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Huawei Mediapad X1 (Honor X1) 7" Phablet - Review

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    Huawei Mediapad X1 (Honor X1) 7" Phablet - Review

    Huawei Mediapad X1 (Honor X1) – Review

    For a little over a year competing brands have been increasing their screen sizes and seeing just how far they can push the limits. Huawei’s latest entry to the big screen wars comes in with a huge 7 inch display. What I like about these new 7 inch devices is the borders have been scaled back making the finished product noticeably smaller than a tablet but giving you tons of screen real estate to work with. While the Huawei Mediapad X1 also known as the Huawei Honor X1 is not for everyone, those customers that are looking for a true phone, tablet hybrid might find the device they have been looking for.


    I bought the Huawei Mediapad (Honor) X1 from Merimobiles and had it shipped by DHL. It took a few days for the order to process and ship, and then about 4 days to get it from DHL. The phone was well packaged to ensure no damage occurred.
    The box had more of a flat design to accommodate the larger phablet, which allowed it to be removed out of the side. Inside was the X1, manuals, headphones, micro USB cable, and wall charging adaptor. I found it odd that a SIM tray tool was not provided. I had one already, but failing that something like a paperclip could be used.
    Check out the Unboxing video here .

    • 7 inch 1920 x 1200 display
    • 1.6 Ghz Huawei Hisilicon Kirin 910 quad core (ARM Cortex A-9)
    • Mali 450MP4 GPU
    • 2GB RAM
    • 16GB internal storage with expansion slot
    • 5MP front camera
    • 13MP rear camera
    • 5000 mAh battery

    Full video review can be seen here.

    Physical features

    The Huawei X1 measures in at 183.5 x 103.9 but is fairly thin at just 7.2 mm. Somehow Huawei have managed to cram a 5000 mAh battery into it. The device feels very solid yet only weights 239 grams. On the right hand side of the phone is a power button(bottom) and volume rocker(top).

    On the right hand side at the top is the expansion card slot with the single SIM slot on the bottom.(Just a heads up, it’s a Micro SIM)

    The bottom right has the micro USB connector.

    The top just the right of centre has the 3.5mm headphone jack.
    The front facing camera is on the right hand side.
    The rear camera is on the top left, with the loudspeaker on the bottom right.

    Overall you can tell this is a quality device.


    The X1′s giant 7 inch display is 1920 x 1200 with 323 ppi and is actually quite good. It is plenty bright and I didn’t find myself in a situation where I couldn’t see what was on the screen. It’s responsiveness was good in that it wasn’t too sensitive nor did I have to be overly firm to get it to do what I wanted.


    Huawei’s Emotion UI reminds me of Lenovo’s Vibe ROM. They both favour a system of dropping icons on the screens similar to that of the iPhone. I’m not a fan of that setup and also loaded on Nova launcher to ease my dissatisfaction. The pulldown menu was fairly standard. It had a main set of icon’s but with a second pulldown you could expose the rest of your essential settings. The settings menu has a simple “general” tab along with an “all” tab. Huawei have also given users more control of what the device does by default with a startup manager, a permissions manager, and a notification bar. If you want to get rid of the navigation buttons you can easily hide them, then bring them back when needed.
    These are nice touches but the device did have some lag on it. Whether that is the software or the processor is unknown, but it is there and very noticeable. The device has also locked up on me several times.
    Skype loaded but the bottom portion of the messaging screen was missing so you couldn’t write anything. I also experienced issues with apps that should periodically scan for new messages and send them to to notification bar to alert you. Even though I allowed them in the notification manager it still was hit and miss.
    Hopefully updates will fix all of these issues.

    The Huawei Mediapad X1 only supports 2.4 Ghz WiFi. The way I tested it was by taking a speed test right beside the router, a second one at the furthest point of my upstairs level, and a third at the furthest point of my basement.
    Router = 26.68mbps
    Upstairs =10.44mbps
    Basement = 10.11mbps

    These aren’t the strongest results I’ve come across but are certainly acceptable. I can use the device in any location in my house with no issues, which includes streaming music or videos.

    Call Quality

    I promised myself that I wouldn’t put this monstrosity up to my ear in public, but at home I did for testing purposes. I imagine it looked very foolish, but the bottom line is the call quality is very good. If you don’t care about how silly it looks holding this huge device to your ear you will be able to enjoy the crystal clear call quality. I prefer to use a bluetooth headset with it, or a bluetooth car system when on the road.


    The speaker for the Huawei Mediapad X1 is located on the back of the device. I tested it with YouTube, movies, and of course a variety of music styles. It performed very well giving an added audio depth in all situations with just enough volume. With the DTS function disabled the movies still sounded good, but when I enabled it the results were quite impressive. In action scenes, gunfire and explosions were very full, adding to the experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like going to the theatre, but for a mobile device it was a very pleasant surprise.
    With headphones the audio was very good with the music being clear and loud.

    Video Playback

    I tested the video playback with an assortment of formats in VLC player and all worked well. I had a good idea of how this device would perform in the graphics department as it is using the Mali 450MP4 which is the exact same GPU as all of the Mediatek MT6592 devices I’ve used. While it’s not top of the line graphics, it is more than capable. Watching videos on a 7” display when out and about is definitely pretty nice. I call the X1 my portable big screen tv.

    Web Browsing

    For some reason the X1 always redirected me to google.com.hk. No matter what I did to confirm my location it insisted on redirecting me. This forced me input a google.com/ncr which makes sure Google doesn’t change the location by country. Once I got that sorted out web browsing was fine and pretty much on par with other current devices other than the obvious bonus of viewing everything on a huge screen.


    I thought the 5 MP front and 13 MP rear cameras would be one of the strong points of the X1 but they weren’t quite as good as I expected. They were good in bright natural light, but did create some noise in fairly standard shots when indoors with less light. If you are expecting cameras on par with the newer flagship devices like the Lenovo Vibe Z,Oppo Find 7, or Vivo Xshot you aren’t going to find them here.
    Good but not great.


    The GPS on the Huawei Mediapad X1 works very well. I recently went on a trip and used the GPS extensively with Waze. I was very pleased with it’s performance and never experienced any confusion. Any navigation errors that occurred were entirely my fault (this is the only time I’ll admit that).
    To test it I put it in airplane mode to eliminate any data assistance and got a cold lock in 11 seconds. Subsequent locks were immediate. Very slid GPS performance with the added luxury of it being on a 7” display.


    This is were the Huawei Hisilicon Kirin 910 gets revealed for what it is. Yes, it is underpowered by todays standards, but it is functional. The upside is, when paired with a 5000 mAh battery it does very well in the battery life department. More on that later.
    This puts the device ahead of things like the Samsung Note 2, Galaxy S3, and Nexus 4,but below the HTC One, Galaxy S4, and any of the Mediatek MT6592 devices on the market.

    Nenamark 2
    57.3 fps
    This is a very good score considering most Mediatek MT6592 1080p devices are scoring less than 50 fps.
    CPU Prime
    This puts it slightly ahead of the Nexus 4 but far behind the Samsung Galaxy S4.
    As you can see, the results fall somewhere between this years tech and last years tech. Of course benchmarks aren’t everything and I found the functionality of the device just fine other than the slight lag here and there.


    This is were the Huawei Mediapad X1 really shines. This thing just keeps going and going. With moderate use I can easily get two days of use.
    One day I used it a fair amount which included screen on GPS. I thought I was charging it that night but my wife had unplugged it from the wall without me knowing. When I woke up the next morning it was still at 60%, so I didn’t bother charging it and it easily finished the next day with 11% remaining.
    When I put it on a video loop with auto brightness, it managed an awesome 10 hours 10 minutes.


    I tested the X1 with Dead Trigger 2, Asphalt 8, and my new addiction, Front Line Commando 2.
    The device uses a Mali 450MP4 so I expected performance on par with Mediatek MT6592 devices. This proved to be the case as it automatically put graphic settings in the mid range. Gameplay is smooth and VERY, VERY enjoyable on the 7 inch HD display. I played Front Line Commando for about an hour and a half and only lost 16% from my battery.

    Final Thoughts

    All phones have pro’s and con’s. So lets go over the Mediapad X1′s.


    Huge HD screen in a fairly compact and thin device creating a great experience for anything Media related, hence the name Mediapad X1
    Massive 5000 mAh battery that allows you to enjoy the size of the device without fearing battery is going to die on you
    Expandable storage. Even though it has a sealed design Huawei prove you can have make room for an expansion slot. Rival phone makers take note!


    Lag. Not what you want to find on a just released device.
    Processor. The Hisilicon Kirin 910 is so far behind the competition it’s not funny. Huawei need to step up their processors, or start using someone elses.

    I really enjoy using the Huawei Mediapad X1. I feel like I can use it for whatever I want for as long as needed without ANY fear of running out of power. Huawei clearly built the phone around the name Mediapad, because media and games is where it really shines. While the phone is not a powerhouse or an over achiever, it is a great jack of all trades.
    The bottom line is, those that like large devices are going to love it, and those that prefer the standard 5-5.5” phones are going to think it’s a freak show.
    The question “Is it a tablet or a phone?” can only be answered by you. I call it a phone.
    Let me know what your thoughts are.

    Thanks for this great review, very interesting ... having an old Note 1 and always phone that were as big as brick when I bought them (starting with an HTC Wizard) I'm really tempted...

    Does anyone know any nice mini bluetooth phone to complete the tablet (with caller Id + contacts list - cheap but not looking cheap) ?

    About the lags : did you try installing another launcher like Apex - maybe some of the lags come from the default launcher ?


      I've had Nova Launcher on it since day one and it didn't help, I was just showing the stock version in the video.
      There were a couple of OTA updates that I just installed that seemed to help with the lag, but I just put them on less than 24 hrs ago so it might be a bit early to say with complete certainty. From what I can tell so far it seems to help with the lag but it uses slightly more battery. I'll keep you posted.