Huawei MatePad 11, hands-on: a capable and versatile mid-range HarmonyOS tablet

Pros

  • Excellent 11-inch 120Hz IPS display
  • Powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset
  • All day battery life
  • Keyboard and stylus included in the price

cons

  • No Google mobile services
  • Limited app selection via Huawei AppGallery & Petal Search
  • No option for mobile broadband

According to canalys, tablet sales were 38.6 million in the first quarter of 2022, a 2.8% year-over-year decline, with Apple in first place with a market share of 38.6%. Huawei, in fifth place in the first quarter of this year, has several tablets in store, including the… MatePad 11, which comes with an extra keyboard and an M-Pencil stylus for £399.99

It’s a configuration people might consider their only computer. But if that’s the case, they’ll have to get used to it HarmonyOSan operating system and suite of services that Huawei developed after being barred from Google Mobile Services in a dispute with the US.

This is important because known ways of working may have to be discarded and known applications abandoned for alternatives. For example, if you’ve bought into the Google ecosystem for productivity, you’ll need to access the services through a web interface rather than native apps. There will be a learning curve for many people.

Huawei MatePad 11

The MatePad 11 runs Huawei’s HarmonyOS 2 on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Mobile Platform with 6GB or 8GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB internal storage (expandable via MicroSD card).

Image: Sandra Vogel

Still, HarmonyOS is designed to have a familiar look and feel, and it includes many basic features such as a web browser, image gallery, map and route planning app, calendar, weather tool, plus support for Gmail, Exchange, Outlook email, and more. other providers through manual configuration.

One major place HarmonyOS falls out is app support. Since the Google Play Store is absent, Huawei has developed its own Huawei AppGallery† This offers apps in many categories, including business, education, shopping, sports and health, entertainment and lifestyle. But the number of apps can’t match the Google Play Store and some popular apps are missing.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the Huawei AppGallery, you can try it Find Petals, which searches the Internet for installable files. For example, for my own downtime I need neither the BBC iPlayer nor Prime Video in the AppGallery, but I found both using Petal Search. Unfortunately, installations via this route do not support automatic updates, so users will have to perform manual checks.

All that noted, HarmonyOS looks familiar, both in terms of the overall screen layout and how the settings are organized and made. There is a control panel that can be swiped down from the top right corner of the screen and a notification panel that can be accessed at the top left. Recent and pinned apps are in a bar at the bottom of the main home screen. Some apps have associated “snippets,” perhaps better known as widgets, that can be placed on a home screen. For example, the calendar app snippet summarizes today’s schedule.

Huawei MatePad 11

The MatePad 11’s IPS display delivers a resolution of 2560 x 1600 (275 ppi) with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The tablet weighs 485 grams.

Image: Sandra Vogel

Huawei has done a good job building the MatePad 11, which is only available in matte gray in the UK – although you can also get Isle Blue and Olive Green elsewhere. It is a well-known rectangular shape, measuring 253.8mm wide by 165.3mm deep and 7.25mm thick and weighing 485g. There are small bezels around the screen, and Huawei claims an 86% screen-to-body ratio, although our calculation put it at 82.9%. Four speakers produce good quality sound through a pair of grilles on either side of the (landscape) screen. There is a caddy for a MicroSD card that can be used to increase the 128 GB of internal storage, of which 17 GB is used out of the box.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset seemed fast enough while I was testing the MatePad 11, which had 6GB of RAM. There is a 13MP f/1.8 rear camera and an 8MP f/2.0 front camera for video calling. There’s nothing special about the photography options, although the rear camera can record 4K video.

The 10.95-inch IPS display is stunning. It’s sharp and clear with a resolution of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels (275 ppi) and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. Huawei has added a reading mode that pushes everything into grayscale, which is a big plus for me. However, the screen is very reflective, which sometimes makes working a bit difficult.

Huawei MatePad 11

The 6GB/128GB MatePad 11 with keyboard and M-Pencil costs £399.99 (~$480) in the UK.

Images: Huawei

Huawei says the 7250mAh battery lasts for 12 hours, and with daily use I found it could handle the typical workload of a day’s writing, browsing and streaming, plus a bit of music and video streaming outside of office hours. The downside is the 22.5W charging, which is quite slow.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t test the MatePad 11 in addition to the dedicated keyboard, because Huawei sent me a keyboard for another device. That’s a shame because it meant I couldn’t use the full 2-in-1 setup to write this review or complete other writing-based workloads.

Focusing on the tablet itself, the MatePad 11 is well made, with good battery life and decent speakers. The all-inclusive price for tablet, keyboard and stylus – currently £399.99 in the UK – is no exaggeration. The big downside may be HarmonyOS, which isn’t for everyone, especially when it comes to app support.


Huawei MatePad 11 specifications

Dimensions 253.8mm x 165.3mm x 7.25mm
Weight 485g
Display 10.95-inch IPS LCD, 2560 x 1600 (275 ppi), 120 Hz refresh, 16.7 m colors, DCI-P3 color gamut
Screen-to-body ratio 86% (claimed)
OS Harmony OS 2
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM 6GB, 8GB
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Micro SD card Yes
reversing camera 13MP, f/1.8
Front camera 8MP, f/2.0
Battery 7250mAh
Charge battery 22.5W
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.1
USB USB-C (USB 3.0, OTG)
Place GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou/GALILEO/QZSS
Sensors ambient light, compass, gravity, gyroscope, Hall sensor
audio 4 speakers
3.5mm audio jack no
In the box tablet + battery, charger, Type-C cable, quick start guide, eject tool, warranty card
Price £399.99

Alternatives to consider

Huawei’s MatePad 11 faces stiff competition, including similarly sized tablets from big names like Apple, Samsung and Nokia.

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