Design And Features
Build is one of the Huawei MediaPad M3’s strongest elements. A very slim, low-flex aluminium casing makes the tablet feel expensive and strong. It’s like an iPad mini in this sense, but the shape is a little different – a widescreen aspect ratio makes the M3 a bit less stubby-looking than the 4:3 iPad.It’s a good design, once again proving that 8-inch tablets like this are a great size for most people: big enough to offer a much larger display than any phone, but still light and small enough to take with you everywhere.The MediaPad M3 is also light enough to hold in one hand, perhaps for reading an article or two on the way to work, to make your work commute that bit more bearable. Our review model weighs just 322g.The fingerprint scanner is the clue that tells you the MediaPad M3 is a tablet of 2016 rather than, say, 2014. Looking quite a lot like the one used on the Samsung Galaxy S7, this sits below the screen as part of a button.It’s not a clicky button, though, just a touch-sensitive pad. Used while the MediaPad M3 is awake, it’s a back button; when the device is asleep, of course, it wakes the little guy up.This isn’t the fastest fingerprint scanner Huawei has ever produced, taking around a second to turn the tablet on from sleep, but it’s reliable.
There are just a couple of bits to the Huawei MediaPad M3 that are a little less high-end than similar-looking features you might see in a top-end Huawei phone. For example, the band that holds the rear camera seems to be topped with plastic rather than Gorilla Glass. Crucially, though, the M3 still gives off the whiff of a top-end tablet.Huawei sent us the 4G version of the MediaPad M3, which has a SIM tray on the bottom edge that also takes a memory card, enabling you to add to the 32GB of built-in storage.With a SIM inserted you can almost treat the M3 like a phone – the only thing holding you back is the lack of a proper call speaker.The MediaPad M3 does have good tablet speakers, though. On the top and bottom edges are little 7-pip grilles that let the stereo Harman Kardon drivers sing.Getting an audio brand involved is no guarantee of good sound quality, but here you get some of the loudest speakers we’ve heard in a tablet. It’s the kind of volume you’d expect from something much larger, like a laptop. The case vibrates a bit at higher volumes, which is hardly surprising.At the highest volumes the upper mid-range can become a little searing with some material too, but the sound is relatively thick and full; it’s impressive stuff for a small, slim tablet. And as the grilles are set to one side, rather than slap-bang in the middle of the top and bottom edges, they’re not too easy to block with your hands.That’s your lot in terms of extra hardware, though. There’s no IR transmitter, which has featured in some previous Huawei devices – one of these would enable the MediaPad M3 to be used as a universal remote.
The big change compared to the 8-inch MediaPad M2 is that the Huawei MediaPad M3 has a true high-res screen. It’s an 8-inch 2560 x 1600-pixel screen, with an IPS LCD panel. The upshot is that pixel density and sharpness are both excellent, and even up close the screen looks sharp.Brightness is also very good, and there’s an ambient light-sensing Auto mode, a feature that’s sometimes omitted from tablets. Viewing angles are strong, with minimal brightness loss when you view the screen from an angle.Huawei has plugged loads of customisation into the MediaPad M3’s screen too. First, there are two colour modes. Normal is a classic sRGB mode that looks quite natural, while Vivid mode amps up the colours for a little more energy at the expense of colour accuracy.As on most of Huawei’s phones you can also fiddle with the colour temperature, which changes the character of the M3’s screen quite a bit. There’s an Eye Comfort mode as well, which, like the iPhone’s Night Shift mode, makes the screen more yellow in order to cut down the amount of blue light emitted.Contrast isn’t as good as that of the OLED Samsung Galaxy Tab S2’s display, but this is a good screen.
Some versions of Emotion UI can make a phone or tablet feel pretty slow to use, but the Huawei MediaPad M3 is pretty fast in day-to-day operation. It packs a generous 4GB RAM, and uses the HiSilicon Kirin 950 CPU.The Kirin 950 is a fairly high-end member of the HiSilicon CPU family, with four Cortex-A53 everyday cores and four Cortex-A72 performance cores, which are matched with a Mali T880 GPU.We found the Huawei MediaPad M3 nippy enough when using everyday apps and just flicking through the Android interface. However, things started to come apart when we tried playing high-end games.Despite the impressive-sounding specs, the Kirin 950 just doesn’t seem powerful enough to keep up with serious polygon-flinging given the demands of the high-res 2560 x 1600 screen.At the default High graphics setting Asphalt 8 is painfully slow, and choppy enough to make the game much less fun to play. Even at the Very Low setting there’s the occasional frame rate dip.As one of Android’s prettiest games, Asphalt 8 is a pretty reliable way to test a tablet’s limits; however, there are signs of slow-down in less demanding titles too.Gameloft’s Modern Combat 5 suffers from some juddery moments during intense action scenes, and even Dead Trigger 2’s frame rate is less than optimal – and Dead Trigger 2 tends to scale very well to different devices.The Huawei MediaPad M3 should be a great tablet for gamers, but it isn’t.
These days some tablets have cameras as good as those in phones – the iPad Pro 9.7 is a good example. However, the Huawei MediaPad M3’s rear camera is rather pedestrian.It’s an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2 lens: fine for a tablet, but probably not as good as your phone camera, unless you have a fairly old mobile.In bright sunlight you can get some decent pictures, but images become quite noisy in lower light – and there’s no flash to help out.The Huawei MediaPad M3’s camera is also pretty prone to chromatic aberration, or colour fringing – this is where high-contrast edges are outlined in colour, in this case purple. If you shoot into the sun lens flare can cause discolouration in large areas of images too.You can minimise these issues by avoiding very high-contrast subjects and direct sunlight, but we’ve been using the Huawei MediaPad M3 alongside the Honor 5C phone (Honor is basically a Huawei sub-brand), and its 13-megapixel camera is a significant step up.The M3’s camera can be fun to use, though.
There’s a half-second shutter lag, but the camera app features loads of extra modes to play with.You may only ever touch half of them, but there are a few interesting options. All Focus lets you select the focus point after shooting by taking several shots in rapid succession at different focus ranges, Pro mode offers manual control over settings such as shutter speed, and Light Painting lets you take those shots in which the lights of moving vehicles become colourful trails.All these features would be more effective in a slightly higher-quality phone camera, but they’ve nice to have anyway.The Huawei MediaPad M3’s front camera is very similar to the rear one, but where the sensor makes a so-so rear camera, it’s a pretty good selfie one. Self portraits have lots of detail, and fairly lifelike colours.Focusing is the big difference between the two cameras. The back camera has standard autofocus, while the front one has a fixed-focus lens.Having a higher-res front camera also lets you video chat at 1080p resolution, rather than just VGA or 720p, not to mention making your Snapchats look a bit better. There’s no 4K video capture with either camera, though.
Thanks to its ultra high-resolution screen the Huawei MediaPad M3 was always unlikely to have amazing battery life – it’s not one of those low-end 1280 x 800 tablets that can play the whole Lord of the Rings movie trilogy off a single charge.The TechRadar battery test, which involves playing a 90-minute video at maximum brightness with accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background, drained 19% from the M3’s battery. This suggests you should be able to enjoy between seven-and-a-half and eight hours of video off a full charge.This sort of test is low-drain on the CPU side, but maxing-out the brightness means the screen sucks a decent amount of juice. To switch things around, we tried Real Racing 3 using Auto brightness rather than maximum brightness; 20 minutes of play took 6% off the battery, suggesting around five and a half hours of gaming off a full battery.Neither of these results is remarkable, but the gaming numbers in particular show that the Huawei MediaPad M3 lasts a respectably long time under strain.
- Decent workmanship
- MicroSD slot
- Great browser performance
- Good connectivity
- Long-lasting battery life
- GPU is overburdened when running demanding games
- Lacks LED flash
- No NFC
- Lacks USB type C port
- EMUI isn't for everyone
|Model Name||MediaPad T3|
|Operating System Version||7.0 (Nougat)|
|Display Resolution Type||HD|
|Supported Network||4G LTE, WCDMA, GSM|
|Display Supported Network||LTE|
|Processor Type||Qualcomm MSM8917 Quad Core Processor|
|Display Size||8 inch|
|Sales Package||Tablet, Charger, USB Data Cable, Quick Start Guide, Warranty Card|
|Display Resolution||1280 x 800 Pixels|
|Primary Camera||5 Megapixels|
|Internal Storage||16 GB|
|Processor Speed||1.4 GHz|
|Sim Size||Nano SIM|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor|
|Sim Type||Single Sim|
|Battery Capacity||4800 mAh|
|Battery Type||Li-ion Polymer|
|Secondary Camera||2 Megapixels|
|USB||Yes, Micro USB|
|Headphone Jack||3.5 mm|
|Wi-fi Version||802.11 b/g/n|
|Other Connectivity Features||Bluetooth Support|
|Touch Screen Type||Capacitive|
|Video Formats Supported||MP4|
|Audio Formats Supported||MP3|
|Map Support||Google Maps|
|Expandable Storage Capacity||128 GB|
|Memory Card Slot Type||microSD|
|Memory Card Support||Yes|
|Warranty Summary||1 Year on Tablet, 6 Months on Accessories|
|Warranty Service Type||Carry In|
|Covered in Warranty||Manufacturing Defects|
|Not Covered in Warranty||Physical Damage|