OnePlus Pad Review: A Fine Android Tablet With Room for Improvement

Android slates have always piqued my interest. But, despite using some of the best tablets the market has to offer, I’ve always been left wanting more. Maybe the tablet doesn’t come with a powerful processor, or it lacks a high-quality screen or it’s priced too egregiously. More to the point, I am not exactly sure where an Android tablet – in particular, the OnePlus Pad – fits in the vast array of smart devices I have at my disposal. 

Now, I am sure most of you echo my sentiments too. Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As prefaced previously, OnePlus recently took the wraps off the OnePlus Pad, which is the company’s first Android slate to date.

In typical OnePlus fashion, the company’s latest entrant comes with a loaded spec sheet. What’s more, the tablet doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either. But, can it hold its own against Samsung’s premium tablets or Apple’s iPad lineup? More importantly, does it offer enough substance, or is it just another screen to binge your favorite TV shows and movies on? Read on, to find out.

OnePlus Pad Specifications 

Before I dissect the tablet’s capabilities and utility, you should familiarize yourself with its core specs. I’ve jotted them down in the table below, so take a gander. 

Display Size11.61-inch, 144Hz, LCD display
Display Resolution2,800 x 2,000 pixels
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 9000
Storage 128GB, UFS 3.1
Battery 9,510mAh
Charging Speed67W
Cameras13MP Main, 8MP Selfie

With the specs out of the way, let’s answer some burning questions about the OnePlus Pad.

How is the OnePlus Pad’s Design?

OnePlus has left no stone unturned in the design department and the OnePlus Pad is a looker. The tablet has been milled out of a single slab of aluminum and it is brimming with character. The back of the device, for instance, comes with circular etching that is reminiscent of ASUS’ ZenBook lineup. The circles appear to be emanating from around the camera module, thereby giving the design the same appearance as the sky on a sunny evening. 

The cherry on top is that the tablet comes in a bespoke green hue. While I would’ve liked to see the company launch the device in a few more colors, the Pad’s Halo Green colorway is striking, to say the least.

Moreover, unlike the herd of tablets, the OnePlus Pad comes with chamfered and rounded edges. As such, you can hold the device comfortably without worrying about its corners biting into your palms. That’s not all, as the tablet is featherlight too and tips the scales at just 1.22 lbs (555 grams). And, the keyboard folio cover doesn’t add too much to the unit’s girth, which is great.

Interestingly, the tablet’s topmost edge has been flattened out to accommodate the add-on Stylo accessory. Cleverly enough, the stylus charges magnetically when affixed to the tablet too. Suffice it to say, the OnePlus Pad is equal parts stunning and functional.

Unfortunately, as is the case with most devices, the OnePlus Pad’s design is not without its faults. For one, the tablet doesn’t come with a fingerprint sensor for seamless biometric authentication. Making matters worse, the tablet’s facial recognition tech is finicky, at best and I struggled to get into the home screen in dimly-lit environments.

Since we’re on the subject, you should know that the OnePlus Pad comes with a pair of cameras, including a 13MP primary sensor and an 8MP selfie shooter.

The cameras are serviceable, at best and you can use the set for video calls, or to scan documents. You can check out the camera samples from the front and the rear-facing camera in the gallery attached above.

Is the OnePlus Pad’s Screen Any Good? 

The OnePlus Pad ships with a sizeable and pixel-dense, 11.61-inch display. To run some numbers by you, the screen offers a resolution of 2,800 x 2,000 pixels and the panel can refresh at up to 144Hz as well. And, although the panel is backed by LCD technology, the display overturns peppy, vivid hues. At the same time, the screen offers satisfactory contrast as well. 

Tech jargon aside, the OnePlus Pad’s display is a treat to look at and I thoroughly reveled in watching movies and TV shows on the unit. Now, do note that the tablet is compliant with the Dolby Vision HDR codec.

That said, it cannot relay HDR media from OTT services like Netflix. The reason is, Netflix has a more stringent Dolby Vision compliance standard in place. As such, you’ll notice that most tablets in the OnePlus Pad’s price bracket can only relay HD streams from streaming services. 

Does that take away from the OnePlus Pad’s viewing experience? Absolutely not. In fact, I spent a lot of time watching a myriad of content on the tablet. Be it the new Air movie on Prime, premier league matches on Hotstar, or binging the Night Agent on Netflix, the tablet was more than adept at delivering excellent picture quality across all formats and streaming platforms. 

The tablet scaled SD content quite well too and older reruns of the Office were void of any noise as well. What’s more, the tablet’s quad-speaker setup gets amply loud too. Add to that, the audio output doesn’t distort at high volume levels either.

If anything, I would’ve liked to see streaming apps make the most of the display’s sharp resolution. As things stand, the tablet only offers 1080p playback on Netflix and Prime Video. 

But, content consumption is just one part of the equation. To that end, the tablet’s screen is a joy to read articles on, thanks in part to the unit’s unique 7:5 aspect ratio. Compared to tablets with a 4:3 screen, the OnePlus Pad’s panel can accommodate more text, which is great.

The panel gets adequately bright at 500 nits as well. So, you should be able to read your favorite books without squinting your eyes when you’re out and about too. 

Interestingly, despite the company’s claims, the tablet’s display refreshes at 120Hz for the most part. Now, I did try to get the unit to scale at 144Hz, but to no avail. On the bright side, the tablet supports HRR across a variety of apps, including system apps like Gallery and social media apps like Twitter.

Funnily enough, the tablet defaults to 60Hz when browsing through YouTube. That said, other streaming apps like Netflix let you sift through content at 120Hz. 

If anything, I was let down by the tablet’s display in the gaming department. To wit, the screen caps the refresh rate to 60Hz for games that can, in fact, leverage higher FPS. To name a few, I tested the device with Alto’s Odyssey, Grimvalor, Hearthstone, and Call of Duty Mobile, all of which can run at 90-120FPS.

That said, the tablet could only play the aforementioned games at 60FPS (barring CoD Mobile, which runs at 90FPS). Making matters worse, the display isn’t calibrated for drawing apps either. In fact, apps like SketchBook also run at 60Hz, which is a bummer seeing how the OnePlus Pad’s HRR screen could’ve worked wonders for the OnePlus Stylo’s input latency. 

Is It Worth Splurging on the OnePlus Pad Magnetic Keyboard and Stylo?

For those unaware, the OnePlus Pad can be outfitted with a keyboard folio case and a stylus. The keyboard case latches onto the tablet magnetically and it holds the device securely in place. In fact, I didn’t notice the display wobble all that much when I was using the OnePlus Pad with the keyboard accessory. 

What’s more, the keyboard deck is reasonably spacious too. I was also satisfied with the key travel on offer. So much so, I typed the better part of this review on the tablet itself.

Interestingly, the keyboard can be used as an input in some games too. I tested the same with Crossy Roads and I could seamlessly move through traffic and jump on logs via the keyboard’s arrow keys. 

That’s not all, as the keyboard deck is replete with a trackpad too. Granted, the trackpad’s size did leave me wanting more. But, OnePlus has enabled swipe-based gestures for the trackpad, which will allow you to breeze through the UI without interacting with the display. Do note that the gestures take some time to get used to. 

While all that’s good and dandy, I would’ve liked to see the keyboard come with backlit illumination. As things stand, you’ll have a hard time using the keyboard cover at night. Moreover, the trackpad is a tad finicky, and at times, it doesn’t register a multi-touch gesture properly. 

I really like the spit and polish given to the OnePlus Stylo which, if you haven’t caught on by now, is a stylus for the OnePlus Pad. The stylus looks like a pencil and it offers a thick tip that can adapt to 4,096 levels of pressure. Truth be told, I don’t dabble in drawing but I was pleased with the stylus’ ergonomic design. What’s more, the unit latches effortlessly to the tablet’s chassis as well, which makes it easy to charge and carry around. 

If anything, OnePlus needs to tidy up the Pad’s software if it is looking to attract more artists. As prefaced previously, the OnePlus Pad doesn’t come with a sketching app. Furthermore, the tablet doesn’t let drawing apps make the most of its display either. 

Can the OnePlus Pad Replace a Laptop?

By now, you must be wondering – what can you even do with the OnePlus Pad? More notably, can the tablet replace a laptop? Before I get into that, you should know that the OnePlus Pad is backed by serious hardware. To that end, the tablet is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 SoC. The processor works in tandem with 8GB of DDR5 memory and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage. 

Needless to say, the OnePlus Pad can run a bevy of apps without slowing down. So, while you could pick up the tablet to watch movies or your favorite TV shows, you could also use the device to play your favorite games.

Now, granted, the tablet does limit the frame rate to 60FPS in most, if not all the titles. Thankfully, some popular games like CoD Mobile can make the most of the tab’s Dimensity 9000 processor. To that end, if you spend time playing a lot of high-octane games, the likes of which include CoD Mobile, then the OnePlus Pad should suffice for your usage.

Moreover, if you like playing games of the RPG / Puzzle variety, then the OnePlus Pad will serve you well. To that end, titles like Evoland 2, Hearthstone, and Limbo look stunning on the tablet’s 10-bit display. You can even connect a controller to the tablet to further elevate your gaming sessions. 

Be that as it may, the OnePlus Pad is not a laptop replacement – at least, not for the majority of folks out there. To be clear, I can get through a workday with the OnePlus Pad at my disposal.

But, that’s honestly not saying much. You see, I only need a handful of apps to get through a day’s tasks. I use Slack to stay connected with my peers, Twitter to stay up to date with tech launches, and Google Docs to type out reviews and other articles. And, despite the Tab’s relatively diminutive footprint, I could comfortably draft articles on WordPress too. 

The cherry on top is that the OnePlus Pad comes with a beefy 9,510mAh cell, which can last up to two days off a single charge. The tablet doesn’t take too long to charge either, which can be attributed to the OnePlus Pad’s 67W charging tech. Rest assured, you will rarely have to frantically search for a wall outlet with the OnePlus Pad in your arsenal. 

To sum up, if you only use a laptop to say, look up, or revert to emails and talk to clients over video calls, then you could bid adieu to bulky Windows notebooks and get a OnePlus Pad instead. However, if your work requires you to use specialized applications, then you’ll struggle to accommodate the OnePlus Pad into your workflow. 

Is the OnePlus Pad Worth It?

The OnePlus Pad comes in a single RAM and storage trim. The tablet is priced at $479 (Rs 37,999), with the magnetic keyboard and Stylo costing an additional $149 (Rs 7,999) and $99 (Rs 4,999) respectively. It goes without saying that the tablet is priced quite competitively and the device undercuts Apple’s iPad lineup and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 range by a healthy margin.

What’s more, the OnePlus Pad is backed by competent hardware too. And, although the tablet’s 144Hz refresh rate can be chalked up to an eye-catching novelty, the OnePlus Pad’s 10-bit panel is a treat to look at nonetheless.

Add to that a capable speaker setup and a drool-worthy design and the OnePlus Pad checks most, if not all of the right boxes. As such, buyers on the lookout for an affordable Android tablet will find the device to their liking. 

On the flip side, platform-agnostic buyers should pick up an Apple iPad in a heartbeat. To that end, the 10th Gen Apple iPad costs similar to the OnePlus Pad. Despite that, it ships with a powerful SoC and a significantly better app ecosystem that will let you maximize your productivity on the machine. You can even get the Apple iPad Air 5th Gen, which costs a smidge more albeit brings even better hardware to the mix. Rest assured, as good as the OnePlus Pad is, it still has ways to go before it can hold a candle to Apple’s iPad lineup. 

Last updated on 17 May, 2023

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