One of the best affordable Android tablets

One of the best affordable Android tablets

Redmi broke away from Xiaomi to cater to the masses. This means that the products are affordable, but with as few compromises as possible. The latest in the series of such products is a new tablet. It is called Redmi Pad. Think of it as a slightly toned down version of the Xiaomi Pad 5, which received rave reviews for being a total value for money tablet. Well, the Redmi Pad tries to be the same – for a lower price.

Launched at an introductory price of Rs 11,700, the Redmi Pad was unmistakably one of the attractive options in the Android tablet market. Although that price is no longer valid, the charm of the Redmi Pad should continue considering that the original price is not high either. It now costs Rs 14,999 and for that price it offers a big screen, a premium design and the goodness of Xiaomi’s tablet-centric software. But is it a good tablet and should you spend on it? I have the answers.

Redmi Pad review: Sleek and stylish

Immediately, the Redmi Pad appears as an advanced tablet. That’s when you’re not sure about the specs and just look at it. Redmi’s first tablet uses a metal body with a flat design that I find appealing. Cheaper tablets can look good, and the Redmi Pad proves it. What about the weight, you may ask since the outer parts are made of metal? Redmi has been good here. While the Redmi Pad weighs 465 grams, it feels lighter than that, thanks to good weight distribution. An advantage of this is that I could hold the tablet for a longer time.

Redmi Pad wants to be the device for video calls because online learning and work are the new norms. That’s why the front camera is on the longer side of the tablet, so you get to use the tablet to its full potential in landscape mode. That’s how video calls are meant to be, aren’t they? The bezels are also thin, giving the screen more room to breathe. I like how the company paid attention to detail by providing slightly thicker bezels on the shorter sides of the tablet, so when you hold it in landscape mode, you don’t accidentally hide any part of the screen.

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The Redmi Pad comes in three colors: Graphite Grey, Moonlight Silver and Mint Green. I’ve reviewed the first color variant and while I liked it, I’m sure the other two options would look stylish as well. Other essential elements of the design include a slightly protruding camera island, which did not cause the tablet to wobble, four speakers (two on each shorter side), a power button on the top edge, a volume rocker on the right edge, a microSD card tray on the right, and a USB-C port on the bottom.

Redmi Pad review: Good screen, good entertainment

For a tablet to be very good, the screen must be large and bright. Redmi’s new tablet has both characteristics in the display. At 10.61 inches, the tablet’s screen is quite large, which is a good thing if you’re into watching movies and series on your tablet. And if you’re not, a large screen makes room for more content when you’re browsing the internet or on a video call. Even gaming is enjoyable on a big screen. I’ll get to the tablet’s gaming capabilities a little later, but for everything else I can say that the screen is big enough. It also gets bright enough so that I didn’t have to squint to read text on the screen in bright outdoors.

This is a 2K 90Hz screen, which means everything looks sharp, smooth and clear. I finished the entire first season of House of the Dragon on the Redmi Pad and I enjoyed it. Redmi has got the Redmi Pad Widevine L1 certified, which means you can enjoy full HD content on OTT services, such as Netflix. There is understandably no support for HDR. While colors are mostly accurate, there is a slight shift when viewing the screen at an angle. I’m wondering here because it’s not a big problem. That’s because the overall experience of watching a movie is good.

The Redmi Pad’s speakers are quite loud and provide a clear sound. After all, they are tuned by Dolby Atmos. But make no mistake because Dolby Atmos is not natively supported on many apps. For example, the Redmi Pad does not support Netflix’s Dolby Atmos content. However, it allows you to activate it via an on-screen shortcut to amplify the sound. The Dolby Atmos shortcut works for all music and video apps, but think of it as a software boost just for those apps. The speakers are loud anyway.

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I do have one complaint though. The display collects a lot of smudges, thanks to the lack of an oleophobic coating. Xiaomi has ensured that the oleophobic coating remains one of the mainstays of its devices. I guess it missed it this time.

Redmi Pad review: A decent performer

The Redmi Pad isn’t a high-end tablet, so you can’t expect it to go up against the likes of the iPad. But for its price, it offers a lot. The Redmi Pad uses a MediaTek Helio G99 processor, which we’ve used in the past on phones like the Motorola Moto G72. Browsing the tablet and multitasking was fast. I didn’t face any problems with the interface animations, opening heavy apps like Facebook, or even editing photos.

To push the envelope, I tried playing some games. Now, Redmi claimed that the tablet can easily handle mid-level graphics in games like Call of Duty Mobile. I can say it wasn’t a lie. I didn’t notice any frame drops or lag during the two CODM matches played at medium quality. But when I played Genshin Impact, my experience was not the same, and rightfully so. It’s a game with high graphics and expecting the Helio G99 to handle all that would be unfair. Under tarmac, I noticed noticeable lags, but they were small. The Redmi Pad isn’t a gaming-centric tablet, but you can throw a few games at it every now and then.

Xiaomi has done a great job of optimizing the entire software experience for tablets. It also appears on the Redmi Pad. The Android 12-based MIUI 13 for Redmi Pad is visually appealing. It leaves a lot of space to make the interface look clean. It also doesn’t have bloatware, but some essential apps. Apps like Facebook and Instagram are preloaded. They are essentially stretched out to fill the screen without affecting the aesthetics. There is a dock at the bottom that shows icons for preset apps and the apps you have open, but it hides when an app is opened. Navigation is smooth, thanks to the high refresh rate on the screen.

If you are thinking of buying this tablet for work or study related purposes, you should know two things. The Redmi Pad cannot connect to a keyboard magnetically, but you can pair a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. It will get the writing related job done. The Redmi Pad’s split screen works for a few apps, but the company said it is working with developers to get support for more apps.

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The Redmi Pad doesn’t come with a fingerprint sensor, so your options are face unlock and conventional methods like pin, pattern and password. Face unlock is fast, no matter how you hold the tablet. You cannot make mobile calls from the tablet because it does not have a SIM card slot. It also means you have to rely on Wi-Fi for internet access.

For my usage, which was pretty basic, the Redmi Pad lasted more than a day on a single charge. The tablet comes with an 8000mAh battery, which can easily give you a day’s driving time. Since I was mostly checking emails, watching cat videos on Instagram and at least two episodes on OTT every day, the battery lasted over a day. But this will change according to how you use the tablet. Gaming, for example, would drain the battery more. If you change the refresh rate, you might also be able to get a little more juice.

Redmi Pad cameras: Get the job done

You get two 8-megapixel cameras, front and rear, on the Redmi Pad. The rear camera clicks basic pictures with a lack of detail, let alone other aspects like dynamic range. And this is fine considering that you are unlikely to use the Redmi Pad to click pictures. But for things like scanning documents, the camera does the job. The front camera is a bit better, as it will mostly be used for video calls. But for selfies, the fact that the camera is placed on the longer side can affect how you end up looking at photos.

The Redmi Pad Verdict

The Redmi Pad packs a good mix of hardware and software. It has a large screen that can stream movies in good quality, a high refresh rate that makes animations look smooth, a decent processor that can handle multitasking and some gaming well, and a large battery that usually lasts more than a day. The software is so well optimized that you won’t miss the lack of accessory support. At Rs 14,999, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a tablet for online courses and light office work.

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