Huawei MatePad 11 (2021) review
Design and handling
Although it's not mentioned specifically in the official specs sheet, the MatePad 11 is entirely made of plastic, except for the glass sheet on top of the LCD panel. Speaking of which, it's not Gorilla Glass-protected; in fact, Huawei doesn't mention any level of protection at all, but tablet screens are rarely at high risk like phones are.
Back to the chassis - the back panel and the side frame are plastic, but they don't feel cheap at all. It's evident that the designers have put some thought into the materials. The surface strongly mimics the feel of anodized aluminum, and it's relatively smooth to touch. Fingerprints and smudges are visible only at a certain angle, or at least that's the case with the Matte Grey color that we have.
Now, when it comes to ergonomics and handling, the MatePad 11 feels good overall with just a couple of small annoyances. The camera module, which holds just one small 13MP sensor, bulges a bit too much, in our opinion, and it's enough to make the device wobble on a flat surface depending on where you touch the display. Additionally, people with bigger hands might struggle to keep their palms and fingers off the display area since the bezels are quite thin.
This is usually a desired look in the smartphone design, but when it comes to tablets, you need your bezels so that you can hold onto the tablet comfortably and prevent mistouches. On the other hand, we didn't notice any unwanted touches or swipes.
And the things we liked? The smooth, rounded corners make the hold a lot easier and less stressful on your palms. Since it's a hefty device (it's an 11-inch tablet with an average for its class weight of 485g), one would assume that holding onto the MediaPad 11 for a longer time would prove challenging. But that's not necessarily the case.
We did notice that holding the device in landscape mode feels more natural, whereas, in portrait mode, it felt that it would fall off because it's a top-heavy chassis.
Going around the sides, we find the microSD card tray at the bottom side of the frame (when holding the tablet horizontally), the power button is located on the left side near the upper-left corner, while the volume rocker is on the top, again near the corner. The two buttons are adjacent and easy to reach with your left hand. The USB-C connector is on the right.
Since the tablet has an array of four speakers, there are four speaker grilles as well - two on the left and two on the right.
Holding the tablet in landscape mode does interfere with the sound output when holding with two hands, but the difference is negligible. If you hold it normally, you won't muffle the speakers.
To our surprise, there's no biometric security - no advanced face detection, no fingerprint reader. This is usually a given feature for mobile devices for years now and Huawei neglecting such an important aspect is a major pitfall. And even more curious is the fact that none of the MatePad devices this year offer any advanced biometric security, so perhaps it's a deficiency of Harmony OS.
As we already mentioned, the MatePad 11 supports the advanced M-Pencil active stylus and the so-called Smart Magnetic Keyboard. We received the keyboard cover with our review unit to try it out, and the experience wasn't much different from what we described in our MatePad Pro 12.6 review.
We also had the active M-Pencil lying around, so we tried that as well. The user experience was great, and we enjoyed the pressure sensitivity.
The tablet snaps on the keyboard cover with magnets, and it strikes the right balance between firm hold and easy detachment. There are two positions in which you can adjust the tablet's incline, and they are reinforced with magnets as well. The cover holds the tablet firmly in those two positions, and we oftentimes detached the whole tablet trying to change the incline. A minor annoyance nonetheless.
The outside of the keyboard cover mimics leather but feels more like silicone. It's grippy, comfortable, and it's nice to touch. The inside is made of a similar material but feels a bit softer.
In any case, the keyboard itself has pretty much everything you need, except for the numpad, of course. The keys have a surprisingly long travel and decent clicky feedback. Maybe a bit on the mushy side, but definitely one of the best keyboards that are not actually keyboards. Not a gimmicky accessory for sure.
We were surprised by the speed and accuracy you can get out of the keyboard, and we think Huawei has nailed the key spacing.
As for the M-Pencil, there's nothing much to it. It's light, it's sturdy and snaps securely onto the top edge of the device. Chargers via the tablet too.
- 20 Sep 2023
Finally... Someone that speaks ... I'm not against Apple in anyway, but just the so "close" ecosystem the skyrocket prices, together with the grazy idea of not having expansion for memory card in any device... Not to mention the way th...
- Huawei matepad 11
- 20 Sep 2023
Hey, I have to say it performs excellent in all areas, really all! the construction is very good, the display more than fine, the speed super fast, the sound maybe the best of ALL tablets and phones (you can check on measurements or in a store), th...
- 02 Feb 2022
You basically have to just downlpad gspace and download every google play app that you want to use. Easy as 123. :)