderfully. On the other hand, you will only have to rely on the speakers or on a pair of USB-C headphones since the 3.5 mm mini-jack socket does not exist here.
HarmonyOS 4, simple and clean
Since 2021, HarmonyOS has appeared on the Chinese manufacturer’s tablets. By being forcibly freed from Android, Huawei developed its own OS, but it took a long time to include it in products released on our market. MatePad Pro 13.2 comes with the 4th version of HarmonyOS and adds widgets or even much faster and more intuitive connectivity between the company’s various devices. The security and data protection aspect has also been reinforced by having access to the various settings of the applications present on your tablet.
As a good tablet designed for productivity, you will have access to multitasking as well as multi-window or even split-screen. With the help of the stylus, you can write on top of your screen, which can be useful before taking a screenshot or during a presentation for example. In this regard, let us note that you will not find any application using Google Mobile Services, the famous GMS. So, there is no Play Store to download your favorite applications. Instead, you have AppGallery, an in-house application store which is starting to benefit from a fairly large catalog. And when the application you are looking for is not available, the store allows you to go through the APK. If you still feel the need to use an application based on GMS, a solution exists called Gbox. This is an application installer, downloadable from the AppGallery and which therefore allows you to use applications from the Californian giant. Quite not very functional until some time ago, Gbox has been corrected and improved and now offers good stability.
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