The Best iPad Mini Alternative Is Finally for Sale in US
When I reviewed the MediaPad M3, Huawei's luxury-class 8.4-inch tablet, back in September, I loved its fast speed, bright speed and strong audio, but I became disappointed when the company told it had no schedule to release the slate in the US. Fast forward to today, and I've got good news everyone! The MediaPad M3 is finally for sale on Amazon, which is selling it for $299.
I'm also happy to see Amazon selling it at this price, as the original prices in other countries of 349 euros converted to approximately $389 at the time. Unfortunately, that difference may be owed to the fact that the excellent AKG H300 earbuds that were packaged with our test unit may not ship with the model. They appear in a product still, but nothing in the Amazon entry explicitly states they're included with this product.
The other difference I noticed is that this model comes with 3GB of RAM, which is less than the 4GB in the model we reviewed. We've reached out to Huawei about these differences and will update this story when we get a reply.
In our testing, the light-gold-colored aluminum MediaPad offered performance that matched its sleek design, as its Hisilicon Kirin 950 processor made for buttery smooth scrolling and solid multi-tasking. It even earned a fantastic score of 6,023 on the Geekbench 3 general performance test, which put it above Apple's iPad Mini 4 (3,107), Asus's ZenPad Z8 (3,355), LG's G Pad F 8.0 (933), the Acer Predator 8 (3,112) and the average tablet (2,797).
The MediaPad M3 runs a skinned version of Android Marshmallow, using Huawei's EMUI software to practically makeover most of the interface.
The slate's capacitive-touch navigation key is the other point that may throw Android purists for a loop, as it comes set as a navigation key. Tapping it brings you back a screen, and swiping it to the left opens the recent apps view. You can disable this functionality if you'd rather go without it.