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Huawei MediaPad M3 review: The best Android alternative to the Apple iPad Mini 4

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The Good The Huawei MediaPad M3 has a stylish and sturdy aluminum design. The HD screen is sharp and the fingerprint sensor is fast. It has dual Harman-Kardon speakers that are crazy-loud.

The Bad Audio sounds tinny at maximum volume.

The Bottom Line The Huawei MediaPad M3 is the best small and stylish Android alternative to the Apple iPad Mini 4.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

Review Sections

The Huawei MediaPad M3 is like a louder, more affordable Apple iPad Mini 4, that runs Android.

The stylish, aluminum-clad tablet bears a striking resemblance to the iPad Mini 4 ($579 at Apple) in design, and its performance is just as powerful, however the Huawei tablet has better speakers and cheaper pricing -- for both Wi-Fi only and LTE models. The Wi-Fi only model will hit the US in December for $299. AU and UK pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

Sight and sound

  • 8.4-inch screen
  • 2,560x1,600-pixel resolution IPS screen
  • 359 ppi
  • Harman Kardon speakers

There's a speaker on its left and right edge.

Josh Miller/CNET

Tablets are great for media consumption (aka watching hella amounts of Netflix), so it's no surprise that the very literally named MediaPad M3 is one of the best binge-watch-friendly models around. Its got a satisfyingly sharp screen (so streaming HD content looks great) and houses Harman Kardon-tuned speakers on its top and bottom edges (or left and right, if holding horizontally).

The speakers are surprisingly loud, crisp and clear; dialogue in movies was always at the forefront and vocals in music sounded appropriately accentuated. Additionally, with the speakers on each end of the Huawei MediaPad M3, it makes for a more immersive listening experience (even though the iPad Mini 4 also has two speakers, they're both located on the same side of the tablet). The downsides to the Huawei tablet's speakers are the same ones that plague all tablets: audio is tinny at maximum volume and seriously, where's the bass?

Supremely sleek

Let's be real: all tablets kind of look the same and how one feels in your hands can many times be the deciding factor. (I mean, it's meant to be a handheld device after all.)

Dimensions compared

Huawei MediaPad M3 Apple iPad Mini 4 Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Weight 0.7 pound (318 grams) 0.65-pound (298.8g) .58-pound (265g)
Width (landscape) 8.5-inches (215.mm) 8-inches (203.2mm) 7.8-inches (198.6mm)
Height 4.9-inches (124.2mm) 5.3-inches (134.8mm) 5.3-inches (134.8mm)
Depth .29-inch (7.3mm) .24-inch (6.1mm) .22-inch (5.6mm)

Small and sleek.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Huawei tablet's sleek, aluminum design manages to feel solid and lightweight at the same time. With respect to the Google Pixel C, it's one of the most posh Android models available. In comparison to the iPad Mini 4, the difference in dimensions are slight. In my opinion, both successfully balance the sleek and solid sweet spot that all tablets should aspire to.

Smooth operator

  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Huawei HiSilicon Kirin octa-core processor
  • 32GB, 64GB internal storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • Nano-SIM card slot
  • MicroSD card slot, with up to 128GB card support

The Huawei MediaPad M3 isn't all beauty and no brains; its performance is as graceful as its design (yes, I equate brains with performance when it comes to tablets). The tablet outperformed the iPad Mini 4 and Samsung Galaxy S2 8.0 in 3DMark, making it one of the fastest Android tablets for gaming.

A comfortable aluminum backside.

Josh Miller/CNET

Big games like Hearthstone launch quickly, however loading times for levels in games like N.O.V.A. 3 and Dead Trigger 2 take around 20 to 30 seconds.

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