Huawei’s MediaPad M5 Lite Kiddie Tablet Might Be a Bust
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Huawei’s latest MediaPad tablet, the M5 Lite, is for both children and adults. But its $300 price tag might not be worth it.

Photograph of Huawei booth at CES 2019

The main selling point of the MediaPad M5 Lite is that it offers parents and children a single device for all their tablet needs. For parents, the M5 Lite includes adequate specifications in the Kirin 659 chipset, 3/4GB of RAM, and 32/64GB of storage space. For children, the M5 Lite offers three features:

First, it includes a blue light filter that reduces the emission of blue and ultraviolet light (which can damage a child’s eyes or cause insomnia). Blue light filters aren’t new. The first Blue Light filters, like the Twilight for Android, came out years ago. It’s only over the past few years have filters come to tablets at the firmware level. Before you’d have to install an application.

Second, it offers a sandboxing  feature which allows parents to control content, usage time, eye-to-screen distance using an infrared camera, and more. The sandboxing software also prevents children from accessing purchasing features, without parental permission.

Photograph of the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite kid friendly area

Third, the M5 Lite prevents children from holding the tablet too closely to their face in order to prevent the development of nearsightedness. This feature, just like the other child-friendly features, is app based and you can get it on any other compatible tablet that includes a front-facing infrared camera (most devices have the sensor).

The Kirin 659 system-on-a-chip comes from a subsidiary of Huawei. The processor includes eight cores derived from ARM’s versatile, high-efficiency Cortex-A53 architecture in what’s known as a big.LITTLE configuration. big.LITTLE isn’t a true eight core platform. It runs four cores at a low frequency and four at their highest and then a “governor” attempts to use the efficient cores for light tasks and the powerful cores for heavier duties. While this design performs well, the processor is not first-and-foremost a performance SoC but rather one aimed at cost effectiveness and power efficiency.

Photograph of the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite hardware buttons

Overall, the processor does not belong in a $300 tablet. And there are better products in the 10.1-inch space, such as the 2018 version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. However, for those who want a single device for themselves and their children, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite might satisfy their needs.

Is the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite Child-Proof?

The first questions you might ask about the M5 Lite are whether or not it can resist a spill, drop, or accidental immersion in a fish tank. The answer to all of these questions is “no”. While Huawei representatives claimed the tempered glass covering the Huawei was “extra tough” and that it offers water resistance, it’s unlikely to be any more durable than other 10.1-inch tablets. And without a special case, the M5 Lite’s aluminum body will warp and distort when dropped on ts corners.

Photograph of the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite Parental Controls

Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite Tablet: Potentially Overpriced

The $300 that Huawei is charging for a Full High Definition LCD screen, with parental filter controls, blue light filters, and sandboxing for children may not match the value offered by other platforms, particularly Amazon’s HD 10 tablet Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) Review: The Best Value Tablet Around Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) Review: The Best Value Tablet Around This year's Amazon Fire HD 10 refresh adds some seriously cool features and drops the price further. We think that makes it the best value Android tablet around – but it won't be for everyone. Read More (which we strongly endorse because it comes with a ruggedized Children’s Edition). We’ll know more when the MediaPad M5 Lite releases in the US in late January.

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  1. jacob
    January 20, 2019 at 6:10 am

    Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2018 is not any better because its Snapdragon 450 uses the same anemic A53 cores. This hardware is a joke compared to either base iPad or the Amazon Fire HD 10. No wonder the sales of android tablets suck.

    • kannon
      January 20, 2019 at 7:11 am

      I must be reading the specs for the international edition because it lists an Exynos chipset that should have a marginally superior manufacturing process compared to the 16nm FinFET in the Kirin 659. You are right though, the hardware isn't great. They are mostly trying to sell a software experience first and foremost.