With prices starting at around 100 Dollars, the Huawei MatePad T8 is one of the cheapest tablets you can buy. It looks quite interesting, but you’ve got to live without Google Services. Here is everything you need to know before you buy the MatePad T8.
Design & Build Quality
Especially when considering how inexpensive it is, I think the Huawei MatePad T8 looks quite nice with a modern design. I like that we get a metal back, although the frame is made of plastic. The screen bezels are much slimmer than on the Amazon Fire HD 8 and it feels much higher-end than that competitor.
With 8.55mm it’s not as thin as a premium device, of course, but the weight of 310g is okay.
On its sides, we get a power button, volume rockers, a headphone jack, and even a microSD card. Sadly, we’ll have to live with the old micro-USB port. And on the top, we get just one single speaker which sounds bad. Well, at least worse than the Amazon competitor I just mentioned.
The MatePad T8 has a 2-megapixel webcam and a 5-megapixel main camera. Both take good enough photos for simple snapshots. But they can’t compete with smartphones.
Using the front-facing camera, you can unlock the tablet using facial recognition. It doesn’t work great in the dark, of course, but it works surprisingly well in good light. Keep in mind though, that it uses the webcam only, so it’s not as secure as Apple’s Face ID.
The Huawei MatePad T8 has an 8-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 16:10 and an HD resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. Sure, a full HD resolution would have been nicer, because if you look closely, you can see pixelation. But I think an HD resolution is still okay on 8 inches because we just don’t get anything better in this price range.
Speaking of the price range, this is the best 8-inch display in its price range that I’ve reviewed recently. The Lenovo Tab M8 HD comes close but is a bit darker. And the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablets come close on paper too – but fail in real life because their displays are not laminated.
The MatePad T8 is surprisingly bright and all other aspects like contrast and saturation are great too. It would be amazing with a full HD screen – but well, as I said, HD is good enough.
On a negative note, you can’t watch Netflix with HD resolution because the tablet has a Widevine Level of L3 only. You can watch it in standard definition only.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the Huawei MatePad T8 sits a MediaTek MT8768 octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM and a 16GB internal storage. Yes, especially those 16GB sound disappointing and are disappointing in real life too. You just need to install a couple of games and you’re out of storage. Most other cheap 8-inch tablets have 32GB of storage these days.
Among the tablets with 32GB of storage are the Amazon Fire HD 8 and Lenovo Tab M8 HD which you can see in my benchmark comparison. In Geekbench 4, the single-core performance of the MatePad T8 is a bit worse but the multi-core performance is much better. The Geekbench 4 graphics performance is great too, but it fails miserably in the Sling Shot Extreme test.
Well, as usual, benchmarks are one thing and don’t always translate well to real life. In real life, the MatePad T8 performs well most of the time. Now, don’t have too high expectations because it’s a cheap tablet and it can’t compete with higher-end devices. With intensive multitasking, you sometimes have to wait a couple of seconds until something is loaded. But browsing the web, watching some videos, and even playing some games is fine.
I played PUBG Mobile and it runs quite well. You can set the graphics to balanced and, considering how cheap this tablet is, the performance is okay. I experienced some stutters when fighting – if you want to avoid that, you’ve got to set the graphics to low.
Another game I wanted to try is Call of Duty but I failed to install it. The same goes for Adobe Lightroom and Geekbench 5. There will be apps and games that you might want to use but don’t work. We’ll get to the main reason for that now.
Software: The Google Ban
Huawei is shipping the MediaPad T8 with Android 10 out of the box. That’s fantastic because it’s the only tablet with the newest version of Android in its price class. But, sadly, that’s where the positive sides of the software end.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the trade war between the United States and China and the embargo that’s been placed against Huawei. That means the MatePad T8 is shipping without the Google Play Store and Google Services. So, out of the box, you don’t get Gmail, no Chrome, no YouTube, no Google Maps.
Now, that’s not too much of a downside with the Amazon Fire tablets because, on those, you can install the Play Store very easily. But that’s not the case here. You can’t just install the APKs of the Google Services. Instead, sometimes there are some Chinese apps that you can download, and then, you can install the Play Store and other Google apps on some devices. I tried a couple of those methods but failed.
Even if you succeed, Google is not recommending that you do that. And if you watch those How-To videos on how to install the Google Services on your Huawei devices, you often are downloading some Chinese app in which, at least with some, you also have to enter your Google password. That might be completely innocent. But it certainly looks sketchy.
The tablet is still running Android 10. And that means that usually, you can download an APK from the internet and install it and it should work. Chrome works, for instance, you just can’t log in because you’re missing those Google Services.
You don’t have to get apps from some websites only. Huawei has an App Gallery with quite a big selection of apps. There you can find lots of games and even some Microsoft Office apps and others like TikTok. But many apps are missing – including Facebook, Adobe’s apps, Netflix, and others.
Well, as I said, it’s still Android, so there are many ways of installing apps. You can just install the Amazon App Store, for instance, which lets you install almost all apps from the Amazon App Store. That’s fantastic. And you can use an app called Petal Search which is a kind of universal app search that lets you find apps from the Huawei App Gallery and the internet and you can install them easily. But no, you still don’t get those Google Services.
Basically, if you get the Huawei MatePad T8, you’ve got to live without Google apps. You can use the Gmail and YouTube website of course and they work fine.
The rest of the software runs fine too. Huawei is customizing it very heavily with their EMUI, which is a bit much. But it works fine and is the same software we’ve seen on Huawei devices for years now.
When streaming HD YouTube videos inside the browser at maximum brightness, the battery lasts 7.5 hours. And when looping an HD video locally at medium brightness, the battery lasts 18 hours.
Huawei MatePad T8 Review: Final Verdict
So, what’s my final verdict of this Huawei MatePad T8 review? Well, I think almost everybody should stay away from this tablet. The only positive aspect is that its screen is brighter than other tablets in this price range. So, if you need a bright and cheap 8-inch tablet, then check it out.
Besides that, I don’t see any reason why you would want to buy the MatePad T8. You don’t get Google apps, the performance is okay only, the speakers are bad, you’ve got use the old micro-USB port, and you’ve got to live with just 16GB of storage.
Now, it’s not a terrible tablet. You can get most apps running and use a microSD card and maybe you don’t want to watch Netflix with it anyways. But why do you want to deal with that if you can get better tablets at a similar price?
Let’s check out its competition.
The most interesting alternative is the Lenovo Tab M8 HD. It costs about the same and it is a very similar tablet that even looks quite similar thanks to its metal body. Here we get an 8-inch HD screen, a good enough performance, and at least 32GB of storage. But, it’s just running Android 9 instead of Android 10. However, here we do get all the Google stuff including YouTube and Gmail without any hassle.
Another competitor is Amazon. The Amazon Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus cost about the same or are cheaper, depending on the version you’re getting. Here, the build quality feels much cheaper. But the speakers are better, you get at least 32GB of storage, a USB C port, optional wireless charging, and an optional wireless charging dock. And the Alexa voice Assistant. Oh, and you can install those Google services very easily.
- Pretty design
- Very nice screen
- Android 10 out of the box
- No Google Services or apps
- Netflix in SD only
- 16GB internal storage only
- Bad speakers
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