Huawei MatePad Paper in the Test: Half Android Tablet, Half E-Reader
In the tech scene, there are often standard goods, because in the end everyone looks at the analysis and produces what is bought. But when things aren’t going well for manufacturers, they become willing to experiment. Like currently Huawei.
The Huawei MatePad Paper, which you can get for 499 euros in the in-house store, has been on sale here for a few days. A lot of money for an e-reader, the top-of-the-range Kindle model costs half as much. However, it is not a normal e-reader.
With the MatePad Paper, Huawei sells more of a small tablet with an e-ink display. The basis is HarmonyOS, which uses Android as a basis, so you can install APK files. And so there are significantly more possibilities here.
Huawei MatePad Paper: impression in everyday life
The 10.3-inch display is pleasantly large, has a high resolution of 1872 x 1404 pixels (227 PPI), is easy to read, and has a backlight. That’s what I like about e-ink because without it you can only use the devices with light and it becomes difficult in a bad light.
It is a touch display, which reacts quickly to inputs, but of course, it takes a while for the content on the display to change. It works and theoretically, you can watch a video on YouTube, but it’s not fun. So this is not a tablet for games or videos, Huawei has developed a tablet here for consuming texts – there is also a browser.
In addition to touch, you can use a pen for input, with which you can also write notes. This works well and the pen can also be attached to the side via a magnet.
A Huawei Kirin 820E works under the hood, there is 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Not the best equipment for an Android tablet, but it’s perfectly adequate in this case. And it doesn’t actually need more memory either, because texts are usually very small and audio files aren’t particularly large either.
Audio? That’s right, the MatePad Paper has two very good stereo speakers, so you can also use them to listen to a podcast. And if you prefer to use headphones for this, Bluetooth 5.2 is offered as standard.
There is no LTE, so you always need WiFi to access the Internet. It even comes with Wi-Fi 6 as standard, which is unusually good for e-readers.
Huawei claims up to 28 days of battery life, but with heavy use, it’s likely to be significantly less. I can’t offer you a long-term conclusion yet, but for me, it was almost exactly two weeks.
The device is unlocked either via PIN or via a fingerprint sensor, which works quickly but is not always 100 percent reliably for me. Sufficient, but cannot keep up with modern smartphones.
Huawei MatePad Paper: My conclusion
Technically a great e-reader, I kind of like the Huawei MatePad Paper. Of course, HarmonyOS has the same disadvantage as normal tablets: You do without the Google ecosystem. So there is only the AppGallery with 16 apps and there are many local apps (e.g. Italy) available.
But at its core, HarmonyOS is Android.
So it also means here: Look for APKs if you want more. I installed the Kindle app, Tolino is available directly from Huawei and there are also two Office apps in the AppGallery. Huawei searches APKPure’s archive, which is a gray area for some apps or maybe even illegal to download.
Just because apps are free doesn’t mean you can offer them everywhere.
But that’s an old topic, I don’t want to go into it in depth here, but you should know that. You need external content because the selection of books in the Huawei shop is too small and otherwise there are only basic apps such as calendar and mail.
If that doesn’t bother you, then you get what I think is a very good e-reader that follows a much more open approach than Amazon. There is also support for many file formats (including images) and as I said, in the end this is a tablet with HarmonyOS – which is particularly evident in the settings.
I like the Huawei MatePad Paper, the size, the display, the feel, I like all of that. And with HarmonyOS, as a tablet, there are the disadvantages that you know now, but if you look at it from a different angle, you get a very powerful e-reader that also has pen input.