Mobile World Congress is just kicking off in Barcelona, and Huawei is one of the first out of the gates with new devices. A new monster 7-inch smartphone, a smartband that tracks your movement and transforms into a Bluetooth headset, and an 8-inch tablet are all on show.
The MediaPad X1 is an enormous 7-inch phablet, which Huawei says is the world’s slimmest at 7.18mm thick — as if it had much competition. The X1 runs a Kirin 910 1.6GHz quad-core processor and has a 1920×1200 pixel screen, with a 16:10 aspect ratio that’s a little wider than most other smartphones.
At 239g, it “weighs less than a canned drink”, which is the oddest smartphone weight benchmark we’ve seen. Huawei is boasting about the phone’s 80 per cent body to screen ratio and the display’s 515 nit brightness, which should make for easy readability outdoors. Huawei’s clean Emotion UI 2.0 makes an appearance although disappointingly, it’s running on Android 4.2, missing out on some of the enhancements of 4.4 Kit-Kat.
A seemingly natural (and necessary) accompaniment to the massive X1, Huawei’s new Talkband B1 is a wearable smartband that includes a built-in, removable Bluetooth earpiece. The 1.4-inch flexible OLED display shows notifications and calls from any Android or iOS phone that it’s synced with, using low-power Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC for the initial handshake. When a phone call comes in, you can unclip the earpiece from the wristband and answer it wirelessly. The Talkband B1 is an activity tracker too, with a variety of sensors for monitoring your movement and fitness throughout the day — the six day battery life should mean it lasts throughout the week on a single two-hour charge.
Even though it’s only slightly larger than the X1, Huawei’s new 8-inch M1 apparently qualifies as a tablet. The “entertainment powerhouse” has an 8-inch screen, although it sports a lacklustre 1280×800 pixel resolution. Like the X1, it has inbuilt Category 4 LTE support, uses a 4800mAh battery, and is a relatively svelte 329g and 7.9mm thick. Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.0 sits on top of Android 4.2.
Huawei conspicuously hasn’t released any specific information about Australian availability or pricing, although it says those will be forthcoming at a later date. For the time being, the MediaPad X1 has a price of €399 and a March release date for Europe, while the €99 Talkband B1 will hit China in March and other countries a few months later. The 8-inch MediaPad M1 is the only model confirmed for an Australian audience so far, with a €299 international price tag and a release window of Q1 2014.