Hands-on with the Huawei MediaPad

From CommunicAsia 2011, a closer look at the new slim and light 7-inch tablet from Chinese telecom heavyweight Huawei.

MediaPad
John Chan/CNET Asia

Huawei showed off its flagship tablet , the MediaPad, at a press event today. We spent a few minutes with the product here at CommunicAsia 2011 in Singapore and here are our first impressions.

From a hardware perspective, the MediaPad feels solidly built. The chassis appears to be made from a single piece of metal, not unlike the unibody design found in HTC phones such as the Desire HD. The similarity extends to the fact that there are plastic cutouts on the top and bottom sections.

At almost half an inch thick and weighing a little less than a pound, the MediaPad is quite slim and light. It has a micro-USB port alongside an HDMI-out at the base. Slightly unusual is the addition of a dedicated power connector--most tablets just make use of one port for charging and syncing. On the top is its 3.5mm audio output, together with a pair of speaker grills.

Unibody design
The chassis appears to have a unibody design. John Chan/CNET Asia

Other features of the MediaPad include a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, and built-in Wi-Fi, as well as an HSPA+ radio. A Wi-Fi-only version will also be available at launch.

Specifications aside, one of the most important things said about this tablet is that it will run the previously unannounced Android 3.2 Honeycomb. However, we were disappointed to find that all the units on display came with Android 3.1 . Huawei assured us the actual units shipped in Q3 will come with 3.2.

According to Huawei, Android 3.1 was designed for 10.1-inch devices, while 3.2 is specially catered toward 7-inch devices. While the company was not very specific about what we can see in the newer Honeycomb version, a spokesperson said that graphics will be optimized for the smaller screen. We will probably have to wait for Google to explain more about Android 3.2.

Android in MediaPad
This wasn't the Android version we were looking for. John Chan/CNET Asia

Huawei typically sells its products through operators and the MediaPad will be no exception. However, according to Victor Xu, the chief marketing officer for Huawei Device, the MediaPad will also be sold through retailers (this will require the company to find distribution partners to sell the MediaPad). That's good news for consumers who prefer not to sign onto data plans with operators just to get subsidized hardware, but rather pay full price for a tablet.

(Source: Crave Asia)

 

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