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Huawei's new MatePad Pro announced - but is it really an iPad Pro competitor?

The Huawei MatePad Pro
The Huawei MatePad Pro (Image credit: Future)

If you've been looking forward to the new iPad Pro 2020 there's actually another tablet coming up that might interest you too: the Huawei MatePad Pro.

We'd already heard about the Huawei MatePad Pro from its Chinese announcement in November 2019, but this global launch (to replace the non-existent MWC 2020 event) shows the company plans to release the tablet worldwide – or at least in certain non-Chinese countries.

The Huawei MatePad Pro runs on a top-end Kirin 990 chipset, which we've seen in the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and Honor View 30 Pro, and should deliver snappy processing speeds to rival the iPad Pro power. 

There's also 6GB or 8GB RAM underneath to help with that speed boost - and is a firm rival to the spec list offered by Apple.

The screen is a 10.8-inch LCD screen, which is the same tech Apple uses in its iPads (but is slightly smaller in size, and we're confirming it's the same high-end IPS LCD screen too).

This display is broken up by a punch-hole cut-out for the 8MP front-facing camera, which is matched on the back by a 13MP snapper. 

There's also the 'M Pencil', which wirelessly charges on the top of the tablet, has 4,000 levels of pressure and sensitivity to allow for a variety of sketching and allows you to tap to wake the display of your MatePad Pro tablet.

There's a 7,250mAh battery which supports a snappy 40W fast charge but also wireless charging (for if you want to try and balance the large device on a wireless power mat) and reverse wireless charging, so you can power up other devices by using the tablet as a charging pad (presumably you can't use the tablet while you do this).

If you're the proud owner of an Huawei phone, you can use the two together and operate your smartphone on your tablet and drag and drop content across the two devices.

The Huawei MatePad Pro comes in a variety of options, starting at €549 (around $600 / £470 / AU$900) and up to €799 (around $865 / £670 / AU$1300 for the base level of the higher-spec Huawei MatePad Pro 5G.

So what's the problem?

If you think this sounds like a viable alternative to the iPad Pro or Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (especially given the design and bundled accessories), there's something you should know – there are no Google apps on this tablet. 

Thanks to the Huawei ban, smartphones and tablets from Huawei don't come with Google Mobile Services, and this is the case for the MatePad Pro too.

At the moment we don't know much about the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), the company's replacement to Google apps, as no smartphones have come out with it. 

Some are expected very soon, but it remains to be seen how many productivity apps HMS comes with.

When the Huawei MatePad Pro comes out, we'll test it to see if it's a decent productivity tool despite not having access to the Google Play Store and all its apps. Stay tuned for our full review in the near future to see if this truly is an iPad competitor.