Huawei MatePad Pro (5G) 10.8 tablet review – An Android alternative to the Apple iPad Pro 11?
The Chinese manufacturer uses Android version 10 for its operating system, which is supplemented by a highly customized user interface. Huawei also installed its user interface EMUI 10, which is based on the open source part of Android. The security patches are also included so that Huawei can continue to ensure that its operating system is secure. With our MatePad Pro, the security patches were up to date as of April 2020 at the time of the test.
However, Huawei is no longer allowed to use Google services, so most Google apps and many third-party apps do not work – the installation of the Google Play Store is also not possible without further work (interfering with administration rights). We attempted to install Google applications such as Chrome using relatively secure alternative platforms such as APKMirror, but we were not successful; the same applies to apps (including Feedly) that require a Google account to be registered. Trying to transfer your favorite Google apps via the PhoneClone app also fails on the MatePad Pro.
The Huawei AppGallery and its “App Search” provide at least a partial remedy. The latter makes it possible to find your favorite apps via websites or alternative stores. This is not as convenient as with Google-certified Android tablets, and more than just being uncomfortable, the lack of automatic updates also presents some security risks. The AppGallery itself offers some popular apps, but many popular messenger and social media apps are missing because these are often owned by American companies.
Apart from the great difficulties that come from the missing GMS, the MatePad Pro offers some nice features in terms of software, such as real multitasking thanks to the Huawei App Multiplier. Windows can be individually resized, but these features must be supported by the respective app developer. A special desktop mode also makes it possible to arrange several applications into differently sized windows.
Huawei offers another feature for productivity with the pen controls and the preinstalled graphics and note-taking applications, which is similar to what the Apple iPad Pro does with the Apple Pencil. Using Huawei Share, the screen of a Huawei smartphone can also be projected onto the MatePad Pro; a user can then, among other features, make calls and send texts using the tablet. Files can also be moved and edited between the two Huawei devices using simple drag & drop motions.