Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 review

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You will hear that it is a new dawn for Huawei thanks to the first public release of HarmonyOS. And the new MatePad tablets are set to herald Huawei’s products in a Harmony era and drop Android for good. But during all this PR talk, everything boils down to one thing – can Harmony-controlled devices compete with Android and Apple? We have MediaPad Pro 12.6 for review today, and that’s what we’ll try to find out.

Just because Apple dominates the tablet market with its iPads, does not mean that competition should disappear. On the contrary, we would very much like to see more slates like the Galaxy Tab S7 trio and the recently announced MatePad series. The tablet market may seem like a niche, but it’s leading to some incredible UI advances, and some of them are inevitably getting into phones as well. And today we are excited to meet a new large tablet with the support of the pen and a (supposedly) brand new mobile operating system – Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6.

Let’s look at the specifications first. The larger MatePad Pro is a premium device that definitely starts with an attractive body with a thin profile. It has a 12.6 “high resolution OLED display with thin frames, a powerful Kirin 9000E 5G chipset, a trio of snappers on the back and a sufficiently large 10,050 mAh battery with 40W fast charging.

There are also eight incredibly powerful speakers, a 5G option, and you can buy an M-Pencil stylus for drawing, noting and what not. The said pencil is recharged wirelessly via an integrated magnetic wireless charger on one of the sides.

Huawei Matepad Pro 12.6 review

MatePad Pro 12.6 runs on HarmonyOS 2.0, which is based on a forked version of Android 10, and you can install and run most of the available Android apps, except those that rely on Google Services. There are plenty of Huawei standard apps to get you started, while AppGallery and third-party stores need to cover the rest. Use of third-party app archives is inevitable in the foreseeable future.

Here is the complete specification sheet:

Overview of Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021):

  • Body: 286.5×184.7×6.7mm, 609g; glass front, aluminum frame; Stylus support (magnetic).
  • Screen: 12.60 “OLED, 2560x1600px resolution, 5.63: 9 aspect ratio, 240ppi.
  • Chipset: Kirin 9000E 5G (5 nm): Octa-core (1×3.13 GHz Cortex-A77 & 3×2.54 GHz Cortex-A77 & 4×2.05 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G78 MP22.
  • Memory: 128 GB 8 GB RAM, 256 GB 8 GB RAM; UFS 3.1; NM (Nano memory), up to 256 GB (dedicated slot).
  • OS / software: HarmonyOS 2.0.
  • Rear camera: Wide (head): 13 MP, f / 1.8, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f / 2.4; Depth: TOF 3D.
  • Front camera: 8 MP, f / 2.0.
  • Video recording: Rear camera: 4K @ 30fps, 1080p @ 30fps; Front camera: 1080p @ 30 fps.
  • Battery: 10050mAh; Fast charging 40W, reverse charging 5W, wireless charging 27W, wireless reverse charging 10W.
  • Various: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass.

MatePad Pro 12.6 has two sharp omissions – there is no support for high screen refresh rate, and there is no fingerprint or 3D face scanning biometric security. The tablet offers face recognition, but it is of the least secure type and we do not feel secure if our bank card information is stored on this thing. Splash resistance would have been nice too, but hey, it’s a tablet after all.

Unpacking the MatePad Pro 12.6

The MatePad Pro 12.6 arrives packaged in a white paper box. Our package includes a 40W charger, a USB cable and a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter.

Huawei Matepad Pro 12.6 review

Huawei says that the package may vary in different markets, so if you are interested – you can check your local Huawei website. It would have been nice to see the M-Pencil delivered with this Pro model.

Optional accessory

There are two accessories you can buy for your MatePad Pro 12.6. The first is probably a must-have – M pencil. It’s like the Galaxy Tab S7s S-Pen – a rechargeable stylus that can be magnetically attached and recharged on the tablet itself. It is filled with two extra tips – a transparent and a dark gray.

Huawei Matepad Pro 12.6 review

And secondly, it’s the smart magnetic keyboard. That’s exactly what the name suggests – a magnetically attachable keyboard cover / stand.

Huawei Matepad Pro 12.6 review

There is also a Folio Cover, but we did not get this for review.

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