Huawei MatePad Pro and MatePad 11 tablets unveiled with HarmonyOS on board

Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6
The Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) (Image credit: TechRadar)

Huawei has just unveiled not one or two but three new tablets, in the form of the Huawei MatePad Pro 10.8 (2021), Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021), and Huawei MatePad 11, and there really is a lot that’s new about them, most notably the operating system.

That’s because as expected these are the first Huawei tablets to launch with HarmonyOS – the company’s new operating system that it’s using in place of Android due to the ban placed on it by the US government.

This change doesn’t immediately solve the issue of a lack of apps, but if enough manufacturers and developers take to it then over time it might, and even now the app selection isn’t terrible – much as it isn’t on recent Huawei phones, it’s just not a match for the Google Play Store.

Embracing Snapdragon

Operating system aside, another big difference here is the chipsets used, with the 10.8-inch Huawei MatePad Pro using a Snapdragon 870 chipset and the MatePad 11 using a Snapdragon 865. That’s a change because Huawei tablets typically use the company’s Kirin chipsets, but the ban placed on the company has complicated that as well.

Still, this isn’t necessarily a bad change, as Snapdragon chipsets generally benchmark better than Kirin ones – though these aren’t quite top-end chips. For that, you’ll need the 12.6-inch MatePad Pro, which does still have a Huawei chipset in the form of the Kirin 9000E.

We don’t yet know much else about the smaller MatePad Pro (which so far has only been mentioned by The Verge), but we do know more about the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021). That slate has a 1600 x 2560 OLED screen with a 60Hz refresh rate, a 10,050mAh battery which can apparently play video for 14 hours on a single charge, 40W wired charging, 27W wireless charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging.

Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6

The Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (Image credit: TechRadar)

The 12.6-inch MatePad Pro also has eight speakers, which is double what you’ll find on most slates, plus a triple-lens rear camera (consisting of a 13MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, and time-of-flight sensor). There's a selfie camera that’s built into the long edge of the slate, making it ideally positioned for landscape video calls, and there’s also 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage.

The tablet additionally supports a keyboard cover and Huawei’s M Pen stylus, complete with some new features, such as a FreeNote feature that lets you hand-write into dialog boxes and have it automatically converted into typed text.

As for the Huawei MatePad 11, that - according to Trusted Reviews - has a 10.95-inch 1600 x 2560 screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, plus a battery life of 12 hours. So there’s a lot that we still don’t know about this one.

One big question about all of these slates is when and where they’ll be available, as Huawei hasn’t yet confirmed those details. We’d think a US launch is unlikely, but we imagine at least some of them will probably land in the UK, and maybe also Australia. As soon as we find out for sure – and find out how much they cost – we’ll let you know.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.