The MatePad Pro is well worth the £499 asking price as a complete hardware package. However, hardware isn’t everything, and the reality of a Huawei-US trade ban stymies what would otherwise be the greatest affordable Android tablet available. Even if the Android tablet industry is on life support, there are still a few holdouts who refuse to give up. Huawei is one of the companies leading the push, having dominated the mid- & entry-level tablet markets with low-cost models while also experimenting with higher-end models on occasion.
The big picture
While Huawei’s M series has dabbled with high-end tablets, the MatePad Pro is the first to wear the “Mate” moniker. The Shenzhen company has previously reserved the appellation for its high-end goods, including the Mate smartphone series and MateBook laptop line, so this is a strong statement of purpose. Huawei offers an LTE and a 5G MatePad Pro model in addition to a Wi-Fi-only device.
The MatePad Pro’s only real competition from inside the Android world is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 — one of the top Android tablets to date. With few rivals in the Android space and Chrome OS tablets barely scraping out of first gear, the MatePad Pro’s only real competition from inside the Android world is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 — one of the best Android tablets to date. Of course, Apple’s real aim is to defeat. Huawei has a tough battle if it wants to entirely overtake the Cupertino giant’s ever-popular iPad Pro series, especially with the US trade ban barring Huawei’s access to Google Mobile Services.
What do you think of the design?
Huawei went all out with the MatePad Pro’s design, and while it doesn’t veer too far from the huge slab of metal with a big screen template, it does have a few unique features.
The MatePad Pro is available in four colors. The Midnight Grey (tested) & Pearl White variants have a fiberglass chassis with an aluminum frame, while the Forest Green and Orange hues have a vegan leather back. Regardless of which option you choose, the MatePad Pro sounds and looks like a high-end tablet. It’s 10 grams lighter than that of the 2020 iPad Pro (11-inch) and has a perfect weight distribution.
What is the Huawei MatePad Pro’s app experience like?
Let’s address the elephant in the room: the continued unavailability of Google apps, the Play Store, or Google Mobile Services as a result of the US trade embargo. We’ve written extensively about the situation on Android Authority, however, the MatePad Pro is a special circumstance. Huawei’s smartphones can survive without GMS support to some extent, as the cameras and phone functions are nearly fully unaffected. Tablets, on the other hand, are characterized by their productivity & entertainment applications. Apps are required for these tasks.
So, even without Google’s support, can you use your huawei matepad pro like every tablet to view movies, write documents, play games, and so on? The honest answer is yes, but only with a slew of exclusions.