With the launch of Huawei’s MatePad series, the company has been pushing its superiority in terms of hardware quality for Android-based tablets while still suffering from the lack of Google’s full ecosystem. Will this new MatePad 10.4 be any different? We’ll find out in this review.
We’ve already reviewed the budget MatePad T10 before, a similar 10-inch tablet from Huawei, do check out our previous review.
Huawei provided us their newest 10.4-inch tablet, the Huawei MatePad 10.4 (model BAH4-L09), as well as the M-Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. Both accessories are both almost necessary when buying the MatePad, as it seems like the MatePad was made for the keyboard + pencil combo, and vice versa. The Huawei MatePad 10.4 (2022) is currently already available in Philippine markets for Php18,990.
Inside the packaging
The Huawei MatePad 10.4 comes with the main tablet, an ejector tool, charging cable, and the charger.
Compared to its predecessors, the Huawei MatePad 10.4 just feels more solid at 350 grams, even at just 7.35mm thin. It’s definitely not chunky, but the overall finish just screams premium quality, unlike most tablets that have a plasticky texture.
Powering the MatePad 10.4 is a HiSilicon Kirin 710 2.00 Ghz Chipset, with an Octa-Core ARM Cortex CPU and a Mali-G51 GPU. The Kirin 710 chipset by itself is already slightly dated and has been on the market for more than 4 years already. However, since the performance is still relatively okay, Huawei still opted to use it for the MatePad 10.4.
For our unit, it had a total of 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, which is the only version available in the Philippines. Storage can also be expanded via MicroSDXC (good thing Huawei gave up on Nano Memory cards) for additional 128GB of potential storage.
Quite simply, the display on the Huawei MatePad 10.4 is the best I’ve seen so far on a tablet device – possibly rivalling even my iPad Air. Browsing websites, watching movies on Netflix and even overall gaming experience was elevated because of the fantastic screen. The MatePad 10.4 uses the Huawei FullView Display (which just means “narrow bezels + high screen to body ratio”) that Huawei loves to use, on even their notebooks. In terms of resolution, the MatePad 10.4 has a great 2K resolution (2000×1200 pixels) and uses an IPS touchscreen panel (up to 470 nits brightness) which provides really crisp visual details to basically anything that you would be doing on this tablet. This particular feature is probably the strongest point to the MatePad 10.4 – it just simply provides a great overall visual experience.
One of the key things that not a lot of tablets have which the MatePad 10.4 does have is the dual TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light and Flicker-Free certification, which helps lessen eye strain after using it for long hours. After using it for almost the entire night for Netflix, it seems to have worked for me, and it helped lessen the headaches I’ve had compared to using just my mobile device.
OS, SOFTWARE, APP PERFORMANCE
Here’s the part where most people would hesitate immediately about Huawei – its software. In our opinion, not natively having Google is not really a major point of concern, since there has already been a solution for this, particularly by downloading the Gspace app (there’s a ton of tutorials on youtube about this, do check it out!). To be perfectly honest, it should not even be an issue anymore.
However, once thing that really annoyed us while starting up the tablet was the excessive bloatware that Huawei already includes in the tablet as a “highly recommended” download, which is something that they have been doing for a very long time. We get it – they already recommend the apps that are already the most used apps probably in the AppGallery store. But it’s just really annoying to open up a brand new tablet and see so much stuff I never wanted in the first place.
But besides that, Harmony OS 2, which is the MatePad 10.4’s operating system, is already so mature and polished version of Android 10 that I can’t help but actually recommend it over other android builds. Huawei really seemed to dedicate more of their resources recently to upgrade their software capabilities and truly make their devices more all-around devices for productivity.
Appgallery has also been one of the best app stores with already a ton of apps available for most usage. It also has direct linking with APKpure just in case you don’t find the apps in appgallery (but again, just download Gspace and you’ll be fine).
One of the key features that Huawei recently introduced was their multi-window mode, which allows users to run multiple apps at the same time. Using an app bubble, you can switch between multiple apps conveniently by just tapping on the side widget. Pretty cool, although not really very new to most multi-taskers like me. It’s a relief that Huawei just made it an easier experience.
Here’s a few shots of how I was able to use the multiple apps feature:
Although I didn’t have another Huawei device with me, Huawei actually recently introduced multi-screen collaboration as well, which the MatePad 10.4 does support as well as other Huawei devices. It means that Huawei users who have both a phone and a tablet for example, can seamlessly share the same screen and use the same hardware while working. You can check out more about it in the video below and the list of compatible devices here:
Not to be left behind in terms of audio quality, the MatePad 10.4 is nicely fitted with Harman Kardon-tuned speakers. For those who aren’t too familiar with the brand, they’re one of the world-leading audio companies in the world. The MatePad 10.4 comes with a customized quad-channel, quad-speaker sound system tuned (calibrated and optimized) by Harman Kardon that ideally produces 60% more vibrations than traditional speakers.
After using the device, it definitely has one of the best and loudest sound systems on a speaker, with no obvious need to connect a separate bluetooth speaker for it. It’s loud enough and has a great quality even when travelling.
Camera quality, both photo and video, on the MatePad 10.4 is probably the relatively weakest point in the tablet. It can be okay for moderate usage but don’t expect very high quality. In all fairness, I’ve never actually seen an android tablet with a great camera setup anyway. For the most part, the results were decent, but I’d suggest capturing photos and videos with any mid-range phone any day over taking it with the MatePad 10.4.
The rear setup is equipped with a 13MP (f/1.8 aperture, AF, Flash) camera that can shoot up to 4160 x 3120 pixel photos. It does have different modes like professional, panoramic, time-lapse, dynamic mode, watermark, and document adjustment modes.
The front camera on the other hand has an 8MP (f/2.0 aperture, fixed focal length) shooter. Resolution is only up to 1920 x 1080, with various modes such as beauty, timed photo, voice activated photo, and smiling face snapshot.
Outdoor (max lighting)
Outdoor photos are actually pretty decent with good details in all photos. Colors are slightly flushed and contrasts are just moderate. Photos with AI mode on and off barely made any difference.
Outdoor (good lighting)
As ambient lighting lessens, the photo quality also takes a drastic step back, and it’s quite obvious that the camera struggles with color accuracy, particularly for the front camera, which actually tries to make photos a little on the yellower side. Rear photos are still quite okay. This type of lighting should be the bare minimum when make decent video calls.
Indoor (low light)
At low light, image quality drastically declines and is similar to low-end smart phones. The camera setup also struggles with autofocus and taking the shot takes a little longer for the camera to absorb more light. It is definitely not recommended to use this kind of setup when doing video calls.
I was impressed that the rear camera can actually record at 1080P 60FPS, although with the lack of any sort of image stabilization, it does struggle with keeping any moving objects in focus. One thing to notice in the videos is that the mic quality is fantastic, as it can pick up any sort of sounds quite clearly.
A very important thing to consider when buying this tablet is that users can actually put in a nano SIM card for data or calls/texts. It does not have 5G capability.
For WIFI, it can connect with IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual band connections (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz). It also has Bluetooth 5.1 and support PC Data synchronizations and file transfers. It also supports OTG with a maximum output current of 5V/1.5A.
PERIPHERALS (M-Pencil and Smart Keyboard)
The Huawei MatePad 10.4 can’t really work that well without mentioning the M-Pencil and Smart Keyboard, which are definitely must haves when buying this tablet.
Using the M-Pencil was both a love and hate experience. There are just some features that the M-Pencil which were pretty cool, like almost instantaneous connection via bluetooth, and the extremely premium feel compared to its competitors. However, there are also a few downsides to it.
First off, it’s not really very convenient to carry or attach the M-Pencil with the MatePad 10.4 since it only magnetically connects to the Smart Keyboard. However, the magnets on the Smart keyboard are only on the front and not on the sides, so unless you have a separate holder for the M-Pencil, you’re only left with carrying the M-Pencil magnetically connected to the Smart Keyboard like this:
The pre-installed tip on the M-Pencil was also a bit too hard for our liking, and hits the glass on the MatePad 10.4 a little bit too harshly, so we changed the tip to the rubberized one included in the case. Of course, this may be a matter of preference, and I guess a lot of users would prefer this kind of customization.
However, in terms of sensitivity and usage though, the combination of the M-Pencil and the MatePad 10.4 was probably the best version of a creativity/productivity combo that we’ve used. Pressure on the MatePad 10.4 was just as sensitive, and the accuracy was at par with what you would naturally expect from a real pencil.
The Smart Keyboard was just simply a joy to use. It connected with the MatePad 10.4 very quickly and also went from sleep mode to “on” on a whim. The keys were very comfortable to use and the texture was just right. Closing it on the MatePad 10.4 turned off the screen of the tablet as well and would automatically turn on the screen when opened. Battery life was also insane since we haven’t actually charged it again throughout the three weeks we were using the tablet. However, our only major concern was that it’s not magnetic at all, so it would flop around when carrying the tablet with the Smart Keyboard.
Battery life was not a major concern with the tablet since it has a whopping rating of 7,250mAh. Throughout the one week we’ve been using the tablet more actively, I only needed to charge it around twice.
The Huawei MatePad 10.4 is one of the best mid-ranged tablets that anyone can possibly buy right now. Although it’s a little bit bogged down by the outdated processor, it can still perform smoothly for regular tasks such as web browsing, productivity apps, and multitasking. While it’s not made to be a gaming tablet, normal users would still be able to enjoy light gaming with crisp visual details on its fantastic screen. Lack of Google Play store should not be a major issue now since there is already a workaround for this, and the AppGallery should be able to fill in most of the apps that people normally use. In addition, it’s also one of the best portable media players that we’ve used so far.
Currently retailing at Php 18,999 (~USD389), it does not fall in the “budget” category. But bundled with the M-Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, it’s a great productivity machine for content creators, students, or even professionals who do want to write, draw, or watch videos on the go while probably saving it for further editing when they get home. It’s also more advisable to buy the tablet with the bundle, otherwise the tablet by itself might feel a bit lacking.
|Dimensions and Weight12||Height: 154.96 mm Width: 245.2 mm Depth: 7.35 mm Weight: Approx. 450 g (including battery)|
|Display||Screen size13: 10.4 inches Colour: 16.7 million colours Type: IPS Touchscreen Brightness:470 nits (Typical Value) Resolution: 2000 x 1200 Pixels|
|Processor||CPU:4 x Cortex-A73@2.0 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A53@1.7 GHz GPU: Mali G51|
|Operating System||HarmonyOS 2|
|Memory||ROM: 64/128 GB14 Extended storage: MicroSD card15, up to 512 GB|
|Rear camera||13 MP (f/1.8 aperture, AF, Flash) Photo resolution: Up to 4160 x 3120 pixels16 Shooting features: Professional, panoramic, time-lapse, dynamic, watermark, and document adjustment modes|
|Front camera||8 MP (f/2.0 aperture, fixed focal length) Camera resolution: Up to 1920 x 1080 pixels17 Shooting features: Beauty, timed photo shooting, voice-activated photo shooting, and smiling face snapshot|
|Battery||7250 mAh (Typical value)18|
|Charging||Support up to 10V / 2.25A|
|Connectivity||WLAN: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.1 Bluetooth File Transfer: Supported PC Data Synchronization: Supported OTG: Supported (maximum output current 5V/1.5A in case of reverse power supply) USB: Type-C, USB 2.0 Wireless Screen Projection: Supported|
|Location||Support GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, AGPS (not supported by BAH4-W09)|
|Sensors||Ambient light sensor Colour temperature sensor Compass Gravity sensor Hall sensor|
|Microphones||3 Microphones for calls, video recording, and audio re cording|
|Speakers||4 audio channels and 4 stereo speakers|
|Audio||Sound effect: HUAWEI Histen, Harman Kardon Audio file format: *.mp3, *.mid, *.3gp, *.mp4, *.aac, *.ogg, *.flac|
|Video||Video File Format: *.mp4, *.3gp|
|In the Box||Tablet (Built-in battery) x 1 Charger Type-C cable Eject pin Quick Start Guide Warranty card *Final packing list shall be subject to the material object.|