An interesting tablet that has got a lot to offer.
Huawei has been making fairly decent smartphones and tablets in the past years. And while it doesn’t quite match the more premium offerings from Samsung, Apple and HTC, it still manages to perform decently and is priced relatively less than its competitors.
Design and Specifications
The Huawei MediaPad X1 is basically a 7-inch tablet that is on the same dimensions as the Nexus 7 but a tad thinner. At 183.5 x 103.9 x 7.2 mm and 239 grams, it barely fits on my hand, so a two-handed operation on the tablet is necessary.
It’s may be misleading to refer to this as a smartphone or even a phablet. The Huawei MediaPad X1 is very much a tablet, but you can still make calls with it – yes, imagine holding a 7-inch device against your head. That will definitely get everyone’s attention.
The front of the smartphone is dominated by the large 7-inch IPS LCD screen with minimal borders on the side. With a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, the screen looks decent but colors seem to be washed out at times. It’s acceptable, but I was hoping for a better color saturation especially since the Ascend P7’s screen was great.
Onboard controls like the power switch and the volume buttons are located on the right side for easy access. Aside from the glass panel on its front, the Huawei MediaPad X1 is mostly covered by aluminum, giving it a more premium feel. The battery isn’t removable, and there is a small slot for the microSD card and micro SIM card cleverly hidden at the back. A micro USB port is provided for charging and data transfers – and the unique part about it is that you can actually connect other devices and the Huawei MediaPad X1 can charge it. You may need to get a special cable though.
The Huawei MediaPad X1 comes equipped with a quad-core 1.6 GHz processor along with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage. It supports all connectivity options such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and even 4G LTE. The only drawback is that the Huawei MediaPad X1 still runs on a rather outdated version of Android – 4.2.2 Jelly Bean to be exact – and that can be a hassle since most Android apps require newer versions so you can install them on the tablet.
Huawei also has their own custom overlay over Android called Emotion UI. The design ethics follow a more flat-looking design, which gets it cues from iOS 7. The app drawer has also eliminated so all the apps are on the home screen itself, just like iOS. It also ditches the Google Play Store in favor of their own app store, which has all the popular apps you may need. Problem is on my test unit, a majority of the text is on another language and there’s no way to change them, leaving me guessing which app is the right one.
The mid-range specifications of the Huawei MediaPad X1 allowed it to run Android without any problems. Though the occasional performance hiccups were mostly from the Emotion UI, which still needs to be updated to iron out some bugs. The outdated Android version also means it is less fluid than what is supposed to be, so I hope Huawei addresses these issues soon.
I never had any problems making calls on the Huawei MediaPad X1. Calls were clear, even when holding a huge slab against your head. In this case, I’d prefer to connect a headset and make calls that way instead. 4G LTE connections were also stable when tested on both networks here in the UAE (Du and Etisalat).
The Huawei MediaPad X1 features a 13 megapixel camera at the back that supports autofocus and comes with a LED flash along witha front facing 5 megapixel one. The quality of the images taken were better than expected. Colors are detailed and vibrant – something that can match the quality of more premium smartphones. The camera can also take full HD 1080p video.
Coming with a massive 5000 mAh battery, the Huawei MediaPad X1 can easily play about 5 two hour movies, browse on Wi-Fi for 15 hours or listen to music for 125 hours. It has enough juice to last for more than two days or normal usage.
For 1399 AED, the Huawei MediaPad X1 definitely costs cheaper than a normal smartphone and its excellent design and decent performance makes it well worth its price.