Android tablets have to be one of the most divisive products around. Some people love them, some people love to hate on them. I’m in the tablet loving camp: I have a bedside tablet, a work tablet, a general purpose tablet that I share with my daughter and a few others scattered around, mostly out of service. I’m always on the lookout for my next tablet experience.
I had been looking for a tablet that I could couch with. You know, sit on the couch and cast YouTube or Netflix to the TV, or quickly Google something, flick off an email or two or settle in for a misguided session of Whiskey and Aliexpress.
The Huawei T3 MediaPad caught my eye when it was announced after MWC 2017 as a solid 8-inch HD Android Tablet. When I got the opportunity to give it a go I jumped at the chance. How did it go? Read on and find out.
The Huawei T3 MediaPad, we’ll just call it the T3 from here on out, that’s sold in Australia is a 4G, 8-inch HD model measuring in at 211 x 124 x 7.95 mm and weighing only 350 grams. While the Space Grey moniker seems unoriginal, the device has a pleasant grey metallic finish with a black front panel.
The T3 is only available from Vodafone, and only on a contract. The cheapest plan is $20 a month for two years making the tablet $480 including 1.5GB of data. A 1.5GB Vodafone data plan over two years costs $288 making the out of pocket for the T3 around $192, that’s a fairly standard price for this end of the market.
The T3 packs a Snapdragon 425 processor paired with a respectable 2GB of RAM, much better than the 1 or 1.5 GB of some of its peers. Overall for a sub $200 tablet the T3 is a respectable device, and the 16GB of storage over 8GB is appreciated.
The full device specs are:
|Key Specifications:||Huawei T3 MediaPad|
|Screen technology||IPS LCD|
|Resolution||1,280 x 800|
|Core config||4 x 1.4|
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 128GB|
|WIFI standards||802.11 b/g/n|
|Android OS||Android 7.0|
|Dimensions||211.07 x 124.65 x 7.95|
The T3 isn’t going to set the hardware world on fire, and at less that $200 for the device Huawei’s not trying to. In the hand the device feels remarkably sturdy and I was willing to carry the device in my bag sans fancy carry case without fears of the tablet bending or the screen breaking, I can’t say that for all devices I play with.
The screen was capable of getting quite bright, if a little washed out at the higher end of brightness. However, I watched several episodes of random shows on the T3 and didn’t really have any issue. Is this a 1000000000:1 4K AMOLED monster, no, and nor is it trying to be.
Ok friends we’ve discussed this before, friends don’t let friends take tablet photos. I wish I could stop my daughter’s school using their god-knows-what-generation iPads to ‘record’ the days events. People: those photos and videos are just no good!
That said the folk-wisdom has always been the best camera you have is the camera you have with you. To that effect the T3 packs a HD ready front facing camera for more that acceptable Duo calls, and a 5MP rear shooter that will record the approximate distribution of photons when there’s enough light.
The cameras are useful, it’s nice to know they’re there if you need them but let’s just say I didn’t initialise Google Photo back-up in my few weeks with the device.
The T3 comes with Android 7.0 out of the box with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 skin running on top. For those familiar with Huawei’s particular flavour of Android skin the tablet will be familiar. For those who are used to something more stock it’s not that different these days.
For me a quick install of Nova Launcher and installing my default 8-inch Tablet layout makes the launcher exactly as I like it. Personally I don’t install my full suite of apps on my tablets, typically I use a tablet as a media consumption/ control device as such I don’t “push” the device’s performance.
Being Android 7.0 the device did get the Google Assistant rollout that came to tablets, which can make it a convenient Home control device, especially for those times late at night when I don’t want to shout out “Hey Google” and have up to 5 Homes all reply.
At the time of writing (April 2018) the tablet was still on the November 2017 Security update. Honestly I don’t expect the T3 to move onto Android 8.x or beyond. Unfortunately, it’s also likely that the device won’t get additional security updates, or if it does it will only be one or two more.
This is all to common in the tablet space with even the much more expensive tablets going a long time between updates. Unfortunately Google just doesn’t seem to have a coherent strategy or direction for the tablet market leaving devices like this a little stranded.
The fact that Google doesn’t appear to support an Android One program for Tablets may just indicate that Google is either moving to a new strategy or just doesn’t have one in the tablet space.
If you’re buying the T3 to play PUBG you’ve grossly misunderstood exactly what market Huawei has targeted this tablet at. This is an entry level tablet designed to give a clean and consistent experience for basic computing and media consumption.
The combination of the Snapdragon 425 and 2GB of RAM didn’t set my world on fire, and once I had GBoard and Nova on the T3 it occasionally stuttered here and there. However for media playback and basic internetting the T3 was consistent and reliable.
If the T3 had a strong area it would have been its battery performance. Left on the couch the T3 would hold it’s charge seemingly for days. And a full night of Netflix would eventually drain the battery but the 4800 MAH battery just seemed to last longer then it had any right to do
Connectivity-wise the T3 packs the standard array of connectivity including 4G, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, BT 4.0 and Micro USB charging. Again this is exactly what I’d expect to find in an entry level tablet. The T3 also included the all important courage port, aka a 3.5mm headphone jack a big plus in my book.
The inclusion of 4G is a distinguishing feature at this end of the market and could make this tablet a great choice for many people. I know many people who survive entirely on a 1GB/ month data cap. Sure these people need to seriously evaluate how little time they spend online and how much time they seemingly spend interacting with the real world, but I’ll leave that to their family and friends to deal with.
Huawei set out to provide an affordable, reliable, connected entry level tablet with the Huawei T3 MediaPad, and in my opinion they have delivered. At less than $200 for the device and with a 4G sim slot included Huawei have a device with a difference that could appeal to many people.
Is this a cutting edge computing experience? No. But nor is it $800. In a world where a 2nd tier “flagship” Android phone sells for over $1000 the T3 MediaPad is positively affordable. Overall the T3 was a consistent performer and was an admirably couch companion. I’ll miss my YouTube control buddy when I send this back.
Who is the T3 for? Honestly anyone who wants a tablet or an entry level computer, with acceptable performance at a more than reasonable price. Had I not already recycled one of my tablets to my daughter I would seriously have considered buying one of these for her.
Equally next time I’m asked for device advice I’ll seriously keep this little guy in the back of my head. I can image many people who I would recommend consider the Huawei T3 MediaPad.