Review: Huawei MediaPad from 2degrees

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’re 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.

Apple iPad on Sale in New Zealand from July 23

Here’s a surprise: a press release arrived this morning announcing that iPads will be on sale from the Apple online store and “selected retailers” from this Friday, 23rd July. Prices start at $799. Full press release follows:

[quote]iPad Available in Nine More Countries This Friday

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – 20 July, 2010 —Apple today announced that iPad will be available in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore this Friday, July 23. iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before. Users can browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more, all using iPad’s revolutionary Multi-Touch™ user interface. iPad is 13.4mm thin and weighs just 680 gms** —thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook—and delivers up to 10 hours of battery life.*

Beginning this Friday, customers can purchase all models of iPad through the Apple Store and selected Apple Authorised Resellers.

Pricing & Availability
iPad is available from July 23 in New Zealand for a recommended retail price of NZ$799 inc GST for 16GB, NZ$979 inc GST for 32GB, NZ$1149 inc GST for 64GB for Wi-Fi models and NZ$999 inc GST for 16GB, NZ$1179 inc GST for 32GB and NZ$1349 inc GST for 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G models. iPad will be sold through the Apple Store (www.apple.co.nz) and select Apple Authorised Resellers. iPad will roll out to many more countries later this year and Apple will announce availability and local pricing for these additional countries at a later date.

*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
**680 gms Wi-Fi model and 730 gms Wi-Fi + 3G model.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.[/quote]

Apple iPad Available in New Zealand in July

Update: Apple have officially announced that the iPad will be on sale from 23rd July. Prices start from $799.

Apple iPadIt’s official: Apple says they plan to release the iPad in a bunch of new countries, including New Zealand, in July. Based on the Australian pricing, I’ll hazard a guess that the base models will hit at around $750 or $800 NZ dollars.

Full press release follows:
[quote]

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – 8 May 2010 – Apple® today announced that iPad™ will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on Friday, 28 May. Customers can pre-order all iPad models from Apple’s online store in all nine countries beginning on Monday, 10 May. In the US, Apple has already sold over one million iPads and customers have downloaded over 12 million apps from the App Store, as well as over 1.5 million ebooks from the new iBookstore.

iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before. Users can browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more, all using iPad’s revolutionary Multi-Touch™ user interface. iPad is 13.4mm thin and weighs just 680 gms—thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook—and delivers up to 10 hours of battery life.*

The App Store on iPad lets you wirelessly browse, buy and download new apps from the world’s largest app store. iPad includes 12 new innovative apps designed especially for iPad and will run almost all of the more than 200,000 apps on the App Store, including apps already purchased for your iPhone® or iPod touch®. Developers have created more than 5,000 exciting new apps designed for iPad that take advantage of its Multi-Touch interface, large screen and high-quality graphics.

Pricing & Availability

iPad is available in Australia for a recommended retail price of AUS$629 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$759 inc GST for 32GB, AUS$879 inc GST for 64GB for Wi-Fi models.  Wi-Fi + 3G models for a recommended retail price of AUS$799 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$928 inc GST for 32GB and AUS$1049 inc GST for 64GB. iPad will be sold through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com/au/store), Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorised Resellers. The iBooks™ app for iPad including Apple’s iBookstore will be available as a free download from the App Store on 28 May.

Apple plans to release iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. Apple will announce availability, local pricing and pre-order plans for these nine additional countries at a later date.

[/quote]

iPad Review: It’s an iPad

apple-ipad-tablet-device-420x0 It’s breathtakingly gorgeous, fast, and attracts interest like no other gadget I’ve ever owned. I’ve had more people come to my desk in the past week than in the previous year, and they all want to play with it. In fact, the only thing stopping me from making a healthy profit on Trademe is the level of interest from work. The thing is booked in for three different client meetings this week.

I too am “shocked” by the level of demand for the device.

But what is it for?

It’s not a work device. Full stop. Unless you regularly carry one of those calculator-containing compendiums, it’s too big to carry around to meetings. You need to make it even bigger with a keyboard dock to get any real work done. If that real work is like mine and includes software creation, you’re up the creek with a paddle-sized Apple device (and I’m sure immersion would void the warranty).

Perhaps with Keynote and a VGA adapter as a portable presentation device? Perhaps as a device for presenting comps and portfolios? Maybe. But be assured: it is not a workaday computer.

At home, things get a bit more fun. Multiplayer Flight Control HD is a blast, and there has never been a better toilet computer. It puts most digital photo frames to shame (more so when coupled with the right app).  But when it comes to anything more than a two-line email, I found the 700 gram device parked on the sofa while I used a real computer. This is emphatically a “lean back” device, directly challenging the television more than it does the computer.

It’s allegorical

I could go on all day about what this svelte tablet doesn’t do. Think of it this way: would you question the utility of a Ferrari? You might question the owner’s ability to afford it, or perhaps even the dimensions of his manhood. But you’re not going to complain about the lack of boot space or towing ability.

So I leave you with this statement of fact: it can’t tow a caravan. Just think about that before you buy one.

Question: Can I use an iPad in New Zealand?

A somewhat inevitable question has arrived via the question machine:
[quote]Can i buy an ipad in usa and expect it to work in new zealand? any tech specs i have to look out for?[/quote]

Yes, you can buy an iPad in the USA, and yes it will work fine in New Zealand. In fact, I’m writing this very post on an iPad.

Things you will want to look out for:

  • You can purchase and use almost any iPad app through a standard New Zealand iTunes account. However: the official Apple apps, including iBooks and the iWork suite are currently only available in the US store. There is a fairly straightforward way to get around this limitation.
  • No one has tested the 3G models yet. They use micro SIM cards which are not currently available in New Zealand. Vodafone promises they will be available if and when the iPad 3G is officially available in New Zealand. If you get desperate, you could make your own.

So yes, there are really no problems with using an iPad in New Zealand. The question is: do you really need one? I’ve been using mine for a week now, and am really struggling to find a true purpose for it. If I get a spare second I’ll expand on this opinion in a followup post later.