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Huawei MatePad Paper Review: Replacing Your iPad and Kindle?

Can the Huawei MatePad Paper replace your iPad and E-Book reader with its 10.3-inch E-Ink display? That’s what you’ll learn in this review.

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Huawei MatePad Paper reading

The Huawei MatePad Paper is a very unique Android tablet because instead of an LCD it has an E-Ink display. That’s why it’s better suited for reading and is promising much longer battery life. It’s also cool that an active stylus is included and it should be particularly good for handwriting. Is it really and is all that worth it at 500 Euros? That’s what you’ll learn in this Huawei MatePad Paper review.

Design & Built Quality

Huawei MatePad Paper design

The Huawei MatePad Paper looks a bit different than typical Android tablets and I think it more resembles a paper notebook or magazine. It has a 10.3-inch E-Ink display that is surrounded by black screen bezels and on the left side, we get a wider grip. We get a full plastic body which is surrounded by a kind of fake leather which makes it look and feel a bit higher-end.

Huawei MatePad Paper Fingerprint Reader

I like that we get a fingerprint scanner that is integrated into the power button and works very well. There’s also a standard USB C 2.0 port and we get two surprisingly good speakers. Like really good, they are great for listening to music and audiobooks. There are no cameras.

Huawei MatePad Paper speakers

With 6.65mm, the MatePad Paper is quite slim but more impressive is the weight of just 360g. Considering that this is a 10-inch device, that 360 g is very, very light and it is much easier to hold it in one hand for longer periods than an iPad Pro is, for instance. The light weight is one reason why it’s great for reading.

Read: The Best Huawei Tablets Tested

Display: 10.3 Inch E-Ink

Let’s get to the 10.3-inch E-Ink display of the MatePad Paper. This is the unique selling point of this tablet. I’m sure you’ve seen E-ink displays on E-book Readers like the Amazon Kindle series already. The MatePad Paper has exactly the same kind of screen.

Huawei MatePad Paper Kindle App

E-ink displays have a couple of advantages. They use much less energy because the screen needs to refresh when the content changes only. If you’re reading a book and are staying on the same page, it does not use energy. It also does not need a background light. When you’re working outside, in a bright cafe, or the sun, the display is very well readable and much easier on your eyes. And in case you want to read in the dark, there’s a background light you can turn on.

We get a pretty good E-ink display here. It’s well readable and with 1872 x 1404 pixels, it’s sharp enough. Viewing angles are very wide, just like with real paper, and for reading, this screen is fantastic. I really enjoyed reading books on a 10-inch E-Ink screen which is much bigger than your standard Amazon Kindle.

So, if you’re looking for a tablet to read E-Books with and maybe to take handwritten notes with, this screen is ideal for that. But for everything else, it’s not well suited. This is an Android tablet, so you can watch YouTube and Netflix with it. But it does not make sense at all. It works but doesn’t make sense.

Downsides Of E-Ink

Huawei MatePad Paper with YouTube

The biggest downside of this E-Ink display is not that it’s a black and white screen but its super slow refresh rate and response time. The performance of the tablet itself is fine on paper but in reality, it never feels snappy because of the slow screen. When scrolling in the browser, writing with the on-screen keyboard, or when going through the settings, it always seems laggy. This is not a surprise because it’s just the nature of this kind of screen. But that doesn’t change how it feels like.

Yes, this is not a problem when reading an E-book or when writing with the stylus in the notes app. But it is a problem in Microsoft Office. I thought this might be a great tablet for writing with a dedicated keyboard. And it is okay for that but certainly not great. You have to make too many compromises.

You can’t use it as fast as you can on a standard tablet or laptop because the screen reacts too slowly. When wanting to delete a couple of words, for instance, you always have to wait a bit to see how much you deleted already. And it also takes a while to see if you’ve misspelled something. Sure, it takes just about a second or so than on a standard LCD. But when working fast, that’s too slow.

Now, all of that works and I did write a bit on the MatePad Paper with a Bluetooth keyboard inside a cafe. It works. But it’s not ideal for that. And the same goes for the browser. Sure, you can read news and other websites with it and all of that works. But I never really enjoyed it because it just looks too laggy.

Huawei MatePad Paper Ghosting

I noticed a couple of other downsides but these are not too much of a big deal for me. For instance, when scrolling in the browser but also when writing in Microsoft Word, there’s always a bit of ghosting visible. With this, I mean that a soft image of what was seen before is lying underneath the new image. But somehow I did not feel it is too distracting and I can live with that.

Huawei M Pencil: Stylus For Handwritten Notes

Huawei MatePad Paper M Pencil

The Huawei M Pencil is included with the MatePad Paper. This is an active stylus that is charged inductively by placing it on the side of the tablet. Unlike the Samsung S Pen and just like the Apple Pencil, this stylus has to be charged for it to work. And just like on the Apple Pencil, we get a hard plastic tip. It’s comfortable to hold, similar to a standard pen.

On the software side, the M Pencil is pretty well supported and we get a Notes app that’s prominently integrated into the UI and works great. I think this is a great tablet for handwritten notes. The screen feels more like paper and similar to a paper notebook, it’s more inviting to write on. I also like the experience. Hand palm rejection works perfectly and the pen is precise.

Read: The Best Tablets With Stylus Support

Huawei MatePad Paper Notes

It does have one downside which is the slow screen again. Actually, in this case, the screen reacts surprisingly fast. It feels good to write with. But obviously, it does not react as fast as the 120Hz screens of the iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S8. That’s to be expected, of course, and is more of a downside if you like to draw fast but for handwriting it’s okay.

To see what normal people think of the experience, I gave the MatePad Paper and the iPad Pro to two friends to play around with. And both friends liked the writing experience on the iPad Pro more. It might be because of the Apple sticker on the back, sometimes I’m not sure how much of an influence that is. But in the end, a colorful 120Hz screen does look cooler and has more options. The MatePad Paper is certainly not well suited for graphic designers.

Hardware & Performance

Huawei MatePad Paper Geekbench 5

Inside the Huawei MatePad Paper runs a HiSilicon Kirin 820E processor which is made by Huawei. We also get 4GB of Ram and 64GB of internal storage. There is no version with 5G or LTE at the moment.

Huawei MatePad Paper 3D Mark Wild Life

Even though the screen is too slow to show a fast performance, I ran my usual benchmarks anyways. In Geekbench 5, the CPU performance is on a similar level as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite which is a cheaper Android tablet with S Pen. The Compute graphics performance is even better and almost as good as on the Xiaomi Pad 5. In the 3D Mark Wild Life Test, the graphics performance is quite a bit below the Xiaomi but it’s still much faster than entry-level Android tablets like the S6 Lite and Galaxy Tab A8.

Now, even though the performance is good enough for some gaming, it does not make sense on this type of screen. Not even a little bit. The only games that make sense are the ones with no or very simple and not fast-moving graphics without any action. It’s a great device to play Chess and Sudoku with, for instance.

Huawei MatePad Paper Chess

The processing power should be fast enough for everything else according to benchmarks. But as I said earlier, that doesn’t matter much because the response time of the screen is so slow. Besides that, yes the performance is great for surfing the web in the browser, watching YouTube, using Microsoft Word, and so on.

Software: HarmonyOS 2

Out of the box, the Huawei MatePad Paper is running HarmonyOS 2 which is Huawei’s own version of Android that’s based on Android 10. Because of the trade war between the US and China, the Google Play Store and all of Google’s services are missing and cannot be installed easily. So, yes, it’s Android, but it’s Huawei’s version of Android now.

Huawei MatePad Paper with Harmony OS 2

The interface is customized a lot which makes sense for this type of tablet. Deeply integrated into the operating system are the Notes app, their own book store with a reader app, as well as a home screen and an app overview. Preinstalled is a Browser, which is a good one, as well as a Files app, an Email app, as well as an Audio Recorder, and WPS Office.

Using the Huawei AppGallery, you can install a small selection of other apps including Microsoft Office. But the AppGallery includes a handful of apps only and is not as big as their other tablets.

Read: These Are The Best Android Tablets

Huawei MatePad Paper Bluetooth Keyboard

Well, this is still Android, so you can install pretty much every Android app once you download their APKs from the internet. You can search for them using the browser or you install a third-party app store. I installed the APKPure app store and using that, I installed lots of other apps like Netflix, Google Maps, Twitter, the benchmarks, a chess game, and YouTube Vanced. I also installed the Amazon Kindle App and Audible because I prefer to get my E-Books from there and not from Huawei.

Once you use something like the APKPure store, you can use almost all Android apps – except for some Google services and there are probably a couple of more restrictions that I didn’t find. However, basically, it then behaves like a standard Android tablet except that it has an E-Ink screen.

Battery Life

Huawei MatePad Paper battery life

Let’s get to its battery life. Inside the Huawei MatePad Paper sits a battery with a capacity of 3625mAh. That’s very small compared to others. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, for instance, features a 7040mAh battery, so it’s almost twice the size. So, the smaller battery is one reason for the light weight of the tablet.

And because of this E-Ink screen, it does not need a big battery. When using it for reading books, writing some handwritten notes, as well as when reading in the browser a bit or writing a bit in Microsoft Office, you’ll have to charge it between every two and four days, depending on how heavy you use it. So, it certainly won’t last as long as a traditional E-Book Reader but you’ll also be doing more than with a standard Kindle.

Now, the good battery life changes once you start using it like a normal Android tablet. If you play games, watch YouTube, and surf the web a lot, the battery will drain much faster. I did run my standard battery test which is looping an HD YouTube video at maximum brightness inside the YouTube Vanced app. In this test, the MatePad Paper lasted just 5.5 hours, so much less compared to other Android tablets. It does not make sense to watch YouTube, of course, but I wanted to run the test anyways.

Huawei MatePad Paper Review: Final Verdict

Huawei MatePad Paper review

So, is the Huawei MatePad Paper something for you? Well, it’s a fantastic tablet to read E-Books with and it’s also good for handwritten notes. I enjoyed reading with it, I like E-Ink displays much better for reading and it’s nice to have a large 10.3-inch one. The design is nice and I love that it is so light.

For everything else, the tablet is not so good. Yes, it’s fine to surf the web for a bit and you can sometimes get some work done in Microsoft Office. But I would not get it specifically for that. And like I said, you can download and use most Android apps if you want to. But most work better on normal LCD screens.

The MatePad Paper is a great choice if you’re willing to spend 500 Euros on a 10-inch E-Ink device to mostly read books with and maybe to use as your diary for handwritten notes. But if you also want a tablet to surf the web with regularly, watch YouTube, and maybe play some games, then a normal tablet will be much better suited for you.

Huawei MatePad Paper with Amazon Kindle

I think some might enjoy the MatePad Paper. However, most are probably better of with the standard Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Both together cost about as much as the MatePad Paper.


7

Huawei MatePad Paper reading
Review: Because of its 10.3-inch E-Ink display, the Huawei MatePad Paper is a fantastic tablet for reading E-Books and other longer form texts. I also enjoy writing handwritten notes using the pre-installed Notes app and the included M Pencil. With that being said, for everything else that a normal Android tablet is capable of, it's not so well suited for.
Positive
  • Cool 10.3-inch E-Ink display
  • Included M Pencil
  • Good Notes App
  • Light design
  • Mostly long battery life
  • Great speakers
  • Fingerprint scanner
Negative
  • Slow screen
  • No Google Play Store
  • Pricey
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  1. Pingback: Huawei MatePad Paper Review: Replacing Your iPad and Kindle? – MyNextTablet – AppToday

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