Huawei MatePad 2021 Unboxing, Review Philippines: Incremental Upgrades That Matter

by Duey Guison  June 10, 2021

Review Verdict: If you passed up on the Huawei MatePad in the Philippines last year, 2021 is the year to correct that mistake. The MatePad 2021 isn’t just more affordable, it performs even better thanks to WiFi 6, a more powerful Kirin 820 processor, and support for Huawei’s 22.5w SuperCharge solution. Those incremental upgrades make the 2021 MatePad arguably one of the best mid-range tablets you can buy right now.

Huawei MatePad 2021 Specs

  • Kirin 820 Processor
  • 10.4-inch IPS display, 2000×1200 resolution
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 128GB internal storage
  • 8-megapixel rear camera with AF
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
  • 7250mAh battery
  • Harman Kardon Quad Speaker System
  • 22.5w wired charging
  • Android 10, EMUI 10.1

Pros

Better Kirin 820 processor

Stellar battery life

WiFi 6 connectivity

 

Cons

No reason to upgrade if you have the 2020 variant

While Huawei has unveiled its HarmonyOS-powered MatePads in China and Europe, we are still getting EMUI-powered MatePads here in the Philippines. The vanilla MatePad is getting a 2021 refresh with incremental updates like bigger storage, faster-charging speeds, WiFi 6 support, and a more powerful Kirin 820 processor.

Unboxing and packaging contents

Just like the 2020 version, you are getting the same white box with the MatePad branding in front, along with Huawei’s logo and the App Gallery branding. The contents of the box is also the same: you get the MatePad itself, a USB-C cable, documentation, MicroSD ejector tool, and a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle. New to the 2021 version is the charger, as you are getting a compact version of Huawei’s 22.5w SuperCharge brick.

Design

The 2021 MatePad looks practically the same as the 2020 model: you get that aluminum unibody build that has a matte back panel, along with a module holding a single 8-megapixel camera. It also has four speakers—tuned by Harman Kardon too—and no headphone jack.

The same goes for the display: you get a 10.4-inch 2k IPS panel with an 8-megapixel selfie snapper and an LED indicator light housed on the top bezel. Since it is very similar to last year’s model, you are also getting the same set of features like e-book mode, support for the first-gen M-Pencil, and an optional keyboard cover for making it into a productivity powerhouse.

Display and speakers

We loved last year’s MatePad because of its awesome quad-speaker system and stellar 2K IPS display, and thankfully we’re getting much of the same with the 2021 version. The display is bright and delivers stellar colors, making it a joy to watch videos on it even at 4K resolution.

The speakers are even better, as they sound really good—they can easily match stereo speakers found on mid-range laptops. While the lows may not be as deep (which is typical to speakers on mobile devices), the MatePad 2021 delivers a warm and full soundstage that makes you forget the fact that there’s no headphone jack present. Should you prefer using your wired cans, the MatePad 2021 comes bundled with a 3.5mm to Type-C dongle to make you enjoy listening privately.

Cameras

Like the 2020 model, you are still getting the same 8-megapixel camera for both front and rear cameras. The rear camera has autofocus, and overall image processing for both cameras is slightly better thanks to the added muscle of the Kirin 820.

Video recording, however, is still capped at Full HD 30FPS. We find that strange since the Kirin 820 can support 4K video recording—though this might be a case of hardware limitations especially with the sensor used for the rear camera.

 

Performance and Battery Life

The biggest change on the 2021 MatePad is with the processor, as you are getting a Kirin 820 instead of a Kirin 810. Aside from that, you are also getting double the storage at 128GB (still UFS 2.1), along with MicroSD expansion. The Kirin 820 should ring a bell, as it is the same processor powering the Nova 7 SE sold in the Philippines.

While this version of the MatePad did launch in China with 5G connectivity (the Kirin 820 does support 5G), the version we have here in the Philippines is a WiFi-only model—which explains why the card slot only has space for a MicroSD card.

When it comes to performance, the Kirin 820 on the MatePad shows a significant improvement over the Kirin 810 used in last year’s model in terms of GPU performance. This is due to the Kirin 820 using a newer Mali-G57 MP6 GPU that is clocked at 850mhz—the Kirin 810 uses a Mali-G52 MP6 that is clocked at 830mhz.

That being said, the Kirin 820 is a joy to use not just for productivity, but for games as well. I’ve been playing Asphalt 9 on the MatePad 2021, and seeing all those high-quality visuals on a large display without any signs of in-game lag is a sight to behold. While I could not load Genshin Impact for some reason, I tried playing its sister game Honkai Impact 3rd at the highest graphics settings in 60fps, and the MatePad 2021 handles it like a champ.

The processor upgrade gave the tablet a big, big boost on battery life. With our video loop test, we managed to do 20 and a half hours on the MatePad’s 7250mAh battery—which is arguably an astonishing figure for a tablet. With the upgraded 22.5w charging solution, charging the 2021 MatePad will take you around 2.5 hours—that’s around 30 minutes faster compared to the 18w charging solution of the 2020 model.

Wrap up and conclusions

While it may seem that it is more an incremental upgrade to last year’s MatePad, our review of the Huawei MatePad 2021 in the Philippines shows that the processor upgrade does give this model a boost in terms of performance and added features like WiFi 6 connectivity. Overall, the 2021 MatePad is a better offering than the 2020 version especially if you chose to not get the latter last year.

Huawei MatePad 2021 Review Price Philippines

The MatePad 2021 is priced at Php 18,999, making it more affordable than the 2020 version’s launch price. It is available at Huawei Concept Stores, Huawei’s online store, and flagship stores on Shopee and Lazada.

Comments (1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *