Just when you thought you'd made up your mind about which Android tablet to buy, along comes Huawei, with a new 7-inch tablet that deserves a look before you splash out on an HTC or a Samsung.
We'll admit to approaching product announcements from the traditionally budget category OEMs like Huawei and ZTE with a pinch more caution than the well-established brands. However, Huawei, in particular, is quickly gaining a stronger reputation for delivering high-quality devices at significantly lower prices. Its IDEOS smartphone series has been a hit with the CNET team so far, and the new MediaPad looks to continue this trend.
On paper, the MediaPad stands ahead of the current range of Android tablets on a couple of key specifications. It will run on Google's upcoming Android Honeycomb 3.2 platform, which promises to bring everything that we love about Honeycomb to the smaller 7-inch screen (Honeycomb tablets have so far been between 9-inches and 10-inches). It also tops the clock speed of the other tabs that we've seen, with a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor.
Its design looks to be a solid step forward from the last Huawei-built tablet that we saw in Australia: the Telstra T-Touch Tab. Its 7-inch IPS LCD display is surrounded by a unibody aluminium design, with iPad-like design flourishes on the underside. It has rear- and front-facing cameras, with 5-megapixels on the back and a 1.3-megapixel sensor above the screen.
The rest of the specs sheet looks like standard Honeycomb fare, with 8GB of internal storage, plus a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi b/g/n and a GPS receiver for use with Google Maps. Huawei is quoting six-hours of actual use from its Lithium-ion battery, and measures the MediaPad at 10.5mm thick with a 390-gram weight.
Based on its platform, processor and IPS display, the Huawei MediaPad warrants a closer look. Of course, the big question is whether Huawei can deliver the MediaPad for a comparably low price, similar to its smartphones, and this is a piece of information that we don't anticipate receiving until closer to its launch.