Hands on: Huawei MediaPad X2 review

A tablet that thinks it's a phone

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Big, brash and claiming to be a phablet, the Huawei MediaPad X2 is a little confused over what it actually is.

For

  • All metal, slender body
  • Decent specs
  • Dual 4G SIMs

Against

  • Too big for a phone
  • Look silly on calls

Smartphone manufacturers have been pushing the boundaries of the 'phablet' for a while, and the Huawei MediaPad X2 feels like a step too far.

At first glance the MediaPad X2 looks like a tablet. Its 7-inch, full HD display seems to confirm that fact, but actually, according to Huawei this is a phablet.

With my eyebrow firmly raised I picked up the MediaPad X2 for a closer look, and I can confirm this is much more tablet than it is phone.

The all metal construction does at least give an air of premium appeal, and the slender 7.18mm frame makes it suitably compact.

Huawei MediaPad X2 review

I did find the angular design wasn't particularly comfortable in the hand, especially if you try and hold the X2 with just the one paw.

All the button action is found down the right hand side of the tablet... sorry, phone, with a power/lock key just above the centralised volume rocker.

Both are far enough down the side of the MediaPad X2 to hit during one handed operation, but those with smaller palms will still find them a struggle to reach.

Huawei MediaPad X2 review

There are also two trays on this edge, one at the top and one at the bottom, providing the MediaPad X2 with dual-SIM 4G capabilities - perfect for those constantly on the move and in need of superfast internet.

The bezels either side of the 1920 x 1200 display are relatively slender, although above and below the screen it's a different story with chunkier bodywork on show.

If wouldn't be so bad if Huawei had stuck some front facing speakers in them, but sadly it opted for a single speaker on the rear of the phone along with a 13MP camera.

Huawei MediaPad X2 review

The earpiece for the calling functionality (I kid you not) is housed in the upper bezel, as is the 5MP front snapper.

Then there's the problem of actually answering a call on the MediaPad X2. Walk down the street with this held against your ear and you'll garner some odd looks. And once you've finished chatting it's not like you can stick it in your pocket, you need a bag to carry it round in.

If you do generally carry a bag with you a simple solution would be a Bluetooth headset, but who wears those anymore? Simply, this is too big to be a proper phone.

Huawei MediaPad X2 review

At its heart you'll find an octa-core processor and either 2GB or 3GB of RAM depending on whether you plump for 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

Either way that's more than enough grunt to run Android Lollipop, although Google's OS has been overlaid by Huawei's Emotion 3.0 UI.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Emotion UI is a sticking point for Huawei devices, with its design and style a little off the mark for many markets.

Huawei MediaPad X2 review

It comes across slightly childish, and while the removal of the app draw does make things simpler for first time users it'll likely frustrate Android purists.

The interface is slick however, and I was able to glide through homescreens and fire up apps with little effort. A couple of the applications did take a few seconds to load, but this could be down to the non-final software the X2 was running.

Huawei is promising long lasting battery life from the 5000mAh power pack stuck inside the MediaPad X2, although it was unable to give me any figures. You'll have to wait for the full review to find out how it performs.

Currently there's no word on price or release date for the MediaPad X2, but I wouldn't be surprised if it only arrived in limited markets.

Huawei MediaPad X2 review

Early verdict

It's big, brash and claiming to be a phablet, the Huawei MediaPad X2 is aiming itself at a very particular niche which I'm not convinced actually exists.

The specs are respectable, the build is actually pretty good, and as a tablet it's a decent performer - but the phone functionality all seems a little pointless.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Deputy Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and operating systems. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week (for the highest score on Super Mario Bros using a giant controller), John hasn't looked back since.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.

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