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OnePlus Pad Review: A fresh take on an Android tablet

The OnePlus Pad with the keyboard accessory

The OnePlus Pad is a return to form for OnePlus – it gets solid, top-shelf hardware and specs at a price point that’s barely nudging the premium tablet space. It gets MediaTek’s flagship processor from last year, the Dimensity 9000, has an LCD panel that can easily fool you into believing it is an OLED, feels and looks premium and has a large battery (9510mAh).

With an unusual screen aspect ratio of 7:5, the OnePlus Pad is clearly designed to be used in landscape mode. The positioning of the camera at the back and the OnePlus logo on the back hint to the same as well. The OnePlus Pad, at least right now, is only available in this shade of green and I quite like it. It goes well with the latest OnePlus 11 in the same shade with the keyboard folio case also matching up perfectly. The OnePlus Stylo (Rs. 4,999), which like the OnePlus Magnetic Keyboard (Rs. 7,999), can be bought separately. The OnePlus Pad feels comfortable to hold in the hand with its rounded edges and evenly distributed 558g weight. The glass and metal construction feels solid and good to the touch.

The OnePlus Pencil
The OnePlus Pencil in action

The rear camera (a 13-megapixel one with an LED flash) does a decent job with good colour reproduction and sharpness. The 8MP camera is useful for video calls and gets a feature similar to Apple’s Centre Stage that follows your face around as you move in the frame, but there is a noticeable drop in quality while using it.

OnePlus ecosystem
OnePlus has made efforts to address concerns around an ecosystem for its first tablet

The slim bezels surrounding the 11.6-inch display means that the Pad isn’t as large as some other flagship tablets. There’s a quad speaker setup that supports Dolby Atmos and delivers crisp, loud audio with a healthy amount of bass as well. The display, with a 144Hz refresh rate and 2800 x 2000 pixels along with 500 nits of mas brightness, is easily the one thing that stands out when you start using the OnePlus Pad. It has great colors, deep blacks and very good viewing angles – much like an OLED. The OnePlus Pad then is really good at consuming content.

When it comes to productivity, OnePlus has decided to offer enough and more on the OnePlus Pad, both in terms of sheer firepower and also in terms of the accessories. Our review unit came with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The OnePlus Magnetic Keyboard feels well built, and the material on the inside where your palm rests is nice to the touch too. The keys don’t have a lot of travel but they are clicky and not very difficult to live with. The trackpad too is small but works well with support for a few gestures as well. The OnePlus Stylo has very low latency and feels solidly built, but the full range of its abilities can only be explored once it gets more widely supported.

The MediaTek Dimensity 9000 does a good job of delivering lag free performance while switching between apps, playing games and watching movies. It is fast and also power efficient, which means that you can easily power through more than a day of mixed use. The 100W charger that’s in the box is held back by the 67W charging that the tablet supports. Charging time then is a solid 80 minutes or so for a full charge.

What ultimately lets down the OnePlus Pad (and all other Android tablets) is the poor support Android apps have offered tablets for the longest time. What this means is that a lot of apps just use the screen like they would use a smartphone display. Very few apps have a double-pane layout. OnePlus has done a good job with the OxygenOS implementation on top of Android here and system apps and OnePlus apps do make good use of the screen real estate. There are added functionalities like support for multi-windows and gestures for multi-tasking. Still they pale in comparison to what’s offered by some Samsung and Apple tablets.

That said, I must state that the OnePlus Pad is a far superior media consumption device than what Samsung and Apple (or anyone else for that matter) offer for the price. The fact that OnePlus even decided to offer productivity features at this price point is something that should be celebrated and not derided. So to sum things up, if you are looking for a premium device for streaming Netflix, reading news and video-calling friends, the OnePlus Pad is a great option.

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