Huawei might have suffered a major blow to it’s smartphone business following the widely reported 2019’s U.S. trade ban. Although it is certainly hard for Huawei’s fans to swallow the company’s diminishing presence in the smartphone world, but it’s at least comforting to see Huawei’s growing presence in the tablet and laptop markets over the past two years.
While it’s true that the tablet market (in Singapore) is currently dominated by Apple and Samsung, but that might not hold true years down the road as we’d seen how Huawei’s MatePad series slates managed to hold up against their competitors across the broad.
Of course, Naysayers might argue that the lack of Google Mobile Services (GMS) on Huawei’s devices hinders user experience. On that count, I believe many users will be quick to realize that isn’t the case after they actually experienced the new HarmonyOS 2.0 on the latest Huawei MatePad Pro series tablets, including the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 which we’ll be looking at in this review.
Outfitted with a whole new software experience and a bunch of highly capable internals, it’s undeniable that the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 is some of the best tablet out there in the market. However, does it actually lives up to it’s S$1,398 asking price? Let’s find out in our Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 review!
A Familiar Design That We Love!
On the outside, the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 looks rather similar to it’s MatePad Pro 10.8 (Review) sibling, despite sporting some notable differences in terms of the design of it’s rear camera housing as well as positioning of it’s front-facing camera.
Therefore, you can well expect to be greeted by a super sleek and stylish tablet that measures just 6.7mm in thickness. This makes the MatePad Pro 12.6 the slimmest slate from the company till date.
Although the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 is among the largest tablet in the market, but there’s absolutely no issue with slotting the slate into any mid-size backpack whenever you need to bring it out for work.
Also, it’s weight is definitely way more manageable as compared to carrying a bulky laptop along with you. Needless to say, that’s one of the key benefit and reason of owning a tablet.
For the MatePad Pro 12.6, I’ve gotten the Matte Grey variant for review. This is the only color option that’s available in Singapore, but there’s also a really charming Olive Green option offered in select markets.
Just like the Midnight Grey variant that we saw on the MatePad Pro 10.8 (Review), the Matte Grey colorway on the MatePad Pro 12.6 flaunts an understated elegance that looks premium all around.
Most importantly, it’s rectangular-shaped camera island at the back also goes well with the overall design of the tablet. Touching on this, it’s triple rear cameras actually consist of a 13 megapixels main camera, 8 megapixels ultra-wide lens, as well as a 3D depth sensing camera.
Along with the luxurious, magnesium-aluminium frame that sits along it’s edges, one can easily tell that the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 isn’t any mainstream tablet.
A Vibrant Display That Impresses
The Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6, as it’s name suggests, builds around a 12.6” OLED display which brings along a spacious and immersive viewing experience thanks to it’s teeny bezels that allows it to achieve a 90% screen-to-body ratio.
No doubt, the display on the MatePad Pro 12.6 is a top-notch one. It’s 2560 x 1600 pixels screen resolution offers plenty of sharpness when browsing photos, while it’s high contrast ratio (1,000,000: 1) and DCI-P3 color gamut coverage ensure colors are accurately rendered on the screen. In fact, it’s class-leading color accuracy is well reflected by it’s narrow Delta-E deviations of less than 0.5.
As with any other Huawei MatePad series tablets, graphics and colors on the MatePad Pro 12.6 are further enhanced by the company’s in-house ClariVu technology which employs complex algorithms to boost color contrast and clarity for a more immersive graphical experience.
Although Huawei didn’t provide any details regarding the screen’s brightness, but it’s generally able to get bright enough to keep the screen visible when using the tablet in a brighter environment.
Double Down On Productivity
The Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 itself is already an awesome productivity companion. However, you can further extend it’s use case by pairing it up with a Smart Magnetic Keyboard, second-generation’s Huawei M-Pencil or even a wireless mouse.
For instance, connecting the tablet to the Smart Magnetic Keyboard will instantly turn it into an ultra-portable ”laptop” which allows you to work on Office documents easily with built-in apps like WPS Office.
Personally, I really enjoyed working with this setup and had even worked on some of my recent reviews with it as well. Quite surprisingly, it actually offers almost the same experience as working on a laptop other than the software differences, of course.
Similarly, you can also use the MatePad Pro 12.6 as a sketchpad by coupling it with the second-gen’s Huawei M-Pencil. Doodling-aside, the M-Pencil is also useful whenever you need to quickly drop down notes during meeting, or alter your design drafts (for those working in interior or fashion design).
Needless to say, hardware support alone is never enough for a rich productivity experience. This is perhaps where the HarmonyOS 2.0 comes into play with it’s own suite of multi-tasking features that allow users to put it’s spacious display into better use.
Some of these features include the Multi-window mode that allows you to display up to four different apps on the screen simultaneously. This means you can be attending a virtual meeting in full screen mode, and at the same time reply to messages on Whatsapp/ Telegram via a floating window. That’s how intuitive this feature is!
Likewise, there’s also feature like App Multiplier that allows you to spin two instances of the same app. While this might sounds a bit like the Twin App feature that allows you to login to two different accounts on social media apps (by having two apps of the same on the device), but it’s largely different in terms of functionalities.
What the App Multiplier actually does is that it keeps the ”parent” page of the app on the left-side of the screen, while it opens up the ”child” page (as located by the link that you clicked on the ”parent” page) on the right-side of the screen. This is something that will come in handy whenever you need to do a quick comparison of any product’s specs or prices.
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Also, let’s not forget that the HarmonyOS 2.0 also enables seamless connection between the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 and any other Huawei MateBook series laptops like the Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 (Review).
For instance, you can easily mirror the laptop’s display over to the tablet and use it as a writing and sketching pad. Similarly, you can also use it as a secondary display where you can drag certain task on the laptop over to the tablet.
All The Power You Need For Productivity & Entertainment
Under the hood, the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 is fueled by the company’s latest Kirin 9000E chipset which boasts pretty much the same performance as the Kirin 9000 chipset found in the flagship Huawei P50 series smartphones.
This is probably enough to tell you that the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 is big on performance too! As such, you can expect to greeted by a silky smooth multi-tasking experience where laginess is a thing of the past. Of course, the ample amount of (8GB) RAM also helps in this aspect by eliminating the risk of memory bottleneck while multi-tasking.
Even for gaming, the Kirin 9000E is also able handles any game titles you throw at it, including those graphic/ resource intensive ones like Garena Free Fire and PUBG Mobile to name a few. Also, despite it’s relatively thin chassis, the MatePad Pro 12.6 does handles heat remarkably well too.
Since we’re now on the entertainment side of things, it’s also worth mentioning that the slate is equipped with not two or four, but eight speakers tuned by audiophile specialist Harman Kardon that are capable of delivering rich and astonishing sound quality for a more immersive audio experience.
Superb Battery Life & Blazing-fast Charging
The 10,050mAh battery on the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 is an enduring one. Therefore, you wouldn’t be surprised if the slate manage to clock 2 day’s worth of battery life under moderate usage. Even if you use it intensively during the day, you’ll still probably be left with at least 20% battery life at the end of the day. That’s something impressive for sure.
Coming to it’s charging department, the MatePad Pro 12.6 carries support for 40W Huawei SuperCharge that’s capable of filling a completely flat battery to it’s brim in slightly more than two hours. Otherwise, an hour charge will also net you more than 60% battery life which is most likely enough to last you through the day.
Also, it’s worth noting that the MatePad Pro 12.6 also supports 10W reverse charging that allows users to take advantage of it’s gargantuan battery to recharge any other gadget wirelessly. Although it took quite sometime to recharge gadgets via this solution, but it’s nonetheless a sweet addition which we we would love to have aboard.
The Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 might not be an affordable tablet. However, it certainly has all the bells and whistles that make itself stands out of the highly competitive market.
For the price you pay, you get yourself one of the most immersive display backed by a class-leading 5nm Kirin 9000E chipset that brings enormous power to your fingerprint tip. Most importantly, it’s multi-tasking centered software and all-day battery life are what elevate your productivity experience to a whole new level.