Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 review

A very good Android alternative to the iPad Mini

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Our Verdict

If you’re in the market for a premium tablet the MediaPad M5 8.4 is an easy-to-recommend alternative to the pricier iPad Mini 4. Great speakers and a bright screen make it ideal for multimedia, while it boasts an excellent design and the freshest version Google’s operating system, Oreo.

For

  • Rich, metal body
  • Excellent speakers
  • Great value

Against

  • No headphone jack
  • Last-gen processor
  • Mediocre camera performance

The MediaPad M5 8.4 is a metal-bodied iPad Mini alternative, offering Android users premium design, sound quality, power and battery life. 

If you’re wondering how big this tablet is, the clue’s in the name, with the M5 8.4 sporting an 8.4-inch portrait screen, although with identical internals and screen resolution to its bigger brother, the M5 10.8, this is definitely a case of mini and mighty from a specs point of view.

Sound quality is also excellent thanks to a stereo speaker setup, which, combined with the 2K display, gives the slate strong multimedia credentials.

The MediaPad M5 8.4 is available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage options, and there’s also microSD card support. 

The power under the hood is similar to that found in 2017’s Huawei phones, the P10 and P10 Plus, in the shape of a Kirin 960 processor paired with 4GB RAM. The entire MediaPad M5 series is also available in both Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + LTE combinations.

Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 price and availability

  • Starts at around £309
  • Don't expect to see it in the US

In the UK the entry-level 32GB MediaPad M5 8.4 with Wi-Fi only is priced at £309. That’s the only model we have pricing for right now, but based on the Euro pricing for the other models we’d expect the 64GB Wi-Fi model to come in at £350 or a bit more, and the 128GB Wi-Fi model to be around £400, with the LTE variants costing up to £50 more. 

We also expect the MediaPad M5 8.4 to come to Australia, but we don't have any word on pricing or availability yet.

Adding some context to these prices, Apple’s iPad Mini 4 starts at £399, so around £90 more than the MediaPad M5 8.4, and Huawei’s slate offers a larger, more traditional widescreen display and slightly better battery life, and so its likely to appeal to Android phone users looking for a tablet for YouTube, Netflix and the like.

Design: Good looking and comfortable to hold

  • Premium look and feel
  • No headphone jack

Machined from metal and glass, the MediaPad M5 8.4 is off to an excellent start design-wise. It’s a traditional-looking tablet with minimal distractions, and it feels as good in the hand as it looks. 

Above the 8.4-inch 2K screen on the front of the tablet are a small selfie camera and the Huawei logo, while below it is the fingerprint scanner/optional home key.

The glass curves along the very edges into the metal body adding to the rich, tactile experience. Meanwhile, the antenna strip is machined into the metal, a stylish way of making sure signal strength is solid, while no chunks of plastic disrupt the clean aesthetic.

A lone USB-C slot sits pretty on the bottom of the M5 8.4, while a headphone port is noticeably absent. All the buttons are on the right-hand side of the tablet, positioned towards the rear of the edge.

This makes them invisible when you’re looking at the tab head-on, which is a nice design touch, although expect some fumbling when trying to find them with your fingers in the first few days of using the tablet.

A beefy camera bump suggests that the MediaPad M5 8.4 packs some serious shooters, while lines of perforations along the top and bottom edges indicate the tablet’s speaker placement when held in landscape orientation. 

Screen: 2K goodness, not greatness

  • Sharp at 2K resolution
  • Good quality, though not class-leading

The Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 screen has a 2K resolution – 2560 x 1600 to be exact. To put that into context, the iPad Mini 4 has a pixel density of 324 pixels per inch, while the MediaPad 8.4 boasts 359 pixels per inch.

The M5 8.4’s IPS screen tech offers strong viewing angles and great brightness levels. You can tune the screen to suit your preference, with colour balance controls in the settings. 

There’s also a ‘Vivid’ viewing mode to boost the tablet’s saturation, giving it AMOLED-like vibrancy, even if it can’t deliver the deep, inky blacks of an AMOLED screen.

A blue light filter means eye protection is integrated at an OS level, and you can also drop the screen’s processed resolution to save a little battery.