Xiaomi Pad 5 top down view of a news feed and floating youtube

The Xiaomi Pad 5 rips the iPad in all the right ways

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The Android tablet world is divided into two camps. Affordable options are the norm, and while they lead in terms of sales, they’re only good for watching movies, shows, or reading-related tasks. On the other end of the spectrum are high-end tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 that give you a wide range of hardware, but are held back by the limitations of limited software meant for tablets. What’s lacking in the market is a solid mid-range option that competes with Apple’s entry-level tablet lineup. Enter the Xiaomi Pad 5.

This isn’t Xiaomi’s first rodeo. The company’s first tablet endeavor unabashedly snatched away the iPad. Ironically, the Xiaomi Pad 5 isn’t much different from the iPad either. But did you know? I do not complain.

Devices that scream value

Xiaomi panel 5 on hand showing news feed

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Xiaomi’s knack for matching great hardware at a great price is well known, but striking a good balance requires a combination of intuition and truly knowing your audience. To this end, the Xiaomi Pad 5 makes all the right movements with both its contents and its deletion.

It all starts with the screen. Like I said recently when checking out the Realme Pad Mini, the screen is the cornerstone of any good tablet. In fact, this is your reason to buy a tablet in the first place. Xiaomi delivers the goods here, with an 11-inch screen that has all the bells and whistles, including 2K resolution, high brightness levels, and compatibility with standards like Dolby Vision. You also get a 120Hz refresh rate for a bit of smoothness, even if it doesn’t support variable refresh rates. There’s a lot to miss here with the similarly priced iPad.

All of these features make a tangible difference to the user experience. Watching Netflix is ​​fun, and the text looks sharp. Playing games is fun too, thanks to the strong colours. I’ve found that the wider aspect ratio is great for viewing video content, although I’m personally biased towards the longer aspect ratio for iPads for reading.

How did it take so long to break such an obvious formula?

The Xiaomi Pad 5 closes the loop of multimedia experience with quad speakers. The speakers get a lot louder and the sounds cut out the mix easily, but they’re not quite as crisp as those on the iPad. However, the tablet copies a neat little trick from the iPad that adds to the immersion. The speakers switch their orientation based on how you hold the tablet, and I found the feature very handy while watching YouTube in a floating window and scrolling through Feedly side by side.

Finally, mid-range tablets are often laden with thinner chips that simply lack the groove needed to drive a smooth user experience. Not so on the Xiaomi Pad 5. It may not be quite as high-end, but the decision to use the Snapdragon 860 chipset was the right one. The more than two-year-old processor is still capable of smooth daily use and high-end gaming. On top of that, there’s enough headroom to ensure the tablet continues to run smoothly for years to come. While doing so, Xiaomi has comfortably avoided the problem of increasing costs with the latest and greatest devices. Honestly, I’m amazed that it took any company this long to crack such a straightforward formula.

Related: Your guide to the best tablets

Try the program sell it

Xiaomi Pad 5 is laid out on a table with multiple apps open

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

What really makes the iPad special is the software experience, and Android fans have spent years trying to chase this balance between functionality, usability, and the app ecosystem. While the latter is still somewhat of an issue, Xiaomi has made strides toward fixing the first two issues by doing what it does best – being Important “Inspired” by Apple.

While MIUI has long prioritized only the home screen interface, similar to the iPad, this time it has picked up some neat dock tricks as well. For example, the Dock always shows the last three apps you used on the right. This is a neat little shortcut for moving between apps.

The MIUI interface on the Xiaomi Pad 5 takes a lot of inspiration from iOS, but that’s okay.

Like the iPad, tapping the split button for an app while you’re in the multitasking list allows you to snap it to one side of the screen. You can then freely adjust it to reflow across your screen width. However, the Xiaomi Pad 5 doubles the productivity experience by allowing you to launch two additional apps by long pressing the icon. I found it very useful to have floating windows for Spotify or YouTube as well as dual loading apps.

Xiaomi Pad 5 app drawer

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Xiaomi’s focus on optimizing each system application for a wide screen experience also shows and shows interest. I know it’s a low bar, but Android tablets have traditionally shown little interest in the end user software experience, as we’ve seen recently with Realme tablets, and they go a long way toward making the product better for the user.

The Notes app, for example, includes a full-extension view as well as deep pen integration. An array of brush patterns also add to the experience and let you use your tablet for more than just random drawings.

Xiaomi Pad 5 is placed in the keyboard dock

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The same attention to detail extends to the optional keyboard and stylus as well. The folio style keyboard comes as a well-designed product, with a key transition that goes well beyond what you get on Apple’s folio keyboard. In fact, the experience is not far from the excellent albeit quite affordable Magic Keyboard. I wrote a good portion of this article on my Xiaomi Pad 5 keyboard and quickly got used to touch typing. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the entire keyboard can be configured with shortcuts to launch specific applications.

The Xiaomi Pad 5 Folio Keyboard Extension offers excellent key navigation and a set of quick access shortcuts.

Similarly, Xiaomi has copied the setup of the side-mounted iPad stylus. However, the stylus has two buttons, one of which acts as a shortcut to the Notes app. The other key can be used to take screenshots and annotate them as you wish. I found the latency to be close to that of the Apple Pencil, but not quite as good. However, the user experience works perfectly and that’s more than you can hope for at the price that Xiaomi is targeting.

Xiaomi Pad 5: Inspirational rip

Xiaomi Pad 5 on a shelf with a pen and notes

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a bit shocking that Android OEMs haven’t been able to bring this valuable smartphone model to the tablet segment yet. The combination of good enough specifications and great software optimization makes sense, and the Xiaomi Pad 5 defines the hardware display. Even more important is the fact that the software experience gives the Xiaomi Pad 5 a degree of cohesion, despite the shortcomings of the tablet apps on the Google Play Store.

Xiaomi Pad 5 top-down dashboard for floating news feed and YouTube

Xiaomi 5 . pad

Xiaomi Pad 5 offers mid-range specifications and good software experience for the tablet sector.

The biggest competitor to the Xiaomi Pad 5 comes in the form of the 10.2-inch Apple iPad ($329). While Apple’s budget tablet hardly has a good display or multimedia slides, it makes up for it with access to a powerful app system.

On the Android side of things, the Samsung Tab A8 ($229) is one of the more obvious competitors. While the tablet compromises a bit on the performance aspect with its choice of a Unisoc processor, it makes up for it with an excellent screen, speakers and a high-quality user experience.

The fact of the matter is that the Xiaomi Pad 5 is one of the best mid-range tablet options on the market, with very little direct competition. Combined with the optional accessories, it makes a good replica of the iPad experience, for much less money, and that’s probably the best we could hope for.

Why are you using the tablet?

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2022-05-14 08:45:16

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