Review: Huawei Mediapad / T-Mobile Springboard
As you may know, I love 7 inch tablets, they are for me the perfect size between mobility and utility. Mobility, the 7″ can fit in a pant pocket, not very classy but it fits, also it holds in the hand and utility because, the form factor is ideal to simulated a book or notepad, it also perfectly fits in a car to be used as a GPS or a multimedia station.
Now let’s talk about this Huawei Mediapad, also known in the USA as the T-Mobile Springboard. The first impressions are very positive, the build quality is surprisingly good. The aluminum body gives the device a excellent look and feel. Just two plastic pieces for the antennas (where the back camera is located) and the let you access the SIM card and microSD slots are present if you want to use the 3G or expend the 16Gb of internal storage.
Screen: the screen resolution of the tablet is 1280×800 like on most 10″ tablets available on the market, this high resolution compressed in this small form factor gives the image a sharpness that only the iPad3 would not be jealous about. Also the IPS technology used for the screen gives this device excellent viewing angles as well as a very good image quality, colors and contrast.
GPS: I personally use CoPilot because the software perfectly adapt to all devices’ resolutions and also because I prefer to have all the maps on-board and not pay for additional data usage. Using it on the Mediapad was a pleasure, the fix was fast, no disconnection and very reactive.
Camera: Probably the weakest point of this device. The two cameras are to be used ONLY as a last resort. The front camera will be perfect for Skype but font ask any more than that. The images are poor in color and contrast, very grainy and the absence of flash will not help you in case of low light conditions.
4G: As for T-Mobile in the USA, we have to be clear, this is not a REAL 4G device but a boosted 3G (HSPA+) now does it matters? Yes, and no… what I care is not the technology used but the speed I can browse the web or access my files online and here, nothing to complain, T-Mobile is doing an excellent job providing a stable and speedy network.
Interface: Here two versions, the orginal Mediapad providing a 99.9% Google experience and the Springboard a T-Mobile branded Google Experience, with its load of bloatware and apps that most of us really don’t need. the good thing is that you can remove most of it, but most is not all…
Also on the T-Mobile side of things, no Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4) has been announced while the international twin tablet already has it. T-Mo you really, REALLY have to wake up and do something about that.
Power Supply: Here is something I found disappointing first but… the power supply uses a specific connector to charge the tablet and this is in my opinion very bad. A lot of effort was done on phone to standardize to microUSB and the same should be done with tablets. Indeed why can’t manufacturers agree on such a simple thing that each of them come with their own connector or power cable that can be used for only on devices? If there is a reason, I want to know it.
Anyways, it is not all bad. Indeed after leaving my tablet plugged to my computer (using the microUSB cable) for an hour, I realized my tablet was charging… I decided to give it a try and plugged it over night on my USB charger and in the morning… the tablet was fully charged. I don’t understand why Huawei or T-Mobile don’t let you know that, maybe to sell you a new charger but beware, you don’t have to.
Support: I had several phone calls with Huawei in the USA, and I have to admit, the person I talk to was friendly, willing to help and knowledgeable (the rarest quality in all Help-desks I had to talk to). Of course, you’ll need to have your invoice in you need repair (why?? why don’t all companies have a system like Dell or Apple to know your warranty status based on the serial) and they do not seem to be as fast as HTC for shipping and fixing, but they will help you and that is not always the case.
Community: Here is the second weakness of this device (probably due to its lack of popularity), the community for this device is not very active and even CWM is not fully functional, a shame because this small tablet is really worth it in my opinion. Still we have root"root" is the default username/account created by linux/unix OS. The "root" is the administrator of the machine, it can run all commands and can access any files. access and an easy way to install ICS even on the SpringBoard.
To conclude this tablet is a great choice for those who want a speedy and updated tablet with a great screen, a more than decent battery life and 3G+ capabilities. It will replace my HTC Flyer (due to the lack of support from HTC) but I am very happy about that, the only thing I would miss is the pen, for the rest Huawei did a great piece of hardware.
|Verdict||A excellent replacement for my HTC Flyer, I will miss the Scribe but I gain in battery life, screen resolution. I also have ICS and a much snappier environment. This device is a great surprise that is nowadays quite cheap to obtain so go for it.|
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