Huawei’s new MatePads come with HarmonyOS, OLED screens, and lots of iPad qualities

The biggest competitor to Apple’s iPad is here, at least according to Huawei.

Huawei’s got a trio of new tablets that’ll soon start shipping, and they’re all based on the company’s new HarmonyOS. The devices in question are called the MatePad 11 and MatePad Pro which comes in two sizes. All three sport pretty beefy specs, OLED screens, and very iPad-esque designs.

In fact, it’s abundantly clear that Huawei is targeting potential buyers of Apple’s iPad Air and Pro lines with their new MatePads. It’s also clear that Huawei wants you to think it can survive without proper Android app support – the new HarmonyOS, while clearly based on Android, doesn’t come with the Play Store or Google services due to issues with the U.S. government that I won’t be detailing in this article.

In a tablet world dominated by iPads, Huawei definitely wants to be the number two guy, and these tablets are the best proof of that yet.

The MatePad 11 has a 10.95-inch screen, the smaller MatePad Pro gets a 10.8-inch screen, and the larger Pro model has a sizable 12.6-inch panel. Both of the Pro models boast OLED displays while the MatePad 11 has an LCD. All three have the same resolution, at least: 2560×1600.

Refresh rates are kind of scattered, oddly enough. The 10.8-inch Pro has a 120Hz refresh rate, and so does the MateBook 11. But the largest 12.6-inch model sticks with a 60Hz refresh rate, and I have no idea why.

Processors are also kind of haywire, but at least they’re powerful. The MatePad 11 has a Snapdragon 865 from last year, the smaller MatePad Pro gets a Snapdragon 870, and the larger Pro has a Kirin 9000E chip. The MatePad 11 has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the Pros get 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of space.

The designs of the tablets, on the other hand, are incredibly consistent. 16:9 screens with minimal bezels are all the rage on these new MatePads, and they look very similar to what Apple did with the iPad Pro and Air. At least the Huawei tablets have the webcam in the right place: along the longest edge of the tablet instead of the shortest.

Around each device, you’ll find a plethora of extras like multiple rear cameras, stereo speakers, and USB-C for data and power. Speaking of power, the MatePad 11 has a 7,250mAh battery with 22.5W fast charging, the smaller Pro model has an identical power pack but with 40W fast charging and 27W wireless charging, and the largest Pro has a 10,000mAh battery.

And then there’s the software. Huawei’s HarmonyOS has plenty of features to keep you busy. It includes the company’s phone mirroring technology that can now let you interact with your tablet on compatible Huawei laptops, M-Pencil support with a new FreeNote feature, and an updated dock that can spring to life whenever you need to jump between apps (y’know, just like an iPad).

But Huawei wants you to forget it’s based on Android. That won’t work for very long, I’m afraid, since The Verge was able to install an Android APK as if the MatePad Pro was any other Android tablet. Huawei isn’t talking about the core of HarmonyOS right now for various reasons, but it’s likely mainly to take Google out of the heads of those who might be interested in the tablet.

In China, Google’s services are banned anyway, so folks there shouldn’t have any problem with the limited AppGallery store and app support. However, people in other territories where Huawei is a dominant player like Europe will certainly feel the effects of this limited OS, and it’s unclear when/if that might change.

Huawei says the MatePad 11 will start at €399 in Europe, while the Pro models start at €799. The devices will launch in the coming weeks, with a confirmed release date in China on June 10 for the MatePad Pros.

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