Should you buy an Android tablet at Rs 26,999 or an iPad instead?

Xiaomi Pad 5 will attract many customers mainly because of its price in India. Starting at Rs 26,999, the Android tablet comes with a 120Hz LCD screen with Dolby Vision, quad speakers with Dolby Atmos, MIUI 13 for Pad, Snapdragon 860 SoC and is fully capable of handling heavy tasks. Moreover, Xiaomi not only offers the option to get special accessories, but customers can also connect third-party keyboards and gamepads to improve the overall experience. And if you want to use the tablet for video calls, we get capable cameras on the front and back.

Xiaomi Pad 5 has a 256GB storage variant which obviously costs more at Rs 28,999. It is still more affordable than the iPad 9th-Gen 64GB which costs 30,990 rupees. During a product briefing, the company claimed that the new generation of the tablet meets most requirements, be it gaming, productivity or entertainment. So today, I will take a different route for this review and specifically highlight these areas rather than talking about the design, battery and other parameters. I still think budget tablets aren’t a replacement for laptops (yet), but they can be very handy to tackle smartphone fatigue.

Read also: Xiaomi 12 Pro review: What you should know before spending Rs 62,999 on this smartphone

Xiaomi Pad 5 for entertainmentTablets can be great for viewing content as we get more viewing space and a slimmer form factor than a laptop. While many budget tablets promise Full-HD or higher resolutions, they lack the primary Android key to unlock HD videos. First things first, we get L1 Widevine certification for OTT platforms, which means that Netflix and Prime videos will play in Full-HD or Ultra-HD, provided you have the higher tier plan.

Xiaomi Pad 5 supports reading / dark modes for a more pleasant viewing experience. (Photo: Abhik Sengupta/News18)

We get a 10.95-inch LCD screen with WQHD+ resolution (1600 x 2560 pixels), 500 nits brightness, and Dolby Vision support. For a smooth browsing and browsing experience, we get a 120Hz refresh rate display that Apple keeps for the iPad ‘Pro’ series. Even for your entertainment experience, there is a quad speaker system that delivers bass and loud sound. For reference, I watched Premier League matches on Disney+ Hotstar, Ozark Season 4 Part 2 on Netflix, Office on Amazon Prime Video, all apps worked fine, videos were sharp and vibrant.

Likewise, users who enjoy reading can reap the benefits of the Reading Mode that Android 11-based MIUI 13 includes. Of course, this reading mode isn’t quite as versatile as the paperback experience offered by Amazon Kindle, but we do get a nice matte finish that works with news sites home as well.

Xiaomi Pad 5 Pad comes with a quad speaker system. (Photo: Abhik Sengupta/News18)

The Xiaomi Pad 5 unfortunately does not have a 3.5mm audio jack which may disappoint some users who still prefer wired earphones. There is no LTE variant for the tablet (yet), so if you want to use the device outdoors, you’ll need to rely on the phone’s hotspot and I would strongly advise against using a public Wi-Fi connection. Finally, some may question Xiaomi’s decision to use an LCD panel, but frankly, most users won’t realize the difference here thanks to the higher resolution, Dolby Vision, and adequate brightness.

Xiaomi Pad 5 for gamingThe gameplay on the Xiaomi Pad 5 is equally good, mainly due to the reliable display and processor. We also get a USB-C port with OTG support, so you can connect third-party gamepads. I used a wireless gamepad (Ant Esports GP300 Pro) and established a connection through a 2.4GHz dongle. You can even hover over apps using the gamepad, but the experience isn’t fully optimized.

Xiaomi Pad 5 does not include a fingerprint scanner. (Photo: Abhik Sengupta/News18)

The gamepad worked fine with little lag or choppy while playing Asphalt 9, but titles like Call of Duty only support Xbox consoles, which I wasn’t able to test. I’ve also played BGMI from Kraftons which had no issues enabling the higher graphics settings. But playing the action title on a 10.9-inch touchscreen is awkward.

If you care about the benchmarks, the Xiaomi Pad 5 scored 760 and 2526 points in the single-core and multi-core Geekbench test. In the 1-minute 3D WildLife GPU test, the tablet scored 3,265 points — better than most affordable competitors. Finally, its CPU was lowered to 95 percent of its maximum performance. The results suggest that the Xiaomi Pad 5 should perform better than most budget Android competitions.

Productivity on Xiaomi Pad 5: As mentioned earlier, the Xiaomi Pad 5 got the MIUI 13 customized for the Pad which I thoroughly enjoyed using. We still get some bloatware and unwanted notifications from proprietary apps, but users can disable them from the settings menu. Overall, MIUI 13 offers some great features, but the software needs some improvement because the scripts are still mixed for some apps. It’s still running Android 11, and the company has confirmed the arrival of Android 12L, although that may take some time.

The Xiaomi Pad 5 pen costs 5,999 rupees. (Photo: Abhik Sengupta/News18)

However, I was glad that the interface is mostly intuitive, and even elderly customers will find it easy to operate the tablet. Users can also use apps like Instagram and Facebook as well.

If you’re a teacher or a professional who relies on video calls, the front camera delivers above-average performance under ideal lighting conditions. As expected, photos and videos are grainy under low light settings. On the other hand, the 13MP rear camera offers sharp images and much better performance than budget tablets like the Galaxy Tab A8 and Nokia T20.

However, readers should remember that the Xiaomi Tab 5 is not a laptop, which is mainly useful for entertainment purposes. I said in a previous Nokia T20 review that budget (or mid-range in this case) Android tablets are great for handling phone screen fatigue and managing smart home devices. In this regard, the Xiaomi Tab 5 can increase your productivity as it will also help you get rid of the clutter of smartphone apps.

The Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with a 13MP rear camera. (Photo: Abhik Sengupta/News18)

Accessories: Xiaomi Pad 5 does not include special accessories such as keyboard or stylus and customers need to purchase them separately. I highly recommend customers to buy the Xiaomi Pad 5 cover, which costs 1,999 rupees and can help protect against scratches. It also allows users to mount the tablet to a comfortable viewing angle.

The Xiaomi Pad keyboard doubles as a cover. (Photo: Abhik Sengupta/News18)

If you want something a little more elegant, you recently got the DailyObjects Adjustable Phone Stand that features a wooden base and is available in multiple colors. It doubles as a tablet stand and costs the same as a pillow case. It can be very useful if you want to use the tablet as a secondary screen in landscape mode. The stand also allows customers the convenience of using the tablet while charging.

Xiaomi also sent us the Xiaomi Pad which I could not find in the Mi Store and the price is still not clear. The keyboard includes sponge keys, but you can’t adjust the height as in Apple’s Magic Keyboard. However, it still performs better than Apple’s base iPad cover and keyboard as the Xiaomi keyboard offers better feedback and better travel space.

Xiaomi Pad 5 does not include the accessories in the box. (Photo: Abhik Sengupta/News18)

The Xiaomi Smart Pen (Rs. 5,999) is also available in black. We get built-in controls for taking screenshots or taking quick notes. Users can attach the stylus to the side as it also charges magnetically. Its package includes a replaceable soft tip if you wish to style. To be fair, both Xiaomi accessories run smoothly; However, many Android apps still need improvement to work with them smoothly.

to rule: While making a purchase decision, many will feel confused between the Xiaomi Pad 5 or the Apple iPad (9th generation). At this point, it’s all about the requirements.

If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, getting an iPad makes more sense as you get seamless integration with your iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch. Apple also promises five to six years of operating system updates, more than any competition would like to offer. The iPad has a metal design, while the Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with a plastic body.

Watch the video: Motorola Edge 30 Pro review: The perfect but not perfect Android smartphone?

However, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is definitely worth checking out (I would even say buying) if you are an Android user and don’t want to spend extra for 128GB/256GB storage. Quite simply, the Xiaomi Pad 5 can be considered an Android alternative for the Apple iPad (9th generation). But future Android OS updates for the tablet look questionable, and MIUI 13 for Pad still needs some work.

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