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Tan Jee Yee 
The 8-inch tablet is fitted with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution screen with 283 PPI (pixels-per-inch), so HD videos would come out crisp

Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite

There are tablets which are impressive for having the most fanciful of specs and features, and there are tablets we can laud for simply doing all the right things. The Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite would fall under the latter category. Priced at RM999, this tablet may seem unremarkable at first glance, but it’s a tablet that gives you the best bang for buck.

Anyone eyeing the M3 Lite as a device for multimedia consumption won’t be disappointed. To start with, the 8-inch tablet is fitted with a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution screen with 283 PPI (pixels-per-inch), so HD videos would come out crisp. Better yet, the M3 offers what Huawei calls the ClariVu feature, which enhances eye-sight protection during reading mode.

Rounding up the multimedia features are the dual stereo speakers and dual smart PA chips, meant to deliver rich, low distortion sound for that immersive, cinematic experience. The speakers are embedded with SWS3.0 Harman Kardon certified audio speakers, helping widen the sound stage with smart left-right channel switch, giving sounds from the tablet a more realistic edge.

As you binge through Netflix on a tablet, long battery life is a must. The M3 Lite features a 4,800mAh capacity battery, said to be able to provide 600 hours of standby battery life, 40 hours of music playback time and nine hours of video playback.

It’s not just a device for leisure, either. With the Split Screen and Twin App features, the M3 Lite can be a productivity machine as well. Both features allow users to have two apps running at the same time, as well as the option to log into two user accounts at the same time. With a Qualcomm MSM8940 octa-core processor powering the device, the M3 Lite can get the job done.

Additionally, the MediaPad M3 Lite also comes preloaded with Office 365, Microsoft’s office kit which is customised specifically for the device. The M3 Lite comes with two cameras – an 8-megapixel front camera, and another 8-megapixel back shooter with auto-focus capabilities. Rounding up the specs are its 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage.

If you’re on the lookout for an 8-incher that can function well for both work and play, Huawei’s MediaPad M3 Lite ticks all the right boxes.

iPad Pro (2017)

On the subject of tablets, one would be hard pressed to ignore the device that started it all. And where the iPhone has steadily remained a stalwart powerhouse with little deviation from its solid foundation, the 2017-edition iPad Pro has higher ambitions.

Rather than merely update on the 9.7-inch version released in 2016, Apple graced us with two different models this year – a 10.5 version and a 12.9-inch one. You might have heard that Apple intends the iPad Pro to be a desktop replacement, and everything seems to be gearing the device up for that – starting with the newly designed Retina Display screens.

The iPad Pro’s display now features ProMotion technology, supporting a 120Hz refresh rate. Now, videos on the tablet look crisper and video games play much more smoothly. The higher refresh rate also means that the Apple Pencil, already a functional and capable stylus companion to the iPad Pro in its own right, is now even more responsive.

The display also comes with a wide P3 colour gamut, allowing for more vibrant greens and reds for truer-to-life images and videos.

It’s not going to replace desktops or laptops if it doesn’t have the processing power to back it. The iPad Pro comes with the A10X Fusion Chip with 64-bit architecture and six cores, claimed to be more powerful than most PCs. Being able to edit 4K video or render elaborate 3D models on a device as portable as the iPad is surely impressive.

It may have all the bangs and whistles, but what truly makes the iPad Pro worthwhile now is the fact that the iOS 11 has just been released, which makes the device a proper desktop replacement. The new operating system update features a Dock system, which makes it easier to open recently used apps and files. The Slide Over or Split View functions allow apps to stay active so users can work with them simultaneously – imagine being able to edit an image on the same screen as you design a webpage.

With prices starting from RM2,999 for the 10.5-inch version and RM3,499 for the 12.9-inch version (be prepared to pay up to RM5,099 for models with higher storage capacities), you can essentially buy a capable desktop computer for your work needs. But the highly portable factor, superior screen and the Apple Pencil makes it undoubtedly something to consider for professionals constantly on the go.

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

On the subject of laptop replacements, Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets are on the top of most people’s minds. And while Microsoft certainly understands the Windows experience on a handheld best, other makers are also capable of producing some stellar Windows-based tablets.

Enter the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, Samsung’s Windows 10 tablet released this year. What’s instantly striking about this 12-inch slate is that it features a Super AMOLED display, which beats out almost every Windows device before it.

It’s also immensely thin. Measuring at just 0.63cm, the TabPro S is thinner than Microsoft’s own Surface 4 Pro by a substantial margin. It even manages to out-think the iPad Pro, so that’s portability covered there.

The TabPro S runs on 4GB of RAM and sports a 128GB SSD for storage, so it’s undoubtedly designed to be a powerhouse. At the core of the device is a 900MHz Intel Core M3-6Y30 processor, which is less powerful than the Intel Core processors, but considering how it fits in such a thin body, a lower-powered processor is to be expected.

It doesn’t mean that the TabPro S isn’t capable of productivity, though. The device comes with a full-sized keyboard and touchpad that you can attach to the tablet, turning it into a pseudo-laptop. Samsung claims that the battery life would last 10.5 hours of work and play.

To top it off, the TabPro S comes with the Samsung Flow feature, which allows users to pair the tablet with their Galaxy smartphones, so you can view and respond to incoming messages and notifications on the tablet. Additionally, Flow can also use the Galaxy S7’s fingerprint scanner to unlock the TabPro S.

While it may be many more years before tablets completely take over laptops, we can at least be assured that slates and tablets are still continuously capable of providing the entertainment and productivity needs we require.

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 257.