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Huawei MediaPad X1 hands-on review (MWC 2014)

We play around with Huawei’s MediaPad X1, a 7-inch Full HD flagship tablet with super-sharp 5-megapixel selfie-taker…

Huawei’s major tablet launch at MWC 2014 was the MediaPad X1 7.0, a 7-inch Full HD tablet packing LTE support and a mega-crisp 5-megapixel front-facing camera. We had a play at a loud and sweaty Huawei booth, and this could be a solid all-round tablet and a serious competitior to the Nexus 7 and other HD tabs, if it’s priced right.

Huawei MediaPad X1 hands-on review at MWC 2014

Huawei actually launched two tablets at MWC 2014, the other being the MediaPad M1, a ‘media entertainment’ tablet. The MediaPad M1 looked rather similar to the HTC One, with its dual-speaker front, but for some reason Huawei has ditched those front-facing speakers on the MediaPad X1. Instead, it looks like your typical glossy tab, with pleasingly thin bezels surrounding the 7-inch screen. It’s comfortable to clutch one-handed, much like a slightly-thinner iPad Mini with Retina display – it’s just 7.2mm thick and an incredibly light 239g.

Huawei MediaPad X1 hands-on review at MWC 2014

The plastic frame with silver edging looks fine if unremarkable, and there’s space on the side of the device for a SIM card slot supporting 4G LTE, so you can stream your media wherever you roam.

Huawei MediaPad X1 hands-on review at MWC 2014

Android JellyBean 4.2 has been chosen instead of KitKat, although we’re hopeful that an upgrade will pop up some time soon. Still, the quad-core 1.6GHz processor keeps things ticking over nicely, and there’s 2GB of RAM to keep your apps running smoothly, an upgrade on the MediaPad M1’s 1GB. You also get more storage space, with a choice of 16GB or 32GB.

The 7-inch screen is a little more compact than the MediaPad M1’s 8-incher, but crucially Huawei has made the X1 a Full HD tablet, with a 1200×1920 pixel resolution. That’s a serious step up, and the images we checked out were deliciously crisp. Of course, the 323 pixels-per-inch is still beaten by the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, which packs in an impressive 339 ppi, and only a fraction by the iPad Mini with Retina Display, at 326 ppi.

Huawei MediaPad X1 hands-on review at MWC 2014

So far so decent, but the MediaPad X1’s real stand-out feature is the 5-megapixel front-facing camera, something we’ve only seen elsewhere on nVidia’s upcoming smartphone. If you’re a selfie-lover who’s uber-confident in your looks, this is going to be one of the best ways to plaster your mug around the interwebs in glorious HD. But even if you’re not exactly a portrait, you can still stick on Beauty Mode to get a fresher, cleaner look.

Huawei MediaPad X1 hands-on review at MWC 2014

Of course, the MediaPad X1’s success all depends on its price. Reports are that the MediPad X1 will cost a rather steep $399 US, which will likely translate to just over £300 in the UK – that’s a big chunk more than the Kidnle Fire HDX and Nexus 7, which also pack a quad-core processor and Full HD screen, although admittedly those tablets aren’t as selfie-friendly.

We’ll bring you a full review of the MediaPad X1 when it hits the UK in May.

Check out our MWC 2014 hub for all the big tech news and hands-on reviews of the coolest new phones and tablets

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