We’re out at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, and the show gets up to speed properly today. First up is the Chinese giant known as Huawei. In the last year the company has been on an absolute blitz bringing us more than just its well-known range of 3G modems, but also fantastic smartphones like the Ascend P6.
The star of the Huawei’s latest line-up was undoubtedly the Huawei MediaPad X1. The 7-inch Android tablet, which is also a smartphone, looks almost identical to the HTC One smartphone in pictures. However in the flesh the two devices could not be more different.
The MediaPad X1 is incredibly thin and light. Huawei is claiming that the 7.18mm thick tablet is the thinnest in its class as well as having tiny sub 3mm bezels around the display. All of this results in a tablet which weighs in at just 239 grams, and from the small amount of hands on time we had with the MediaPad X1 we can confidently say that it feels fantastic.
The specs are impressive on paper. A quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and a 1920X1200 display with a pixel density of 323ppi. LTE is of course a given but the 5000mAh battery pack was a welcome surprise. In practice however the OS seemed rather laggy, which considering the €399 (around R6 000) price tag is rather sad. Hopefully by the time it makes it into the hands of consumers the software has been updated to deal with the lag.
Also on show was the latest version of the Huawei’s mobile hotspot, the E5786 which is capable of 300Mbps LTE and creates a super-fast 802.11ac WiFi network for up to 10 devices.
The Huawei Ascend G6 mid-range smartphone is very similar to one of our favourite phones from last year, Huawei’s Ascend P6 in both looks and the inclusion of the all-important, front facing, 5 megapixel, ‘selfie cam’. It too has LTE on board as well as improvements to the 8 megapixel rear camera which comes from Sony. Sadly, at 7.99mm it is rather fatter than the 6.18mm Ascend P6 and the display is of a lower resolution at 540X960 pixels, down from the P6’s 720p display.
A new 8-inch LTE-enabled tablet called the MediaPad M1 also made a brief appearance along with Huawei’s first stab at wearable tech. The Huawei TalkBand B1 has a 1.4-inch OLED display similar to the Fitbit One’s and is IP57 water and dust resistant. It pops out of its wrist band to become a Bluetooth headset which is aimed at those who have the, rather conspicuous, 7-inch MediaPad X1 strapped to their heads while making a call.
All in all it looks like Huawei is on the offensive this year with a particular aim at both Apple’s iPad Mini and the Google Nexus 7 which were both compared to the MediaPad X1 at every opportunity (the MediaPad of course trumped both of its competitors at every juncture).