Android users have been longing for an exceptional tablet for quite some time now. Sure, you’ve got the Samsung S8 with its high-end display and powerful specs, but you also have to break the bank for it. And while brands like Lenovo and Xiaomi have put out some decent tablets in recent years, neither of them has been able to put a dent in the hold that the iPad has over this segment. Right when it seemed that the tablet game might be slipping away from Android, OnePlus (which has been on a bit of a comeback spree lately) announced its arrival on the scene.
There are a lot of things to like about the OnePlus Pad. We’d go so far as to say that it has all the makings of a classic OnePlus product of the yesteryears. The Pad offers delightful flagship specs at a very competitive price. You can get it for as low as Rs 37,999 for the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant, while the 12GB + 256GB variant will fetch you Rs 39,999. We’ve been using the latter variant of this tablet for the last two weeks, let’s take a deep dive into our OnePlus Pad review.
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OnePlus Pad review: Design and Display
Pulling the OnePlus Pad out of its packaging, you will immediately notice its unique 7:5 aspect ratio. The tablet is designed to be used primarily in landscape mode but you will not find any discomfort while using it in portrait orientation. It sports a sleek design with rounded curves and edges. The aluminium frame holding everything together offers a nice in-hand feel. Upon further inspection, you will notice the radial design pattern that sprouts from the camera unit on the back panel. This panel has a metal finish and can attract some smudges and fingerprints upon extended use.
There’s only one colour option on offer – Halo Green. OnePlus offers the same colour on its flagship smartphone as well. While a black colour option would have been nice, the green is inoffensive and doesn’t take anything away from the overall looks of this device. The camera unit at the back is circular – another design element that it shares with its smartphone counterpart. It is a smart decision to have a uniform design language for your flagship smartphone and tablet, the two devices look pretty cool when placed side by side.
When holding the tablet in a landscape position, the volume rocker and microphone fall on the top edge. On the right end of this edge is a small magnetic strip to rest the pen (or as OnePlus calls it, the Stylo) for charging. The quad speakers have been placed in pairs on the side edges. The USB-Type C is positioned right in the middle of the speakers on the right edge. The power button has been placed at the top of the left edge, close to the volume rocker. At the bottom edge lie the magnetic pins that connect the tablet to the keyboard folio case. There is no SIM slot on this tablet and neither does it come with expandable storage. You will have to rely on a WiFi connection to use the internet on the Pad.
The OnePlus Pad uses an 11.6-inch IPS LCD display with HDR10+ support and a maximum refresh rate of 144 Hz. Surrounding this display are slim bezels, which are just the right size to nullify any accidental touches when you are holding the tablet with both hands. The 8MP selfie camera is housed in the top bezel. Surprisingly, there is no under-display fingerprint scanner or even a side-mounted sensor on this device. This is definitely not a dealbreaker but you miss the unlocking capability. Nevertheless, you do get face unlock on the Pad.
Let’s talk about the display for a moment. While on paper it offers a 144Hz refresh rate, most apps are locked on 60 or 120fps. In our testing, only Google Chrome produced a steady framerate of 144fps. Even OnePlus’ native gallery app operates at 120fps. While watching content, we noticed that Netflix and YouTube were locked at 60fps. Numbers aside, the display panel offers a very good touch response. There are no stutters or lags to be found. We used this tablet for reading ebooks and were satisfied with the clarity of the text and the overall scrolling experience.
The real highlight is the content-watching experience. The LCD panel produces punchy colours and well-detailed images. The balanced contrast and versatile dynamic range made for enjoyable and immersive viewing. But what truly takes the experience to the next level is the quad speaker setup. These speakers are powerful enough to fill up a room. The Dolby Atmos surround sound plays its part in producing an enveloping sound. Even with a noisy ceiling fan running on full blast, we never felt the need to reach for our headphones. If you’re looking to buy a tablet for the primary purpose of watching videos on a bigger display, the OnePlus Pad is the device we’d recommend.
OnePlus Pad review: Performance
OnePlus’ debut tablet certainly looks the part. But what’s under the hood of the Pad determines whether it can truly hang with Apple and Samsung’s flagship tablets. Powering the Pad is last year’s premium MediaTek Dimensity 9000 SoC. On the Geekbench 6 test, the tablet attained a single-core score of 1,078 points and a multi-core score of 3,191 points.
Everyday tasks like multimedia playback, social media browsing, instant messaging, and video calls are handled expertly by the processor. Even with multiple apps running in the background, the OnePlus Pad does not break a sweat. Kicking things up a notch, we ran multiple apps in split-screen mode and never once felt the need to hit the brakes.
Switching over to gaming mode, we played Call of Duty Mobile on maximum graphics settings. Interestingly, the framerate for COD is capped at 60fps when it’s set to maximum graphics and 90fps on low graphics. Luckily, there are no frame drops or stutters during gameplay and the tablet showed minimal signs of heating around the camera bump after 40 minutes.
OS duties are handled by Android 13 skinned with OnePlus’ OxygenOS. Good software is necessary to get the most out of the real estate provided by the giant display, and OxygenOS does a decent job here. OnePlus gets the basics right on its debut tablet. The split screen mode, which most people generally ignore on smartphones, finds immense utility here. Android’s Material You theme looks great on a big display and offers a range of customisation options. The tablet’s interface is easy to navigate, and if you are already a OnePlus user, you will have no difficulty settling in.
Now, let’s talk about the parts we did not like. There is no taskbar to be found here. This comes as a surprise because Android offers that functionality for tablets. OxygenOS could use a little more optimisation for tablets, it is not all the way there yet. The tile for Mobile Data in the quick settings menu has no business being there on a tablet that does not come with a SIM slot. The ‘Shelf’ for widgets has not been changed to match the aspect ratio of the tablet. It could’ve been a great feature on this tablet if it made proper use of the large display.
Also on offer along with the OnePlus Pad are the keyboard and stylus accessories. The keyboard is a part of the folio case for this tablet and snaps onto the magnetic pins at the bottom. There’s a small magnetic strip for the Stylo on the top edge of the device. We have to mention that the magnets on this thing are really strong. You don’t have to worry about the accessories coming off with minimal application of force.
Putting on the keyboard folio case on the Pad is very easy. The magnets connect to the bottom edge and around the camera bump. This arrangement limits the tablet to just one viewing angle. The keys offer a nice travel and the overall typing experience is pretty good. We found the keyboard good enough to write emails and respond to messages on WhatsApp. If you have large hands, it may get tiring after a while.
The keyboard may be fine for typing and general browsing, but it is several limited when it comes to shortcut availability. This is an Android issue rather than a OnePlus issue. Even Google’s apps aren’t optimised to be used with a keyboard. While browsing the web on Chrome, you have to hard press the trackpad to open a link on a new tab instead of just tapping it with two fingers. These issues are prevalent on other apps as well.
The OnePlus Stylo, on the other hand, is a great accessory overall. It’s fun to play around with, and if you’re an artist you will be able to get the most out of it. The weight on the pen is evenly distributed and it has a flat edge that snaps onto the magnetic strip for charging while also preventing it from rolling off when placed on a desk. One glitch we noticed was that the keyboard stops typing when the Stylo notification pops up on the screen. You can only resume typing once you swipe past the notification.
The OnePlus Pad has a 13MP camera at the back and an 8MP selfie camera up front. The rear camera does a good job of taking pictures in well-lit conditions but there’s nothing to write home about. We don’t expect a high-end camera on a tablet, to begin with. The one present on this tab does what is asked of it. It is good to take a couple of casual pictures every now and then. The colours are bright and vibrant, but the finer details are missing. You can also shoot 4K videos at 30fps using this camera.
The 8MP selfie camera is more useful on this device. It covers a wide area and has a nifty auto-tracking feature that centres the moving subject in the frame during video calls. Most video-calling apps like WhatsApp and Google Meets are able to make use of this feature. We were satisfied with the video quality relayed by this selfie camera on WhatsApp calls.
Lastly, the 9,510 mAh battery on this tablet delivers a stellar performance. OnePlus claims that the Pad can last up to 30 days on standby mode. We didn’t use the tablet long enough to test that out, but the battery drain at night never exceeded more than 5%. We were easily able to push the battery life on this tablet for two days. Our tasks included checking emails, an hour of watching videos, a few gaming sessions, social media browsing, and taking the odd video call. You get a 100W charging brick inside the box, which can fast charge the tablet at 67W. It took us almost 90 minutes to fully charge the OnePlus Pad. A good performance considering the massive battery this tablet packs.
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The OnePlus Pad is the Android tablet that we’ve been waiting for a long time. At a midrange price of Rs 40,000, the Pad delivers a flagship-grade performance. This is an ideal tablet for watching content and browsing the web. Taking video calls on this device is also a breeze and an overall enjoyable experience. Sure, it can use some improvements on the software end, but let’s not forget this is OnePlus’ debut tablet. We also like that the accessories are ridiculously overpriced (looking at you, Apple). Overall, at this price, this is the Android tablet to beat.
OnePlus Pad review: Pros
- Great display for watching content
- The Stylo works smoothly
- Sleek design
- Great price
OnePlus Pad review: Cons
- Very limited keyboard shortcuts
- OxygenOS needs a little more optimisation for tablets
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