Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 in for review

Say hello to the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 – Huawei’s newest and most premium tablet to counter the likes of the Apple iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+.

There are a few notable things about the MatePad Pro – it runs on Huawei’s Harmony OS 2.0 instead of Android, has a Kirin 9000E chipset, supports Huawei’s M-Pencil and Smart Magnetic Keyboard, and is built around a gorgeous 12.6-inch OLED screen.

In the box the MatePad Pro comes alongside a USB cable, 40W charger and a USB to 3.5mm dongle.

For the first time ever, Huawei has preloaded its own Harmony OS 2.0 on a tablet, instead of Android, but the change isn’t as dramatic as it sounds.

The main interface is very similar to what you’d find on an Android or iOS tablet – you get apps on multiple homescreens, a dock below and most recently used apps next to it. A swipe on the upper left of the homescreen brings notifications and from the upper right a quick menu with toggles and a brightness slider.

You can use up to four apps on the screen at once (only supported apps) for split-screen multitasking.

Let’s address the elephant in the room – the Huawei MatePad Pro doesn’t support Google Play Services, but you can actually install Android apps on this tablet either via the Huawei AppGallery or by side-loading them. Downloading an APK and installing it works for some apps.

Harmony OS on the Huawei MatePad Pro

The Huawei MatePad Pro becomes a formidable device with the addition of the Huawei M-Pencil and Smart Magnetic Keyboard, normally sold separate. The M-Pencil retails for €99, but will likely come bundled with the MatePad Pro, while the Smart Magnetic Keyboard is €129.99 on its own.

Huawei’s M-Pencil and Smart Magnetic Keyboard

The M-Pencil needs to pair with the MatePad Pro before you can use it. It attaches magnetically to the side of the slate and holds very firmly. The M-Pencil has up to 10 hours of battery and recharges while on the side of the tablet or through its own magnetic charger. It fits wonderfully in the hand and is a joy to use as a pen for note taking.

For those that prefer taking notes with a dedicated keyboard the Smart Magnetic Keyboard is a great tool. Keys give out a responsive tactile feel and have reasonable travel for such an accessory. We immediately fell into the habit of using typical keyboard shortcuts like Alt + Tab and return to homescreen with the Apps + D button (analogous to the Windows shortcut).

Using both accessories with the MatePad Pro

There’s a lot more to cover so stick around for our detailed review of the Huawei MatePad Pro!


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