A First Look at the Huawei MatePad 11.5 (2023 Hands-on Review)

All that is in a more powerful mid-range tablet

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With the official launch of its new line of tablets with a productivity focus, Huawei is expected to create a splash in the Philippines. The 11.5-inch Huawei MatePad released this year is one of them, and it has updated hardware to improve your tablet experience. Discover the features of this remarkable item in this first look!

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We got the honor of using the Huawei MatePad for a few hours as the launch date drew near, giving us a head start on learning about its features. This tablet made a strong impression on us during the session because it was created to fulfill the different demands of both students and professionals. We had the chance to test the gadget for ourselves and learn more about its important features in addition to being treated to some fascinating revelations given by Huawei.

Huawei MatePad 11.5 (2023) specs:

Huawei MatePad 11.5 (2023)
Display11.5″ IPS, 2200 x 1440px, 229ppi
16.7 million colors, 120Hz dynamic refresh rate
ProcessorSnapdragon 7 Gen 1
Adreno 644 GPU
Rear Camera13MP f/1.8 AF
Selfie Camera8MP f/2.2
SIM and ConnectivityDual-band WiFi 802.11ax, 2×2 MIMO, HE160
Bluetooth 5.2 LE
AudioStereo Audio (Huawei Histen 8.1)
Quad Speakers
Two Microphones
SecurityFingerprint scanner (side)
Face Unlock
Other FeaturesHuawei Super Device Connectivity
OSHuawei HarmonyOS 3.1 (Android)
Huawei Mobile Services
Battery7,700mAh, nonremovable
Charging22.5W SuperCharge
ColorsSpace Gray

Unboxing the device Huawei provided in our small session included the tablet itself, a charging brick, a USB Type-C cable, and some documentation. Since this MatePad will only be sold in a WiFi connectivity variant, there is no SIM ejector tool included in the package.

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WalasTech’s Top Feature Pick:
Display kicking in

You’re purchasing a tablet because you need a large display to do more things. Huawei doesn’t cut corners with this MatePad’s 11.5-inch IPS display boasting a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate – it automatically goes back to 60Hz to conserve more power and making your tablet last longer throughout your whole day use. That’s giving you a smoother, buttery navigation and motion when using the device while doing its best to keep the tablet last longer when idle.

The display offers bright and vivid colors in all viewing angles, as well as a good resolution with 229 pixels per inch sharpness. Contrast isn’t the best since it’s an IPS panel, but it ain’t bad either. An 86% screen to body ratio is good, too, as you see more screen estate with smaller bezels compared to last year’s iteration.

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The tablet also offers eye protection features, being TUV Rheinland-certified for having Low Blue Light mode and bring a Flicker-free display. That means you can actually use the tablet to read novels or binge-watch on your favorite series without having to worry about damaging your eyes too much for prolonged use.

Design: A new frontier

Huawei took new strides into making the appearance of the MatePad more refined with less visible antenna lines. This was made possible by a new hidden antenna design via the Huawei Cavity Slot Magnetic Antenna, a new method to still retain a superior signal performance while retaining its original design.

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As a result, the tablet looks more premium compared to past iterations. Its sides are now all about the intended design without plastic lines. There are four speakers in this tablet, two at each of the shorter sides, to provide a stereo listening experience.

On one side is the USB-C port used for charging and data transfer, while another corner has the power/lock button and volume rockers.

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The front has an 11.5-inch display with the 8MP selfie camera sitting at the middle bezel of one of its longer sides.

Flip the phone to its back and you’ll see the trademark Huawei Space Gray design with the brand’s monogram neatly etched in the middle. The rear camera protrudes at the back with additional space for the cavity intended for the antenna coverage.

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This slate doesn’t feel like it’s heavy, as it is light enough to be used for two-hand operation, even at longer periods of time, at 499 grams. That’s like holding a small bottle of water!

Huawei has put a mid-range 13-megapixel camera at the back. This lens is capable of capturing more light detail with an f/1.8 aperture, which should help with low-light photography. Do keep in mind that cameras are not really a tablet’s strongest feature, but we appreciate Huawei’s effort to provide a good feature. We don’t have sample photos to share now, but we’ll update the post once we got some!

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The 8MP front camera, on the other hand, offers a fixed-focal length with great detail and lighting. It’s actually good for video conferencing, as we tried using Huawei’s own Meetime video conferencing on this app.

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System and Performance: All in Huawei’s own world

This MatePad uses Huawei’s own HarmonyOS 3.1, which is still based on open-source Android, to provide power to the system. It also uses Huawei’s own mobile services core, which means you’ll have a separate account from Google to manage all your devices, passwords, and apps.

Let me expound on the OS for a bit. Huawei’s finally at the point where its efforts breaking out from the whole Google ecosystem with its own Huawei Mobile services are now bearing fruit; and while I kind of loathed the lack of apps before, the company has been creating ways to make it easier for users to use Google-backed apps and others that depend on the Google APIs to function.

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For example, most top apps we use frequently are now on the AppGallery including GCash, Foodpanda, Grab, and even Angkas. You can install YouTube or GMail directly from AppGallery, too, as Huawei has integrated GBox into their app platform, making it easier for users to use these apps. If you’re more advanced, you can download other app libraries to download your apps or sideload APK files onto your device.

Huawei also incorporated a lot of productivity features with this new tablet. You’ve got enhanced note-taking with the Huawei M-Pencil, built-in support with WPS Office, and a nice detachable keyboard that can work two ways — as one attached to your tablet or a split form that better mimics laptop use.

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There’s also 15x Canvas Zoom on Huawei Notes, which gives you more space to write all the details you need to jot down during a discussion. Multi-window is also improved, now with support for two split and two floating windows.

I personally find myself liking HarmonyOS as I’ve been using it with some of my current Huawei Devices (Huawei Nova 9 SE), much more than the integrations Huawei has done to seamlessly connect all their devices under the Super Device platform. I find Huawei to be one of the most intuitive ways to connect your devices with each other, without the messy ways and wires to do so. Connect the tablet to a Huawei Matebook? Tap the tab on the laptop and it’s done. The same goes with connecting the slate to a phone, and to accessories such as the Huawei Freebuds 4.

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The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 inside the MatePad is a chipset comparable to the previously-released Snapdragon 778G, which offers powerful performance for a mid-range device. Multitasking in this device should be a breeze if we’re basing it on devices we’ve personally used with the same chipset.

The Huawei MatePad 11.5 features a 7,700mAh battery capacity and 22.5-watt fast charging tech. With the help of Huawei’s aggressive RAM management, a better Snapdragon chipset, and a dynamic display refresh rate, this tablet may be a long-lasting device if we’re

The first Take: A tablet worth looking into!

One of Huawei’s newest tablets, the MatePad 11.5, is a good device to consider when you are looking to purchase a new slate for your entertainment and productivity. You can easily snag one if you’re one who is looking for a tablet with good performance even at its price point. This should easily solve one’s worries about finding a device that’s just as powerful as conventional laptops while being light and portable enough to carry around.

The keyboard accessory also feels nice to the touch when typing, and is comfortable enough to use when the tablet is purposed as a laptop alternative for typing. We’d love to share more about the Huawei MatePad 11.5 once we get more time with it!

Price and Availability in the Philippines

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The Huawei MatePad 11.5 will be available in two variants, with varying points of purchase. The 8GB RAM and 128GB storage will be available nationwide for PHP 19,999, where customers can get over PHP 19,348 worth of freebies from August 11-31: a Detachable Magnetic Keyboard (SRP: 6,999), a 2nd-Gen Huawei M-Pencil (SRP: 5,999), subscription to WPS Office worth PHP 4,999, a three-month VIU Premium subscription for your K-drama fix, and a PHP 1,000 Edventure coupon.

A Huawei Online Store variant will also be available, with a lesser 6GB of RAM while retaining the same storage. This will sell for PHP 15,999, and those who get it from August 8 to 31 will receive freebies including a Huawei Folio Cover (PHP 999), WPS Office subscription, 3 months of VIU Premium, and a PHP 1,000 Edventure coupon. Check out Huawei’s official stores in Lazada, Shopee, & Huawei Store.

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Carl writes for WalasTech when he's not working full-time. Give him tips and/or leads at [email protected].