Huawei's MediaPad M5 Lite is a stepped-down tablet to entertain kids

At CES 2019 and almost a year after introducing its MediaPad M5 line of high-powered flagship tablets, Huawei has added another: The MediaPad M5 Lite, a slate with slightly lower specs aimed to entertain kids (and protect them while they use it). 

While not much was changed in the external design – it looks nearly identical to last year’s models – the M5 Lite, unveiled at CES 2019 has been optimized for its role through software.

Kids Corner is a contained environment with cutesy animations and only a handful of simplified apps to draw, take photos and look at a media gallery. Youngsters can log in with their fingerprint, which takes them directly to the Kids Corner, which they can’t exit without a passcode (keeping them out of the rest of your apps and the internet proper).

The tablet will also nudge young users to keep the tablet a safe distance away and ask them to fix their posture, some of several settings parents can tweak (including time limits and a blue light filter) to shape their kids’ screen sessions.

Huawei also threw an M-Pen Lite in with each tablet so kids can play and draw out of the box.

A machine of compromise

The MediaPad M5 Lite makes some sacrifices to compensate – and to trim the price to $299, down from $319 for the baseline standard M5. 

Instead of a Kirin 960, the M5 Lite runs on a lower-performing Kirin 659 processor. Instead of 4GB, it has 3GB. It only has 32GB of storage (expandable via Micro SD up to 256GB). Its screen resolution is 1,920 x 1200, down from 2,560 x 1,600 in its predecessor. 

Does it matter? Only if you would need the extra performance – which kids probably won’t. But Huawei is marketing the MediaPad M5 Lite as a sort of middleground tablet that can please both parents and their kids. 

It’s hard to imagine typical users going for a tablet that’s less powerful than its predecessor at nearly the same price point. We’ll see if the M5 Lite attracts enough buyers from its intended audience of parents.

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David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.