Review: Why you can't go wrong with the Xiaomi Pad 5 tablet

Review: Why you can’t go wrong with the Xiaomi Pad 5 tablet

Android tablets have experienced a renaissance of sorts in the past couple of years. But while Samsung has pushed credible options for Android loyalists in the mainstream sector, the improvement of apps and the benefits of the iPad operating system have ensured that entry-level iPads to the Pro dominate the conversation. However, the budget tablet segment was bereft of even reliable options. The Pad 5 hopes to fill that gap… and for the most part, Xiaomi delivers.

A bit like a cuddly kid of the iPad Air and a Xiaomi smartphone, the Pad 5 shares the slim chassis and boxy rounded edges with most modern iPads, with a 13MP rear camera that sits on a bump reminiscent of last year’s Xiaomi’s Mi 11x series of smartphones — providing Also, an 8-megapixel selfie camera. This slim 6.9mm has a 10.95-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and the metal frame is balanced by a high-quality plastic back that keeps the tablet in the shade above 500g (although it smudges easily). The back has pogo pins for attaching to a keyboard accessory, while the right edge houses a magnetic charging strip for a Bluetooth stylus—both optional accessories sold separately. However, it is missing a headphone jack and a fingerprint scanner.

Read also: Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge review: Riding the fast charging wave

The sleek design travels and handles well. The only nitpick is the top-center (almost smartphone) position of the front camera – not ideal for video calls if the tablet is in landscape orientation. Both cameras are serviceable, though, for video calls or document scanning.

The Pad 5’s big draw is clearly the LCD screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz, a feature seen so far only on tablets that are twice that price. You can choose 120Hz for smoother fluidity and smoother app animations and gameplay…or dial it up to 60Hz to save some battery. The 1600 x 2560-pixel resolution panel is bright, vibrant and clear, and HDR10/Dolby Vision support makes it great not only for productivity but for streaming all kinds of content.

There’s a four-speaker setup, two on each side, with the tablet automatically adjusting stereo sound when switching from landscape or portrait orientation.

The stylish design of the X Miami Pad 5 navigates and moves well. This slim 6.9mm has a 10.95-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 16:10 and the metal frame is balanced by a high-quality plastic back.
(Xiaomi)

What has struggled with budget tablets thus far is the poorly compiled software experience, with little or no interest in how user interfaces extend to larger screens. However, Xiaomi has taken care of this, customizing MIUI 13 based on Android 11 to the Pad 5 form factor. Apart from the redesigned system apps to maximize screen space, there’s a floating dock with your favorite and recently used apps at the bottom that you can call up at any Window, to switch between apps or fetch apps in small floating windows or in split screen mode (in supported apps). Very useful if you want the calculator or notes app quickly. It’s also worth noting that MIUI for Pad 5 has no bloatware, and if you look at the ingrained app ecosystem benefits that iPad OS has, the Pad 5 is a tablet experience that’s done right. Hopefully it will only get better with the upcoming release of Google’s exclusive for larger screens Android 12L.

Keeping things fast is the high-end Snapdragon 860 chip, which is for everyday use, with 6GB of memory and 128/256GB of fast storage. Switching between high-end mobile apps and games, all of these seem pretty seamless, although one wonders how good the 6GB of memory will be in the face of some memory-hungry Android apps in the long run. A strange omission is GPS, and there’s only a Wi-Fi model shown (no LTE variant), so you’ll need to use a portable hotspot when you’re out and about.

It has good battery life, although the 8720mAh battery lasts for days when using the light and should withstand a full day of work and play. There is support for 33W fast charging but Xiaomi only packs a 22.5W charger, which charges the tablet in just over two hours.

Xiaomi is positioning the Pad 5 as a companion for work and play, which explains the optional accessories on offer. smart pen R5,999) A stylus is good for scribbling notes, annotating documents, or drawing/drawing, and there’s two-button support for calling app shortcuts or changing pens while drawing, but it’s functional and doesn’t match the quotes (and lower latency) from Samsung or Apple. Much more useful is the keyboard cover, with its wide navigation key and a dedicated key for invoking Android shortcuts, but Xiaomi has not yet revealed the price of the cover. So the opinions about whether it is worth the wait.

True for Xiaomi, though, the key is that this refined tablet experience, which honestly checks most of the boxes, is solidly priced. R26,999 and R28,999 for the 128GB and 256GB storage variants, respectively. At this price, you get a well-designed tablet with an excellent display and speakers, adequate power and juice under the hood, and a host of useful accessories that stand out more from the device, assuming the Xiaomi keyboard cover is priced appropriately. Want a feature-rich Android tablet without breaking the bank? You can’t go wrong with the Xiaomi Pad 5.

*****

price: Starts from R26999

Weight: 511 grams

Healer: Qualcomm Snapdragon 860

cameras: Rear: 13 MP, Front: 8 MP

RAM and Storage: 6 GB + 128 GB, 6 GB + 256 GB

Operating System: MIUI for Pad

battery: 8720 mAh

Tosher Kanwar is a technology columnist and commentator, tweeting @2shar.

Read also: Review: Is the new iPad Air the tablet for all your tasks?

2022-05-15 06:36:24

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