Well, at least, it is the conventional wisdom. Apple’s iPads are the only tablets worth purchasing; yes, Samsung releases a few Galaxy Tabs each year just for show, and Amazon floods the low-end of the market with inexpensive Fire Tabs.
Xiaomi plainly plans to change that, for better or worse. The Xiaomi Pad 5 is an earnest attempt to create a high-caliber mid-range Android tablet that is priced to compete directly with the entry-level iPad.
Build and design
As I’ve already stated, and I mean this very literally, the Pad 5 mimics the design language of the more expensive iPads. This is clearly suggestive of the iPad Pro aesthetic, and is far superior to the archaic style of the closest equivalent iPad, with its squared off corners, thin bezel, and quality materials.
You can criticize Xiaomi’s innovation in this case, but you can’t criticize the outcomes. With a polished finish and a construction that feels very light and thin for its size—just 6.9mm thick, smaller than virtually any phone—the Pad 5 is as smooth as hell. It also weighs only 511g.
According to Xiaomi, my review device is Cosmic Grey, though depending on where you live, it may also come in white and green. Although the Pad 5’s frame is composed of aluminum, the back is really plastic. Some people will doubtless be disappointed that there isn’t a glass back, but plastic gives a gadget more sturdiness since you might use it without a case, and Xiaomi completed this one in a way that never feels cheap or, well, plasticky.
Hardware-wise, there is one annoying omission: there is no fingerprint sensor. A little cylindrical marking on the right side of the frame appears to be where a fingerprint reader would be placed, however neither one is present, nor is one supported in the display. Although face unlock is a possibility, it’s less reliable and frequently less convenient, thus it’s unfortunate that there isn’t any fingerprint option.
Both visual and aural
The screen’s 120Hz refresh rate, another premium feature you might not necessarily expect at this budget, is its main selling point.
This allows for smoother animations and greater fluidity throughout the device; it’s a feature that is now almost universal among Android phones, so there’s a high chance you’ve used it already. If you’re a serious gamer, it will also open up the possibility of framerates exceeding 60 fps.
Nonetheless, the display is quite good in other areas. This 11-inch display has a substantial 2.5K resolution (1600 x 2560). You still get outstanding color spectrum and compatibility for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision even if it’s an IPS LCD screen as opposed to an OLED one.
With vivid colors and excellent viewing angles, this display is a joy to use whether you’re working, perusing the web, or streaming a few shows. Yeah, it’s not the best tablet screen ever made, but at this price, it doesn’t have to be.
Specs and functionality
The Pad 5’s specifications were thoughtfully chosen by Xiaomi in order to maximize performance without driving up the price.
The adoption of the Snapdragon 860, an overclocked variant of an earlier Qualcomm flagship chipset, is crucial to that. In essence, this means that you get enough processing power to easily complete most daily tasks and maintain this’s ability to play even demanding games at respectable settings without having to pay extra for the newest 5G connectivity or machine-learning upgrades and features tailored for the hefty cameras in flagship phones.
It is sold by the software experience.
The software experience is what really distinguishes the iPad, and Android users have been chasing that perfect combination of usability, usefulness, and app ecosystem for years. While the final one is still somewhat troublesome, Xiaomi has made progress in resolving the first two issues by, ahem, “getting inspired” by Apple, which is what it does best.
While MIUI has always favored an interface that is limited to the home screen, much like the iPad, this time around, it also learned some cool tactics for the dock. As an illustration, the dock consistently shows the last three apps you’ve used over on the right. What a clever little shortcut for switching between apps.
It also sticks out and demonstrates attention to detail that Xiaomi focused on widescreen optimization for each system program. It’s a low threshold, I know, but historically Android tablets haven’t given much thought to the software experience for the user, as we just witnessed with realme’s tablets, and it goes a long way toward improving the product for the user.
For instance, the Notes app has a full-screen view and close integration with the stylus. A variety of brush styles enhances the experience and enables you to utilize the tablet for purposes other than mindless doodles.
Xiaomi Pad 5 is docked in a keyboard.
The optional keyboard and stylus also benefit from the same level of attention to detail. The folio-style keyboard has key travel that is longer than that of Apple’s folio keyboard, giving the impression that it is a well-designed product. The experience is actually quite similar to the wonderful Magic Keyboard, although being much more economical. I utilized the Xiaomi Pad 5’s keyboard to write a sizable amount of this piece and soon adapted to touch typing. The ability to program shortcuts to open individual apps over the full keyboard was something I found really appealing.
The folio keyboard accessory for the Xiaomi Pad 5 has great key travel and a variety of quick access shortcuts.
Xiaomi has also imitated the iPad’s side-mounted stylus design. However, there are two buttons on the pen, one of which serves as a shortcut to the notes app. You can take screenshots and annotate them with the other key. I discovered that the latency was comparable to the Apple Pencil, although not quite as good. Yet, the user experience is absolutely functional, which is more than you should expect given the price range that Xiaomi is targeting.
An inspired copycat Xiaomi Pad 5 is displayed on a shelf with a pen and some paper.
It’s a little surprising, as I said before, that Android OEMs haven’t been able to introduce the value smartphone model to the tablet market as of yet. The Xiaomi Pad 5 excels at the hardware proposition because to its reasonable specifications and excellent software optimization. Even more significant is the fact that, despite the shortcomings of tablet apps available on the Google Play Store, the software experience offers the Xiaomi Pad 5 a certain level of coherence.
A quick tablet with a great price is the Xiaomi Pad 5. Along with the Adreno 640 GPU, the Snapdragon 860 provides performance that is more than adequate for daily chores. It also runs current games smoothly, especially at high detail settings. There shouldn’t be any multitasking bottlenecks with 6 GB of Memory. Just the tablet’s 128 GB of storage space can be inadequate depending on usage, and there is no way to increase it using a microSD card.