OnePlus pad: A promising first step into the Android tablet market

Impressive display and powerful performance at an affordable price!

OnePlus pad

OnePlus' first ever tablet is here, and it's priced at Rs. 37,999 for the base model and Rs. 39,999 for the higher model. There are not so many Android tablets in this price range, so let's try and see if the OnePlus Pad has enough up its sleeves to make it a worthy contender to the Apple iPad 10th gen or not.

Design: The OnePlus Pad sports rounded edges and sufficiently thin bezels around the 11.61-inch display that you can hold it comfortably without the bezels being too thick. The Pad comes in a nice, very OnePlus-like Halo Green colour. When holding in landscape mode, the top left has the volume buttons, left side houses the Power/lock key, right side has the USB type C port, while you have four speakers -- two on each side. Its 7:5 aspect ratio plus aluminium railing around make it usable in both portrait as well as landscape mode, though I did find the glass front catching fingerprints rather quickly during my use. The bottom houses pogo sticks to attach the tablet with the keyboard. The back houses the OnePlus logo, the camera plus LED flash in a circular cutout. The tablet weighs just over 550grams and seems well built and comfortable to carry around, including the buttons; the body shows no cracking sounds or corners that might be any cause of concern for the user.

Display: The tablet sports a 11.61-inch (2800x2000) LCD 10-bit display with refresh rates of up to 144Hz supported. It can play HDR as well as Dolby Vision content and seems to be doing a better job of handling brightness and especially contrast for Dolby Vision and HDR content than what OnePlus phones have been doing. I wouldn't quite put the display in the same bracket as the iPad in terms of colour calibration and handling picture at low brightness, but it's still a nice, bright display with decent viewing angles, too, for the price tag, for watching TV shows, movies or just scrolling through your photos.

Speakers and camera: The four-speaker setup supports Dolby Atmos and offers really clear and loud output, which I kind of expected from a tablet this size. It does justice to the whole setup that you wouldn't mind using it for watching videos or even playing music in the background while you carry on with your work.

It sports a 13MP (f/2.2) camera with an LED flash on the back, which takes decent photos that you can occasionally use ot for taking photos or scanning documents on the go without having to worry about details too much. I rarely ever take photos using a tablet, so the camera here is just fine. The front has an 8MP (f/2.28) that is up to mark for making video calls or taking a selfie for some work purpose every once in a while. Both cameras support EIS but not OIS, which is not a big deal breaker for a tablet.

Performance and software: the Pad is equipped with MediaTek's 9000 chipset (octa core processor up to 3.1Ghz, Mali-G710 MP10 GPU) along with 12GB of LPDDRX5 RAm and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage (also comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option). You get about 233GB of available storage out of the box. The tablets runs on OxygenOS 13.1 based on Android 13 OS with the March security patch. The general day to day performance of the tablet seemed to satisfactory with the software showing no major lags or stuttering when using third party apps. You can go back and forth between apps without having to worry about any crashes. The tablet experience on the OS, though, is not something I would call as excellent, with apps struggling to run same on the landscape mode as they would in the portrait mode, or the keyboard being difficult to use, so you can see that the operating system may not be tablet-friendly in all corners. I am not sure I saw any app or even a game that could reach 144Hz refresh rates, occasionally 120Hz but certainly not higher. Though apps such as YouTube and Docs run well both ways and seem to be touch friendly wherever you're inside the apps, even in a popular app like Instagram, you can see the developer hasn't done much to make it a tablet-friendly app that can be used with both modes. This is where Apple's iPadOS is ahead, for providing a more cohesive and mature operating system that just gels well and feels native on a tablet that is not supposed to be just a bigger smartphone. Another thing, not every singe time, but every once in a while, the onscreen keyboard wouldn’t hide on its own after connecting the Magnetic Keyboard

Battery life: the Pad is powered by a 9,510 mAh battery unit and comes with a 100watt SuperVooc charger along with a USB type A to C USB 2.0 cable in the box. I found the battery life to be over a day even with heavy to moderate use, and it was nice to see decent standby times, so the tablet won't lose significant charge when sitting idle, which Android tablets can sometimes struggle so it's is certainly good to have in the OnePlus Pad. What makes it better that you can charge it from 1% to full in about 90 minutes, which is pretty quick, and hopefully doesn't take a toll on the battery in the long run.

Accessories: I tried the Pad's Magnetic Keyboard and the pen called Stylo. The keyboard has a trackpad as well, which is understandably smaller than what you see on a standard laptop. The keys on the keyboard have good travel but aren't quite well spaced out, that I might want to type on it. Though I am typing this using one, if given choice, you would still pick your laptop's keyboard over this for the keys as well as comfort on the lap, unsurprisingly. Standard shortcuts such as CTRL F, CTRL + Tab, CTRL C, CTRL V and several others that you can check under Settings work out of the box -- systemwide. The trackpad, too supports standard gestures for scrolling, etc. the Stylo can be used for taking notes in the preinstalled Notes app, though it's not the most feature-rich notes app with no cloud connectivity or third party integration for now.

Verdict: The OnePlus seems to be a good first try from the house of OnePlus when it comes to an Android tablet. Though the OS leaves a bit on the table in terms of not being really tablet friendly, the performance is generally good. It also has a nice and sharp display, really loud and clear speakers to make your multimedia experience better (though no 3.5mm audio jack). If you really want to buy an

Android tablet around Rs. 40,000 that can handle high resolution videos and images without any hiccups, comes with a good battery experience and can also be used for occasional document and photo editing, the OnePlus Pad is one of the few better options Android has today.

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