Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: Good {hardware}, half-baked software program


E-readers do not fairly generate the thrill they as soon as did, so producers have been racking their brains to re-invigorate our curiosity. The reply, in response to Huawei no less than, is to take the common-or-garden e-reader, make it greater and add a stylus, thus turning it right into a digital notepad.

To be fully honest, Huawei is not the primary to do that method. That floor was properly and really damaged by the reMarkable after which the reMarkable 2, a product we’re huge followers of right here at Skilled Opinions.

The MatePad Paper, nevertheless, is altogether much less profitable. Though as you’ll quickly learn on this evaluation, that is due primarily to its software program quite than its {hardware} design.

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Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: What it is advisable know

Outwardly, the Huawei MatePad Paper has every part it must tackle the reMarkable 2. It has a big edge-lit 10.3in, 1,872 x 1,404 decision contact enabled e-ink show and stylus compatibility.

It comes with Huawei’s M-Pencil stylus within the field and also you additionally get a sensible folio cowl in your cash – each issues it’s a must to pay further for if you happen to spend money on a reMarkable gadget.

Inside, there’s 64GB of storage, which is sufficient to retailer hundreds upon hundreds of pages of notes – sufficient that you’re going to by no means want to purchase one other notepad ever once more – and it comes with options the reMarkable cannot provide, corresponding to the flexibility to document sound and play it again.

You’ll be able to even use the MatePad Paper like a pill to put in third celebration apps and browse the online, though the sluggish refresh of the e-ink show would not lend itself properly to most apps, neither is it a very slick shopping expertise.

Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: Worth and competitors

At €500 (round £420), The Huawei MatePad Paper seems like an costly product in contrast with conventional e-readers however within the context of stylus enabled tablets, it is in the precise kind of ballpark. The common Apple iPad is £319, plus £99 for the stylus and is a way more succesful gadget, though it would not provide the identical form of battery life or paper-like really feel.

The actual competitor for the MatePad Paper, although, is the Outstanding 2. Just like the Huawei gadget, it is designed as a digital notepad and it is also fairly costly at £339 plus an additional £59 or £109 for a stylus.

The reMarkable, nevertheless, is a way more restrictive gadget. You’ll be able to’t set up third celebration apps on it, document audio or immediately annotate PDFs and ebooks.

Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: Design and key options

On the options entrance, it seems as if the Huawei MatePad Paper has the reMarkable 2 crushed. Particularly as with a lot of Huawei’s {hardware} portfolio, the MatePad Paper is an attractively made gadget.

It is slim (6.7mm) and lightweight (360g) and feels solidly made. The ten.3in e-ink show on the entrance is surrounded by suitably slender bezels, with the “backbone” of the gadget on the left including an additional half centimetre or so. A wrapping of leather-effect plastic means it is quite a bit much less like a cellphone or pill within the hand and feels far more like a e-book or pill.

The ability button on the highest edge within the right-hand nook additionally doubles as a fingerprint reader, with a quantity rocker simply across the nook on the precise and the speaker grille and USB-C port on the underside. This can be utilized for both charging or information switch, which is helpful if you wish to switch a pdf file and might’t be bothered fiddling round with cloud storage.

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Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: Show and stylus

The e-ink show is sharp – it definitely must be given the 1,872 x 1,404 decision – and it has an adjustable gentle meaning you may learn and take notes at the hours of darkness. Nonetheless, it is the texture and responsiveness of the pen on the show that is extra necessary for this gadget and Huawei has positively nailed that facet.

Not solely does digital ‘ink’ seem immediately and with little or no lag as you write, however the really feel of the stylus’ nib on the display screen can be excellent: the nib slides easily over the floor of the display screen however there is a small quantity of friction, which suggests the stylus is not slipping round uncontrollably.

And whereas it would not fairly have the uncannily actual pen-on-paper really feel that the reMarkable 2 does, it’s superior to most stylus/pill combos I’ve used over time.

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Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: Writing and note-taking

Taking notes on the MatePad Paper is a simple, even satisfying affair. When you unlock the gadget, you are confronted with a easy widget-based house web page with Calendar, Notes, Inbox and Huawei Books being the default choices. Sure, you may even sync your e-mail and calendar with this factor if you wish to.

You add a brand new word by merely tapping the plus image on the Notes widget and this opens up a brand new word with lined ‘paper’, prepared so that you can begin jotting. You’ll be able to go for different paper varieties if you happen to like, with 9 choices below the “Templates” menu possibility.

There’s additionally a small choice of pen varieties to select from as properly. You’ll be able to go together with the default Ball pen or go for Fountain pen, Pencil or Marker. Every pen has three thickness choices and three “colors”: black, gray and white. The latter would possibly sound weird but it surely turns out to be useful when annotating photographs and different darker objects. And you’ll erase jottings by deciding on the Eraser software from the toolbar or double-tapping the barrel of the M-Pencil.

It’s even potential to document audio whilst you take notes, and you’ll choose sections of your handwritten notes and convert them to typed textual content for copying and pasting elsewhere. As regards to handwriting recognition, when you’ve written and saved a word, the MatePad scans it and converts it anyway, that means you may then seek for notes, not solely by their titles but in addition what you’ve written in them.

This is likely one of the huge benefits of digital note-taking gadgets just like the MatePad Paper. Alongside the flexibility to retailer hundreds of pages of notes, as soon as you’ve got written one thing down, you can find it rapidly and painlessly thereafter. I discovered the popularity labored fairly reliably more often than not, too, and was even in a position to efficiently convert my terribly spidery handwriting.

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Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: Software program and person interface

Merely writing down your ideas on digital paper and storing them, nevertheless, is only one facet of the world of digital note-taking. Having the ability to again up these notes to maintain them secure and share them between gadgets is one other. Alas, that is the place the MatePad Paper’s providing begins to crumble.

Though you may add information to your Huawei Drive individually (or OneDrive after putting in the app), e-mail them and ship them to different gadgets through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct, there appears to be no solution to routinely synchronise or again up notes to cloud storage. Regardless of linking my Huawei ID and Cell Cloud account to the gadget, all of the notes made on the MatePad remained steadfastly on the gadget.

It seems that there’s a easy clarification for this. As Huawei defined to me, the Notes app on the MatePad Paper and the Notepad app on Huawei’s telephones are separate items of software program and so notes don’t synchronise between the 2. Huawei mentioned it was engaged on offering the choice to obtain the cellphone Notepad app onto the MatePad Paper in future, however this doesn’t repair the issue of not having the ability to simply entry notes written within the MatePads Notes app on different gadgets.

That’s isn’t a whole dealbreaker but it surely isn’t nice. And there are many different issues, too. The power to document audio into your notes and add bookmarks as you go is helpful however tapping the Report icon degrades efficiency a lot that writing on the MatePad solely loses its feeling of responsiveness. Till Huawei fixes that, it’s a very ineffective function.

And whereas the Huawei MatePad Paper permits you to effortlessly annotate PDF information and ebooks there are points with this as properly. Once more, the method of scribbling your notes within the margins works fantastic; the difficulty arises whenever you wish to do something with these scribbles when you’ve made them.

There’s, for example, no straightforward method of looking out by annotations as they are not routinely transformed to searchable textual content which is odd contemplating common notes are searchable. And, whilst you can browse your annotations, discovering what you want rapidly is troublesome for the reason that MatePad lists notes by a sequence of web page thumbnails and never by any nearer context. I’d have hoped for one thing just a little cleverer than that.

Should you have been questioning if the MatePad Paper would make a great large-format e-reader, I am afraid in its present state it would not succeed. Primarily that is due to a quite daft oversight: Huawei’s e-book software program breaks strains in the midst of phrases with out discretion (even quick phrases corresponding to ‘as’ ‘the’ and ‘however’) and is totally unhyphenated.

You’ll be able to circumvent this difficulty by side-loading the Kindle app and logging into your Amazon account however then you definitely lose the flexibility to scribble in your books with the stylus. Let’s hope this little snafu is one the builders can repair pretty simply earlier than Huawei begins to ship the product within the UK.

Alas, there isn’t any getting across the last downside: battery life. Even with intermittent use, I discovered myself having to cost the MatePad Paper as soon as each two to 3 days, which to place it mildly is woefully quick for an e-ink gadget.

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Huawei MatePad Paper evaluation: Verdict

There isn’t any sidestepping the uncomfortable reality right here: the Huawei MatePad Paper is just not a product you should purchase in its present type. Though the {hardware} impresses in some respects – the M-Pencil and display screen work properly for note-taking whenever you’re not recording audio and the display screen is good and sharp – the software program is plainly not prepared for prime time.

Extra thought must be put into how annotations and notes are organised, and synchronisation must work higher; the truth is, it wants to simply work. The e-book reader app is badly in want of an replace to stop it placing line breaks in the midst of phrases like ‘and’ and ‘the’. And it will be good if you happen to might use the audio recording facility with out the entire thing slowing efficiency to a crawl.

I like the concept of the MatePad Paper and it does provide extra in the way in which of options than its foremost rival however at a worth of round £400 I am afraid I can not probably suggest it when it feels so unfinished. Should you like the concept of a digital notepad – and it does have some benefit for individuals who take numerous handwritten notes – do your self a favour and purchase a reMarkable 2 as a substitute.


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