Top positive review
Satisfies the Gadget nerd in me. Can be upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat. WiFi 5 GHz can be enabled
January 1, 2018
I have owned many, many tablets over the years, constantly upgrading practically every year. When Microsoft came out with the Surface line of tablet hybrids, I was in love with them. However, as much as I love Surface, it only runs Windows/Linux, and I wanted something Android based. Yes, there are emulators available, such as AMI DuOS (which I don't recommend any more, by the way), Blue Stacks, and NOX, but I wanted a physical tablet I could hold -- one that is fast and INEXPENSIVE. My goal was to use it for media consumption and reading -- not so much for gaming. As such, this review will not detail the tablet's gaming performance.
I originally bought the Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet during this year's Thanksgiving sale. The 32GB model was available for about $100 after taxes. However, after using it for two weeks, I grew increasingly frustrated by its slowness and many freeze-ups. I thought that I could live with that issue considering how inexpensive the Fire HD tablet was. However, it proved to be too much. Amazon's Fire HD tablets are a bit too restrictive in many ways I will not get into since this is a review of the Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0.
For $219, I picked up the Huawei M3 8.0 and well, I love it. I am absolutely happy with the purchase and am glad that I made the switch.
Pictured are the Huawei M3 8.0 and the Fire HD 8.0. Note the Huawei's larger screen size.
- Light (lighter than the Fire HD 8) and slim
- Fast (I bought the 32GB version)
- microSD expansion slot
- Solid build and looks GREAT/premium
- Google Play device. You can install Amazon apps too, such as Kindle, Amazon Appstore, etc.
- Fingerprint sensor with gesture control (also has option to turn on on-screen navigation). Note: once I upgraded to the Nougat Android 7 version, you can now only use one OR the other (the previous version that comes with the tablet allowed you to use both at the same time)
- Feels great in my hands
- Battery life decent
- Decent sound quality and volume (speakers are at top and bottom of device)
- Screen is slightly larger than the Fire HD 8
- Has gyroscope, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, compass
- Occasional app stutter/hiccup
- Costs twice as much as the Fire HD 8
- Does not support 5 GHz Wifi out of the box due to FCC licensing restrictions (although the international versions do, which means the tablet is perfectly capable of it)
- 5 GHz WiFi can be enabled by rooting the tablet (which I didn't want to do). Instructions can be found on xda-developers forums (Google it)
- You can upgrade to Android Nougat 7.0 quite easily by following the instructions found on MinistryOfSolutions (I'm unable to paste the link here -- Amazon restriction). Google for the search term: "ministryofsolutions huawei btv-w09 mediapad m3 nougat". Only "Installation Method 3" (which does not require Root) worked for me. Note: for your reference, the USA model I received is "BTV-W09". [UPDATE 8/12/2018: You may also try to download the official Huawei HiSuite application to perform your updates, backups, etc. This is the method I recommend for the non-technically minded.]
- 5 GHz WiFi was enabled during Step 1 of 2 (Firmware Upgrade) of when I upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat, confirming with 100% certainty that the tablet is capable of it. After finishing Step 2 of 2 (Data Upgrade), however, it lost support for it. Again, probably of FCC licensing restrictions. So you know, the tablet worked perfectly fine after the 1st step (Firmware upgrade) (which also enabled 5 GHz WiFi). However, I went ahead with the 2nd step to ensure I got EVERYTHING upgraded.
- Use the Google Maps Offline Maps feature to download parts of the map. This then enables you to use the built-in GPS for spoken car turn-by-turn navigation :)
As you can see from my list of PROS and CONS, I really like this tablet. In fact, I enjoy using it so much, I started researching what other devices Huawei made, especially since they are so hugely popular in Asia. That led me to the Huawei Honor phones that are scheduled to come to the USA for the first time in 2018, and the more I read about their phones, the more I realize that Samsung isn't the only Android smartphone maker I should be considering. Kudos to Huawei -- I may buy one of your phones in 2019 or 2020 once my current carrier contract is over.
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