The tablet market is still dominated by Apple, so much so that Samsung is also finding it difficult to breach iPad’s domain. While companies like Realme found space in the lower segment, the mid-tier segment has been tough to break into. Apple’s entry-level iPad dominates the market, with Samsung playing catch up. Xiaomi, from that perspective, may have found the right space with its new device. The Pad 5 can give a good competition to iPad in the space, but it lacks the productivity features to take it all the way.
Although Samsung and Apple have graduated to the bezel-less design, Xiaomi’s Pad 5 has kept to the bezels. Although reduced from previous iterations, they are noticeable. There is a power button on the top and volume button on the right. The volume button could have been a bit lower, but is not a hassle at its current position. Although a bit heavier, the pad is not too heavy to make it difficult to carry it around. However, addition of accessories like the keyboard, makes it a chunky gadget. The back is all metal design, which attracts a lot of fingerprints, but looks good. I would still recommend a cover given the slippery surface. The camera bump is fair size and does not make the tablet too wobbly. Xiaomi has emulated the Mi 11 camera design for the tablet. The oval shape looks odd on a rectangular tablet. The speakers are downward when held in the vertical position and there is one USB-C port on the bottom end. Xiaomi’s tablet reminds you of the Samsung S7 tab, with a few design changes like the camera.
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Screen, audio and battery life
Xiaomi’s USP has been providing flagship features at a lower price and the new Pad does not disappoint in that regard, at least, as far as the screen is concerned. The 120 Hz display, a rarity in this price segment, works very well. The blacks are pronounced and watching movies was a good experience. The screen worked well for gaming, but the performance was not as good as you would expect from higher segment devices. The speakers were a disappointment though. Although the pitch was fine, there was hardly any depth and lack of bass. Xiaomi could have worked more on the pitch and depth, if not the bass. The battery life, at 8,270maH did help the laptop sail easily for nearly two days with medium use. Gaming, however, eroded the battery faster.
Performance, accessories and UI
Although the tablet performed well in gaming, with little lags and was great for multi-tasking, sadly the user interface was a problem. The user interface was cluttery and did not allow seamless navigation across apps. Multi-tasking was thus hindered not by the processor, but by the user interface. Also, too many tasks became an issue for the tablet, despite having a good amount of RAM. There were, thankfully, no heating issues and very little throttling. The keyboard is too clunky and does not offer a great typing experience. The pen works well, not like Apple pencil, but fairly well for the price. The only issue is that you would have to keep Bluetooth on, for the pen to stay connected.
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At Rs 26,999 for the base model, Xiaomi is an ideal tab for android users who want to watch movies or videos. It can handle basic productivity, but don’t expect much.