The iPad has long been the obvious choice for tablet gamers, but today we have a new contender to test at GameBench Labs: the MediaPad M6s from Huawei. We've tested the real-world gaming performance of this Android tablet against the similarly-sized iPad mini (5th gen), across three top mobile games, and found some interesting results. Please read on for more...
Device and Game Comparisons
While the iPad mini's gaming performance benefits greatly from game studios' easy familiarity with iOS, the MediaPad M6s has an advantage of its own: the Kirin 980 chipset with GPU Turbo. Our previous benchmarks of devices containing this chipset, such as the Mate 20 X, have shown a high degree of gaming optimisation, to the point where iOS gaming performance can be matched or even exceeded.
Here are the specs of the MediaPad M6s:
Processor: Kirin 980 with GPU Turbo
OS: Android 9 with EMUI 9.1
Display: 8.4-inch with 2560 x 1600 resolution
Our main comparison is with the iPad mini (5th gen) with the following specs: Apple A12 Bionic, iOS 12, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, 7.9-inch display with 2048x1536 resolution, 5124mAh battery.
We've also thrown a Black Shark 2 Android smartphone into the mix. Although this device isn't a natural competitor in terms of screen size, it 's worth including because it's targeted specifically at gamers and is powered by top-end Snapdragon chipset that rivals the Kirin 980. This phone has the following specs: Snapdragon 855, Android 9, 12GB of RAM, 256GB storage, 6.39-inch display with 1080p resolution, 4,000mAh battery.
Since the Huawei Mediapad M6s is launching first in China, we've focused this preview on Chinese games. We'll add Western comparisons for a fuller Performance Profile once the device is available internationally. For now, the games we picked are:
- Honor of Kings (王者荣耀, aka Arena of Valor in the West), tested at max quality settings;
- Strongest NBA (最强NBA), tested at max quality settings;
- Game for Peace (和平精英, aka PUBG Mobile in the West), tested at "max" quality, "super-high" frame rate, anti-aliasing on..
Top Level Ratings
As usual, we'll start with our badge ratings which provide a simple colour-code summary of the quality of the game experience on each device:
|Represents a 60fps experience (or very close to it) with no sacrifices on visual quality.
|Represents an experience that at least sticks to the 30fps threshold for good playability;
|Represents an experience of at least 20fps
|Represents everything below 20fps
|Huawei Mediapad M6s
|Xiaomi Black Shark 2
|Apple iPad Mini
Honor of Kings
(王者荣耀, aka Arena of Valor)
Game for Peace
(和平精英, aka PUBG Mobile)
These top-level ratings quickly highlight some key differences in performance. Firstly, we can see that the MediaPad M6s is broadly matched with the Black Shark 2 in terms of performance in these three games. Secondly, we can see that the iPad mini is falling behind: it has a "Smooth" rating in all three games, which is good result, but it cannot keep up with the Ultra 60fps performance of the MediaPad M6s or Black Shark 2 in either Strongest NBA (最强NBA))or Arena of Valor (王者荣耀). This means that for MOBA or sports gamers who play either of these titles, the iPad is no longer the slam-dunk that option that it once was -- the MediaPad M6s could well be the better choice.
Frame Rate Comparisons
The top-level ratings above are designed to highlight differences that mainstream gamers are likely to notice. However, enthusiast-grade gamers are likely to want more precise benchmarks, especially if they're into competitive gaming or if they're particularly sensitive to frame rate glitches. To satisfy this thirst for detail, we've created two benchmark charts below.
The first chart shows the average variability of frame rates across all three games, for each of our three test devices. Variability measures the "jumpiness" of frame rate readings, and is measured in frames per second (fps) and lower is better. A game experience that sticks to a rock solid 60fps will have a variability of 0fps, i.e., a perfect result. As the chart shows, the MediaPad M6s gets significantly closer to this perfect result than either of the other test devices:
Our second chart looks at the worst frame rate drop of each device across the three test games. The chart represents this in terms of the size of the drop down from the target frame rate of 60fps. A lower result is better: A game experience that never has any frame rate drops would score 0fps on this metric, while a game experience that drops from 60fps down to 50fps would score 10fps. Although such performance bottlenecks may be short-lived and infrequent, they tend to happen when gameplay is most frenetic and when competitiveness is most at stake -- such as during the climax of a battle -- which makes this type of measurement particularly important for eSports gamers. Again, the MediaPad M6s is in the lead, with a particularly large advantage over the iPad mini:
Wrap-up (and how to get raw metrics)
Although we've only tested three games so far, our results show that the MediaPad M6s is capable of beating the game performance of the iPad mini. This is an impressive result given Apple's traditional dominance in tablet gaming. We'll add more results, including for Western games, as soon as we can get hold of the new MediaPad outside of China.
Finally, for those who don't want a top-level view and would rather see raw stats for each game individually, please get in touch using the form below and we'll send you the full details of our report: