IT has been 17 months since Manila and pretty much everywhere else in the world went into lockdown as the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spread mercilessly through communities, sparking a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives worldwide. Covid-19, which continues to inform everyday life, has prompted industries and institutions into new ways of thinking and working and studying, with paradigms old and new becoming adopted posthaste to mitigate the ravages of the pandemic.
It is in this new reality where the tablet—that wireless touch screen personal computer (PC) which had been all but declared dead as a platform when smartphone screens got bigger and bigger—has seemingly got its groove back. Or, more accurately, consumers “rediscovered” the inherent appeal of the tablet: instant on, easy to carry around the house in this work-from-home era, battery life that goes on for days on a single charge, an app library that makes it even more compelling in these days of Zoom meetings and virtual classrooms.
Among the best tablets now available in the market is the new Huawei MatePad 2021, which could be easily mistaken for the model released in early 2020—and you would be readily forgiven if you did. After all, both tablets are nearly identical, from the brilliant 10.4 inch IPS screen with a 2000 x 1200 resolution and 225 PPI, to the more than serviceable 8MP front camera and 8MP rear camera, the 4GB RAM, plus the array of sensors that have been shoehorned into that compact body: ambient light detection, gyroscope, gravity acceleration, compass, hall sensor, fingerprint sensor.
That said, owners of the 2020 iteration of the Huawei MatePad could leave this new offering from the tech giant off their purchase list. However, parents looking for a device for their children to use for yet another year of virtual classrooms, or professionals on the lookout for a device suitably powerful for those endless Zoom meetings but less cumbersome to use than a full-fledged laptop, then the Huawei MatePad 2021 is just the ticket.
While this new tablet shares not a few things in common with its immediate predecessor, it does have claims to some new bragging rights, not the least of which is the new Huawei Kirin 820 processor (the earlier model had the 810 series), which the tech giant touts for the chip’s “advanced energy efficiency and calculation capacity with improved AI performance that intelligently allocates computing power,” meaning the user will enjoy a smooth performance throughout.
Even better, the Huawei MatePad 2021 also boasts of support for WiFi 6, the next-generation standard in WiFi technology which “ensures faster speed to offer you smooth and stable connection.” No more “long buffering or frame freezing,” the company assures, with “up to 2400 Mbps transfer speeds” (if your Internet subscription pushes that many bytes) thus making the download of large files or watching HD videos online not akin to watching paint dry.
For parents mindful of the eye strain that continued tablet use might exact on their child, or if you like to spend your down time catching up on leisure reading, the Huawei MatePad 2021’s new eBook mode will certainly be most welcome. The technology adjusts contrast, brightness and definition, providing the sort of reading experience typically found on e-book readers. Morever, the tablet’s display has won a TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification, which means the display “reduces harmful blue light, [and also] provides thoughtful reminders on your sitting posture and viewing distance to prevent discomfort even when you are burning the midnight oil.”
There is more to love about the Huawei MatePad 2021, not the least of which is its Midnight Blue colorway in a matte finish that resists unsightly fingerprints but is anything but dull, definitely an eyecatcher in the way a faultlessly tailored Henry Poole suit is. With dimensions at 245.2 mm x 154.96 mm x 7.45 mm, and weighing about 460 grams, the tablet is easy to slip into a tote and carry around the whole day in one hand without straining your wrist, and the slim profile belies its 7,520mAh battery—with 22.5 fast charging—that can power you through nearly a couple of days.
Many have crowed about the Huawei MatePad 2021’s excellent display—the blacks are black, the colors are vibrant, the rendered images are sharp—but the very big and very pleasant surprise is the audio muscles the tablet flexes. With its Harman Kardon-tuned quad-speaker setup, the output is loud and rich—coupled with that solid screen, the tablet makes a perfect tool for not only entertainment but those ubiquitous videoconferences.
The new Huawei MatePad 2021 runs on Android 10 with EMUI 10.1, and, yes, that means there is no Google Mobile Services installed (this on account of continuing US sanctions against China and certain Chinese companies that include Huawei) and, consequently, none of all the Google goodness millions have come to love and depend on. However, there are ways with which one can install and enjoy those popular Google apps (Chrome, Gmail, Photos, Chat, Books)—the ways of installation varying in degrees of difficulty, but nothing that would lead you to give up a night of sleep.
Moreover, Huawei’s very own App Gallery continues to achieve a robustness that yields a good number of games and apps widely used by consumers, including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, TikTok, Telegram, PayMaya, Viu, Microsoft Office and more. Also, the built-in Petal Search will scour other reputable app repositories to bring in more familiar app goodness, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, even Chrome, and of course Zoom.
The end is not yet in sight for the Covid-19 pandemic, and it behooves people to continue to find ways to be productive despite the constraints in this so-called new normal. And whether for virtual meetings or virtual classrooms, the Huawei MatePad 2021 is an incredible tool to have in facing the prevailing challenges.