Huawei has just launched its latest mid-range tablet, the Huawei MatePad 10.4 which looks premium thanks to its matte but reflective Midnight Gray surface.
With 4 speakers – 2 each on its short sides – you’ll also find the power button, volume rocker, and a USB-C port on its slim 7.5mm sides.
Call me dated, but it’s actually the first device I’ve used that doesn’t come with a 3.5mm jack. But don’t worry, because Huawei provides an adapter if there is a need to pair wired headphones to the pad.
The leatherette exterior of the magnetic keyboard gives anyone carrying this cushion a sophisticated and smart look like a board director about to give a stunning presentation. When in use, the tab snaps securely into place, turning the tablet into a laptop, which I’m actually writing this article about.
More than his appearances
In addition to its looks, the MatePad 10.4 is thin and light at 460g. It is easy to wear on the wrist and shoulder when you wear it in your hand or put its approximate B5 laptop size in a purse.
The 6.5mm black bezels around the 10.4 ″ (hence the name) screen make it comfortable to hold without accidentally triggering any controls. This is also where the front camera sits at the top of the screen in landscape mode.
Horizontal orientation is how the tab works best for the full laptop or movie experience.
Multitasking worked well on the tab. The multi-screen windows allowed me to watch Netflix while browsing my emails at the same time. Not to mention the 4 stereo speakers projecting the sound of my show loud and clear.
Being a budget tablet, the screen is not a fancy AMOLED, but an LCD screen instead. However, you probably won’t be able to make out the preinstalled Huawei wallpapers that appear vibrantly when locked.
I would say the LCD compromise is most noticeable when watching videos on YouTube or Netflix.
Its resolution is high enough with good visible brightness even when you use it outdoors during the day, but with a little glare.
Huawei also offers Eye Comfort and eBook modes in the MatePad 10.4. The former is a blue light filter to reduce eye strain, while the latter mimics the entire newspaper screen.
When the latter is activated, the screen texture is more grainy and the colors are converted to grayscale, intended for reading articles or e-books.
The Most infuriating part
The first thing I do after receiving a new device is install my frequently used apps. So I never noticed how addicted I was to Google for work and play until I turned on the pad.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room: Huawei’s software does not come with or support Google Play or its services due to the US-China trade war. If I wanted to use Microsoft Teams or Netflix, I had to download their APK versions, which made me feel more vulnerable.
I’m actually writing this piece on the preinstalled Notepad Notepad because I couldn’t access Google Docs and lost my Microsoft Word login information.
However, the MatePad 10.4 overcomes this problem by giving you a preinstalled app called Petal Search. This is where you can easily find and download the APK of any app. This is how I was able to install Google Chrome and Netflix.
Despite repeated attempts to do this for YouTube and Gmail, it repeatedly failed. As a result, I was stuck with the browser versions which was a poor, if not frustrating, experience.
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Overall, the MatePad 10.4 is great for working on the go, whether it’s easily portable or has a good “click” feel for its magnetic keyboard.
Eye Comfort and eBook modes are also welcome, especially for those who are sensitive to blue light and sensitive to eye strain.
I think it’s pretty obvious that its incompatibility with Google apps is its biggest loss to me. Of course, if you’re more of someone who relies primarily on Microsoft, you shouldn’t be too affected by this.
But, since these are just my first impressions of the MatePad 10.4, the more time I spend with it, the more I will like it.