Every time I go to the Apple India site, I’m tempted by a device: the iPad mini. In fact, there were several instances where I added it to the cart and almost bought it. But there are two main factors that kept me from buying. One is the starting price of Rs 46,000, which is a bit reasonable to pay for a tablet, given that my primary use will be for entertainment. Second, I’m not entirely convinced that a tablet can replace my productivity needs and I still need the convenience of my laptop. Always when I think of a tablet to buy, inevitably it is the iPad brand that comes to mind. But the Xiaomi Pad 5, which starts at Rs 26,999 (Rs 24,999 is the launch price for now) wants to change that mindset.
Xiaomi Pad 5 clearly wants to go after the iPad (9th Gen), the most affordable of the lot at Rs 30,990. It tries to present itself as an affordable Android tablet that can meet productivity, performance and entertainment needs. . In fact, it is a product that has certainly generated a lot of discussion. Peers have asked me if they should already buy it outright. But is it the right tablet for you? Here is my opinion.
Specifications of Xiaomi Pad 5: 10.95-inch 2.5K LCD display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor | 6GB RAM + 128GB or 256GB storage | 13MP rear camera + 8MP front camera | 8720 mAh battery with 22.5W charging | MIUI for Pad on Android 11 |
Xiaomi Pad 5 Price in India: Rs 24,999 for 128GB option, Rs 26,999 for 256GB option
Xiaomi Pad 5: design, display
The design is undoubtedly impressive. It’s sleek and weighs 511 grams, making it slightly heavier than the 9th generation iPad. This tablet has a polycarbonate back, although at first glance it certainly doesn’t look like it. That doesn’t mean the build quality is a compromise in any way.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with four speakers on the top and bottom, there is a USB Type-C port and a magnetic pin on one side to connect it to the keyboard. The Xiaomi Smart Pen can be attached to the side where the volume buttons are located. There is no headphone jack. Xiaomi is also limiting the Pad 5 to only Wi-Fi variants in India. There’s no cellular option, and presumably those would have cost more too. Frankly, not everyone needs cellular connectivity. I had taken the tablet out with me one day, and using my mobile as a hotspot worked just fine considering basic tasks.
The tablet has a 10.95-inch LCD screen and it is 2.5K resolution with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR 10. The maximum refresh rate is 120Hz, although you also have the option of sticking to the base 60Hz. During the review, I maintained maximum refresh rate.
I watched four episodes of Mai, Gangubai Kathiawadi and three episodes of Succession on this tablet. This is a very capable entertainment device. Gangubai and Succession were a treat to watch on this, with Mai I felt the screen struggled with some of the darker scenes. In fact, even increasing the brightness to 100% was not enough. But I want to point out that such dark scenes are tricky even for the best smartphone screens, including devices that cost a lot more than the Xiaomi Pad 5.
Audio quality is also good from a daily entertainment standpoint, although it doesn’t quite pack the punch I expected. I had to keep the volume at higher levels when watching Succession, Gangubai.
Xiaomi Pad 5: performance, software
The Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with the Snapdragon 860 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 128GB or 256GB storage version. In terms of day-to-day performance, there were really no complaints as such. Yes, this tablet is powerful enough to run your daily gaming quota. I’ve only played Alto’s Odyssey and Asphalt 9 on this game since I can’t see myself playing on a tablet. I prefer more compact devices.
I used this tablet to make a Google Meet call, typed articles on it, did some general browsing, and mostly relied on it for entertainment. From this point of view, it is an excellent device.
But there’s more to a tablet than its ability to run games. It must also be useful for productivity and the Xiaomi Pad 5 delivers on some crucial fronts. For example, when used with the Xiaomi Smart Keyboard, I found it to be a pretty good device for typing. What further increases productivity for someone like me when typing is the ability to use a regular Bluetooth mouse with this tablet.
As I mentioned in my first look, I’m not a fan of small keyboards, so this was quite a leap for me. In fact, this entire review was typed on the Xiaomi Pad 5. I’m not saying I’m completely comfortable with the keyboard. There are still a lot of muscle memory fights going on. But this tablet will be sufficient for short business trips, where I don’t want to carry my laptop.
The tablet runs MIUI for Pad which is a dedicated operating system for tablets from the company. Keep in mind that not all apps on Android are optimized for this. For example, the Disney+ Hotstar I noticed is mobile-oriented, and even when browsing in landscape on the app, it stays in portrait format like it would on a smartphone screen. Sure, when watching a video it automatically switches to landscape, but it’s weird when you’re browsing.
The user interface also includes a dedicated dock at the bottom, similar to what Apple’s iPad and macOS offer. You can access your most recently used apps from here. It also helps that the rear camera has a dedicated document mode. One can easily take pictures of them, mark and add annotations with the Xiaomi Smart Pen, etc. The front camera is also quite good for video calls.
It also supports floating windows and split window view, all useful for boosting multitasking. But not all apps support split window display, which includes Gmail and Netflix. Google Docs, YouTube, and Prime Video are some of the apps that support split view. I actually had the review open on one side and the Prime video on the other. Not ideal for productivity, but hey, whatever works for you.
Chrome was also open as a floating window while writing, but I couldn’t figure out how to close it, which was frustrating. So yes, understanding gestures and features takes time on this. But there are some software issues.
For one thing, the tablet wouldn’t let me add another Gmail account to the device. I don’t know why this is happening, but it clearly needs a hotfix. Another issue I noticed was when using the pen to make a shopping list. At one point I ran out of screen space while using the Notes app, but the page space didn’t automatically expand to add more like it should have. To do. I thought that was also weird.
I realized that when I was writing with the stylus, there was no side scrolling on the Notes app. It shows up when I used my husband’s iPad and Apple Pencil and you can keep expanding the page as you keep jotting things down. I had a lot of trouble with this and the note-taking feature needs improvement. Is there a secret setting I’m missing? Perhaps.
The stylus itself can be used for a number of actions, including screenshots, and it also has two buttons. But the transition isn’t quite as smooth and understanding how it all works can be a bit tricky.
Xiaomi Pad 5: Battery life
The tablet comes with an 8720mAh battery, which should easily last two days with heavy usage. Xiaomi bundles a 22.5 watt charger in the box and it reaches 100% in around three hours. The Smart Pen charges by attaching to the side of the tablet.
Xiaomi Pad 5: Should we think about it?
If you’re looking for an Android tablet that offers a good display and performance, while meeting basic everyday entertainment and productivity needs, the Xiaomi Pad 5 ticks the boxes. Xiaomi has yet to confirm pricing for the Smart Pen or Smart Keyboard. It could be an ideal tablet to get for schooling and online entertainment purposes, provided you are willing to spend more than Rs 20,000 but don’t want to exceed the Rs 30,000 limit. Seriously to give it to my niece because she has a pretty terrible one at the moment.
The launch price of the Xiaomi Pad 5 also makes it attractive. You get 128GB of storage at Rs 24,999. Remember that more storage is always great on a tablet. But it has software flaws that need to be fixed, especially if someone is planning to get the Smart Pen and keyboard with it. The Notes app, the second Gmail account problem, in particular, needs an urgent software update.