Android Central Verdict
There's no better way to put it; the Huawei MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022) is a mixed bag. You get top-tier specs and a premium build through and through. Harmony OS comes with so many excellent features, but you're locked out if you don't have a Huawei phone or laptop. It's so easy to fall for that lovely display and astonishingly good speaker setup, but then there's the conflicting app ecosystem and lack of Google Play Services that you need to swallow.
Fabulous 120Hz OLED display
Second-gen M-Pencil is very comfy
Great battery life with 66W fast charging
Best set of speakers on any tablet
Loads of productivity-focused tools and features
Finding and updating compatible apps is problematic
Lacks Google Play Services and comes with bloatware
Very limited availability
No fingerprint reader
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Huawei has been trying hard to recover from its ban in North America and subsequent cut-off from Google's products and services. Although we haven't seen as many new products from the brand as we used to, things are starting to look better of late.
Now that the North American market is off the table, Huawei is playing to its strengths and focusing on the European and Asian regions for the most part. This means that new launches such as the MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022) are available in specific regions, but even then availability is pretty limited.
That's understandable, considering the limited demand for mobile devices like phones and tablets that can't access Google Play Services. See, Huawei's own Harmony OS is great as it isn't all that different from Android and you can install APK files designed for Android right onto it. Competition is always good for the consumer. But when you take the Play Services ban into account, it gets complicated.
It all comes down to willingness. Who is prepared to opt for a device that doesn't — and sometimes can't — run some of the most common apps that we're all so used to? I thought about this a lot while I was testing the Huawei MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022) tablet. It was a lot harder to judge because the MatePad Pro 11-inch is such a fantastic tablet with so much going for it. I have gathered my thoughts here and I believe that it could be a good fit for some, but not the vast majority of people.
Price and availability
As I mentioned earlier, Huawei was very careful with its MatePad Pro release this year. You can purchase the 11-inch tablet in select countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. This includes Germany, France, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.
There are two variants of the MatePad Pro 11, GOT-AL09 and GOT-W29, and the availability of these models varies depending on your region. The GOT-AL09 Wi-Fi model uses the Snapdragon 870 chipset and comes with 40W fast charging. On the other hand, the GOT-W29 LTE version comes with the Snapdragon 888 SoC and 66W fast charging. Most models come with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage and start at roughly €650.
What I love
Let me start by saying that the gear Huawei has equipped this tablet with is no joke. For about $650, you're getting quite a lot of tablet for your money. The sleek metal body is lightweight but feels sturdy in hand. You won't find it tiresome to carry since it's pretty lightweight.
On the inside, the hardware situation is impeccable. The MatePad Pro 11-inch features a top-tier stereo speaker setup consisting of a whopping six speakers. They sound amazing and are easily the best set of speakers I've ever come across in any decent tablet worth its salt, Android or iOS. And if you choose to use a pair of Bluetooth earbuds, you get to enjoy Hi-Res audio thanks to LDAC codec support.
|Category||Huawei MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022)|
|Display||11 inches, 2560 x 1600 resolution, 120Hz, OLED, 600 nits|
|Rear camera||13MP (f/1.8 aperture, AF), 8MP (wide angle length, f/2.2 aperture, FF)|
|Front camera||16MP (f/2.2 aperture, Fixed Focal)|
|Battery||8,300mAh, 66W SuperCharge|
|Audio||6 speakers, 4 mics|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2|
|Ports||USB-C, SIM slot|
The 11-inch 120Hz OLED panel is absolutely gorgeous and provides plenty of screen real estate without being obnoxiously large. The even bezels look neat and the color depth is stunning. The only possible bone anyone could pick with the display is the notch in the corner, but I honestly forgot about it a few minutes into my testing.
Pair that sublime display with the second-gen M-Pencil and it's the perfect setup for productivity. The latest Huawei M-Pencil attaches and charges magnetically via the 2022 MatePad Pro. It's a very comfortable stylus and served me well during some light sketching sessions. There's a touch-sensitive area on the stylus that triggers a function when tapped twice, such as an eraser while drawing. Outside digital artwork, you can use the M-Pencil to write into search boxes directly instead of typing.
Naturally, the MatePad Pro is built to keep up with all your demanding productivity apps. I received the LTE model of the tablet which includes a SIM slot along with the Snapdragon 888 chipset, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and a generous 8,300mAh battery that goes on for two days at times. The LTE variant comes with a 66W USB-C charger to top up the MatePad Pro at breakneck speed.
The MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022) is a beautiful, beautiful tablet that's perfect for entertainment and work. Although it doesn't have the latest silicon from Snapdragon, it's still very powerful and packs quite a punch for the price.
As for the Huawei MatePad Pro's software experience, you won't find that to be disappointing either. Harmony OS 3 is light, snappy, and full to the brim with exciting features and helpful little tools. Users can easily open multiple apps in windows, move them around, pin them, and resize them. There's a side drawer to tuck away a couple of apps in the sides of the tablet and you can pull it out whenever you want.
It's not just the little things like having an app tray anywhere I want or writing into text boxes that make this such a feature-rich tablet. If you use the first-party Bluetooth keyboard case, it converts the entire rig into a small, portable PC setup of sorts. And if you want to use this rig in tandem with your actual computer, you can do that with Huawei's Super Device feature.
And what if you need to project your phone onto the MatePad Pro? No problem. Interconnectivity between Huawei devices is as easy as it gets with this tablet. You can use the Multi-Screen Collaboration tool to achieve this, as long as you've got a Huawei or Honor-branded phone.
A lot of these tools make multitasking feel effortless and seamless. To be honest, the operating system feels closer to an Android skin and I like it that way. I didn't feel the need to learn anything about the software; the OS is intuitive and very easy to use.
Since Harmony OS is relatively new, Huawei's AppGallery is nothing compared to the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. However, the company is constantly at work trying to add more apps to the pool and improve its collection. Users are also encouraged to use third-party app stores such as APKMirror and APKPure.
Right now, the Huawei MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022) supports a slowly growing set of apps. Apart from apps from Google and ones that depend on Play Services, almost every popular social and professional app works on the Harmony OS tab. You can use Slack, Discord, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Snapchat, Airtable, and WeChat.
Streaming-based apps such as Spotify and Netflix work too, and you can easily download and install some of the best drawing apps such as MediBang Paint, ibisPaint X, and Tayasui Sketches. The gaming arena isn't bad either, with official support for titles like Genshin Impact, PUBG Mobile, and Call of Duty.
If you're ever wondering whether something will work on Harmony OS, a quick Google search can tell you whether someone has tried installing it or whether the app requires Google Play Services to function properly. Yes, there are limitations. But the current outset looks much brighter than before for tablets and phones running Harmony OS.
What I wish was different
Having gone through the merits of the Huawei MatePad Pro 11, the fact remains that it is indeed a very powerful tablet with a solid OS to back all that gear. But there's just no getting around the big, glaring flaw which is the lack of Google Play Services — the magic sauce in the kingdom of Android.
If you don't realize how important Play Services are, we've got a great explainer for that. Since I'm not going to get into the details here, check out that helpful article to understand what are Google Play Services and why they are so important in keeping Android phones safe.
Huawei's devices use something called Huawei Mobile Services instead, so they are not insecure. However, this also means that they cannot access Google. You can access Gmail on the MatePad Pro 11-inch through the Huawei Mail app, but it's just a way to check your email and doesn't port over any of Gmail's features.
Every other Google Workspaces app is incompatible, so you can't install or access Google Drive, Docs, Photos, Sheets, or even YouTube on the tablet. Other apps that rely on Play Services to function don't work properly either. This includes Skype, Telegram, Google Maps, and Uber.
We buy gear that fits us, not the other way around. The Huawei MatePad Pro offers a well-rounded set of features and Harmony OS is great. But there aren't many people who are going to be willing to adapt so much just for the sake of a value-packed tablet. Although there are workarounds for a lot of these issues, what is a user supposed to do if an app they reply on is incompatible because it requires Google Play Services?
Sure, I can access Gmail and YouTube on a mobile browser, but there's no way to use apps that simply won't function properly without Play Services. This hurts even more when it's an Android app that you're dependent on or paid money to acquire. I ran into a similar situation while testing the MatePad Pro 11-inch.
After having paid for a premium subscription to watch the FIFA World Cup live stream from an app called Toffee Live, I went ahead and installed the app on the Huawei tablet. My partner and I were excited to watch the game on the crispy OLED panel and the incredible speaker setup. Even though the app itself worked fine, we couldn't stream the live game in the end because the app needed Play Services for that task. We were completely bummed out and felt frustrated because we had spent money on the app to enjoy watching live sports on our mobile devices.
Although this example does not take it into account, there could very well be an app that you can't live without which won't run properly without Play Services. Not many people are willing to change their entire workflow just to accommodate the lack of this feature, especially if it has no real substitute.
And even after you've decided to live with these potential problems, you're still going to miss out on all the best tools and functionalities of the MatePad Pro 11 unless you're already vested in the ecosystem. Features such as Super Device and Multi-Screen Collaboration are reserved for other phones and computers from Huawei that also run Harmony OS.
Factor in the lack of a fingerprint sensor, 3.5mm audio jack, or a microSD card slot, and you've got a great deal of thinking to do. Like pineapples on pizza and chocolate sauce on steak, it's complicated.
Whether you look in the Android space or iOS, there are some stalwart heroes in both categories. Apple's iPads continue to be the champion of the people when it comes to iOS. As for Android tablets, all the best ones boast Samsung's mark. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 collection provides worthy competition for the Huawei MatePad Pro 11-inch.
If you need a powerhouse that's capable of handling heavy processing, the Tab S8 Ultra is one of the most capable tablets. Folks who don't require a beefed-up Android slab will be more than happy with the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, which is the Tab S8 model we recommend. Alternatively, Lenovo makes some excellent tabs powered by ChromeOS that can fit tight budgets. The IdeaPad Chromebook Duet 3 can be used with your computer to supplement your workflow.
If you want something that runs Android, Xiaomi's Pad 5 and Pad 5 Pro do well exceedingly in Asian and European markets. They tout phenomenal value, come with Google Play Services, and support all the accessories that you'd want; a stylus, a Bluetooth keyboard folio cover, the whole shebang.
Should you buy it?
You should buy this tablet if...
- You are already a part of the Huawei ecosystem
- You want a tablet with an OLED screen
- You need an epic set of speakers
- You prioritize fast charging and a long battery life
You shouldn't buy this tablet if...
- You depend on Google Play Services
- You find it cumbersome to search, download, install, and update apps yourself
- You need expandable storage
- You want a fingerprint reader and headphone jack
Weeks of testing later, I let out a huge sigh. How to evaluate such a well-rounded tablet with so many contradictions? If only the answer was so simple, but it isn't. After using the MatePad Pro 11, it frustrates me to not be able to recommend it to everyone so openly.
Even if most people were open to finding workarounds, as I mentioned earlier, it's one more thing to do and just not worth the effort for many. Convenience is partly what we pay for when buying our gadgets and accessories.
It doesn't make sense to buy something that needs you to change your entire workflow or make you use apps you're not comfortable with. Usually, there's only one appropriate situation where any individual is willing to go that far: when major savings are involved.
You can't even find the MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022) in most regions. And if it is available in your region, are you willing to put up with the setbacks? Would you trade convenience for this gorgeous tablet that touts an attractive price tag — which may or may not be cheap enough for you?
I'll be honest. Most folks would just pick up an iPad or a Samsung tablet and call it a day, and I wouldn't fault them one bit for it. It's the smart thing to do, which is a damn shame because the MatePad Pro 11 is a fantastic piece of gear.
Made by Huawei, for Huawei
The MatePad Pro 11-inch (2022) is a stunning tablet with powerful specs under the hood. This tablet is geared toward equal parts productivity and entertainment. Harmony OS feels fluid and works well, but the lack of Google Play Services may be a dealbreaker for many.