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Best Huawei Tablets: Why I Think You Shouldn’t Get One In 2024

Considering the US embargo that led to the lack of Google support, is it a wise decision to purchase a Huawei tablet in 2024? Let’s explore alternatives and the latest tablets by Huawei.

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Huawei MatePad Paper Notes

We used to love Huawei tablets. They were sleek, powerful, and offered bang for the buck. But times have changed. Due to the ongoing US embargo, the latest Huawei tablets simply lack the key ingredient that makes an Android tablet relevant: Google Play Services.

The United States has imposed an embargo on Huawei due to complicated geopolitical tensions. The US government claims that Huawei’s connections to Chinese intelligence pose a threat to national security. However, Huawei has refuted these allegations. As a result of the embargo, Huawei’s access to American technology, including Google Play Services, is now restricted.

What exactly does this mean for you, the tablet user? Google Play Services is an essential part of the Android experience, serving as the foundation for Android tablets. It provides access to the vast Google Play Store, which offers millions of apps, games, movies, music, and ebooks. Additionally, it integrates important Google services such as Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google Drive. Without these, Huawei tablets would feel like they lack essential functionality, despite their impressive hardware.

It’s worth noting that this is not a criticism of Huawei itself. They still produce quality hardware. However, the lack of Google Play Services, due to the embargo, significantly limits the usefulness of a Huawei tablet for most users. But it’s not the end of the road as Huawei’s former sub-brand Honor, is now an independent company and their tablets still have full access to Google Play Services. So you still have plenty of options to look at. 

Best Honor Tablets In 2024

Honor has carved out a strong niche in the Android tablet market, offering devices that cater to a variety of needs and budgets. Here’s a closer look at some of their top offerings in 2024:

Honor Pad 9

Although we are yet to publish our in-depth review of this tablet, in our unboxing video Andrzej shared how he liked the tablet’s design and build quality, especially given its price point, noting its body feels high-end, despite minor imperfections in the screen-to-body transition. The Honor Pad 9 features a massive 12.1-inch 2K display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. 

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage, the tablet delivers solid performance. Through benchmarks and real-world usage (including gaming and streaming), we found that the Honor Pad 9 is a capable tablet albeit not leading in graphics performance compared to certain competitors. However, its CPU performance does impress, particularly for its price segment.

The tablet runs Magic OS 7.2, based on Android 13, with a unique UI and full access to Google services, contrasting with Huawei’s current offerings. However, we do have concerns about the potential lack of major Android updates based on Honor’s track record, posing a significant drawback for users seeking long-term software support.

Also Read: Honor Pad 9 vs Honor Pad 8 comparison

In comparison to its main competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE Plus, the Honor Pad 9 offers a competitive alternative with certain advantages like a higher refresh rate display and a more affordable price. However, it falls short in aspects like performance, waterproofing, and the inclusion of a stylus.

Honor Pad 8

We reviewed the Honor Pad 8 and as per our detailed testing, we think it is an affordable tablet that offers plenty of value for money. Priced at around $350, the tablet stands out for its large 12-inch display and quad-speaker system. The upper hand that Honor gets here is the availability of the Google Play Store. 

The Honor Pad 8 features a 12-inch large screen with 2000 x 1200 pixels resolution. Despite its large screen, the display resolution is relatively low, but it is not a deal-breaker for everyone, especially considering its price point. It’s worth noting that this budget tablet comes with a fully laminated display that offers good color and contrast and is sufficiently bright for indoor use and shaded outdoor environments.

This budget tablet is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor. It may face difficulty in handling demanding games and graphics-intensive tasks, but its 6GB of RAM makes it capable of handling basic gaming and multitasking smoothly. However, it lacks accessory support (such as a keyboard cover or stylus) found in more expensive models.

The Honor Pad 8 features a decent set of speakers, delivering good audio quality for its price range, and it supports HD content streaming from services like Netflix. Its software is based on Android 12 with MagicUI, offering useful multitasking features, but may come with a fair amount of removable bloatware.

Battery life during our battery test, which involves continuous HD video playback at maximum brightness, is about 6.5 hours, which is average.

In conclusion, the Honor Pad 8 is a good value option for those seeking a large-screen tablet primarily for media consumption, offering solid build quality, ample storage, and RAM. However, its moderate performance, lower screen resolution, and lack of accessory support may prompt potential buyers to consider pricier alternatives, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE for better performance and included stylus or the Xiaomi Pad 6 for superior processing power and display quality at a similar price point with a plastic build.

Also Read: Honor Pad 8 review

Honor Pad X9

The Honor Pad X9 is a budget-friendly tablet that sports an 11.5-inch 120Hz display, 128GB of storage, and an aluminum body, all for around $200. It presents itself as a solid option for those on the lookout for an affordable tablet. 

Starting with its design, the Honor Pad X9 impresses with a premium feel thanks to its sleek, aluminum body and relatively slim profile. However, it’s only available in Space Gray, which may not suit everyone’s taste. The tablet’s build and material choices reflect a commendable effort by Honor to offer value in the budget segment. The LTE model features a microSD and SIM card slot, but disappointingly, the non-LTE version lacks microSD support, limiting the storage at 128GB. Additionally, the absence of a headphone jack and fingerprint reader, though not surprising given the price, are notable limitations.

Also Read: Honor Pad X9 review 

When it comes to display and audio, the Pad X9’s 11.5-inch IPS screen offers decent, if not outstanding, resolution and color quality. The advertised 120Hz refresh rate doesn’t fully deliver, often dropping to 90Hz or lower, which is a letdown despite the still satisfactory smoothness for a budget tablet. The tablet shines in audio with a six-speaker setup that provides a surprisingly good listening experience, enhancing its appeal as a media consumption device.

Under the hood, the Pad X9 is powered by an eight-core Snapdragon 685 with 4GB of RAM (plus 3GB of virtual RAM), which performs well for daily tasks and light gaming but struggles with more demanding games. Its battery life is reasonable, offering about 6.5 hours of video playback (as per our battery test), and supports fast charging.

Software-wise, the Pad X9 runs on MagicOS 7.1, based on Android 13 without bloatware. However, Honor’s commitment to long-term security and OS updates remains questionable at best. An accessory that you can get for this tablet is the Honor Pad X9 Smart Bluetooth Keyboard.

In conclusion, the Honor Pad X9 does a commendable job of balancing cost and performance. Its build quality, display, and speaker system stand out for the price point, making it a good option for daily use and media consumption. While it falls short in gaming performance and has some feature limitations, its overall value proposition is strong, particularly for those prioritizing affordability and basic functionality over high-end specs.

Read: The 9 Best 11-Inch Tablets of 2024: What’s The Difference?

List Of Current Huawei Tablets

You might still be interested in buying a Huawei tablet, so we’d like to offer you a list of the current offerings, which you might find useful in making an informed decision.

Caveat emptor, again, that they don’t have Google Play Services and we can’t recommend them at this time.

Huawei MatePad T10s test

We wrote a detailed article about using a Huawei tablet in 2024 without the Google Play Store. You can read about our experience in the article –  Do You Need Google on a Huawei Tablet? My Experience After 1 Year.

Remember, these Huawei tablets haven’t been reviewed by us.

  • Huawei MatePad Pro 11 2024: This high-end tablet has an 11-inch OLED display that should ideally mean that it has superior contrast and deeper blacks compared to LCD but since we have not reviewed it, we can’t be absolutely sure about the display performance. The tablet features a Kirin 9000S (7 nm) processor and Huawei touts it to feature a long-lasting battery and powerful quad-speaker system. You can get up to 12GB RAM and 512GB storage on the tablet. 
  • Huawei MatePad 11 2023: This model offers a more affordable alternative to the Pro version. It features an 11-inch 120Hz LCD display and a powerful Snapdragon 870 5G processor. The tablet comes in a PaperMatte display variant that reduces glare and feels more like reading on actual paper. Again, be aware of the app limitations due to the lack of Google Play Services. 
  • Huawei MatePad SE 10.4: This budget-friendly option features a 10.4-inch display and comes powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SoC with Adreno 610 GPU, up to 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. However, the app limitations due to the missing Google Play Services will be most noticeable here.

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