Every time I go to the Apple India website, I’m tempted by one device: the iPad mini. In fact, there have been many instances where I have added it to my cart and almost bought it. But there are two main factors preventing me from hitting the buy. The first is the starting price of 46,000 rupees, which is a reasonable amount to pay for a tablet, since my main use will be entertainment. Second, I’m not entirely convinced that a tablet can replace my productivity needs and still need the convenience of a laptop. Still considering a tablet to buy, the iPad brand inevitably comes to mind. But the Xiaomi Pad 5, which starts at Rs 26,999 (Rs 24,999 is the introductory price at the moment) wants to change that mindset.
It is clear that Xiaomi Pad 5 wants to take the iPad (9th generation), which is the cheapest among the products at a price of 30,990 rupees. It is trying to promote itself as an affordable Android tablet that can reconcile productivity, performance, and entertainment needs. In fact, this is one product that has definitely sparked a lot of discussions. I’ve had peers asking if they should buy it directly already. But is this the right tablet for you? Here is my review.
Xiaomi Pad 5 Specifications: 10.95 inch 2.5K LCD Display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor | 6 GB RAM + 128 GB or 256 GB 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 the 128 GB option and Rs 26,999 for the 256 GB option
Xiaomi Panel 5: Design and Display
The design is undoubtedly impressive. It’s sleek and weighs 511 grams, which makes it slightly heavier than the 9th generation iPad. This tablet has a polycarbonate back, although at first glance it certainly doesn’t look like one. This does not mean that 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 is on one side to connect it to the keyboard. The Xiaomi Smart Pen can be attached to the side where the volume buttons are. There is no headphone jack. Xiaomi is also limiting the Pad 5 to WiFi variants only in India. There is no cellular option, and that’s supposed to be an additional cost as well. Honestly, not everyone needs a cellular connection. I had taken my tablet out with me one day and using my mobile phone as a hotspot worked well given the basic tasks.
The tablet has a 10.95-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 2.5K in 16:10 format. It also comes with Dolby Vision and HDR 10 support. The maximum refresh rate is 120Hz, although you have the option to stick with the 60Hz base as well. During the review, I kept the refresh rate at the maximum.
I watched four episodes of Mi, Jangbai Kathyawadi and three episodes of Succession on this tablet. This is a very capable entertainment device. Both Gangubai and Succession were fun to watch this, with Mai feeling the screen suffer from some of the darker scenes. In fact, turning the brightness to 100 percent wasn’t enough. But I want to emphasize that such dark scenes are difficult even for the best smartphone screens, including devices that cost much more than the Xiaomi Pad 5.
Sound quality is also good from an everyday entertainment perspective, although it doesn’t quite pack the punch you’d expect. I had to keep the volume at higher levels when watching Succession, Gangubai.
Xiaomi Pad 5: Performance, Software
The Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with a Snapdragon 860 processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. In terms of daily performance, there were no complaints as such. Yes, this tablet is powerful enough to run your daily quota of games. I only played Alto’s Odyssey and Asphalt 9 on this since I don’t see myself playing on a tablet. I prefer compact devices.
I used this tablet for a Google Meet call, wrote articles on it, did some general browsing and mostly relied on this for entertainment. From this perspective, it is an excellent device.
But a tablet is more than just being able to run games. It should also be useful for productivity, and the Xiaomi Pad 5 brings up some crucial aspects. For example, when used with the Xiaomi Smart Keyboard, I found this device to be good enough for writing articles. What boosts the productivity of someone like me when I write is the ability to use a regular Bluetooth mouse with this tablet.
As I mentioned on my first look, I’m not a fan of small consoles, so this was a leap for me. In fact, this review was written entirely on the Xiaomi Pad 5. Not to say that I am completely comfortable with the keyboard. There is still a lot of muscle memory fighting. But this tablet will suffice for short business trips, as I don’t feel like carrying around my laptop.
The tablet is powered by MIUI for Pad which is the company’s customized operating system for tablets. Keep in mind that not all apps on Android are optimized for this. For example, the Disney+ Hotstar I noticed is geared towards mobile phones, and even when browsing in landscape mode on the app, it stays in portrait format like on a smartphone screen. Of course, when you watch a video, it switches to landscape mode automatically, 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 the latest used applications from here. It’s also useful if the rear camera has a dedicated document mode. One can easily take pictures of it, mark up and add annotations using the Xiaomi Smart Pen, etc. The front camera is also good enough for video calls.
It also supports floating windows, displaying split windows, all of which are useful geared towards enhancing multitasking. But not all apps support split window viewing, which includes Gmail and Netflix. Google Docs, YouTube, and Prime Video are some of the apps that support split viewing. In fact, I opened the review on one side and Prime video on the other. Not ideal for productivity, but whatever works for you.
I also had Chrome open as a floating window while typing, but then couldn’t figure out how to close it, which frustrated me. So yeah, understanding the gestures and features does take some time on this. But there are some software glitches.
First, my tablet did not allow me to add another Gmail account to the device. Not sure why this happens, but it obviously needs a software fix. Another problem I’ve noticed is when using the pen to make a shopping list. At some point I ran out of screen space when using the Notes app, but the page space didn’t expand automatically to add more as it should. I thought this was also strange.
I realized that when writing with a pen, there is no side scrolling in the Notes app. This appears when I used my husband’s iPad and Apple Pencil and you can keep expanding the page while you keep jotting things down. I struggled a bit with this and the note taking feature needs some improvement. Are there some secret settings that I’m missing? Probably.
The stylus itself can be used for a number of actions, including screenshots and it also has two buttons. But the transition to it is not so smooth, and figuring out how all of this works can be a little tricky.
Xiaomi Pad 5: Battery Life
The tablet comes with an 8,720mAh battery, which should easily last for two days with heavy use. Xiaomi packs a 22.5W charger in the box and it reaches 100 percent in about three hours or so. The smart pen is charged by connecting it to the side of the tablet.
Xiaomi Pad 5: should you think about it?
If you are looking for an Android tablet that offers good display and performance, while meeting your daily entertainment and basic productivity needs, then the Xiaomi Pad 5 does well. Xiaomi has yet to confirm the pricing for the Smart Pen or Smart Keyboard. It might be an ideal tablet to have for online education and entertainment purposes too provided you are willing to spend over Rs 20,000, but don’t want to go over the Rs 30,000 limit. I’m seriously considering getting this for my niece because she has a pretty awful one right now.
The introductory price of the Xiaomi Pad 5 also makes it attractive. You get 128GB storage at Rs 24,999. Remember, more storage is always great on a tablet. But it does contain software flaws that need to be fixed, especially if someone is planning to have a Smart Pen and Keyboard with it. Notes, the second version of the Gmail account, in particular, needs an urgent software update.