In the past, Huawei used to make lots of exciting mid-range tablets that offered fantastic value. But due to the trade war between the US and China, the Google Play Store is missing from new devices now. That did not stop them from releasing the Huawei MatePad T10s which costs just 200 US dollars. Can it compete with the similarly priced alternatives? That’s what you’ll learn in this Huawei MatePad T10s review.
The design of the Huawei MatePad T10s is fantastic. It features a mostly metal body with a small plastic part for the antennas. I like the color which they call “deepsea blue”. Even though it’s not that thin with 7.85mm, it’s more premium-feeling than Amazon’s tablets and almost on the level of an iPad. It weighs 450g.
On its sides, the T10s has a USB C 2.0 port, a standard headphone jack, and a microSD card slot.
I like that the webcam is located in the middle when holding it in landscape view. More and more brands do this which is great for video chats. But the resolution is quite low with just 2 megapixels. And the 5-megapixel main camera does not offer much more detail. So, don’t expect to take great selfies or so. It’s usable, of course, but that’s it.
The Huawei MatePad T10s has a 10.1-inch IPS display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. It’s a good screen. Sure, it’s much darker than the Apple iPad 8, but viewing angles are wide and contrast is good. The screen is laminated, which is great. Overall, it’s on a similar level as other budget tablets in this price range.
One time I thought that the screen looks a bit blurry, the resolution seemed lower. But that’s because, by default, Huawei adjusts the resolution based on what you’re doing. So, if you always want to use it with the highest quality, you should turn off the Smart Resolution in the settings.
Sadly, the tablet does not support the necessary DRM standards to playback Netflix with HD resolution. You’re stuck in standard definition.
Besides the Netflix issue, the MatePad T10s has lots of potentials to be a great media tablet because the speakers are fantastic. We get a speaker on each of the shorter sides. And even though the similar priced Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 has four speakers, the sound out of the MatePad sounds much better. It’s more pleasing to listen to and the bass is stronger. For this price, the speakers are really good.
Hardware & Performance
The Huawei MatePad T10s is powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 710 octa-core processor. You can get it with 2GB or 3GB of RAM and with 32GB or 64GB internal storage. I have the 2GB and 32GB version.
Considering its price, benchmark results are good. In most tests including Geekbench 5, 4, and 3D Mark, the T10s sits just a couple of points below the Galaxy Tab A7 which is just a tiny bit pricier.
In PUBG Mobile you can set the graphics to HD which is a bit higher than on the Samsung A7. But with HD settings, it stutters a bit. So, you’ve got to reduce the graphics if you want to play it smoothly. I noticed something similar with Asphalt 9. It looks okay and is smooth most of the time, but sometimes you can see some stutters.
Fortnite is not supported. And other games like World Of Tanks perform great. That’s the case with simpler games too, of course.
I surfed the web a lot using the Firefox browser and the performance is good. But due to the 2GB of RAM, I noticed that apps must reload more often than with higher-end tablets when switching between lots of them. So, if you are into multitasking, you should get at least the 3GB RAM version.
The MatePad T10s is running Android 10 and the EMUI in version 10. The own interface from Huawei customizes Android quite heavily – everything looks a little bit different but on a positive note, you can customize it yourself a lot too.
Preinstalled are lots of shortcuts to apps from newspapers, hotel platforms, airlines, and some social ones like TikTok. Basically, these are ads. But you can remove them easily.
Besides these customizations, it’s standard Android. With one big exception. Because of the trade war between the US and China, the Google Play Store, Google Services, and all of their apps like Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, Hangouts, and so on are missing. That’s a huge disappointment because usually, you expect those Google apps when buying an Android tablet.
Now, the Play Store is missing on Amazons tablets too and that’s not a huge issue because, with those, you can install it easily yourself. But on the MatePad T10s and other current Huawei tablets, it’s not that easy. Sometimes there are ways to do it – but with most, you’ll have to install a weird Chinese app and put in your Google password. I’m not comfortable doing that.
There are lots of other ways to install apps, of course. You can find many inside the Huawei App Gallery and among those is Microsoft Office, Asphalt 9, and so on. But many including Netflix are missing. Another way is through the app Petal Search which is pre-installed onto the home screen. That app searches for APKs on the internet and lets you install them easily. Usually, that works very well.
Read: The Best Android Tablets
Another way is through the Amazon App Store which you can download from Amazon directly.
With these methods, you can install most apps. But sometimes it can happen that an app or game does not work if it needs Google Services. And you can’t install the Google Play Store that way. Some apps like Chrome work, but because of those missing Services, you can’t log into your Google account.
You can watch YouTube either by using the browser or with third-party apps like YouTube Vanced which seems to be an almost exact copy of YouTube. I did read reports that Google might delete your account if you use it but that’s just from message boards on the web and I don’t know if it ever happened.
As you can see, there are ways to get around the Google Play Store but it’s a bit of a hassle. And if you’re not into tech or are planning to gift it to someone how’s not into tech, they’ll probably be disappointed by the software.
When streaming an HD video on YouTube Vanced at maximum brightness, the battery lasts 5.25 hours. Usually, I use the standard YouTube app, but since it does not run on here, I had to use YouTube Vanced. So, I’m not sure if that impacts battery life differently.
Huawei MatePad T10s Review: Final Verdict
So, should you get the Huawei MatePad T10s? Its hardware is pretty good. The built quality and especially the speakers are fantastic for this price. And its 10-inch screen and performance are what you would expect from an Android tablet in this price range. But because of the missing Google Play Store and since you can’t install it easily, I can’t recommend it for most. It just makes no sense to get an Android tablet without Google’s stuff as long as there’s lots of competition.
In the past and with those Google Services, I would have thought the T10s is a great value. It’s a successor to the Huawei MediaPad T5 which I liked a lot a couple of years ago. And maybe, if you don’t like Google anyways, then you might be happy it. But I think most should stay away and get a competitor instead.
Now, let’s get to possible alternatives.
For many, I think the best alternative is the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7. It’s a very similar tablet with a 10.4-inch full HD screen, a very similar performance, and a very similar price. Out of the box, it’s running Android 10 including the Google Play Store, YouTube, Chrome, and Gmail.
If you want to save some money, you can check out the Amazon Fire HD 10. Here you’ve got to install the Google Play Store yourself. But the screen and performance are very similar again. Usually, you should be able to save around 50 dollars but you’ll have to live with a plastic body.
The Huawei MatePad 10.4 is a better alternative if you’re a huge fan of Huawei and want better performance and a pen option. Overall, it’s a great tablet but like with the T10s, it’s lacking Google Services. You’ll have to pay around 100 dollars more.
- Premium design
- Great speakers
- Decent screen
- Good performance
- Android 10
- No Google Play Store
- Widevine Level 1
- Bad cameras
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