Top-end tablets may well replace a compact laptop or become an excellent platform for games. HUAWEI MatePad Air was created with an eye on more serious use than watching TV shows. This is evidenced by the equipment with a keyboard and unusual screen proportions. But first things first.
Although the model was called Air, it did not become cardinally lighter compared to other tablets – all the same half a kilo. But in terms of thickness, it turned out to be almost a millimeter more modest than HUAWEI MatePad 11 inches 2023.
The tablet has an unusual 3:2 aspect ratio. This is a recent trend: we are increasingly sitting on social networks or reading content online, and in a horizontal position, more information fits vertically on such a screen than in the 16:9 version. Widescreen videos are displayed with small black bars at the top and bottom, but given the large diagonal of the screen, this does not cause discomfort.
The screen bezels are the same on all sides. The screen occupies 87% of the useful area of the front surface, which is very good for a tablet. The front camera was placed at the top.
There is no audio jack here – only USB-C. Orient it down, then on the right side there will be volume keys, on top – the on / off button of the device. In the design, there was a place for as many as four speakers – they are focused on the horizontal use of the tablet, in this case they are located on the right and left.
Keyboard case included. It consists of two parts: the actual keyboard and the top cover that covers the back of the tablet. All mounts are magnetic. That is, the cover “sticks” to the tablet and a special strip on the section with the keyboard. The dimensions of the case are selected in such a way that they do not protrude beyond the edges of the device.
By the way, the keyboard can be disconnected from the tablet and used from a distance. Although both gadgets have contacts to connect, they exchange information via Bluetooth. Accordingly, as long as there is enough battery capacity in the keyboard, you can work with it separately. Connection occurs automatically when you place the tablet on the keyboard.
It can be quite unexpected to see an IPS-matrix screen in a flagship tablet. After all, even the HUAWEI MatePad Pro (2022) had OLED. But, strictly speaking, each of the types of matrices has its own advantages, so it makes no sense to argue which one is better. For example, IPS does not have PWM, so even at low brightness there is no discomfort from fast flickering. Also, such a matrix is not prone to burnout and the appearance of artifacts during operation. By the way, the 2022 iPad also has IPS, and no one is outraged about this. If OLED is important to you, you can consider the same HUAWEI MatePad Pro.
The matrix on the MatePad Air is actually excellent: a resolution of 2800 × 1840, with a high pixel density of 291 ppi and a refresh rate of up to 144 Hz. This is the first Huawei tablet with such a high frequency. By the way, it can adjust automatically depending on the type of content on the screen – this way you can save energy when viewing static images and text.
Color reproduction is fairly accurate. The manufacturer claims “wide P3 color gamut” – obviously closer to 100% coverage of this color space. As usual, there are options to reduce eye strain: eye protection mode and even a monochrome mode for those who like to read from a tablet.
Performance and software
The tablet runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, a processor that was first loved for its high performance, and then began to be criticized for noticeable heating during loading and, as a result, throttling. But this is all on smartphones, where it is extremely difficult to organize normal cooling. With a tablet, apparently, it’s easier: there is more space. One way or another, here performance does not drop during the game or work with resource-intensive applications. To improve heat transfer, you can remove the cover (fortunately, this is a matter of a couple of seconds). HUAWEI MatePad Air is available with 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage.
The tablet is great not only for games and TV shows, but also for work. The 11.5-inch display allows the gadget to act as a replacement for a traditional laptop. There is a keyboard, you can run several applications in different windows. Video communication works very well: your interlocutors receive not only a clear picture, but also clear sound, even if you are sitting in a noisy cafe. HUAWEI MatePad Air has 4 microphones, some of which are just involved in the noise reduction system.
If you have other Huawei equipment, the prospects are even greater. For example, a tablet can be made the second screen of a laptop. And on the MatePad Air itself, display an image from the screen of a Huawei smartphone and use its mobile applications. The main thing is that all devices work on modern HarmonyOS.
Of course, MatePad Air supports HUAWEI’s signature M-Pencil stylus with its 4096 pressure levels. The stylus is not included, it will need to be purchased separately. This is useful not only for designers and other professionals whose work is related to graphics. With a pen, you can, for example, leave comments in a document or sign a scan in a PDF.
When it comes to Google apps, it has become much easier with them lately. Now you do not need to use a virtual environment, you can simply install services through the built-in AppGallery store. Additionally, you will need the Gbox utility from independent developers – it will need to be downloaded once.
The tablet has a 8300 mAh battery, autonomy is highly dependent on usage scenarios. Based on a few hours of surfing and similar simple tasks, the tablet will ask for charging in four days. If you run modern gaming AAA titles (otherwise, why do you need a tablet on Snapdragon 888). the battery can be “landed” in 3-4 hours.
You get a 40W adapter with the tablet. It allows you to fully charge the battery in about 1 hour 15 minutes, up to 50% is enough to connect for half an hour.
This flagship model turned out exactly as it should be. Stylish, thin and relatively light, with plenty of headroom, stylus and wireless keyboard support. It can become an alternative to a laptop, serve for video communication, work without problems with all the necessary applications. Yes, there is no 3.5 mm jack, but almost all “tops” do without it. Ideally, it would also be good to provide for memory expansion through microSD cards, although with the development of cloud storage, there is less and less need for “gigabytes” on board.