May 10, 2012, 7:50 AM — Huawei brought its MediaPad 10 tablet to CTIA 2012. The tablet was first introduced at Mobile World Congress in February, as was the Ascend line of smartphones.
Neither has changed much since then, and both remain in limbo in terms of U.S. availability, but we did catch a few new changes in the tablet's software and hardware.
Huawei confirmed the tablet will be running the company's K3V2 1.5-GHz quad-core processor, the same as announced for its Ascend D series. The processor is based on an ARM Cortex A9, and was developed by Huawei. Huawei had not previously discussed the specifics of the processor.
The MediaPad 10 has many other noteworthy design points that still, for the time being, set it apart from the crowd. The company says it will be the slimmest LTE tablet, at 0.35 inches. The tablet's LTE band handles 150Mbps.
Four months after MWC, this model remains one of just three Android tablets announced with 1920 by 1200 pixel resolution IPS display. (Acer and Asus are the only other manufacturers to announce such high-resolution displays.)
That works out to 226 pixels per inch, which is less than the current iPad's 264 ppi, but more than the iPad 2's 132 ppi. Text looked sharp, and images looked impressive on the MediaPad 10's 10.1-inch display, even when viewed on angle.
Good Photo Handling
Even though the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version on the MediaPad was clearly pre-production, I did note--with some surprise--that the tablet did a better job at handling my personal high-resolution test photos than many of its already-shipping competition could muster.
While there was some slight sharpening and color shift as images fully rendered within the Google Gallery app, the affect wasn't nearly as pronounced as on the litany of 7-inch and 10-inch Android 4.0 tablets I've seen recently. Whether this is attributable to the MediaPad 10's processor, 2GB of memory--unique among tablets currently announced or shipping--or something else remains unknown.
Still an Attractive Tablet
What was clear is that MediaPad 10 remains as attractive as it did before, physically and in execution. Its case is primarily brushed aluminum, with white plastic accents and a pleasing weight of 1.28 pounds, 0.16-of-a-pound lighter than the 2012 third-generation iPad Wi-Fi, and 0.18-of-a-pound lighter than the iPad with 4G LTE. That weight difference is palpable when holding a tablet in one hand; I found the MediaPad reasonable to hold, unlike the current Apple iPad.
Unlike some tablets announced earlier in the year, the MediaPad 10's specs--which have remained unchanged since the specs were first discussed at Mobile World Congress--hold up well competitively even as we near the mid-year point.
Its rear-facing camera got an upgrade from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels. And Huawei's build of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) showed several useful enhancements, such as the settings shortcut and a lock-screen ring so you can more easily jump to an action.
Unfortunately, though, we still don't know anything about U.S. pricing or availability. Huawei said to look for the MediaPad 10 in the second- or third-quarter of this year, and didn't reveal anything about what it expects to sell it for. Huawei did reveal that it will be focusing on partnerships with carriers, which means we may not see a Wi-Fi-only varietal of MediaPad in the States.