Huawei introduced the Mediapad 7 into the Kenyan market in the mid of this year, it’s only recently that I got my hands-on with this 7 inch tablet. Globally, the tab sold out of the box running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but what we get out of the big box(literally, it’s quite big) is Android 4.0 Ice cream Sandwich. This makes it quite a proposition, considering the specs it holds under the hood. It’s impressive on the outside and the outside. For a company that sold the half kilogram Huawei S7 tablet, Mediapad 7 is quite the upgrade and I can commend Huwei for such good work.
Let’s get a refresher of the specs:
This device is a 3g capable, dimensions are 190 x 124 x 10.5mm, weighs 390g, LCD Capacitive screen, 800 X 1280 pixels, (216 ppi pixel density), 14.4Mbps HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 2.1, MicroUSB, USB on the go,MicroSD slot upto 32GB, 5.8Gb internal storage, 8GB ROM, 1GB RAM, Accelerometer, 5Mp AF rear with geotagging+ 1.3mp front, Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon Chip, 1.2 Dual core Scorpion processor, Adreno 220 GPU, 4100 battery giving upto 6 hours of use.
This coming at a price point of Kshs 35,000 is quite a bargain. Anyone who prefers 7 inch tablets would really want to consider this tablet for the value you get within. I took some tome to analyse how it performs in various angles, see what I got.
This tablet scores almost 7/10 for design, it’s something you can proudly walk around holding, the sides and ports are well trimmed, the tablet is thin enough at 10.5 mm, well, not the thinnest among them, but it does quite well among the competition. The rear looks fine, with the black top and bottom, the top camouflaging the rear camera and the bottom doing the same for the sim and microSD slot. And the unlatching and closing of the cover is quite convenient, actually avoiding the gaping holes many have to provide these two slots. The right side harbours the two buttons, the power and volume rockers at the top (though when autorotate is turned on, you never really tell which side is the top, am not complaining). At the top there are speakers and the sound jack, the left has nothing while the bottom has the microUSB slot, the HDMI slot and the power port. Microphone is below there too. The front camera is at the top right corner, which is quite handy considering you will choose to use it in portrait or in landscape mode.
The 7 inch makes it give you a good view without compromise on portability, you can hold it comfortably on one hand although not for prolonged use and you can also slip it into your jacket pocket. The Ice Cream Sandwich display controls give you quite the options, you can even disable screen time-out, like when reading or reviewing it. 800 x 1280 pixels at 216 ppi gives you quite good graphics, like I said, most of the features compared to the predecessor are quite a huge difference, you can barely pick out a pixel, and this means watching video or gaming is quite the experience. Screen response is good even if Google’s Nexus 7 beats it here. Ofcourse it’s a very reliable device if you like reading, whether from the Kindle app, blog RSS aggregators like Pulse and also from Aldiko, a book reader that comes pre-installed.There is not many preinstalled apps worth the mention, but google play is your friend there.
If you are a gamer you will have a good experience, I have played the usual Angry birds, Asphalt 6 HD and Let’s Golf and Temple run, the first 3 come preinstalled so you can find your way quick enough. Well, I could say gaming is quite good, no device heating when you play a heavy game, and the GPU is quite responsive where you require to tilt for activity.
This device works as indicated on the box,(here I mention that I have issue with the size of the box, it’s quite huge, but you dont carry that everytime, so that can pass.). The 4100mAh battery gives you good battery life, you cant run all day with it, but 6 hours on optimal use is guaranteed, you can look for the charger later on. I have issue with the charger, if you have a vertical power port to use and you happen to be needing to use the device while charging, you will need to be keen not to pull it out of power, it comes out quite easily. Plus you cannot charge it via USB, so if you leave the (a bit bulky) charger you are on your own.
Out of the box, you get an option to choose between the pre-installed Huawei IME keyboard, the Android Keyboard or google boice typing(ofcourse the latter one works only when there is an internet connection, and when there isone you bet it’s a data consumer. Which leaves the average user with an option of the Android keyboard and the Huawei keyboard. I havent quite figured out how to switch off the touchpad sounds on the Android keyboard option, so I preferred using the Huawei IME. It’s quite efficient, although it doesnt have multitouch functionality. If you type fast you would rather opt for the noisy stock keyboard.
As a conclusion, this is one serious contender among 7 inch tablets, it’s got all you would need from a tablet. I dont quite find a feature that you can isolate and say “this made me not buy the tab”, well except if you take that charger bit too seriously. It’s no biggie. It’s got a balance of most things, from storage, processor, screen experience, good OS and display. I didnt do a drop test as I wasnt ready for the consequences, but for the much I have used it-which is primarily reading and general media consumption, including a few games-it functioned right. Plus it’s a well designed tablet, the back looks fancy enough for one to want to be seen holding it in public, kindof an ego-booster when you speak in public, huh?