Notebookcheck

Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 Tablet Review

Andreas Kilian (translated by Maria Vittoria Occhipinti), 11/21/2016

Evolution. The successor to the MediaPad M2 of 2015 is finally here: please welcome the MediaPad M3. The new model may have almost identical measurements to the predecessor, but it is equipped with a larger, higher resolution panel, a stronger processor and a fingerprint sensor. We will check what Huawei has to offer in our detailed review.

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Huawei MediaPad M3

For the original German review, see here.

The MediaPad M3 is one of the handiest tablets on the market, with a display that measures 8.4 inches diagonally. The tablet uses Android 6.0. The latest Kirin-950-SoC (system-on-chip), which is also available in Huawei top-class smartphone Mate 8, provides a fast response user interface. Huawei has put special emphasis on the speakers of the audio specialist Harman/Kardon. Our test device has 32 GB of internal memory and costs 349 Euros (~$370). Huawei requires a moderate surcharge of 50 Euros (~$53) for a wireless connection. The German market offers the MediaPad M3 only in silver, whereas the international market offers also the gold version.

Our test shows that on the one hand the MediaPad M3 has to compete against its predecessor and on the other, it meets the standards of several competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 and the Apple iPad Mini 4. The Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 and the Xiaomi MiPad 2 were also used for comparison.

Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch (MediaPad Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, LPDDR4
Display
8.4 inch 16:10, 2560x1600 pixel 359 PPI, IPS, Viewing angles 80°/80°/80°/80° (top/bototm/left/right), Colors: 16 million colors, Contrast: 1,500:1, Brightness: 400 nits, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 23.04 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headset jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 128 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer and Hall sensor, Gyroscope, Compass, USB-OTG, Wi-Fi Direct
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.3 x 215.5 x 124.2 ( = 0.29 x 8.48 x 4.89 in)
Battery
19.5 Wh, 5100 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix (Auto-focus f/2.0, 1080p-Video @ 30 fps)
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix (Fixfokus f/2.0, 1080p-Video @ 30 fps)
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: virtual, Power Adalpter, USB cable, slot tool, protective display foil, EMUI 4.1, Tablet-Manager, HiCare, Microsoft Apps, Facebook, Shazam, News Republic, Twitter, Booking.com, Instagram, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
310 g ( = 10.93 oz / 0.68 pounds), Power Supply: 61 g ( = 2.15 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
349 Euro

 

Case

The size of the MediaPad M3 does not differ significantly from that of its predecessor, as it measures 215.5 x 124.2 x 7.3 mm (~8.5 x 4.9 x 0.3 in). As a result, it can be held in one hand in portrait mode. According to Huawei, the weight of the model has changed from 330 to 310 grams (~11.6 to ~11 oz) - our test device weighed 322 grams (~11.4 oz), which was slightly more than indicated, thus the devices are also largely similar in this regard.

Once again, metal is used as case material, which gives the tablet a high-quality appearance thanks to its matt surface and the clean workmanship. In addition to narrow antenna strips, a white glossy surface in the area of the main camera interrupts the material, which is reminiscent of the Huawei current top-of-the-line P9 smartphone. The entire front is covered with glass, with a protective plastic film included. Unlike its predecessor, the screen has no longer a wide black frame, but a coherent white surface.

The tablet feels very stable thanks to the choice of materials, even when it is subject to a strong force or tensional distortion. The display does not deform under light pressure. However, putting pressure on the margins causes little waves to appear.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

In addition to a 3.5-mm headset jack, the MediaPad M3 is equipped with a standard micro-USB port. It is surprising that Huawei's tablet does not come with the modern USB Type-C connector like its current top smartphones do. However, a good aspect is that OTG adapters can be used to connect external devices such as external keyboards or USB sticks. On delivery, our test model had about 23 GB of internal memory free. According to Huawei, the internal memory can be increased with a microSD card of up to 128 GB. The removable disk is formatted as portable memory, which means that programs cannot be installed directly there. At least the manufacturer has changed the standard path in the settings for the SD card, but even then some apps are stored in the internal memory. However, if the user has selected the option to automatically save certain data on the SD card, at least this is transferred there.

For wireless connections, AC-WLAN and Bluetooth 4.1 can be used. The MediaPad M3 also supports image transmission via Miracast. However, this connection could not be established when using an Amazon Fire TV stick.

A small RGB notification LED light is installed to the left of the front camera. Although it is not possible to configure it by means of on-board equipment, it is still possible to control it via a third-party app.

Top: speakers, 3.5 mm audio jack
Top: speakers, 3.5 mm audio jack
Bottom: microphone, Micro USB port, speakers, microSD card reader
Bottom: microphone, Micro USB port, speakers, microSD card reader
Left: no ports
Left: no ports
Right: power button, volume rocker
Right: power button, volume rocker

Software

The MediaPad M3, as with all current Android devices from Huawei, uses the in-house user interface, EMUI. The device uses Android 6.0 and the EMUI 4.1. We still do not know when this tablet can be updated to the latest version of Android 7.0 Nougat. Huawei has modified the system significantly compared to standard Android, both in terms of appearance and handling. For example, the usual app drawer is missing and the menu (accessible through swipe gesture from the top of the screen) is divided into separate tabs for notifications and quick settings.

In addition to the mandatory Google programs and some Huawei apps, such as the Tablet Manager, the HiCare app and various tools, the MediaPad M3 also includes several pre-installed third-party apps: Facebook, Shazam, News Republic, Twitter, Booking.com, Instagram, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. If these apps are not needed, they can be uninstalled.

Homescreen
Additional Apps
App folder
Quick settings
Notifications
Tablet manager
Settings
Software version
Software version

Communication and GPS

The WLAN card of the MediaPad M3 supports the AC standard and, with a suitable access point, it provides fast data transfers. Our Linksys EA8500 reference router reached an average of 209 Mb/s when sending and receiving data. As a result, this tablet belongs more to the lower range for devices with AC-WLAN, whereas the Google Pixel XL, a high-end smartphone, provides a much higher data throughput, among other things, thanks to MIMO technology at up to 515 Mb/s. The MediaPad M3 can clearly outperform many of the devices, which support only N-WLAN, such as the Lenovo Moto Z Play. In terms of radio range, there are no complaints: in the test setup, the tablet had an above-average stable connection in both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands, even at a greater distance from the router.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel XL 2016
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 32 GB eMMC Flash
515 MBit/s ∼100% +146%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
Adreno 510, 650 MSM8956, 32 GB eMMC Flash
326 MBit/s ∼63% +56%
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 950, 32 GB eMMC Flash
209 MBit/s ∼41%
Lenovo Moto Z Play
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
121 MBit/s ∼23% -42%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel XL 2016
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 32 GB eMMC Flash
435 MBit/s ∼100% +108%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
Adreno 510, 650 MSM8956, 32 GB eMMC Flash
264 MBit/s ∼61% +26%
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 950, 32 GB eMMC Flash
209 MBit/s ∼48%
Lenovo Moto Z Play
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
112 MBit/s ∼26% -46%
GPS indoors
GPS indoors
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors

As in the case of a high-quality tablet, the MediaPad M3 also has a GPS receiver, which determines the current location with an accuracy of about 5 m (~16 ft). This performs fast both outdoors and inside buildings. In order to better assess the performance of the GPS, we took the tablet on a bike trip that we recorded in parallel with the GPS bike computer Garmin Edge 500. As with many other mobile devices, the Huawei tablet shows some inaccuracies, especially when crossing a river. However, these are within the usual parameters, thus there should be no problems when using the GPS.

MediaPad M3 – Route
MediaPad M3 – Route
MediaPad M3 – Underpass
MediaPad M3 – Underpass
MediaPad M3 – Turning point
MediaPad M3 – Turning point
Garmin Edge 500 – Route
Garmin Edge 500 – Route
Garmin Edge 500 – Underpass
Garmin Edge 500 – Underpass
Garmin Edge 500 – Turning point
Garmin Edge 500 – Turning point

Cameras

Webcam (click for original)
Webcam (click for original)
Main camera (click for original)
Main camera (click for original)

The MediaPad M3 is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera (at the front and at the back). Both cameras offer an aperture of f / 2.0 lens and are able to record full HD videos. The two cameras differ in one important aspect: while the front camera only has fixed focus, autofocus is used on the back. There is no longer an LED flash compared to the previous model. Selfie fans should be happy with the comparatively high-resolution webcam.

The picture quality is decent for tablets, even if nowadays upper-class smartphones are able to produce more motif details. Moreover, depending on the subject, high color contrasts appear, which can be clearly seen in our sample pictures, particularly in the first scene in the area of the leaves. The photo of the Lumia 950 XL proves that this is also the case in many high-end smartphones.

Video recording is very smooth and has a good picture quality. However, this decreases visibly in poor lighting conditions. The main camera’s autofocus does not work during the shooting, but the sharpness level can be regulated by touching the screen.

In the camera app, various features can be activated for the main camera, such as several live filters, scene modes (light painting, night scene, HDR, panorama etc.) and professional mode in which ISO values, white balance, focus and exposure time can be regulated manually. While some of the options are not available for the front camera, a multi-level enhancement option is selectable for selfies and effect filters.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

We checked the color accuracy of the MediaPad M3 with a capture of the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport in predetermined lighting conditions. We took the image and compared it to the reference colors. The image was not edited in any way (for example, manual white balance). While the grey levels seem neutral, most colors are far too saturated. This will create vivid, but unrealistic images.

We checked the coverage of the lens and the resolution of the camera sensor with predefined lighting of our test chart. The images drop in sharpness slightly near the borders and the slight color additions, which we had observed previously in the pictures we took, occur in areas with high contrast.

ColorChecker colors photographed. In the bottom half of each patch, the original color is shown.
ColorChecker colors photographed. In the bottom half of each patch, the original color is shown.
Part of the test photo
Part of the test photo
Test picture (click for original)
Test picture (click for original)

Accessories and Warranty

The MediaPad M3 is packed nicely and delivered with a 10-watt power adapter with a USB cable, a card slot tool and a multi-lingual manual. A cleaning cloth and a protective cover for the display are also included. A headset is not provided. Apparently, the AKG H300 headphones, which were specially developed for Huawei, should sound great with the tablet. However, these were not available at the time of testing.

The manufacturer guarantees the device for 2 years, but limits the warranty for the battery and the power adapter to 6 months.

Input Devices and Interface

For text input, the MediaPad M3 uses the Huawei Swype keyboard by default. This keyboard can be altered thanks to the many designs available and offers various gestures (which are not even available in the pre-installed Google keyboard). If you hold the device in portrait mode, the keys are relatively small but it is possible to comfortably type with the two thumbs. In landscape mode, it is hard to reach all the keys on the screen (especially near the middle). Thankfully, Huawei has thought about this issue and included a split keyboard: this would spread the keys between the two sides, allowing the user to reach them more easily.

The glass surface of the touchscreen allows the user to comfortably slide their finger and input gestures. However, we often observed that the tablet has issues when we execute multiple inputs or gestures successively. It takes one or two tries before it gets the order of inputs right. This issue cropped up mostly with the navigation keys. Otherwise, programs load quickly and contents adjust quickly to the orientation of the panel. For the home screen to turn automatically, the user must first change the launcher settings.

The physical buttons on the right side of the device are seamlessly integrated and offer a clear pressure point. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the front of the device (odd for Huawei). It works quickly and accurately. It can unlock or activate the screen and be used to navigate the screen: if you swipe the sensor horizontally, the "recently opened" Apps list is shown. A brief touch will act as the "Back" button and a long touch will send the user to the home screen. Thanks to this intelligent design, the fingerprint sensor can work as a 3-in-1 navigation interface.

Keyboard vertical
Keyboard vertical
Keyboard horizontal
Keyboard horizontal
Keyboard horizontal (split)
Keyboard horizontal (split)

Display

Subpixel ordering
Subpixel ordering

Huawei has chosen a higher resolution panel for its new generation: while the predecessor made do with a pixel density of 283 PPI, the test model offers a great pixel density of 359 PPI. The required resolution of 2560x1600 pixels is spread over an IPS panel with an 8.4-inch diagonal and a 16:10 display ratio.

But what about the brightness? At 445 cd/m² (completely white image), the test model meets the brightness level of the older MediaPad M2. A realistic and even distribution of dark and bright areas on the screen (Average Picture Level / APL 50) results in a brightness of 441 cd/m². However, with the brightness sensor turned on, the tablet can achieve up to 465 cd/m². The MediaPad M3 also has a reasonable black value, which converts to a decent contrast of 1022:1. The test model can definitely keep up with the competition. In fact, only the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 is able to trump our model by a clear margin thanks to its AMOLED display, which (theoretically) has infinite contrast.

We are very happy to observe that this display does not suffer from PWM flickers.

438
cd/m²
461
cd/m²
445
cd/m²
441
cd/m²
460
cd/m²
423
cd/m²
436
cd/m²
468
cd/m²
436
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 468 cd/m² Average: 445.3 cd/m² Minimum: 7.78 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 460 cd/m²
Contrast: 1022:1 (Black: 0.45 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.2 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 6.5 | - Ø
Gamma: 2.33
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
IPS, 2560x1600, 8.4
Huawei MediaPad M2
IPS LCD, 1920x1200, 8
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
IPS, 2048x1536, 7.9
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
Super AMOLED, 2048x1536, 8
Xiaomi MiPad 2
IPS, 2048x1536, 7.9
Apple iPad Mini 4
IPS, 2048x1536, 7.9
Screen
Brightness
445
445
0%
364
-18%
348
-22%
402
-10%
421
-5%
Brightness Distribution
90
92
2%
88
-2%
88
-2%
91
1%
91
1%
Black Level *
0.45
0.47
-4%
0.57
-27%
0.4
11%
0.58
-29%
Contrast
1022
985
-4%
677
-34%
1063
4%
709
-31%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.2
6.25
-1%
3.3
47%
1.67
73%
4.98
20%
2.15
65%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.5
6.16
5%
1.7
74%
1.75
73%
5.2
20%
2.72
58%
Gamma
2.33 103%
2.43 99%
2.42 99%
2.27 106%
2.65 91%
2.29 105%
CCT
8056 81%
7921 82%
6397 102%
6361 102%
7249 90%
7012 93%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
95.4

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6668 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 23 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 90 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
59 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 43 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 94 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (42.8 ms).

Like the display of the predecessor, the MediaPad M3 suffers from a relatively "cool picture" as it has a color temperature of 8500 K (ideal: 6500 K) with standard settings. The "Warm" preset does not change the temperature much. However, thanks to the two base presets ("Normal" and "Lively") and the adjustable color temperature (to a certain extent), every user should be able to find the right settings for themselves. Subjectively, these temperatures are barely noticeable with the naked eye.

The average DeltaE values for the test model are 7.3 (grey levels) and 6.9 (colors) with standard settings. This is significantly higher than the Apple iPad Mini 4 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. The color temperature preset "Warm" can only lower these values slightly: down to 6.5 (grey levels) and 6.2 (colors). Ideally, the panel should have values below 3.

Huawei has implemented a custom version of the blue-light filter available since Android 7. If the "eye comfort" setting is turned on, the panel is instantly tinted yellow. It is a little disconcerting that we can observe a yellow border while scrolling slowly through black text (such as reading a website).

Grey levels (Standard, sRGB)
Grey levels (Standard, sRGB)
Mixed colors (Standard, sRGB)
Mixed colors (Standard, sRGB)
Saturation (Standard, sRGB)
Saturation (Standard, sRGB)
Color space (Standard, sRGB)
Color space (Standard, sRGB)
Color space (Standard, AdobeRGB)
Color space (Standard, AdobeRGB)
Grey levels (Warm, sRGB)
Grey levels (Warm, sRGB)
Mixed colors (Warm, sRGB)
Mixed colors (Warm, sRGB)
Saturation (Warm, sRGB)
Saturation (Warm, sRGB)

Thanks to the relatively high brightness of the display, the MediaPad M3 is comfortable to use outdoors. Reflections and direct sunlight will reduce legibility slightly, but the user should be able to continue working with the tablet.

Outdoors use with clouds
Outdoors use with clouds
Outdoors use with direct sunlight
Outdoors use with direct sunlight

The IPS panel of the test model ensures that colors look decent, even at flat viewing angles. However, the brightness does drop slightly. Depending on the position of the viewer, dark areas may also get brighter.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The test model has made significant advances since the previous generation: the MediaPad M2 relied on the Kirin 930 (8x relatively weaker Cortex A57 cores) and the new model employs the Kirin 950 SoC. The processor has four conservative Cortex A57 cores and four fast Cortex A72 cores. We are familiar with this SoC, as we have previously tested it in the Honor 8 and the Huawei Mate 8. The tablet is equipped with 4 GB of RAM and a Mali T880 GPU.

As expected, the test model can clearly outperform the predecessor in all benchmarks. Furthermore, it can hold its own against the competition in Geekbench 4, AnTuTu v6 and Basemark OS II. Sadly, it performs weaker in PCMark and lands in the second-last spot. Pure graphics benchmarks, such as, 3DMark and GFXBench, allow the iPad Mini 4 and the ZenPad 3 8.0 to shine brighter than our test model.

Geekbench 4.0
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
3144 Points ∼38%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
3121 Points ∼38% -1%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
5277 Points ∼19%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
2691 Points ∼10% -49%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
1726 Points ∼31%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
1480 Points ∼26% -14%
AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
86735 Points ∼38%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
71734 Points ∼31% -17%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
73083 Points ∼32% -16%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
5204 Points ∼63%
Huawei MediaPad M2
4358 Points ∼53% -16%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
6018 Points ∼73% +16%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
5564 Points ∼67% +7%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
5279 Points ∼64% +1%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
1022 Points ∼66%
Huawei MediaPad M2
754 Points ∼49% -26%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
873 Points ∼57% -15%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
952 Points ∼62% -7%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
952 Points ∼62% -7%
Apple iPad Mini 4
1059 Points ∼69% +4%
Graphics (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
1302 Points ∼15%
Huawei MediaPad M2
820 Points ∼10% -37%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
1651 Points ∼19% +27%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
876 Points ∼10% -33%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
1609 Points ∼19% +24%
Apple iPad Mini 4
2668 Points ∼31% +105%
System (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
3581 Points ∼54%
Huawei MediaPad M2
1870 Points ∼28% -48%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
2076 Points ∼32% -42%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
2764 Points ∼42% -23%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
1921 Points ∼29% -46%
Apple iPad Mini 4
3132 Points ∼48% -13%
Overall (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
1800 Points ∼47%
Huawei MediaPad M2
1093 Points ∼29% -39%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
1475 Points ∼39% -18%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
1044 Points ∼28% -42%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
1419 Points ∼37% -21%
Apple iPad Mini 4
1681 Points ∼44% -7%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
29 fps ∼2%
Huawei MediaPad M2
15 fps ∼1% -48%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
34 fps ∼3% +17%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
24 fps ∼2% -17%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
32 fps ∼2% +10%
Apple iPad Mini 4
47.8 fps ∼4% +65%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
23 fps ∼5%
Huawei MediaPad M2
14 fps ∼3% -39%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
27 fps ∼6% +17%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
29 fps ∼6% +26%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
13 fps ∼3% -43%
Apple iPad Mini 4
37 fps ∼8% +61%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
13 fps ∼2%
Huawei MediaPad M2
7.8 fps ∼1% -40%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
15 fps ∼3% +15%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
10.4 fps ∼2% -20%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
8.4 fps ∼2% -35%
Apple iPad Mini 4
21.5 fps ∼4% +65%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
9 fps ∼2%
Huawei MediaPad M2
7.8 fps ∼2% -13%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
11 fps ∼3% +22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
11 fps ∼3% +22%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
6.3 fps ∼2% -30%
Apple iPad Mini 4
15.3 fps ∼4% +70%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
7.7 fps ∼2%
Huawei MediaPad M2
0 fps ∼0% -100%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
9.5 fps ∼2% +23%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
13 fps ∼3% +69%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
4.2 fps ∼2%
Huawei MediaPad M2
0 fps ∼0% -100%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
6.1 fps ∼3% +45%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
6.3 fps ∼4% +50%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
2322 Points ∼77%
Huawei MediaPad M2
1019 Points ∼34% -56%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
1450 Points ∼48% -38%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
1559 Points ∼52% -33%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
1572 Points ∼52% -32%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
832 Points ∼15%
Huawei MediaPad M2
55 Points ∼1% -93%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
781 Points ∼15% -6%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
612 Points ∼11% -26%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
1261 Points ∼23% +52%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
970 Points ∼25%
Huawei MediaPad M2
70 Points ∼2% -93%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
870 Points ∼22% -10%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
707 Points ∼18% -27%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
1319 Points ∼34% +36%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
15538 Points ∼22%
Huawei MediaPad M2
10447 Points ∼15% -33%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
11568 Points ∼16% -26%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
17240 Points ∼24% +11%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
20142 Points ∼28% +30%
Apple iPad Mini 4
9844 Points ∼14% -37%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
22141 Points ∼5%
Huawei MediaPad M2
11984 Points ∼3% -46%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
22306 Points ∼5% +1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
20006 Points ∼4% -10%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
27537 Points ∼6% +24%
Apple iPad Mini 4
25254 Points ∼6% +14%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
20230 Points ∼10%
Huawei MediaPad M2
11605 Points ∼6% -43%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
18491 Points ∼9% -9%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
19317 Points ∼10% -5%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
25460 Points ∼13% +26%
Apple iPad Mini 4
18737 Points ∼10% -7%

Legend

 
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch HiSilicon Kirin 950, ARM Mali-T880 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei MediaPad M2 HiSilicon Kirin 930, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 MSM8956, Qualcomm Adreno 510, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP6, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Xiaomi MiPad 2 Intel Atom x5-Z8500, Intel HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad Mini 4 Apple A8, PowerVR GX6450, 64 GB SSD

In the browser test, the Kirin chip finds its stride: the MediaPad M3 and the Apple iPad Mini 4 compete for the throne. Obviously, the MediaPad M2 takes the last spot. As such, we believe Huawei has done their homework and made great advancement with their latest generation.

Subjectively, the surfing experience is great on this tablet: complex websites are loaded quickly and user input is recognized reliably. 

Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
2822.9 ms * ∼5%
Huawei MediaPad M2
11543.5 ms * ∼19% -309%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
3803.2 ms * ∼6% -35%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
6512 ms * ∼11% -131%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
4420.4 ms * ∼7% -57%
Apple iPad Mini 4
2557 ms * ∼4% +9%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
11404 Points ∼23%
Huawei MediaPad M2
3866 Points ∼8% -66%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
8349 Points ∼17% -27%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
7097 Points ∼14% -38%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
7994 Points ∼16% -30%
Apple iPad Mini 4
9962 Points ∼20% -13%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
136 Points ∼18%
Huawei MediaPad M2
67 Points ∼9% -51%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
103 Points ∼14% -24%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
79 Points ∼11% -42%
Apple iPad Mini 4
144 Points ∼19% +6%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
53.7 Points ∼16%
Huawei MediaPad M2
23 Points ∼7% -57%
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
45.9 Points ∼14% -15%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
40.298 Points ∼12% -25%
Xiaomi MiPad 2
43.039 Points ∼13% -20%

* ... smaller is better

The 32 GB internal memory of the MediaPad M3 performs better than the memory of the predecessor in all areas. In fact, the memory is so fast, it is a threat to competitors: the sequential read rate matches that of the Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. The sequential write of our test model is even better, as only the ZenPad is able to keep up (the latter is also ahead in random read tests). Our test model loves random write tests: it outperforms all the competitors. It is clear that the MediaPad M3 has a great memory. Our statement is further strengthened by the excellent scores of the BaseMark OS II Memory test.

We also tested the microSD  card reader. When we insert our reference memory card, the Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 (THN-M401S0640E2, UHS-I Class 3, max. read: 95 MB/s, max. write: 80 MB/s), the test model offers a read speed of 61.65 MB/s and a write rate of 23.52 MB/s. Although the  card reader cannot utilize the full potential of our reference card, it can outperform the Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 and is, thus, a decent reader. Of course, high-end smartphones have faster  card readers.

Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inchHuawei MediaPad M2Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001ASamsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTEXiaomi MiPad 2Apple iPad Mini 4
AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
23.52
20.61
-12%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
61.65
39.62
-36%
Random Write 4KB
31.35
13.44
-57%
6.91
-78%
9.68
-69%
13.96
-55%
Random Read 4KB
32.04
25.09
-22%
52.02
62%
25.53
-20%
24.42
-24%
Sequential Write 256KB
117.15
40.72
-65%
116.62
0%
47.45
-59%
56.37
-52%
Sequential Read 256KB
249.68
144.99
-42%
252.3
1%
248.34
-1%
147.85
-41%
BaseMark OS II
Memory
2212
1235
-44%
1590
-28%
593
-73%
1379
-38%
902
-59%

Games

The Mali T880 GPU runs all the games on our test model. This chip supports modern standards, such as OpenGL ES 3.1. In our previous tests (Honor 8 and Huawei Mate 8), this chip provided a smooth gaming experience. However, this statement may no longer hold true, as our test model has a much higher resolution. “Asphalt 8” stutters significantly at high settings and therefore, we had to lower the graphics to run the game smoothly. However, other hardware-hungry games, such as, “Dead Trigger 2” run smoothly, even at high settings. 

For a better experience, the user can lower the resolution. To do this, they must active the "ROG battery saver mode" setting in the battery manager. This will limit the resolution to 1920x1200 pixels and, although the picture will lose some sharpness due to interpolation, the graphics card will have a much easier time running games.

If you hold the tablet horizontally (with the power button on top), the speakers can provide unmuffled sound. We appreciate the fact that the internal sensors and the touchscreen work without issues.

Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high20 fps
 very low29 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high44 fps

Emissions

Temperature

Under load, the MediaPad M3 reaches a comfortable maximum outer temperature of 34.8 °C (~95 °F). Many other tablets, such as, the Apple iPad Mini 4 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0, exceed the 40 °C (~104 °F) mark (this is also not bad). While idle, the test model has average temperature emissions for this class.

Does Huawei keep the tablet cool by throttling the hardware? We ran the battery test of GFXBench to check the tablet’s performance level during a long-term test. For this test, we ran the Manhattan 3.1 test 30 times consecutively. After every run, we noted the battery level and the performance. With a maximum performance drop of 4% in the second run, it is easy to see that the tablet does a good job of pushing the hardware and keeping its cool. As such, gamers can enjoy longer sessions with their favorite games.

GFXBench Manhattan: Performance
GFXBench Manhattan: Performance
GFXBench Manhattan: Frametimes
GFXBench Manhattan: Frametimes
GFXBench Manhattan: Battery consumption
GFXBench Manhattan: Battery consumption
Max. Load
 31.5 °C31.7 °C34.4 °C 
 32.6 °C32 °C34 °C 
 33 °C32.2 °C34.8 °C 
Maximum: 34.8 °C
Average: 32.9 °C
29.8 °C30.9 °C31.4 °C
29.7 °C30.5 °C31.7 °C
29.7 °C31.4 °C32.9 °C
Maximum: 32.9 °C
Average: 30.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  31.8 °C | Room Temperature 21.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-260
MediaPad M3 Wärmebild
MediaPad M3 Wärmebild

Speakers

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

As with the MediaPad M2, the test model uses stereo speakers with the Harman/Kardon label. At 88 dB(A), the speakers have a nice maximum volume. However, we would not recommend the use of the last volume level, as the sound gets considerably worse. If you limit yourself to the typical volume levels for a room, the tablet will provide decent sound. We particularly liked the stereo effect and well-rounded sound profile. Sadly, when playing music, the lack of low tones is clearly noticeable. This is a typical problem for mobile devices.

If you compare the pink noise diagram of the test model to that of the Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 (also stereo speakers), the differences are clear: the Huawei tablet has a stronger sound in the 200 to 4000 Hz range, but the Asus device does a better job above this range.

While listening to music via the 3.5 mm audio jack, we could hear a slight clicking noise between songs. The sound was otherwise clear. It is unfortunate that the tablet did not come with a headset.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.638.82525.437.23125.328.94032.930.85033.641.76331.632.88028.429.21002722.612520.828.61602242.920021.349.925020.851.131521.260.140019.46750019.570.463017.771.480017.972.6100017.875.5125017.375.3160017.475.5200016.775.3250017.277.8315018.281.7400017.979.3500017.670.9630017.765.9800017.867.71000017.962.71250018.151.91600018.247.7SPL3088N1.369.4median 17.9Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inchmedian 67.7Delta1.312.331.640.525.431.725.333.432.935.333.649.431.63428.426.22727.120.827.82234.821.343.120.849.121.254.719.458.219.56617.765.317.967.317.872.317.370.617.468.316.767.317.272.718.270.817.974.117.676.517.779.317.87917.973.118.160.418.252.33085.71.362.7median 17.9Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001Amedian 67.31.311.3hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (88 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 6.5% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (24% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 59% of all tested devices in this class were better, 17% similar, 24% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 21%, worst was 33%
Compared to all devices tested
» 62% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 30% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.71 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 27.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.8% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (23.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 55% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 34% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 21%, worst was 33%
Compared to all devices tested
» 58% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 35% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram in comparison (checkboxes above can selected!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

As expected, the tablet requires a lot more power than the predecessor due to its stronger processor and higher-resolution display. In comparison to the competition, the test model lands in the middle of the table and offers no highlights in this section.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.38 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.51 / 3.64 / 3.68 Watt
Load midlight 6.95 / 9.11 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
5100 mAh
Huawei MediaPad M2
4.800 mAh
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
4680 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
4000 mAh
Xiaomi MiPad 2
6190 mAh
Apple iPad Mini 4
5124 mAh
Power Consumption
14%
14%
-13%
-44%
13%
Idle Minimum *
1.51
1.4
7%
1.01
33%
2
-32%
3.33
-121%
0.8
47%
Idle Average *
3.64
3.3
9%
2.71
26%
3.6
1%
5.01
-38%
3.6
1%
Idle Maximum *
3.68
3.4
8%
2.75
25%
4
-9%
5.19
-41%
3.9
-6%
Load Average *
6.95
5.5
21%
7.28
-5%
8.2
-18%
8.32
-20%
6.1
12%
Load Maximum *
9.11
7
23%
10.02
-10%
9.9
-9%
9.33
-2%
8
12%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The battery capacity of our test model has been increased from the previous generation: an increase of 300 mAh to bring the total capacity up to 5100 mAh. However, the larger battery cannot compensate in all areas for the increased consumption. For example, the MediaPad M2 can last much longer than our test model while running at load, idle or playing videos. However, in our WLAN test, the test model was able to tackle the competition and take the crown. Sadly, it gives up the top spot all too easily: in terms of maximum battery life and the video playback life (playing Big Buck Bunny looped), the MediaPad M3 cuts out before the competition. Overall, our device has some strengths and some weaknesses.

The OS kills background Apps when the tablet is put in standby mode (to save battery life). Apps, which should be excluded from this regular purge, need to be added to a list. The tablet also has battery modes ("Intelligent" and "Performance"), but these barely affect the remaining life.

The included 10-watt power adapter requires 3 and half hours to charge the tablet.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 30min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
9h 06min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 43min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 28min
Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch
5100 mAh
Huawei MediaPad M2
4.800 mAh
Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 Z581KL-1A001A
4680 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
4000 mAh
Xiaomi MiPad 2
6190 mAh
Apple iPad Mini 4
5124 mAh
Battery Runtime
22%
-4%
10%
-23%
8%
Reader / Idle
1110
1546
39%
1147
3%
1399
26%
1488
34%
H.264
583
727
25%
574
-2%
780
34%
643
10%
WiFi v1.3
546
525
-4%
470
-14%
442
-19%
421
-23%
539
-1%
Load
268
343
28%
263
-2%
265
-1%
242
-10%

Pros

+ decent workmanship
+ sturdy metal case
+ microSD slot
+ USB OTG functionality
+ high-resolution, bright display
+ practical fingerprint reader
+ good stereo speakers
+ low heat emissions
+ great browser performance
+ protective display foil included

Cons

- GPU is overburdened when running demanding games
- only Micro USB 2.0 available
- no LED flash
- no headset in delivery
- no NFC

Verdict

In Review: Huawei MediaPad M3 (BTV-W09). Test model provided by Huawei Germany.
In Review: Huawei MediaPad M3 (BTV-W09). Test model provided by Huawei Germany.

The Huawei MediaPad M2 was a reliable device with a few weak points. The manufacturer has continued on this path and built a new generation on the reliable foundations of the predecessor. With its sturdy metal case and nice speakers, this handy tablet matches its predecessor in many ways. However, Huawei has made strategic improvements: the main camera and the SoC are more powerful and the IPS display has a higher resolution. Sadly, the last two additions come with undesirable side effects: games are not always able to run smoothly at the native resolution and the battery (despite having a 300 mAh larger capacity) is depleted faster than before in certain disciplines. Thankfully, the tablet offers great battery life while surfing the web (WLAN battery test). We appreciate the addition of the fingerprint sensor as it makes unlocking the device that much easier.

The MediaPad M3 is a handy tablet, which has few weaknesses. Thanks to the great workmanship, the bright and high-resolution panel and the fast browser performance, this tablet can serve users well for their everyday tasks.

If you are still not convinced, we recommend spending some time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0. That tablet offers a slim casing and a high contrast AMOLED display with a 4:3 format. However, the tablet does not offer a good quality front camera.

Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 inch - 11/16/2016 v5.1
Andreas Kilian

Chassis
87%
Keyboard
72 / 80 → 90%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
43 / 65 → 66%
Weight
86 / 88 → 96%
Battery
91%
Display
83%
Games Performance
42 / 68 → 61%
Application Performance
58 / 76 → 76%
Temperature
92%
Noise
100%
Audio
71 / 91 → 78%
Camera
65 / 85 → 76%
Average
75%
87%
Tablet - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Huawei MediaPad M3 8.4 Tablet Review
Andreas Kilian, 2016-11-21 (Update: 2016-11-26)