Camera: Like most tablet cameras...
- Poor main camera
- Front camera is okay
Starting with the main camera, and it’s a bit of a disappointment. Even in good lighting dynamic range is poor, with blown-out areas and dark, muddy blobs in the shadows being the norm.
There’s a HDR mode that helps to improve things if you remember to fire it up, but in regular auto mode the MediaPad M5 8.4 isn't going to win any prizes. As for low-light images, these are grainy by default, with the problem compounded by the absence of a flash.
Additional shooting modes can help you to improve things a little. From light-painting through to a full manual mode, if you’re prepared to dip into the settings you can get some half-decent shots. That said, our recommendation would be to avoid the camera all together unless you really need it.
The front camera is actually more in line with what we’d expect to see from a decent smartphone, managing as it does to take fair-looking selfies.
If also fashions a flash by using a blast of light from the screen at full brightness – blinding stuff.
Full HD video is recorded at up to 60 frames per second (fps), with 4K recorded at up to 30fps, and there’s an option to activate a digital stabiliser for video which works nicely. There's no slow motion option available, however, and, as for stills, low-light performance is terrible.
Multimedia: Looks and sounds great
- Seriously good speakers
- Plenty of power for gaming
While the MediaPad 8.4 may drop the ball when it comes to imaging, it picks it right back up again when it comes to multimedia. Content looks great on the 17:9 aspect ratio screen, and the speakers are excellent too.
The M5 8.4’s dual-speaker system benefits from Harmon/Kardon tuning to produce excellent sound for such a thin, good-looking slate.
It's also great for gaming. While it’s a touch big for any titles that would have you thumbing the extremities of the display, games with contained on-screen controls are a joy, and they also look stellar.
And bookworms rejoice: the MediaPad M5 8.4 hits the spot as an ebook-reader thanks to its portability, nice weighting and ergonomic curves.
It’s a matter of personal preference whether the absence of a 3.5mm headphone socket is going to bug you, but it's a relative non-issue for us – and the fact that Huawei includes a USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle in the box is a nice touch.