While I wasn’t overly keen to review an Android tablet, I have been impressed by the Huawei devices I’ve used to date, so I was happy to give the new 7 inch Huawei MediaPad from 2degrees a blast.

Bottom line: It’s an good device. It’s around half the price of a 3G iPad ($549 bundled with 2GB of data from 2degrees), with most of he same features apart from the screen size. If you’ve never used an iPad you’d be quite happy with it. You can watch movies, browse the internet, play famous games like Angry Birds, and read e-books using the Amazon Kindle app.

It runs Android 3.2, which is a thoroughly modern and pretty interface for tablets. There’s heaps of screen space to lay out your multiple home screens just as you like, making this device a great option for info-warriors. You could have Facebook, Twitter, calendar, email,weather, etc. all as widgets on your home screens, providing everything you need to see at a glance.

The Android Marketplace is packed with apps that are built for Android 2.x phones. Most of these will run fine on the MediaPad. It is less easy to find apps dedicated to the 3.x tablet version of Android, but they do exist. There’s no word on whether the MediaPad will be upgradeable to later versions of Android (including the new 4.0 version).

The hardware is robust. It looks very similar to a miniature iPad, with the same glossy black bezel and aluminium rear enclosure. The SIM card and MicroSD slots are hidden behind a plastic panel on the back of the case. The one weird thing I found with the hardware was that the micro-USB plug does not charge the device. There’s a separate charge port. This is a bit annoying given the number of micro-USB chargers that most people have floating around.

Here’s the technical details:

  • Screen: 7 inch IPS, 1280×800 pixel
  • CPU: Dual core 1.2GHz
  • Camera: 5MP autofocus
  • Storage: 8GB internal + MicroSD slot
  • WiFi: 802.1 b/g/n
  • 3G: HSPA+
  • Locations: GPS/AGPS
  • Other: Accelerometer, 4100mAh battery
  • Ports: Micro USB, Micro HDMI, Charging plug

There are a huge number of Android tablets attempting to encroach on the market that the iPad created. To be honest, they’reĀ not doing well at all. I don’t see 2degrees’ new entry into the market changing this, but it’s still a good device for the niche. If you want something a bit smaller, a lot cheaper, but almost as capable as an iPad, definitely take a look at it.

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1 Comment

  1. Yeah, looks nice.
    Haven’t yet seen a comparison of it with the new Samsung 7+ or the 8.9.
    It would be interesting to see how it stacks up.

    I suspect the charging thing is basically beause the standard USB port doesn’t deliver enough juice to charge a big battery in a reasonable amount of time.

    Both my older Samsung 7″ and the iPad 2 I’m playing with at the moment need 2 amp chargers.

    USB only delivers 500mah.

    My Samsung WILL charge off usb; albeit very, very slowly. The Huawei may as well.

    I did manage to find a USB-A Y cable off an old portable drive that lets me jack it into 2 usb ports at the same time, but it still doesn’t kick into fast-charge mode.

    May need to fiddle with pinouts (I am using a USB gender-bender to connect the two cables).

    Both Samsung and Apple get away with 1 cable for data and charge, but at the expense of non-standard plugs at the device end.

    Looks like Huawai and Acer et-al prefer to keep the interfaces standard, with the downside of needing another charge port.

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