Xiaomi Pad 5 Review: Another Android Challenger for iPad

Every time I go to the Apple India website, I am tempted by one device: the iPad mini. In fact, there have been several instances where I have added it to the shopping cart and almost bought it. But there are two main factors that have prevented me from hitting purchases. One is the starting price of 46,000 Rs, which is reasonable to pay for a tablet as my big use will be entertainment. Second, I’m not entirely convinced that a tablet can replace my productivity needs, and I still need the comfort of my laptop. Still when I think of a tablet to buy, it is inevitably the iPad brand that comes to mind. But the Xiaomi Pad 5, which starts at Rs 26,999 (Rs 24,999 is the introductory price for now) wants to change that mindset.

Xiaomi Pad 5 clearly wants to take on the iPad (9th generation), the most affordable of the party for Rs 30,990. It tries to pitch itself as an affordable Android tablet that can match productivity, performance and entertainment needs. In fact, this is a product that has certainly sparked a lot of discussions. I’ve got peers asking if they should just buy it straight up already. But is this the right tablet for you? Here is my review.

Xiaomi Pad 5 specifications: 10.95-inch 2.5K LCD screen | Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 Processor | 6 GB RAM + 128 GB or 256 GB storage | 13 MP rear camera + 8 MP front camera | 8720 mAh battery with 22.5W charge | MIUI to Pad on Android 11 |

Xiaomi Pad 5 price in India: Rs 24,999 for 128GB option, Rs 26,999 for 256GB option

Xiaomi Pad 5: Design, Display

The design is without a doubt impressive. It is slim and weighs 511 grams, which makes it a little heavier than the iPad 9th gen. This tablet has a polycarbonate backing, although at first glance it certainly does not look like one. This does not mean that the build quality is in any way a compromise.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review Xiaomi Pad 5 gets 2.5K LCD screen. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

The Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with quad speakers at the top and bottom, there is a Type-C USB port and a magnetic pin on one side to connect it to the keyboard. The Xiaomi Smart Pen can be attached to the side where the volume buttons are located. There are no headphone jacks. Xiaomi also limits Pad 5 to Wi-Fi variants only in India. There is no cellular option and presumably they would have cost extra too. Honestly, not everyone needs a mobile connection. I had taken the tablet with me one day and using my mobile as a hotspot worked fine considering the basic tasks.

The tablet has a 10.95-inch LCD screen and this is a 2.5K resolution with a 16:10 format. It also comes with support for Dolby Vision and HDR 10. The maximum refresh rate is 120 Hz, although you also have the option to stick to the base 60 Hz. During the review, I kept the refresh rate to the maximum.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review The company has also introduced as Smart Pen and Smart Keyboard, although the final prices for these have not been confirmed. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

I watched four episodes of Mai, Gangubai Kathiawadi and three episodes of Succession on this tablet. This is a very skilled entertainment device. Both Gangubai and Succession were a pleasure to watch, with Mai I felt the screen struggled with some of the darker scenes. In fact, it was not enough to turn the brightness up to 100 percent. But I want to emphasize that such dark scenes are difficult for even the best smartphone screens, including devices that cost much more than the Xiaomi Pad 5.

The sound quality is also good from a daily entertainment perspective, although it does not quite fill what I was expecting. I had to keep the volume at a higher level when I saw Succession, Gangubai.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review The Xiaomi Smart Keyboard is quite impressive and works well. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

Xiaomi Pad 5: Performance, Software

Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with Snapdragon 860 processor, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB or 256 GB storage version. In terms of daily performance, there were really no complaints as such. Yes, this tablet is powerful enough to run your daily quota of games. I only played Altos Odyssey and Asphalt 9 on this as I can not see myself playing on a tablet. I prefer more compact devices.

I used this tablet to make a Google Meet call, wrote articles about it, searched in general and mostly relied on this as entertainment. From that perspective, it is an excellent device.

But a tablet is more than just about its ability to run games. It should also be useful for productivity, and the Xiaomi Pad 5 delivers on some crucial fronts. For example, when used with the Xiaomi Smart Keyboard, I found that this was a good enough device for writing articles. What further increases the productivity of someone like me when I write is the ability to use a regular Bluetooth mouse with this tablet.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review Split screen on Xiaomi Pad 5 with Disney + Hotstar on one side and a Google document on the other. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

As I mentioned in my first look, I’m not a fan of small keyboards, so this was a big leap for me. In fact, this whole review is written on Xiaomi Pad 5. I’m not saying I’m completely familiar with the keyboard. There are still a lot of muscle memory battles going on. But this tablet will be sufficient for short work trips where I do not feel like carrying my laptop.

The tablet runs MIUI for Pad, which is a dedicated OS for tablets from the company. Remember not all apps on Android are optimized for this. For example, I noticed that Disney + Hotstar is aimed at mobiles, and even when browsing in landscape on the app, it remains in portrait format, as it would on a smartphone screen. When you watch a video, of course, it automatically switches to landscape, but it’s weird when you browse.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review Not all apps are optimized for browsing on a tab, as can be seen in the case of Disney + Hotstar. The screen auto lock is off for those wondering. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

The user interface also includes a dedicated dock at the bottom, similar to what Apple’s iPad and macOS offer. You can access your most recently used apps from here. It also helps that the rear camera has a dedicated document mode. One can easily take pictures of these, mark and add annotations with Xiaomi Smart Pen etc. The front camera is also good enough for video calling.

It also supports floating windows and shared window viewing, all usefully aimed at increasing multitasking. However, not all apps support shared window viewing, which includes Gmail and Netflix. Google Docs, YouTube, and Prime Video are some of the apps that support split view. In fact, I had the review open on one side and Prime video on the other. Not ideal for productivity, but hey whatever works for you.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review Xiaomi Pad 5 did not allow me to add another Gmail account to the app for some reason. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

I also had Chrome open as a floating window while typing, but then I could not figure out how to close it, which became frustrating. So yes, it does take some time to understand the movements and features. But there are some software bugs.

First, the tablet did not allow me to add another Gmail account to the device. I’m not sure why this happens, but it definitely requires a software fix. Another problem I noticed was when I used the pen to make a shopping list. At one point, I ran out of screen space when using the Notes app, but the page space did not automatically expand to add more, as it should have. I thought that was strange too.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review The Xiaomi Pad 5s Notes app needs some work. In this case, I can not add further to the list. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

I realized that when you write with the pen, there is no page scroll on the Notes app. This appears when I used my husband’s iPad and Apple Pencil, and you can keep expanding the page while continuing to write things down. I struggled a lot with this and the function of taking notes needs to be improved. Is there a secret setting I’m missing? Maybe.

The pen itself can be used for a variety of actions, including screens, and it also has two buttons. But the transition to it is not that smooth, and it can be a little challenging to figure out how all of this works.

Xiaomi Pad 5: Battery life

The tablet comes with an 8720 mAh battery, which should easily last for two days with heavy use. Xiaomi collects a 22.5-watt charger in the box and it reaches 100 percent in about three hours or so. The Smart Pen is charged by attaching it to the side of the tablet.

Xiaomi Pad 5 review The Xiaomi Pad 5 turns out to be a solid entertainment device. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)

Xiaomi Pad 5: Should You Consider This?

If you are looking for an Android tablet that offers a good screen and performance while meeting daily entertainment and basic productivity needs, the Xiaomi Pad 5 delivers well. Xiaomi has not yet confirmed the prices for the Smart Pen or Smart Keyboard. It can also be an ideal tablet to get for online school and entertainment purposes, provided you are willing to spend over Rs 20,000 but do not want to cross the Rs 30,000 limit. I am seriously considering getting it for my niece as she has a pretty awful one at the moment.

The Xiaomi Pad 5’s introductory price also makes it enticing. You get 128 GB of storage for Rs 24,999. Remember more storage space is always great on a tablet. But it has software bugs that need to be fixed, especially if someone is planning to get Smart Pen and Keyboard along with it. In particular, the Notes app, the second Gmail account issue, needs an urgent software update.