If you’re looking for an 8-inch mid-range tablet, you’ve got two choices right now: The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 8 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 with S Pen. Both tablets are quite similar and can seem almost identical at first. The cellular version of the Samsung one costs around 360 USD, while you’ll have to pay around 260 USD for the Huawei tablet. Well, which one should you choose? That’s what you’ll find out in this Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 vs. Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 8 comparison.
Design & Build Quality
As usual, let’s start with their design and build quality. The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 8 and Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 look very similar even though you can clearly see that one is a Samsung device and the other one a Huawei one. They’re almost identical in size. The MediaPad is a bit taller and a bit thinner with 8.2mm compared to the 8.9mm of the Samsung. The Galaxy Tab weighs 325g which is 15g more than the M5 Lite.
While we get a full plastic body with the Galaxy Tab A 8, the MediaPad M5 Lite 8 has a mostly metal back. However, that one does have two plastic bars at the top and bottom and the frame around the screen is plastic too. They do feel very similar. And even though it’s plastic, the Samsung one feels better built. That’s mostly because the frame of the Huawei one stands up above the screen a bit. That makes it feel cheaper.
Both have power buttons, volume controls, and standard headphone ports. We also get a micro SD card slot on each and 4G versions with SIM card slots too. Sadly, the MediaPad has the older micro USB port. That’s very disappointing. Samsung is using the newer USB C standard which is much better.
Speakers & Cameras
You can see huge differences between their speakers. While Samsung has one single one on the bottom, the Huawei tablet has two bigger speakers on the top and bottom. That way you do get real stereo separation when watching movies in landscape view which is not possible with the Galaxy Tab. The sound quality of the MediaPad is better and especially louder overall.
The cameras of the Tab A have a resolution of 8 and 5 megapixels, while the M5 Lite 8 features 13 and 8-megapixel cameras. And as you might expect, the photos of the Huawei tablet are more detailed. You can clearly see that. However, Samsung is applying much more post-processing and I would say their photos look better overall because of that. That’s all done in post, so you can do even more with the Huawei photos in apps like Lightroom if you like.
We don’t get a fingerprint scanner on either of them. However, you actually can use facial recognition to unlock both. And that works kind of decent on each tablet. With that being said, they don’t have any additional sensor for that which means it won’t be as secure as Apple’s Face ID.
Now, let’s get to their screens. Both feature 8-inch displays with an aspect ratio of 16:10 and full HD resolutions of 1920 x 1200 pixels. That means they should be equally sharp on paper and that’s the case in real life too.
Their screens are almost identical. They’ve got wide viewing angles and offer good contrast and color reproduction. Samsung’s colors look a bit more saturated. And while the Galaxy Tab has a slightly yellowish white balance, the Huawei is more blueish out of the box. However, with that one, you can adjust the whites and make them look almost identical.
Display brightness is pretty much the same too. You can use them outside in the shadows and they’re kind of usable in sunlight too. However, most phones offer brighter screens.
There is one major difference between the two. The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 8 does not support any kind of active pen. With the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 on the other hand, the S Pen stylus is included. It fits inside the tablet itself and is supported by tons of software features. If you’re looking for an 8-inch tablet with pen support, the Galaxy Tab is one of very few options. And a great option in this price range.
Performance: Exynos vs. Kirin
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 is shipping with an Exynos 7885 SoC, while the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 8 features an HiSilicon Kirin 710 processor. Both are supported by 3GB of RAM and a 32GB internal storage.
As you can see in my benchmark comparison, the performance of both is almost identical. Yes, to be precise, the Huawei one is a bit faster. However, percentage-wise those differences are very minor. And that’s what I experienced in real life too. Both chipsets are fast enough for their operating systems and all standard tasks.
The gaming experience is pretty much identical as well. For instance, you can play PUBG Mobile with HD graphics on both and both can play it with just minor, occasional stutters. And the graphics look the same.
Software: EMUI vs. One UI
Android 9.0 Pie is running on both tablets. While Samsung is using their One UI on top of Android, Huawei pre-installed their Emotion UI (EMUI). Even though their customizations look different, they have similar features. For example, we get blue light filters, power-saving modes, and gesture support on both. They’ve got new Digital Wellbeing settings where you can see how much time you’re spending with which apps.
Samsung made the split-screen view more complicated which is annoying. However, they also introduced free-floating app windows which can be useful when using the tablet with mouse and keyboard.
I can live with the EMUI and One UI. But I do prefer Samsung’s software. It feels much more modern to me and not as overloaded. I like their gesture to open the app drawer and everything just looks a bit more up to date. Huawei’s interface, on the other hand, seems not to change much at all even compared to five years ago. It’s alright and you can customize it a lot yourself and you can turn on the app drawer which is missing out of the box. But overall, I just feel it looks old.
Well, everybody likes something else regarding this. However, what updates are concerned, you might be better off with the Samsung tablet. In the past, the Galaxy Tab A series usually has gotten two major software updates. Sometimes Huawei is updating their tablets too but I’m not aware that any of their mid-range tablets have gotten two major updates.
By the way, both are capable of watching Netflix in HD.
Let’s check out their battery life. We’ve got a clear winner here. The Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 8 lasted 11.5 hours in my standard battery test and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 lasted 9.5 hours. I’m always looping an HD video at medium brightness for this battery test.
As A Phone
If you get the 4G LTE versions, you can use each tablet as your phone. You can make phone calls and send SMS text messages. 8-inch tablets are kind of usable as a phone replacement. Sure, they’re much bigger than most smartphones. But they usually do fit in most jacket pockets and the back pockets of most jeans.
For each of my reviews, I replaced my phone with them for a couple of days. And it worked well with both. However, if you like to actually call people, you’ll be better off with the Samsung one. The Galaxy Tab A has a real earpiece. With the MediaPad M5 Lite, on the other hand, you must use headphones. Otherwise, everybody will hear your conversation.
Huawei vs. Samsung Comparison: Final Words
Alright, that’s the end of my comparison between the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 and the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 8. You’ve seen that both tablets are very similar in some aspects but can also have major differences regarding other features.
Their screens and performance are pretty much identical. While the MediaPad has better speakers and better cameras, you get the S Pen and a real earpiece for phone calls with the Galaxy Tab A. I think it’s also more likely that the Samsung one will get more future updates.
With that being said, the Galaxy Tab A usually is more expensive than the Huawei tablet. So, if you don’t care about an active pen and you won’t replace your phone with it anyways, the MediaPad will be the better deal for you.
- Very good performance
- Good full HD screen
- Android 9 Pie
- Mostly metal body
- Decent battery life
- Optional LTE & phone capabilities
- Old Micro USB Port
- Heavy software customization
- No ear piece for phone calls
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