BARCELONA, ESP – One of the questions we get now and again as AnandTech editors is to suggest what high-end Android tablets a person should buy. The truth of the matter is, aside from the mêlée of Chinese low-end tablets or ones like Alcatel that use quad-A53 processors, there have been no serious updates to this space. Requests are few and far between for something high-end on Android, and the market in the high-end is almost exclusively for iPad devices, especially for a saturated market.

Nonetheless, the questions do come, and several times a year. Huawei is now moving on this market for an updated device for 2018: the MediaPad M5. Available in two sizes, an 8.4-inch display and a 10.8-inch display, one of the key features is going to be the SoC. The Kirin 960 is not the latest flagship SoC, but it is at the heart of Huawei’s Mate 9, Honor 8 Pro, and Honor 9 smartphones, the Huawei flagship devices through most of 2017.

Rather than a jumble of low-speed Arm Cortex A53-cores for both performance and efficiency, and low-end graphics, the Kirin 960 has four high-frequency A73 cores for performance, four A53 cores for efficiency, and a Mali G71 8-cluster GPU solution, using Arm’s BiFrost GPU architecture. The point here is that with sufficient CPU and GPU resources, the MediaPad has to potential to be on par with Huawei’s recent flagship devices for games and audiovisual experiences, rather than most Android tablets which end up as low-end Netflix playback system. The MediaPad devices will also have a dedicated ‘Game Mode’, which extends the internal power/current limits for the SoC graphics and maintains turbo frequencies for longer.

Huawei MediaPad M5
  8.4-inch 10.8-inch
SoC HiSilicon Kirin 960
4 x Arm Cortex A73 @ 2.36 GHz
4 x Arm Cortex A53 @ 1.84 GHz
Graphics Arm Mali-G71MP8 @ 1037 MHz
Display 8.4-inch
Storage 32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB
+ microSD up to 256GB
Memory 4GB LPDDR4-1866
Battery 5100 mAh
Up to 11 hours
7500 mAh
Up to 10 hours
Wireless LTE on select mdoels
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Dual Band
Bluetooth 4.2
Connectivity Type-C Charging
USB Type-C to 3.5mm Audio
Camera Rear Camera: 13MP Autofocus
Front Camera: 8MP Fixed Focus
Dimensions 212.6 x 124.8 x 7.3 mm
258.7 x 171.8 x 7.3 mm
Android Android 8.0 + EMUI 8.0

For the display, both devices will have a 2560x1600 IPS panel. This means that the 8.4-inch unit will run at 359 PPI and the 10.8-inch unit is at 280 PPI. The display will feature ‘ClariVu’, an enhanced display software technology that manipulates the image through the display buffer to provide ‘a 20% improvement in picture quality’. Huawei did not clarify how this was done or how the metric was measured, as there are many ways to do it, but they confirmed it was a full software solution. The MediaPad M5 will also have a comfort mode that reduces the blue-color intensity. The brightness, contrast ratio, and color accuracy were not reported by Huawei in our briefing.

The MediaPad design is an aluminium unibody construction, with four speakers on the 10.8-inch and two speakers on the 8.4-inch. All the speakers are on the rear, and are co-engineered with harmon/kardon. Huawei is in the process of introducing its Histen surround sound software to its family of products, to which the MediaPad M5 range is an early recipient, with the idea of getting better sound quality through a software package.

The battery capacity of the 8.4-inch device is set at 5100 mAh, which Huawei states is good for 11 hours of 1080p video, and can be charged from flat to full in two hours. The larger 10.8-inch device, due to the backlight requirements of having the same resolution panel but bigger achieve the same brightness, means that the larger 7500 mAh battery supports a shorter battery life: Huawei quotes up to 10 hours of 1080p video, citing a flat to full metric of 3 hours of charging, using the fast charge technology.

The MediaPad M5 will be available in two colors: Champagne Gold and Space Grey. As per previous Huawei launches, pricing will be announced during the official presentation. The key competition to the MediaPad M5 will be the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, which uses a Snapdragon 820 SoC, launched last year.

The MediaPad M5 Pro

Along with the two ‘regular’ M5 tablets, Huawei is also launching an M5 Pro version. The M5 Pro is the pen-enabled edition of the 10.8-inch M5, and uses Huawei’s latest M-Pen technology. The M-Pen comes in the box of the M5 Pro, and is upgraded over previous M-Pen implementations by being USB Type-C, rather than microUSB. The pen supports 4096 levels of pressure, and will last for 50 days on a full charge.

The other element to the M5 Pro is support for an additional keyboard case accessory, so the tablet can be used with a physical keyboard via the pins in Huawei’s Desktop Mode. This is a similar mode to the desktop mode exhibited with the Mate 10 smartphones, giving a Windows-esque environment and easier access to the file management system.

Again, pricing and availability will be given during Huawei’s launch event.

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  • Hurr Durr - Sunday, February 25, 2018 - link

    >m-muh tubletz

    You`ll catch up, don`t worry.
  • darkswordsman17 - Sunday, February 25, 2018 - link

    Wow, and people wonder why Anandtech has been languishing. Way too many of their articles feature vitriolic petulant pedantic whiny comments, where they scream "bias!!!!" or say the whole article is "complete bullshit" because they nitpick something.

    He specifically mentioned the Tab S3 (hey, maybe I should be jackass too and call you an idiot for saying an almost 6 year old phone counts as a high end Android tablet in 2018?), which is ok (nice display and decent stylus, completely meh in every other way though) but was a bit outdated at launch.

    His reasoning is likely that there aren't any Android tablets that are flagships like iPads used to be (or even Android tablets, I remember when people were eagerly waiting to see what new ASUS Transformer would be like, or see what the new Nexus 7 would offer). I'd argue that there's a big gaping whole in the iPad lineup recently as well, where there's a bigger disparity between the normal iPad and the iPad Pros, like that a smaller Pro or a more feature rich iPad would fill, but instead last year we got a sorta cheaper standard iPad, no new mini for a while, but new Pros. But we don't get any Android tablets really pushing things, where they get the newest or best SoC and other features lacking in even flagship phones (aside from typical things like battery sizes).

    I'd guess that his bigger point is that without Google doing much of anything to really bolster Android as a tablet OS, which makes Android tablets inherently flawed. When companies do try to add software to make them better tablets we get people bitching about non-stock Android. Every so often Google will make a device but then it ends up being very niche, there's no concerted push for new Android tablets. Its "here's a tablet with some decent to good specs using a slightly dated SoC (which isn't a huge problem as it should throttle less in a tablet but just remember its just using whatever chip was in flagship phones 6 months to a year ago), who knows when you'll be able to actually buy it in the US and at what price, and good luck with support!"

    Android tablets are an afterthought and it shows. But then most of the companies are making Surface Pro competing Win10 devices, and then trying to get sales on "consumer" tablets by undercutting iPads on price. They almost have a vested interest in not making a high end Android tablet. Probably because they don't seem to sell terribly well. Its a chicken and egg situation. Have a hunch it'll be years before we see this change (Google is likely putting their effort onto their Chrome/Android fusion FuchsiaOS as far as building good tablet functionality in). Who knows, maybe Win10 on ARM will actually develop into something good. More likely we'll get half-assed attempts like we saw with Windows Phones. Which, there's similarities with that and what we see in Android tablets, where we'd see phones with decent specs but they often didn't live up to the specs, or there's software issues, or various other flaws that just prevents them from being really worthwhile. Updates languish, fixes never come, and you're just left with a device that is functional and even has some appeal, but just doesn't offer what it could have.
  • Valantar - Monday, February 26, 2018 - link

    Tablets in general are dying, if not dead already. The only people who buy tablets that I know of are ones with small children - and they don't care about performance or specs, or students and others who buy Windows-based PC tablets. It's no wonder, really - a (non-PC) tablet can't do more than the smartphone you already have, and due to the rapid upgrade cycle of smartphones you're likely to have a faster phone than a flagship tablet already, and if not, within a year or so. Not to mention it's another expensive device to upgrade, keep charged, and actually remember to use (as opposed to the phone that's already in your pocket). People expect tablets to be comparable to laptops in utility and longevity, but when there are no actual tablet SoCs to push performance beyond smartphone levels, that longevity is a pipe dream, and the utility is essentially on par with a phone. This isn't going to change. Reply
  • rocketbuddha - Monday, February 26, 2018 - link

    Exactly. Amazon has cornered the low price tablet market and with their content eco-system, makes most Android tablets really not needed.
    With Fire HD 2017 8" coming as low as 50$, I got one for my kids.
    The Fire HD 2017 10" coming to 120$ (am waiting for 100$ as it happened during BF/CM 17), no Android tablet can hold a candle to this. Esp the HD10 contains MT8163 which is 2xA72 + 2xA53 with 1080p is a good deal at 199$, at 100$ it is a steal.
    Instead of competing with AMZN on content, GOOG gave up the market.

    Besides Google has given up tablets and moved to Chrome OS and that is the area they are going to concentrate.
  • ams511 - Monday, February 26, 2018 - link

    I have to agree. Over a year ago I purchased a HP Windows 10 2-in-1 detachable for $329 and have stopped using my android tablets all together. If I need an Android app, I will just use my phone. Tablets it seems are going the way of the the netbooks they replaced. Reply
  • watzupken - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - link

    Tablets are dying, but I feel it applies only to Android tablets. Most people I know are using it only for watching movies or series. For Apple, their iPads are still doing well,. As a matter of fact, Apple have made great strides improving the performance of their SOCs that I am starting to find that it may be able to replace my hybrid laptop very soon. The only thing holding me back from switching is just the OS. At this point Windows for me is still more versatile as opposed to the walled garden with iOS. Reply
  • Gemuk - Sunday, February 25, 2018 - link

    He does have a point re: the M3. To not mention the M3 in a press release about the M5 is a severe oversight, both on AT and Huawei's part. Reply
  • t.s - Monday, February 26, 2018 - link

    pricing? go here: Reply
  • watzupken - Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - link

    Personally, I don't disagree with Ian that there is no actual high end tablets for Android. This is a problem for Android as their mobile parts are progressing at a blistering speed, the tablet side is lagging. Just looking back at 2017, if you are comparing a flagship Android tablet vs a Android phone, the specs on the tablet looks dated in almost every aspect, i.e. last gen SOC, lower memory, poorer displays, etc. I feel if I get an Android tablet, I am just getting a last gen Android phone.
    Where if you look to Apple, taking the iPad Pro 10.5 as an example, we see a processor A10X still beating the A11 Bionic SOC, more memory and a display may not be as great as compared to the iPhone X, but overall still an improvement from a performance perspective. Apple has made huge strides in terms SOC performance to the point that it is catching up with an Intel ULV processor which actually makes it an attractive option for me to replace my hybrid laptop.

    In case anyone is thinking or shouting that I am an Apple fanboy, I have to state that I am an Android phone user. But when it comes to getting a tablet, objectively I would go for an Apple one because it seems to be the better deal for me(less the highly marked up Apple accessories).

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