After a top-notch tablet that’s not an iPad? There’s not a lot of choice out there - especially if you’re after something you can lug around in one hand.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 has pretty much ruled the roost this year, but the MediaPad M3 8.0 might just be the slimline slate to take the top spot.
It’s a high-end upgrade to the MediaPad M2, which impressed us in 10in form back in May. The sequel gets uprated internals, a higher resolution screen, the latest version of Android, and is small enough that you don’t need two hands to use it.
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
The MediaPad M3 has a metal frame with some distinctively sliced edges, which curve around the back of the tab and make it feel that little bit thinner in your mitts. The metal back has been sandblasted down to a smooth finish, but it's actually pretty grippy. Tipping the scales at 322g, it's not going to snap your wrist if you use it with one hand.
Up front, the the white and finish and siver trim look more than a little bit like an iPad, especially with the fingerprint sensor sitting front-and-centre right where Apple slaps its home buttons.
On the back, there's more of a champagne hue, but that plastic strip around the rear camera cheapens the look. Sure, it matches other Huawei tech, but I reckon a completlely metal back would have looked cleaner.
That thin frame still leaves room for a 3.5mm jack and microSD card slot, which can also hold a SIM card if you pick up the 4G LTE version. It's only got microUSB on the bottom, though - there's no flip-reversible USB type-C here.
It isn’t the snappiest sensor Huawei makes, but the MediaPad M3’s fingerprint sensor is still pretty reliable. It takes about a second to wake the tab out of sleep mode.
The pill-like shape might look the spitting image of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 sensor, but don’t expect a clicky button. It’s just a touch-sensitive pad. Still, it does double up as a back button once you’ve unlocked the screen.
I’m still a bit undecided if Huawei has put it in the right place; when you’re holding the tab in one hand there’s no way to reach it, and the 16:9 screen ratio makes it a little too top heavy to grip by the bottom edge. At least you won’t trigger it accidentally when you’re gumballs-deep in a game of Candy Crush.