I’ve always had somewhat mixed feelings about tablets. From the first time I saw a Samsung Galaxy Tab, I thought it was a neat idea, in theory; but every time I’ve ever used one, it wasn’t long until I started wondering why I wasn’t using my phone or a laptop. Using the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite has landed me in a similar position.
The MediaPad M5 Lite is a really solid tablet from a technical perspective. Sized at 9.58”x 6.39”x 0.30,” the MediaPad M5 Lite has a sleek design and a light 1.05 lb weight, allowing for optimum mobility usage and fitting comfortably in any backpack or messenger bag. The 10.1-inch screen offers a crisp 1920 x 1200 resolution at 224 ppi; while lower than most newer tablets and even newer phones—my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 offers 2960 x 1440 at 516 ppi—it’s still a high enough resolution that most apps look clean and HD video looks great.
On the performance end, the MediaPad M5 Lite does run very well, while being somewhat on the lower end of the spectrum. Backed by the Kirin 659 Kirin 659 Octa-Core processor, and despite only being backed by 3 to 4GB of RAM, apps all opened quickly and functioned smoothly. While this may vary based on what apps your running, since the MediaPad M5 Lite based on the Android 8.0 platform, I can’t imagine anything you’d run on the tablet being too demanding.
Battery life on the MediaPad M5 Lite is phenomenal, powered by a 7500mAh battery. While my usage of the tablet was mostly based in Photoshop Express and Autodesk Sketchbook, I barely noticed a drain on the battery; although I imagine more demanding apps might have actually drained some energy. With minimal usage, the tablet could hold a charge for days.
While the MediaPad M5 Lite is a solid tablet, it’s not without its flaws. For starters, I was genuinely unimpressed by the 8MP front-facing and rear cameras. Given that Huawei usually packages its mobile technology with some pretty impressive cameras; I expected the MediaPad M5 Lite to have something of a high quality— again, for comparison, the Galaxy Note9 has a 12MP camera with several enhanced features.
However, the thing that disappointed me the most about the MediaPad M5 Lite was the M-Pen Lite stylus. Being somewhat of a digital artist, I’m always excited about the prospect of a tablet that I can draw on, so I was excited to see that the MediaPad M5 Lite did, in fact, come with a stylus. Unfortunately, while I had hoped for something akin to a Wacom tablet or even the Surface Book, this stylus was not nearly as responsive. I installed both the Photoshop Express app and Autodesk Sketchbook, and with both apps pen functionality was rudimentary. Pressure sensitivity was spotty, and while I did have the ability to draw, attempting things like finer details was an exercise in futility. Realistically, the M-Pen is only suitable for very basic handwriting or doodling.
Furthermore, unlike something like the Surface Book, or even the Galaxy Note or other pen-based phones; the MediaPad M5 Lite M-Pen is sold separately from the tablet, and as such has no way of clipping to the device. This is a massive oversight and makes having the stylus a bit of a chore, as you have to keep track of it and run the risk of losing it since you can’t conveniently attach it or store it on the tablet itself.
As I said, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite is a pretty solid tablet, however, it doesn’t really set itself apart from other tablets. However, it is one of the more affordable tablets, priced at around $389 CND, although that is pretty much in line with other, similar tablets. Considering higher-end tablets can run up to $700 CND; the MediaPad M5 Lite is one of the more accessible tablets.
That being said, the MediaPad M5 Lite still hasn’t sold me on the idea of tablets. Using the MediaPad M5 Lite usually just left me feeling frustrated—always feeling like a more cumbersome phone than something useful. At close to $400 CND, something like this is a pretty big investment, and for my money, I think it’d be more worth it to take the plunge on a two-in-one laptop.
However, I can’t deny that the MediaPad M5 Lite is, objectively, a solid tablet. While it may not have been my cup of tea; but for anyone looking for a solid, affordable tablet, the MediaPad M5 Lite may be a great entry point into the market.