Huawei MatePad T8: An entry level essential

This week has been filled with all the razzmatazz associated with Apple’s new iPads, which incidentally are really good devices for those who need them.

I own an iPad (the 2012 edition) and all that it has to offer. There hasn’t been a need to upgrade that since as I have other devices to play with (oops, I mean use). And this goes to show how good the iPad is.

When Google launched the Nexus 7, I happened to be in the US so I ordered one — just for kicks. OK, seriously, it was because I wanted to see what Android OS is about.

Since then, it has been many years of tablet silence — that is, until this month.

And no, I did not go for them new iPads. Instead, I was drawn to a new low-cost Huawei tablet. Huawei was busy making announcements on smartwatches, headsets and notebook computers this September. What stood out (for me at least) among all these was the Huawei MatePad T8.

More to the point is that I felt that the S$198 price point makes it worthwhile to satiate my desire to try out Huawei’s ecosystem with Google pulling the plug on the China tech giant.

The 9/9 offer sweetened an already good price as the package comes with a cover and Huawei bluetooth speaker worth a combined value of S$86.

Surprisingly, my order from Lazada Singapore (where Huawei’s official store resides) arrived in two days — even though the expected delivery was a week later. Talk about under promising and over delivering.

Setting up was easy. Everything was in English. And at first glance, it looks just like any Android tablet — the device runs on EMUI 10 which is based on Google’s OS.

After using if for a week, let me share my experience:

  1. AppGallery is limited. While it is said to have 96,000 apps, many of those I need were not there. Other than Telegram, there weren’t Facebook, WhatsApp and the entire range of Google apps. Credit must be given to Huawei for recognising this and providing a workaround. Under the built-in Petal Search, I could find most of the apps I wanted — Facebook, Messenger and Netflix. If the app is not there, there are alternatives. For instance, while Google Maps is not available, there’s a Tom Tom GPS app, which is pretty good. Also in AppGallery are many Singapore apps such as banking, food delivery, government, and online shopping.
  2. No home button. The on-off and volume buttons are the only ones available. Huawei has kept design simple without a home button. I’ve learnt to get used to just swiping up, down, left, and right to do what I need to do. It’s not difficult — just a bit of learning and getting used to.
  3. Face and password unlock. Where this device scores is that it comes with a decent face unlock for security. In poor lighting condition, it’s accessible using a six-digit password.
  4. Good battery life. This is a good device to bring around for an entire day. The battery seems to go on forever. OK, that’s just an expression. I got around 12 hours of usage before rejuicing.
  5. Enough grunt. The octacore Mediatek MT8768 is nothing to shout about but delivers enough performance for work and watching video. The 2GB of RAM and 32GB of memory are unlikely to be able to handle graphics intensive games but that’s really because this tablet is not built or priced for gaming. And there’s a card slot for bumping up memory using microSDXC.
  6. Connectivity counts. Surprisingly, the MediaPad T8 comes with LTE connection on top of wi-fi and bluetooth. This matters lots to me because I can pair it with our family’s Xiaomi MiJia Youth Projector to cast movies on our 100-inch screen. The resolution’s not that great but it’s watchable for most.
  7. 3.5mm jack delight. While wireless earbuds are the in-thing, nothing beats having a 3.5mm jack to plug in a wired headset or external speaker.

Overall, I enjoyed using the tablet and experiencing the Huawei ecosystem. On a personal note, I love it that the tablet and cover both come in blue — one of my favourite colours.

While iOS and Android may be more established, Huawei can become a strong competitor with its own HarmonyOS and ecosytem of partners. It is certainly working hard at winning customers outside of China. This message in the photo above probably answers questions on privacy — the security issue that the US has been trying so hard to raise.

At its price point, the Huawei MediaPad T8 is great value for money and can handle essential tasks well. But, if you’re into gaming and doing stuff that demands more performance from your tablet, look elsewhere.


Price: 👍👍👍👍👍

Performance: 👍👍👍

Overall: 👍👍👍👍

Steps to get your passport-sized photos printed at an affordable price!

Steps to get your passport-sized photos printed at an affordable price!

Need a passport sized photo but find that the price of it is just too high? 

I recently needed a passport-sized photo and wanted to do it the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way.

While there are many pop-up photo booths scattered across town, each charges a minimum of $7 which I deem too costly for a single passport size photo! 

Here are the steps to get your passport photo printed cheap, and of decent quality (of course). 

  1. Download the Photo for Passport mobile application
  2. Dress up and get ready to take your photo. Ensure that your eyes and eyebrows are not blocked by your hair. If you have dark coloured hair, you may want to put on a lighter coloured shirt to ensure that your hair does not blend in too much with your shirt (or vice versa)
  3. Search for a white/light grey (depending on the requirement) background around your house or neighbourhood. Ideally, lighting should be ample – natural lighting is best
  4. Launch the mobile application you download in Step 1
  5. Select “New Photo” and choose the country to which the photo will be used. The recommended sizing and requirements will be shown for easy selection.
  6. Once selected, you will be prompted to “take a new photo” or “select an image from the gallery”

  7. If you select “take a new photo”, follow the guidelines on the camera for easy reference.

  8. Once photo is taken, you can proceed to edit it to the actual size. You will be prompted to upgrade to the premium option, but if you’re not too particular, you can just select “continue with ads”

  9. You can then edit your photo by scaling the size of the rectangle around the face. A guideline will be shown on where the top of the head and chin should be within the photo. Once satisfied, select “Crop”.

  10. The application will then alert you if the photo size and background colour is okay. For this example, the background colour wasn’t accurate, and if I select “change”, I’d be prompted to upgrade to get the background eraser option. However, as this is just an example, I did not bother too much and proceeded to “Save”.

  11. You can then proceed to save your image, and you will have the option of saving the photo as multiple copies on a single 4R (or whatever size your print is).

  12. You can then save the image and proceed to a photo printing shop to print this single image. Most photo shops allow you to print images directly from photo printing stations. Even the most costly form would be $2 per photo print. $2 for 6 photos vs $7 for 4 photos? You choose!

There are other alternatives online, but this was the quickest, most straight-forward, and free way of getting my passport photo printed.

Hope these tips will help you as you take your passport-sized photos!

Safely Enter with SafeEntry!

Safely Enter with SafeEntry!

The use of SafeEntry has been the norm ever since circuit breaker began in Singapore back in March. Here are three reasons on why I think that the developers of SafeEntry deserve a pat on the back!

  • SafeEntry makes contact tracing a lot easier for people, and it serves as a history of places visited. The Ministry of Health constantly releases a list of places that infectious COVID-19 patients have visited before they were diagnosed. When the list is released, many people who have been to these places often worry frantically on whether they were at the same place, at the same time, as these infectious individuals. The history function of SingPass’s SafeEntry thus provides a one-stop history tracker – after all, you’re unable to enter a shop or a mall if you do not show your pass!
Tracking history from SingPass mobile app – Shows the number of pax you’ve checked-in for too!
  • The SafeEntry security restrictions ensure that one must be nearby in order to use the GPS location search function. This allows one to be able to begin searching for the place to check-in, even before you reach the place! After months of using SafeEntry, one can still see groups of individuals outside shops, desperately trying to launch their SingPass applications to scan for entry to enter. If you’re nearby, and are walking to the place, you can simply launch the app and get-ready to check-in by selecting your venue via the location searching function. How’s that for simplicity!
  • The SafeEntry team continually improves on the functions and features of SafeEntry. Previously, every individual had to have their own SingPass to be able to use SafeEntry or use the conventional “IC-scanning” method to enter a location. However, one of the newer functions, the ability to check-in for others (ideally only family members) has proven to be time-saving and effective. When my family of four goes out for a meal, one of us can just help all four check-in, without worrying about whether each member’s SingPass app is working, or whether there’s data connectivity. It just makes things a lot faster.

The features of SafeEntry are getting better, but many, like myself, still find it a slight hassle to check-in at every single shop one enters. It makes window shopping tiring as the check-in and check-out feature, while fast, still takes time to load.

But for the sake of community health, and our health, let’s all continue to go out responsibly and do our part!

SafeEntry made easy

Simple and convenient visitor registration

For those in Singapore who do not have the latest version of the SingPass Mobile app, now’s a good time to do so. It will help greatly in facilitating entry into more than 40,000 malls and buildings using the SafeEntry app.

Developed by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) during the COVID-19 period, SafeEntry has been in use for visitor registration to assist in contact tracing.

The original version required the scanning of a QR code, followed by checking in and filling in personal and contact details. This is already much faster compared to the filling in of paper forms.

An enhanced version has been rolled out that simplifies this process further. With the latest version of the SingPass Mobile app (on both Android and iOS), all it takes is to activate the app and click on SafeEntry check-in in the opening screen. A list of buildings in the proximity will appear. Select the right one and check in.

Those who have enjoyed using the Parking SG app will notice the similarity. It’s easy to use and makes checking in really convenient.

Best eBook Reader yet

With so many eBook applications on the market, it’s easy to fine one just by searching on the App and Play Stores. However, a particular eBook application that appeals to me is OverDrive.

A free mobile application, OverDrive provides a very intuitive experience for eBook viewing and reading. A couple of other free mobile applications I tried out (including the ‘famous’ free eBook reader) often offer a decent user experience but advertisements randomly pop up at the bottom bar. 

Despite being a free application, OverDrive comes without any advertisement. Like a conventional eBook reader, it allows me to adjust the brightness, colour scheme, font size and style, landscape columns, margins, orientation, screen timeout, page animation, and more. The bookmark feature (while many may find pretty common) is pretty intuitive as well. 

As a pure eBook application, I would already give it an awesome rating. However, the icing on the cake is that the application can be linked to my local library’s eBook borrowing system. 

Linking the application to my local library’s account was straightforward, and being able to borrow eBooks from my local library makes it even more convenient. eBooks borrowed from my local library stays on my OverDrive bookshelf for three weeks, and I am able to easily ‘return’ the eBook after I’ve finished reading it. eBooks purchased on other sites can also be added into my OverDrive bookshelf. 

OverDrive bookshelf

Apart from just being able to view eBooks, the application also supports Audiobooks and video playback. Audiobooks are slowly making a return to the book space and OverDrive has nailed it in capturing this audience as well.

As an eBook reader, OverDrive really tops it. It provides an intuitive reading experience, is easy to register and the many partnerships it has with libraries globally is something very commendable. The 4.6 star rating it has received on Play Store to date is also pretty sweet. 

Do check the application out on the App Store and Play Store today! The application can also be downloaded on Amazon, Windows and MAC PCs.