Huawei is still struggling to get out from under a crushing US trade ban, but it’s still releasing products like nothing is wrong. After finally launching the long-delayed Mate X foldable phone earlier this month, Huawei has rolled out a new tablet to rival the iPad Pro. Like the Mate X, the new MatePad Pro is only launching in China for the time being. That’s a bummer because aside from the lack of Google apps, this looks like an excellent Android slate.
It might be hard to tell the MatePad from an iPad at a glance — it has the same general form factor with a rounded screen and slim bezels. Huawei says it actually has a slightly better screen-to-body ratio than the iPad Pro at 90 percent. The iPad Pro is about 85 percent. One reason for that is Huawei’s decision to put the front-facing 8MP front-facing camera inside a hole punch in the top left corner. The MatePad Pro’s 10.8-inch display clocks in at 2560×1600, which is a 16:10 widescreen ratio instead of the iPad’s square-ish 4:3.
Inside, the MatePad Pro has many of the same components found in the flagship Mate 30 Pro smartphone. There’s a powerful Kirin 990 ARM chip, 6 or 8 GB of AM, 256GB of storage, and a 7,250mAh battery with 40W fast charging. There’s an optional keyboard case that looks rather like the iPad’s, and there’s even a stylus that bears a striking resemblance to the Apple Pencil. It even charges the same way by magnetically attaching to the edge of the tablet.
This device ships with Android 10, which launched just a few months ago on Google devices. Some phones are still launching with the year-old Pie build of Android, but Huawei has been quick to move to Android 10. However, this isn’t the Android you know and love. Huawei can’t get any new devices certified by Google until the trade ban ends or Google gets a special license from the Commerce Department. So, the MatePad Pro doesn’t support Google apps like Gmail or the Play Store.
Huawei has only announced the MatePad Pro for China, where it can’t use Google services anyway. Thus, the MatePad Pro might be a reasonable iPad alternative for Chinese consumers. It’s priced at 3,299 yuan (about $468), which is about 20 percent lower than the iPad Pro’s price in China.
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