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HUAWEI MatePad 11.5"S Quick Review - PaperMatte Display, PC-like experience under PHP 30K

Tech giant HUAWEI's newest premium tablet offering in the country is the MatePad 11.5"S.
This is the new HUAWEI MatePad 11.5"S

According to the company, this tablet provides a near PC-like experience for office work, documentation, creators, relaxation, and even creatives thanks to its improved HUAWEI PaperMatte display with support for its new generation stylus and capable overall configuration.

The device comes with an SRP of PHP 29,999 with plenty of freebies like the HUAWEI Smart Magnetic Keyboard (PHP 6,999), HUAWEI M-Pencil (PHP 5,999), HUAWEI Bluetooth Mouse (PHP 1,899), and PC-Level WPS Office (PHP 4,999).

Here's what we think about it.

Build Quality/Design

The new HUAWEI MatePad 11.5"S arrived in an all-metal construction with nice curves on the corners and slightly chamfered edges. The back is also textured making it not that prone to unwanted fingerprint smudges.
Back design of the tablet
Back design of the tablet

There is a slight hump at the back to house its back camera. With the keyboard case, you won't need to worry about it that much.

In front, the device has an 11.5-inch TFT LCD (IPS) HUAWEI PaperMatte Display. The size of its bezels is identical on all corners. It is reasonably slim, but not too slim which prevents accidental touches on the panel. Just right.

The tablet is generally compact for its screen size measuring 261.0 x 177.3 mm. It is also very slim and lightweight at 6.2 mm and 510 grams, respectively.
Easy to carry even with the keyboard case
Easy to carry even with the keyboard case

Even with the case, it is very easy to fit in most bags even ladies' sling bags and some everyday tech crossbody bags.

What could be improved for its next releases is the inclusion of an IP rating for protection against accidental water splashes and dust.

There is also no mention of glass protection, but thankfully, its screen is not prone to hairline scratches so far.
2x speakers with the power key
2x speakers with the power key
2x speakers with the USB-C port
2x speakers with a USB-C port
Power key with the microphones
Power key with the microphones

All of its buttons and ports are strategically priced as well. The volume rocker is very easy to reach on the side (portrait mode) or on top (landscape mode). The power and the speakers are strategically placed as well.

Multimedia Experience

The PaperMatte display
The PaperMatte display

For me, the primary highlight of the tablet is its display.

In particular, the tablet boasts a beautiful 11.5-inch TFT LCD (IPS) with HUAWEI's new-generation PaperMatte Display technology.

The new-generation PaperMatte display uses a nanoscale anti-glare etching technology that promises to eliminate 99 percent of light interference.

Almost no glare, but the picture quality is still GREAT

Their claims are legitimate as the display of this tablet has almost no glare for outdoor use and even under direct sunlight. When I tried the 150W studio lights, the glare was just minimal and the display is still very much viewable with readable text.
Great colors even for outdoor use
Great colors even for outdoor use

HUAWEI also highlighted that it has magnetron nano optical layers that reduce screen reflectivity by 60 percent and comes with pixel-level precise matching to make the display as clear as possible.

In addition, the display now has a 30 to 144Hz adaptive refresh rate and a crisper 2.8K 2800 x 1840 resolution versus the previous generation HUAWEI PaperMatte tablet.

So generally, even if its display is matte, the colors are great.

To complement its nice display, HUAWEI ensures that the device is packed with great speakers.

My comment is you can only stream high-definition content on YouTube, Viu, and iQIYI.

It only has Widevine L3, so you cannot stream HD Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+.

In particular, the tablet features 4 speakers in total and it is one of the nicest I've tried for the size. It's loud, rich in details, and quite full-sounding. It's not audiophile grade, but this even sounds fuller with better clarity and stronger and deeper bass than most slim laptops we tested at the same price point.

Again, we compared its speakers with laptops and this is a tablet. It's that capable.

What's missing is a 3.5mm headphone slot. So, to use my favorite earphones, I still use a 3.5mm dongle. Personally, I would still like it better if my tablet had a dedicated headphone slot. Maybe even make it Hi-Res certified to further improve the overall multimedia experience of its users.

Overall, its combination of a nice display and capable speakers made the tablet great for watching Netflix, Prime Video, Viu, YouTube, and other content either on the go or at home.

Of course, listening to your favorite tunes on YouTube Music, Spotify, and Apple Music is fun on this device as well.
M-Pencil (3rd generation) on its PaperMatte panel
M-Pencil (3rd generation) on its PaperMatte panel

Going back to its touchscreen display, this device supports the company's M-Pencil (3rd generation) which you can get for FREE when you pre-ordered this device.

The texture is paper-like!

This is the company's latest generation stylus with NearLink technology support. NearLink is HUAWEI's new generation short-range wireless connection technology offering lower power consumption, up to 6x higher speed than Bluetooth with low latency, and better overall connectivity.

All you need to do is attach the stylus on the top corner part of the tablet on landscape mode and tap connect. You can also charge the stylus magnetically there.

In our experience, the M-Pencil is a joy to use on its display. Using HUAWEI's self-developed GoPaint app, the painting experience feels like an actual brush even if the tip I'm using is more like a pen or a pencil and it is really like writing or painting on paper.

The stroke is easy and smooth. HUAWEI's display here is the closest thing I've tried that is near paper-like.

Unfortunately, I'm not the artistic type of person. But if you are, I'm pretty sure that you will enjoy using this tablet for your digital paintings.

As a quick recap, GoPaint has over 100+ professional brushes, a lot of paper-like canvasses, plenty of graphic tools, and shortcut gestures, and comes with the FangTian Painting Engine allowing the app to support a myriad of layers.
Good for notetaking?
Good for notetaking?

Thankfully, it is not the end of the world for me as I can still maximize its stylus on HUAWEI Notes. HUAWEI Notes is a pretty powerful notetaking app with Note Replay, Color change with lasso, Color capture, and Instant Shape.


The back camera
The camera

At the back, the tablet features a 13MP f/1.8 main shooter with autofocus.
Daylight cam 1
Daylight cam 1
Daylight cam 2
Daylight cam 2

It takes reasonably crisp images with nice colors in daylight and indoor shots. The exposure is a little dimmer than what I wanted and expect some grain in low light snaps.
Selfie camera sample
Selfie camera sample

In front, it uses an 8MP snapper with f/2.0 aperture. It supports both regular photo and Beauty modes. The Beauty mode could be adjusted depending on your preference.

Again, it is advisable to use this camera in a well-lit lighting condition for better results. 

In daylight, the output is crisp. The skin tone is closer to natural-looking.

The sample snaps we took on both cameras are not spectacular, but they are pretty decent and could compete with most similar-priced tablet cameras.

Both the back and front cameras can record up to 1080p 30fps videos. In front, the angle is quite wide making it suitable for video calls.


AnTuTu score
AnTuTu score

Going to the performance, the device runs with the Kirin 9000WL fabbed under the 7nm manufacturing process. It is paired with the Maleoon 910 GPU and Maleoon 910 GPU.
Geekbench score
Geekbench score

Benchmark scores don't give the tablet justice as it didn't score that high at AnTuTu, Geekbench, and more.

But, in actual performance, the device is snappy and smooth in all of the non-gaming tasks we are doing. It runs multiple apps at the same time with ease, can do split screens even with background apps with ease, and can run most of the content creation tools we use.

It is even quite fast when rendering videos via CapCut Pro. Yes, even 4K 60fps videos. For example, a 35-second clip only needed 36 seconds to render.

However, it won't be able to run the newer demanding games like Genshin Impact on higher settings.
Tablet control panel
Tablet control panel

For connectivity via WiFi. No problem. When connected to our WiFi 7 network with backward compatibility to WiFi 6 at Plan 600 Mbps, it reaches speeds up to 700 Mbps using the WiFi 6 network of this tablet.

Signal strength is also strong as it has 2-3 bars of WiFi signal even when I go to the 2nd floor of our house without the need to connect to our HUAWEI WiFi mesh system.

In the security department, there's no fingerprint scanner. But, it has a fast and reliable face unlock. You can also use the usual pattern and password mode.

Massive battery capacity, but charging speed needs improvement

For battery, it uses a massive 8,800mAh capacity. Battery benchmarks kept on failing, but real-life tests are IMPRESSIVE.

In particular, there is one occasion where it took 3 days before needing to charge the tablet again. I use the tablet for occasional documentation, watching clips on YouTube, and about 1-2 hours per day of Viu streaming.

Under straight usage, it took over 10 hours of YouTube streaming at 50 percent brightness and 25 percent volume before reaching 10 percent of battery level.

Charging speed is one of the aspects where HUAWEI could improve here. 22.5W of USB charging is decent on smartphones with lower battery capacities. But on a tablet with 8,800mAh juice, it isn't that fast.

In our test, it needed a little over 2 hours to fully charge the device from 0 to 100 percent. If you are using the tablet while charging, it'll be slower at about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Android-like familiarity
Android-like familiarity

For software, it runs HarmonyOS 4.2. Unlike HUAWEI devices in the past, installing apps is much less of a hassle right now. My experience is similar to the Pura 70 Pro. Most of the Google apps I need on a tablet like Google Keep, Maps, Search, and more work.

On the AppGallery, you may even install Play Store via GBox. While there are still some apps and games that might not be compatible. Most of what I personally need works.

While it uses microkernel tech, HarmonyOS 14.2 is still undeniably Android-like with HUAWEI's own touch. It is not a bad thing as the device is very easy and familiar to use.

It also has plenty of functions like Dark mode, eBook mode, Eye Comfort, Screen Recorder, Wireless projection, Navigation dock, HUAWEI Share, and more, among others.
NearLink Keyboard connected
NearLink Keyboard connected

The other NearLink freebie accessory that you can connect to the HUAWEI MatePad 11.5"S is the NearLink Keyboard. It's HUAWEI's Smart Magnetic Keyboard designed to turn the tablet into a PC-like device. It has a three-in-one purpose that could make it act as a keyboard stand, tablet stand, and book cover for the tablet.

The keyboard is not backlit, but the general typing experience is comfortable and quiet. The key travel is laptop-like too so it is easy to get familiar with.

You further can maximize its keyboard by using its FREE WPS document app making you create Documents just like on a regular PC. I personally find this useful when doing research and doing presentations or documenting things.
MateBook D 16 2024 x MatePad 11.5"S x FreeBuds Pro 3
MateBook D 16 2024 x MatePad 11.5"S x FreeBuds Pro 3

Similar to other HUAWEI devices, the MatePad 11.5"S is very easy to connect to your HUAWEI-branded laptop like the MateBook D 16 2024.

HUAWEI to HUAWEI devices intergration is smooth

It is HUAWEI Super Device-ready making integration with other HUAWEI devices is seamless and generally enjoyable. Switching from a device to another is easy and transfering files from a device to another is fast even wirelessly.

I can even use the tablet as a secondary monitor for my MateBook either wired or wirelessly.

If wired, all you need to do is plug a USB-C cable to the tablet and connect to the Windows PC. The connection on this is seamless with almost no lag. This feature also works wirelessly via Super Device with lower latency than most similar solutions we have tried. Lag is minimal wirelessly as long as the laptop is plugged in to a power source.

Pros - PaperMatte Display is love, create for notes and digital painting, snappy performance for the tasks I do, loudspeakers, NearLink works, seamless integration with HUAWEI devices
Cons - Widevine L3 only, slower charging than expected, WiFi only, Google Home experience is not complete

Meet HUAWEI MatePad 11.5"S Specs

Display: 11.5-inch TFT LCD (IPS) HUAWEI PaperMatte Display w/ 30-144Hz adaptive refresh rate, 2.8K 2800 x 1840 resolution at 291 ppi
CPU: Kirin 9000WL
GPU: Maleoon 910
ROM: 256GB
Back Camera: 13MP f/1.8 w/ AF
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0
Battery: 8,800mAh w/ 22.5W SuperCharge
OS: HarmonyOS 4.2
Connectivity: WiFi 6, Cavity Slot Magnetic (CSM) Antenna, NearLink, Bluetooth 5.2 BLE (SBC, AAC, LDAC), OTG
Sensors: Ambient optical, gravity, gyroscope, hall
Others: 4x speakers, 2x microphones, M-Pencil (3rd generation) support, Colors: Space Gray, Violet
Dimensions: 261.0 x 177.3 x 6.2 mm
Weight: 510 g
Price: PHP 29,999


HUAWEI continues to show the world that they can still create high-quality products with plenty of innovations despite the restrictions imposed on them by the US government.

The HUAWEI MatePad 11.5"S is a good example of that. It features some of the most impressive builds for the price, the PaperMatte display with smooth refresh rate and crisp resolution is one of the most impressive tablet screens around, notetaking and painting experience is nice, the battery life is strong, the speakers are loud and clear, and the tablet generally feels good to use.

Yes, it has some above-mentioned weaknesses. But if you can live with that and you have PHP 30K to spare, and you need its key selling points in your life, this is one of the tablets that we will recommend in a heartbeat.

It has its own charm that you won't find on other similarly priced tablets.

Build/Design - 4.5
Multimedia Experience - 4.5
Cameras - 3.5
Performance - 4
Average - 4.125/5

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