Huawei MediaPad M2 10 review: A mid-range tablet that struggles to find its purpose

£330
Price when reviewed

Huawei is a company enjoying something of a purple patch. Not only does the Chinese firm make the handset that tops our list of 2016’s best smartphones, teaming up with Google to make the Nexus 6P, but it has also leapt into third place in the race for global smartphone sales behind Samsung and Apple.

Good time to push the tablet market a bit harder, then, and Huawei is doing just that with the MediaPad M2 10. It’s a 10in Android tablet that comes in two flavours: a £250 standard version, and a £330 premium version, the latter of which was sent to us for the purpose of this review.

Is this too much for an Android tablet in 2016? Let’s find out.

Huawei MediaPad M2 10: Design

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In terms of design, Huawei is playing it very safe with the MediaPad M2 10, but it’s hard to see how radical you can be with tablet design without losing the “tablet” description. It’s a 10.1in device, with a polished glass front and metal trim. The device is clearly more at home in landscape mode, as the Huawei logo, front-facing camera and fingerprint scanner are along the longer sides, which also include a wider bezel.

The inclusion of a fingerprint scanner, although welcome, is considerably less appealing than on a mobile phone; getting your finger in position is an annoying act of contortion with something designed for two-handed use. For the most part I ended up just tapping in my Android PIN.

Still, the whole thing feels pretty thin and light for a tablet. It’s a mere 7.35mm thick, and weighs 490g, meaning you can toss it in your bag and forget about it. Better still, Huawei has included a faux-leather smart cover in the box that doubles as a stand, albeit one that’s a little more awkward to use than others I’ve come across.[gallery:1]

The case itself looks stylish, garnering its fair share of admiring comments while I was testing the device, and crucially it doesn’t add a great deal of bulk to the tablet. In fact, taking it out of the case makes the whole device feel oddly naked, and I’m hard pushed to think of another tablet that’s quite so wedded to the design of the case, aside from the Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad Pro.

If you opt for the premium version, Huawei also provides a stylus in the box, with a holder that can be attached to the case in a position of your choice. The stylus is chunky and pleasing to hold, and the handwriting recognition built into Huawei’s onscreen keyboard panel is surprisingly effective and elegantly implemented. To activate it, all you need to do is tap the screen with the stylus where you’d normally type, and scrawl your words in the panel at the bottom of the screen.

Palm rejection, too, seems pretty decent. As long as you approach the screen of the tablet stylus tip first, instances of accidental onscreen button presses are kept to a merciful minimum.

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