Small and bright, Huawei's MediaPad tablet looks set to be a force to be reckoned with.
We've seen the majority of the tablet market (we're looking at you Mr iPad) settle on the 9.7in and 10.1in screen sizes. Now, it's all well and good, it gives you a big target to aim at with your fingers, means they can use less expensive screens and can give you a big shiney, show-off device to flash at people on the bus. Unfortunately, they're inevitably bigger, heavier and unwieldy.
The 7in form factor is the other end of the spectrum. It's smaller screen size means a lighter, more transportable design, but you end up with less on the screen. Usually. Huawei have settled on the 7in form factor for the MediaPad, but have kept the higher resolution of the bigger models, with a 1280 x 800 IPS display. Though it's smaller, you still get the same number of pixels with which to consume your content. It has the added bonus of looking really, really nice.
The rest of the unit is as well thought out, it includes a miniUSB port and miniHDMI, runs Honeycomb (Android 3.2) and is only sold in a 3G/HSPA+ version from the beginning. It's built around a dual core 1.2GHz Qualcomm 8x60 chip. The screen is clear and bright, with even lighting and frankly looks amazing with the relatively high resolution for its size. There's front and user facing cameras (with the external camera 5MP).
Our only qualms come from the placement of the speaker grilles along the left hand size when using it in a landscape orientation – you can too easily cover the speakers and muffle the audio when holding it with your left hand.
We managed to grab a few hours alone with a preview model of the Huawei MediaPad, and if the final version is going to be even more polished than the one we looked at, it's going to be a very serious contender in the 7in space. It looks good, feels great to use and performs as required. At time of printing, both a release date and unit pricing is yet to be finalised, but Huawei assure us the pricing will be aggressive.