Xiaomi Redmi Pad: A Refreshing Delight for Workholics

redmi pad review

The slogan of India’s budget tablet industry has been cheapness at the expense of reliability, with cheap tablets using outdated CPUs, strange designs, and varying levels of performance. The return of the tablet to the forefront of India’s tech scene in the pandemic era has been marked by tablets whose performance and design tend to vary directly with their price, in contrast to the first tablet revolution (2011-2014), during which you could get excellent tablets for a surprisingly affordable price (the Google Nexus tablet was available for under Rs 20,000).

It felt like all the nice tablets had moved over the Rs 20,000 price limit, and the higher they went, the more they had to compete with the original tablet, the iPad, which has magically maintained a price point of roughly Rs 30,000 ever since it first arrived in India a decade ago.

Which is why we have to admit that we were pleasantly pleased by Xiaomi’s Redmi Pad, which was released a few days ago in India. Although Xiaomi has been steadily increasing the price of its products in recent years, the company seems to have returned to its “stacks of goodness for not too much money” origins with the release of its newest tablet.

The Redmi Pad has a starting price of only Rs 12,999 during its launch period. In that pricing range, tablet performance issues like lag and freezing are common.

Typically, at this price point, you’re left with a display that’s acceptable but not amazing, a CPU that’s showing its age, terrible acoustics, and a design that begs the question, “What did you expect at this price, then?”

Redmi Pad has an almost luxury look, a brand new processor, and unexpectedly competent performance.

But with the Redmi Pad, everything is turned on its head. To begin with, it has an enticing appearance. You can’t go wrong with the Mint Green version. The aluminium construction and sleek, modern lines are all the rage in the IT industry right now. The sensations you get from using it are far from being low-priced.

That sense of near premium-ness remains even when you turn on the tablet. The screen size is 10.61 inches (the iPad’s is 10.2 inches, for comparison) and the resolution is 2K. (2,000×1,200 pixels). The 90Hz refresh rate and vivid colours on the Redmi Pad’s screen are features that aren’t often seen in devices at this price point.

The tablet’s use of a brand-new chipset, the MediaTek Helio G99, is even more unusual. It’s the first tablet to use this CPU, in fact. While the MediaTek Helio G99 isn’t quite a top-tier CPU, it’s a pretty respectable performer in the midrange. It’s an upgraded version of the Helio G96, and it’s competitive with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, both of which are found in smartphones that cost more than this tablet.

Simply said, it can quickly and efficiently do mundane jobs, and with very little adjustments, it can also perform more demanding ones. With only a little tweaking, Call of Duty can be played comfortably on low settings.

Additionally, the tablet’s quad speaker setup, which supports Dolby Atmos, is responsible for the crisp, clear sound that you hear when playing games. The Redmi Pad’s speakers make it an excellent media player, and the tablet also has a dedicated reading mode for readers of electronic books. Once again, you shouldn’t expect this level of performance or features from a tablet that costs roughly Rs 15,000.

Redmi Pad: Clever software enhancements; Android updates expected

However, if you upgrade to the 4GB+128GB or 6GB+128GB models (Rs 14,999 and Rs 16,999, respectively — again, introductory prices), you will be able to do things like running two apps in splitscreen without any trouble. The base model of the Redmi Pad comes with 3GB RAM and 64GB storage (expandable using a microSD card), and that particular variant tends to struggle with multi-tasking. The tablet operates on Android 12, with Xiaomi’s unique MIUI 13 skin on top, which adds a number of useful features, such as a Video Toolbox that improves the quality of your video watching.

There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back that doubles as a document scanner, and a similar 8-megapixel camera on the front that follows your every motion and automatically crops in more people with a FocusFrame function coming in an upcoming software update.

When it comes to software, the company promises not one but two major OS upgrades and three years’ worth of security patches. Again, this is unusual at this price range, where you often get older software; Xiaomi itself released the more costly Xiaomi Pad 5 earlier this year with Android 11, and is only now upgrading it to Android 12.

Redmi Pad: the tablet equivalent of the Redmi Note? This is what we believe.

It’s true that the Redmi Pad falls into the “too good to be true” category, which is why this story seems so unbelievable.

To gripe about the tablet’s lack of a fingerprint scanner, 4G connection, or a 3.5mm audio socket (all features that should be expected at this price), however, would be to pick at minor details.

A great display, great sound, a good processor, very good battery life (works for a day easily and there’s a 22.5W charger in the box), and a design that turns heads for the price make up for the base model’s lacklustre multitasking performance (3GB RAM and 64GB of storage).

In 2016, Xiaomi shocked the Indian smartphone industry by releasing the Redmi Note 3, which had a premium metal casing and respectable technology at a starting price of less than Rs 10,000. Before then, if you wanted a smartphone without breaking the bank, you had to make some sacrifices in terms of design, hardware, and performance.

Six years later, the Redmi Pad has a good chance of doing the same for the low-priced tablet market. It has the potential to not just shift how people see the low-priced tablet market, but also how they use tablets generally. This is usually a positive thing since it pushes competing businesses to up their game.

Although the Redmi Pad’s prices are promotional at the moment, buyers have seen that a tablet with very high performance and design can be had for roughly Rs 15,000 (about $180).

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