Artist Review: Xiaomi Pad 5 (2021)
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is the budget tablet to beat in 2021 in terms of value for money. No other tablets come close. It really is quite amazing what Xiaomi has done here with the specifications they managed to squeeze into this tablet.
Below are the specifications of the tablet together with the Pro model, and with the iPad (2021) came out in September 2021.
|Model||Xiaomi Pad 5 Wi-Fi (2021)||Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 5G (2021)||iPad 9 (2021)|
|Display||11-inch LCD @ 120Hz||11-inch LCD @ 120Hz||10.2-inch LCD @ 60Hz|
|Resolution||2560 x 1600, 16:10||2560 x 1600, 16:10||2160 x 1620, :4:3|
|Chip||Snapdragon 860||Snapdragon 870 5G||Apple A13|
|Storage||128GB||128. 256GB||64. 256GB|
|Main camera||13MP f/2||50MP f/2.5||8MP f/2.4|
|Speakers||4 way||4 way||2 way|
|OS||Android 12, MUI 12.5||Android 12, MUI 12.5||iPadOS 15|
|Weight||254.7 x 166.3 x 6.9 mm||254.7 x 166.3 x 6.9 mm||250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5 mm|
|microSD card slot||No||No||No|
|Stylus support||Xiaomi Smart Pen (US 65)||Xiaomi Smart Pen (US 65)||Apple Pencil 1 (US 99)|
|Price (US)||300. 400||450||329|
The unit I’m reviewing is the one with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. I went with the non-Pro version because of the significantly lower price.
The only area the iPad 2021 can compete is with the Apple A13 Bionic chip. According to benchmarks, Apple A13 Bionic chip is comparable to Snapdragon 870, and is faster than Snapdragon 860 by around 20%. In the real world, the user experience is going to be quite similar though when it comes to general use of the tablet.
Other than the processor, the Xiaomi Pad 5 has better specifications than the iPad 2021.
I bought my Xiaomi Pad 5 here in Singapore for US 300 equivalent, and the Xiaomi Smart Pen for another US 65. The local price here in Singapore for the Xiaomi Pad 5 is US 300. The current price on AliExpress is US 400~, and the pre-order launch price was US 300.
The thing with Android tablets is can drop quite quickly. So if you have the time to wait, I recommend waiting till the November and December shopping period for deals. If you can get this Xiaomi tablet at US 300, it’s an incredible deal. If you can’t and want to buy it at US 400, it’s still a good deal. I’ve reviewed many tablets this year and this the best one in terms of value.
At the US 300 to 400 price range, you’re going to get a terrific user experience with the Xiaomi Pad 5 over the iPad 2021. on that later.
The tablet comes with a 20W charger and USB-C cable. The Xiaomi Smart Pen is sold separately for US 65.
Design of this tablet is very similar to the iPad Pro with its uniform thin bezels, flat sides, speaker and button placement. When I took the tablet out of the box, I went “Wow, this is the Xiaomi iPad Pro”.
The main differences in design to the iPad Pro is the shape of camera module is different.
And the glass of the Xiaomi tablet raises above the metal frame. The Xiaomi tablet is 6.9mm thick while the iPad Pro is 5.9mm.
Build quality is solid. This tablet looks and feels premium.
That’s the keyboard connector for the Xiaomi Keyboard Case which is around US 85.
There are 4 speakers, two at the top and two at the bottom. Audio quality from the speakers is fantastic.
Xiaomi Smart Pen attaches to the side of the table magnetically for charging. The magnets are not that strong though.
If you use a flip case with magnets, the pen may not be able to charge properly (according to my friend).
The Xiaomi Smart Pen is a Bluetooth stylus. Battery life is rated at 8 hours. Unlike the Samsung S Pen, the Xiaomi pen needs battery to work. But since the pen is always attached by the side of the tablet. Battery life is not going to be a problem.
Bluetooth pairing is done through tablet settings. One downside is there’s no battery life indicator for the pen. Update Nov 2021: Pen’s battery life indicator is now available.
The LCD is vibrant and bright. Colours look great.
The 11-inch display is a good size to work with. It’s about the size of an A5-sized sketchbook. You can rest your hand on the display and still have a large leftover area to draw on.
Resolution is 2560 x 1600 and aspect ratio is 16:10. Pixel density is 274 PPI. All the visual look sharp with no noticeable pixelation. This is just a really good display.
When playing YouTube videos, black bars are small. And you can play YouTube videos at 1440P.
The display is also laminated so the gap between the line and the pen tip is minimal, not noticeable when drawing or writing. There’s no parallax or misalignment. Tracking is accurate.
The display has 120Hz refresh rate so you can expect smooth animation with scrolling webpages, pan-zoom-rotate, swiping across the home screen.
The latency, unfortunately, is not different from using a 60Hz display. There’s still a gap as the line is trying to catch up with the pen tip. The difference with 120Hz and 60Hz when it comes to latency on the Xiaomi tablet is, at least the lines don’t appear in a choppy manner. There’s the latency gap, but at least the animation of the line appearing is smooth.
Anyway, latency is not an issue unless you’re someone who draws really quick, and I mean REALLY quick. With my normal drawing speed, I don’t even notice or think about the latency.
The overall performance of the tablet is smooth and lag-free even with many apps open. I tried playing Genshin Impact and the gaming performance is smooth.
Apps launch fast. Switching between apps is fast. 120Hz refresh rate also makes the performance feel more snappy.
The main downside is apps in the background will often refresh when you switch to them. It’s not a big issue since apps and webpages load fast. Apps that use a load of RAM may take longer to reload. For example, when I play Genshin Impact and switch to web browsing, and switch back a few seconds later, there’s a good chance the whole game will reload.
Since I don’t really game, my overall experience is pretty smooth, a positive experience.
Xiaomi Smart Pen
The Xiaomi Smart Pen is sold separately for US 65.
The design is almost cylindrical except for the flat side that attaches to the side of the tablet. The body has a nice matte texture. It has a nice weight and is comfortable to hold.
The two side buttons are pre-programmed to shortcuts for taking screenshots and taking notes. These buttons are placed slightly higher and further away from the pen tip compared to the Samsung S Pen. I like the button placement because it’s difficult for me to press the buttons accidentally.
The pen tip actually has matte surface coating on it. Despite the matte textured surface, the pen glides on the glass too smoothly for my preference. When drawing straight lines, if you don’t have good technique, the pen can glide away from the intended path. I won’t say it’s that slippery but it’s definitely very smooth. It’s going to take some time to get use to it, especially when you need to draw accurately.
The pen tip should last for a long time as it’s so smooth on the glass. I probably don’t recommend apply a matte screen protector because it’s going to wear down the pen tip faster, and it’s difficult to find replacement tips.
There’s only one replacement tip included. At the time of this review, replacement tips are not available. When I reviewed the Huawei MatePad Pro with their Huawei M Pencil, it took several months for replacement tips to be available. If you want to look for replacement tips, the best place is on AliExpress.
Pen performance and line quality test
Initial Activation Force (IAF) is low but you still need to apply slight pressure to get a line.
Jitter or wobble is not very noticeable with slow diagonal lines.
3a. Lines are not able to taper as smoothly compared to Apple Pencil or those pen tablets or pen displays.
3b. This makes drawing certain subjects more challenging, e.g. blades of grass, hair. Whether this will affect your work will depend on the type of art you create. If you draw professional comics, then the pen performance may not be good enough.
Line transition from thin to thick is smooth. However due to the IAF, it’s difficult to make the line go back as thin as it can be.
Dots can be drawn easily.
Maintaining consistent pressure to draw lines with consistent width is not difficult. There’s minor changes in the thickness but nothing too significant.
Tilt sensitivity works great. You can get different thickness for broad strokes depending on the angle of tilt. It’s easy to get smooth thin and thick transition with tilt.
Palm rejection works flawless with apps where you can choose to have only pen input for drawing.
Apple Pencil is still the best stylus on a tablet. Xiaomi Smart Pen and Samsung S Pen are on par and come in at second place. The pen performance that you see above is probably the best an Android tablet and pen can put out so far. There’s still room for improvement before the performance can match Apple Pencil.
My overall drawing experience is still quite positive despite the issue with IAF.
Drawing apps on Android
Google Play Store is included.
There’s a good selection of drawing apps on Android although the variety is not as huge as what you can find from the Apple App Store. But even if you have an unlimited selection of drawing apps, it’s not like you’re going to use that many apps. The main downside to the Google Play Store is the lack of graphic design apps, e.g. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Affinity Designer.
Clip Studio Paint is probably the best illustration app available on Android. It’s basically the same desktop version ported over to Android so you get all the tools and features. It’s a subscription based app on the tablet and you cannot reuse your desktop license.
Medibang Paint is a freemium alternative to Clip Studio Paint. It’s quite capable too. Freemium means it’s free to use but some tools and features are locked behind the paywall.
Concepts is my favourite drawing app. It’s a vector illustration app with infinite canvas.
Other notable drawing apps on Android are Krita, Infinite Painter, Sketchbook and Huion Sketch.
iPad 2021 vs Xiaomi Pad 5
The iPad 9 (2021) is only better because Apple Pencil performance is better. Other than that, the design is dated, there’s only 3GB RAM and 64GB storage. Display is not laminated. Speakers are not true stereo. Display is 60Hz.
If I have US 400. 500 to spend, I’ll probably go with the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro because despite the drawing performance not being as good as the Apple Pencil, the overall package just provides way more value for money.
Actually, if you’re not into drawing, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is the obvious choice to buy, hands down, no brainer.
I feel like if I were to buy the iPad over the Xiaomi Pad 5, I would go “I wish I had bought the Xiaomi” everyday. Whereas if I have the Xiaomi, I really don’t feel like I’m really missing out too much.
I’ve reviewed many tablets over the years and I’ve come to the stage where I just use whatever that’s in front of me as long as it can get the job done. I don’t mind if it’s an iPad or Android tablet, but I won’t use Windows tablets for professional digital drawing.
As to which tablet to get, my advice is to look at your workflow and the type of art you make, and choose the tablet that best suits your art style. If your art requires absolute precision, and you should know that by now, then the Xiaomi is probably not for you.
The other main reason, besides Apple Pencil, to choose the iPad is the variety of drawing and graphic design apps available from the Apple App Store. The variety is larger that’s for sure but note that you’re not going to be using that many drawing apps at the same time. Most people gravitate towards Procreate and just that so it doesn’t really matter if the variety is huge.
What’s really missing with Android really is graphic design apps such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and Affinity Photo and Designer.
What Xiaomi has done with the Xiaomi Pad 5 is impressive. You can now get a great looking tablet with good performance for a fraction of what Apple is charging. FYI, the iPad Air (2020) with 64GB storage is priced at US 599 and that doesn’t even come with a 120Hz display or 4-way speakers!
In terms of drawing performance, it’s good but not as good compared to the Apple Pencil. Drawing performance is on par with the Samsung S Pen. The only thing I didn’t quite like is how slippery the screen is when drawing so that affects accuracy. That will take some time to get used to. The main thing is I still enjoy drawing on this tablet very much.
As a tablet for general use, it’s 5 out 5 stars. As a tablet for drawing, it’s probably 4.5 out of 5 stars. Would I recommend getting this tablet over the iPad 2021? Absolutely because the overall user experience is just so much better. E.g. Better display, audio, more storage, nice design, USB-C, cheaper.
I’m someone who’s budget conscious like to get the most value. For years I’ve been recommending refurbished iPads over new models because the refurbished ones are the better deal. So in this case, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is the better deal, and provides way more value than an iPad.
Oh, if you want to buy the tablet, make sure to get the global ROM for the default English interface.
Pros and cons at a glance Beautiful design Solid build quality 4-way speakers with fantastic audio quality USB-C Pen snaps to the side for charging Tilt and pressure sensitivity works well Palm rejection works well Vibrant and bright display Sharp visuals with no pixelation (274 PPI) 2560 x 1600 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio 120Hz refresh rate Laminated display Base model with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage Snapdragon 860 has good performance 10-14 hours battery life Extremely competitive pricing for the non-Pro model. No battery indicator for Xiaomi Smart Pen. Apps in background often reload. Slippery display when drawing. Replacement pen tips impossible to find currently. Possible Android OS updates not guaranteed
The Xiaomi Pad 5 rips off the iPad in all the right ways
The Android tablet world is split into two camps. Ultra-affordable options are the norm, and while they lead in terms of sales, they’re really only good for watching movies and shows or reading-related tasks. On the other end of the spectrum are super-premium tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 that give you a whole lot of hardware, but are held back by the limitations of limited tablet-optimized software. What’s been missing from the market is a solid mid-range option that competes with Apple’s entry-level tablet portfolio. Enter the Xiaomi Pad 5.
This isn’t Xiaomi’s first rodeo. The company’s first tablet endeavor shamelessly ripped off the iPad. The Xiaomi Pad 5, ironically, isn’t all that different from the iPad either. But you know what? I’m not complaining.
Hardware that screams value
Xiaomi’s prowess at matching great hardware with a great price is well-known, but striking a good balance takes a mix of intuition and truly knowing your audience. To that end, the Xiaomi Pad 5 makes all the right moves with both its inclusions and omissions.
It all starts with the display. As I recently said when checking out the realme Pad Mini, a display is the cornerstone of any good tablet. In fact, it’s the raison d’être for buying a tablet in the first place. Xiaomi delivers the goods here, with an 11-inch display that has all the bells and whistles, including a 2K resolution, high brightness levels, and compatibility with standards like Dolby Vision. You even get a 120Hz refresh rate for that extra bit of smoothness, even if it doesn’t support variable refresh rates. There’s a lot here that you miss out on with the similarly priced entry-level iPad.
All those features make a tangible difference to the user experience. Watching Netflix is a treat, and text looks tack sharp. Playing games is enjoyable too, thanks to the punchy colors. I found the wider aspect ratio to be great for viewing video content, though, personally, I’m biased towards the taller aspect ratio of iPads for reading.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 closes the multimedia experience loop with quad speakers. The speakers go plenty loud and vocals cut through the mix with ease, but they’re not quite as crystal clear as those on the iPad. However, the tablet copies a neat little trick from the iPad that adds to the immersion. The speakers switch their orientation based on how you are holding the tablet, and I found the feature exceedingly handy to have while watching YouTube in a floating window and scrolling through Feedly alongside.
Finally, mid-range tablets all too often get saddled with ho-hum chipsets that simply lack the grunt needed to drive a fluid user experience. Not so on the Xiaomi Pad 5. It might not be absolutely cutting edge, but the decision to use a Snapdragon 860 chipset was the right one. The two-year-old processor is still more than capable of smooth everyday use and high-end gaming. over, there’s enough headroom to ensure that the tablet will keep on going smoothly for years to come. While doing so, Xiaomi has also comfortably avoided the problem of driving up costs too high with the latest and greatest hardware. Honestly, I’m surprised it took any company this long to crack such an obvious formula.
The software experience sells it
What makes the iPad truly special is the software experience, and Android fans have spent years trying to chase that balance of functionality, ease of use, and app ecosystem. While the last one is still rather problematic, Xiaomi has made strides toward fixing the first two problems by doing what it does best — being ahem “inspired” by Apple.
While MIUI has long prioritized a home screen-only interface, similar to the iPad, this time around, it picked up some neat tricks for the dock as well. For example, the dock always displays the last three apps that you’ve used over on the right. That’s a nifty little shortcut to jump between apps.
Like the iPad, tapping the split button for an app while in the multitasking menu lets you snap it to one side of the display. You can then adjust it freely to reflow across the width of the display. The Xiaomi Pad 5, however, doubles down on the productivity experience by letting you launch two additional floating apps by long pressing on the icon. I found it very productive to have floating Windows for Spotify or YouTube in addition to dual apps loaded up.
Xiaomi’s FOCUS on optimizing every system app for a widescreen experience also stands out and shows care. I know it’s a low bar, but Android tablets have traditionally shown little regard for the end-user software experience, as we saw recently with realme’s tablets, and it goes a long way toward making the product better for the user.
The Notes app, for example, includes a full span view as well as deep integration for the stylus. A range of brush styles also adds to the experience and lets you use the tablet for more than just random doodling.
That same attention to detail extends to the optional keyboard and stylus as well. The folio-style keyboard comes across as a well-designed product, with key travel that extends beyond what you get on Apple’s folio keyboard. In fact, the experience isn’t that far from the excellent Magic Keyboard albeit vastly more affordable. I wrote a significant portion of this article on the Xiaomi Pad 5’s keyboard and quickly got used to touch typing. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the entire keyboard can be configured with shortcuts to launch specific apps.
The Xiaomi Pad 5’s folio keyboard accessory offers excellent key travel and an array of quick access shortcuts.
Similarly, Xiaomi has copied the iPad’s side-mounted stylus setup. The stylus, however, includes two buttons, one of which doubles up as a shortcut for the notes app. The other key can be used to snag screenshots and annotate them as you wish. I found the latency to be close to, but not quite as good as the Apple Pencil. Nevertheless, the user experience is perfectly functional and that’s more than you can hope for at the price point Xiaomi is aiming at.
Xiaomi Pad 5: An inspired rip-off
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a bit shocking that Android OEMs haven’t been able to bring the value smartphone model to the tablet segment to date. The combination of good-enough specs and great software optimization makes sense, and the Xiaomi Pad 5 nails the hardware proposition. Even more important is the fact that the software experience gives the Xiaomi Pad 5 a degree of cohesion, despite the inadequacies of tablet apps on the Google Play Store.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is a compelling mid-range Android tablet
Laptop Mag Verdict
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is an exceptional Android tablet thanks to its smooth MIUI for Pad OS and bright display, but it lacks processing power to make it a game-changing slate.
- Bright 120Hz display
- Improved MIUI for Pad OS
- Great battery life
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Price: From £369 CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 OS: MIUI for Pad RAM: 6GB Storage: 128GB, 256GB Display: 11-inch (1600 x 2560 pixels) LCD, 120Hz refresh rate Battery: 8,720mAh capacity Size: 10 x 6.54 x 0.26 inches Weight: 1.1 pounds (511g)
Over the past couple of years, tablets have gone through an unspoken renaissance of sorts. With the release of the ever-impressive iPad Air (2020) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, these devices are beginning to question the differences between a 2-in-1 laptop and a powerful slate. This is especially true with the M1-powered iPad Pro (2021).
And now we have the Xiaomi Pad 5 to add to the list as it’s a significant update to its 2018 sibling, the Mi Pad 4. Not only does Xiaomi’s latest Android tablet bring a host of improvements, from the wonderful 11-inch, 120Hz display to the upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor, but it also brags a refined MIUI for Pad OS that demands to be compared to Apple’s unrivaled iPadOS — to a point.
Despite its improvements, Xiaomi’s Pad 5 is still trumped by Apple’s slew of tablets. The slate’s mediocre performance will be suitable for most consumers to browse the web, binge-watch movies and play Android games on, but it will struggle to keep up with more demanding apps for professionals. What’s worse, the exclusion of the Xiaomi Smart Pen and detachable keyboard limit the potential of the tablet, and only bump up the otherwise affordable price tag.
Xiaomi Pad 5 price and configurations
Configurations for the Xiaomi Pad 5 start with a 6GB of RAM, 128GB SSD model for £369/€369 (around 497). There is also a 6GB of RAM, 256GB SSD model available for those in need of more space, but this isn’t currently available in the U.K. and Europe. You’ll find on Xiaomi’s official U.K. product listing page the Pad 5 is only available in Cosmic Gray, but it also launched in a Pearl White colour option in other markets.
At this price, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is more affordable than the best tablets on the market, including the iPad Air (2020) (from 599), iPad Pro (2021) (from 1,099) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (from 649). The Pad 5 doesn’t boast the same impressive performance as these tablets, however, and Apple’s basic iPad (£319) is considerably cheaper yet still offers superb speeds (both in the A12 Bionic and 9th Gen’s A13 Bionic).
Unfortunately, the Xiaomi Pad 5 does not come with the new Xiaomi Smart Pen or detachable keyboard, which significantly limits the tablet’s functionality. The Smart Pen, which has been designed to work with the tablet, is sold separately.
Xiaomi Pad 5 design
From a design perspective, it’s hard not to see the Xiaomi Pad 5 as a distant cousin of the iPad Air (2020). From the button placement and circular vents at either end of the tablet to the display bezels, it’s clear Xiaomi has taken design cues from the iPad — and I praise the company for doing so.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is a sleek device that begs to be picked up, featuring the same slim body and rounded edges as the iPad Air. You’ll even find an oblong power button on the top edge of the tablet, along with two volume control buttons that run along the side. Although, the latter are joined on the Pad 5. You’ll also find the same camera placement, and an identical magnetic strip to place a stylus. So far, so iPad.
The differences lie in the shape of the device. The Xiaomi Pad 5 is slightly wider, with more space cut out for its rear camera. You’ll also find the display juts out slightly, as opposed to the panel being part of the tablet’s body. On the rear, the Pad 5 hones its design with a silver engraving of the “Xiaomi” logo and its cool Cosmic Gray hue, but it is a fingerprint fiend. Lastly, the edges of the rear aren’t completely flat, as there are slight crevices that helped me grip the tablet when picking it up from a table.
Like most modern tablets, a single USB Type-C charging port is found on the bottom of the Pad 5, with no headphone jack in sight. I suppose that’s where Xiaomi’s Mi True Wireless Earbuds Basic 2 come in. You also won’t find a Touch ID sensor on the Pad 5, but you do get Face ID to unlock the slate.
Coming in at 10 x 6.54 x 0.26 inches and weighing 1.1 pounds, the Xiaomi Pad 5 shares virtually identical dimensions to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (10 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches, 1.1 pounds). The iPad Air is slightly smaller and lighter than both these tablets (9.7 x 7 x 0.24 inches, 1 pound), along with the even smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (9.8 x 6.2 x 0.3 inches, 1 pound). Overall, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is a travel-friendly tablet.
Xiaomi Pad 5 display
Sporting an 11-inch, 1600 x 2560 pixels LCD panel with DCI-P3 support, a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a 120Hz refresh rate, the Xiaomi Pad 5 delivers a fantastic display for watching movies or scrolling through content.
Thanks to the Pad 5’s True Display, colours are rich and vibrant, and the viewing experience is only made better by the display’s excellent brightness. When checking out the final trailer of No Time To Die, the brilliant whites shown when Rami Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin lies in the snow with a broken mask is pleasing to the eye, while the cracks from the onslaught of bullets Bond’s car takes during a shootout were clear and detailed. Watching it in a brightly lit room didn’t take away from the viewing experience, either. However, bumping up the display brightness level to maximum did start to drain the battery at a faster rate, but we’ll come to this later.
Xiaomi Pad 5 audio
I’ve never put too much thought into my iPad Air’s stereo speakers except that they are decently loud and do the job. With the Xiaomi Pad 5, however, I was thoroughly impressed with the punchy beats and distinct sounds its quad-speaker setup delivered.
To test if I could transform the Pad 5 into an audio device to kickstart a rager, I played Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” on the YouTube Music app. Even at max volume, not one layer of sound overwhelmed the other, as I could jam to the smack of percussion and enjoy Dua Lipa’s distinct vocals all at once. Having a well-tuned bass coming from both ends of the tablet really does deliver, as Xiaomi puts it, a “direct impact.”
I then had the random urge to listen to the timely classic “Scotty Doesn’t Know” by Lustra (or Matt Damon in Eurotrip) and jammed out to the heavy guitar riffs and appreciated the subtle vocals of the singer letting everyone know that Scotty really doesn’t know. While the Pad 5’s speakers could fill a room with sound on max, I found the volume was too low when reaching the 50% mark. Still, finding the right balance in sound wasn’t hard when adjusting to anything above 50%.
Xiaomi Pad 5 performance
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is fitted with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor and an impressive 6GB of RAM. Despite being a couple of years old, the Snapdragon 860 is still a reputable chip that will allow most consumers to blaze through multiple apps without a hiccup, split screening et al.
To put the system under pressure, I opened a number of apps and tabs on Google Chrome to see how the Pad 5 would hold up. This included YouTube, 20 Google Chrome tabs, Netflix, and Call of Duty: Mobile. Fortunately, Xiaomi’s slate ran it all without any stuttering or lag. What’s more, the 120Hz refresh rate made scrolling through Instagram and websites like Laptop Mag a smooth experience. That said, when scrolling through pages loading embedded videos, I did see the refresh rate slow down, but not enough to impede its performance.
The Pad 5 is also great for gaming, especially with Xbox Cloud Gaming on Xbox Game Pass becoming a more convenient way to play AAA games. While the Cloud gaming platform can be played on any device, the Pad 5’s suitably sized display and brightness made playing games such as Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4 shine. As for games from the Google Play Store, I tested out Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends and found everything from the responsive touch controls to the unhindered performance to work smoothly. Although, I did find it can take a couple of minutes to boot up each game.
When put to the test via the Geekbench 5.0 overall performance benchmark, the Xiaomi Pad 5 achieved a multi-core score of 2,614. This blazed past the more affordable range of tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (1,405, Snapdragon 662), but it couldn’t keep up with the bigger contenders including the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus (2,910, Snapdragon 865), iPad Air (4,262, A14 Bionic), and Surface Pro 7 (4,825, Core i5-1135G7). We won’t even count the latest M1 iPad Pro (7,298).
When we ran the JetStream 2.0 test, which examines web-browsing performance, the Xiaomi Pad 5 received a score of 70. That outdoes the Galaxy Tab A7 (32.8), Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (17.6), and Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (26.8). Among Android tablets, the Xiaomi Pad 5 offers brilliant performance.
MIUI for Pad
Xiaomi has tweaked its OS to deliver a better user experience for its slate, as opposed to sticking with the company’s own modified Android OS, MIUI. This time, Xiaomi introduces MIUI for Pad, and it brings tablet-specific features Android users will appreciate despite Apple bucking the trend of tablet operating systems in 2019 with iPadOS.
MIUI for Pad may not offer any groundbreaking features, but it’s enough to unlock its potential as a travel-friendly device for professionals, creatives, and multitaskers — especially when paired with a stylus and keyboard. First off, there’s an App Drawer that lets users quickly access their most frequently-used apps. That’s nothing new for Android, but it’s great to see being used effectively on a tablet. Plus, swiping up lets you quickly switch between all your open apps much like on iPadOS.
Furthermore, long-pressing an app window provides a number of options. This includes locking an app, splitting the screen to have two apps run side-by-side, and turning an app into a mini-floating window. With this, I could take notes, scroll through the news in Google Chrome, and watch a bit of Netflix in a small window. This doesn’t work as smoothly as iPadOS, as swiping up in the wrong place made me lose the split-screen. That said, it’s extremely easy to set up and it works smoothly.
As an iPad Air (2020) devotee, it’s hard to fault an operating system that does virtually everything iPadOS can offer. But MIUI for Pad still has catching up to do, especially when it comes to having more optimized apps for the tablet and a better-sized keyboard. Apps such as in landscape mode aren’t up to scratch compared with iPadOS, while the keyboard appears too squashed to type on comfortably. The good news is that Xiaomi promises to have over 2,000 optimized apps for the Pad 5 by the end of the year, which is always a good sign.
Xiaomi Pad 5 cameras
The Xiaomi Pad 5 won’t take over your current camera setup, and despite having more megapixels than the iPad Air, photos are less sharp. The Pad 5 boasts a 13MP camera on the rear and an 8MP front-facing camera that supports 1080p resolution — this is ideal for the world of video calls we live in.
Xiaomi Pad 5 Review: The Best Flagship Killer?
Is the Xiaomi Pad 5 a good tablet? In this review you learn everything about its 120Hz screen, performance, stylus, and keyboard cover.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is the first global tablet from Xiaomi that has been released outside of China. And they want it to directly compete with the iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. It features a 120Hz screen, a fast processor, Android 11, as well as an active stylus, and a keyboard cover. Its starting price of just 399 Euros is very competitive. But is it a good competitor to Samsung and Apple? That’s what you’ll learn in this Xiaomi Pad 5 review.
Let me get one thing out of the way first. This is a review of the Xiaomi Pad 5 but there’s also a Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro. That one is available in China only at the moment and cannot be bought globally. I might mention it along with the review though.
Design Built Quality
The basic design of the Xiaomi Pad 5 resembles the iPad Pro a bit and especially the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and I think it looks very stylish. We get a metal frame, a glass front, and the back of the tablet is plastic. It does look great and looks like a premium device. And the built quality is fine. But in direct comparison to other premium tablets, I noticed that the transitions from the frame to the back are not as perfect. There’s a small gap between the metal frame and the plastic back.
There’s no headphone jack, no microSD card slot, but we do get a USB C port which also supports lots of USB C accessories. On the bottom, there’s a connector for the keyboard cover, and on the top, you can charge the stylus.
On the shorter sides, we get two speakers each, so four in total. For its price, I think the sound quality is fantastic. I enjoyed watching movies with it. While it’s not on the same level as some pricier premium tablets, it does get very close. The Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro has 8 speakers and might even get close to an iPad Pro.
The 13-megapixel main camera on the back takes good photos and videos and is supported by an LED flash. On the front, we get an 8-megapixel webcam which is not as good but good enough for video chats and occasional selfies. The position on one of the shorter sides is not ideal for video chats, of course.
You can use that webcam to unlock the tablet using facial recognition. However, there’s no additional sensor for that so it’s much less secure than Apple’s Face ID and when turning it on, Xiaomi even warns you that it’s not that secure. There’s no fingerprint scanner but you do get one with the Pro.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor while the Pro has a bit faster 870 chipset. We get 6GB of RAM and the Pro 5G version has 8GB. You can get it with 128GB and 256GB of internal storage.
Benchmarks like Geekbench 5 and 3D Mark show that it’s just a little bit slower than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and much faster than all mid-range Android tablets. You certainly do get a lot of performance for your money here. With that being said, it’s also important to point out that the similar priced Apple iPad 9 is much faster.
Since that Snapdragon 860 is very powerful, you’ll be able to play pretty much every game with high graphic settings on here. With PUBG Mobile, for instance, you can set the graphics to UltraHD and it looks great and runs fine.
All simpler games run great, of course, and that goes for common apps and a good amount of multitasking too.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 has an 11-inch IPS display with a very high resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. Everything looks very sharp and clear. I also love that the screen is fully laminated and very bright. The contrast and saturation are great and it’s a very pleasing screen to look at. Since it has a Widevine Level of L1, you can watch Netflix with HD resolution which wasn’t possible with previous Xiaomi tablets.
Just like Samsung’s and Apple’s premium tablets, the display supports 120Hz which means that animations can look very smooth and that’s a great feature for the stylus as well.
Actually, the screens of the Xiaomi Pad 5 and Galaxy Tab S7 do look suspiciously similar. They are equally great and I wouldn’t be surprised if Xiaomi uses the same display. In a direct comparison, the iPad Pro’s screen is a little bit brighter than the other two and has a bit better viewing angles.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 does support an active stylus but you’ve got to buy that one separately. It’s made of plastic, has two buttons on its side, and the tip supports 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. You charge it by placing it on an inductive section on top of the tablet. Yes, that looks just like on the iPad Pro.
I tried many pens over the years and I’m positively surprised by Xiaomi. Most competitors aren’t as good as Apple and Samsung when it comes to active pen support. And, to be honest, Xiaomi doesn’t either. But they do get very, very close.
The Xiaomi stylus is very precise, palm rejection works great, and I enjoyed writing down handwritten notes with it. But I did notice that the pen does not react as instant as it does on the 120Hz tablets from Apple and Samsung. The writing does lag behind the pen a little bit when drawing fast even though we get a 120Hz screen here too. It’s not a big problem but something you can see in a direct comparison.
So, while the Xiaomi pen is not outstanding, I think it’s a very good stylus, gets very close to the competition, and if you want it specifically for that as well, I can recommend it.
Software: Android 11
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is shipping with Android 11 and a customized interface. Since this is the first Xiaomi tablet to ship globally, I have no idea how good they will be regarding updates. Their international phones usually do get a good amount of updates. But since this is a first, I have no idea of how they’ll handle it.
As I said, the interface is customized and it’s customized quite heavily. To me, it kind of looks like a mix between standard Android and iPadOS. There are many parts of the UI that look too similar to iPadOS. On the top of that list is the Xiaomi Notes app which looks like an Apple Notes clone but without the fantastic pen features Apple has. The Floating Windows are a great multitasking feature and many Android tablets have something similar. But it does look very close to Apple’s Slide Over apps.
Overall, the UI and software are fine. But I did notice some minor bugs. For instance, when using the split-screen view, sometimes one of the two apps is a bit darker as if it’s not active. I’m sure that would be easy to fix.
I got my tablet from an import shop from China and here the shop did install the Google Play Store and the Play Services. Keep in mind, that when importing it, you often have to install those yourself. That’s not an issue at all if you’re getting the standard global version inside of Europe, of course.
Another accessory that Xiaomi is selling for the Pad 5 is a keyboard cover. It’s connected magnetically and folded up, it protects the front and back but the sides are free. It’s a plastic cover of course and it doesn’t feel super high-end but the built quality is fine.
When you want to work with the keyboard, you can use the tablet at one angle alone. That’s a bit of a downside. And there’s also no touchpad unlike with many other keyboard covers these days.
The keyboard itself is a very good one, though. Here the keys do have a real travel, are spaced far enough from each other, and I was comfortable typing long articles with it. Sure, I’m used to tablet keyboards, but that’s also why I can say that it’s a decent one.
In my standard battery test, the Xiaomi Pad 5 got a fantastic runtime of 9 hours. That’s really good. For this, I’m always looping an HD YouTube video at maximum screen brightness.
Xiaomi Pad 5 Review: Final Verdict
So, should you get the Xiaomi Pad 5? Yes, I think it’s a fantastic tablet. Not perfect, but the value is really good. We get a pretty 120Hz screen, nice speakers, and good performance. The active stylus and keyboard cover are two good accessories as well. Some premium features like a fingerprint scanner or outstanding build quality are missing. But I think that’s not too much of a downside.
The biggest question I have is how good Xiaomi will be with updates. In the past, Apple has been fantastic with those and Samsung is great as well. So, will the Pad 5 get one update? Two or even three? Time will tell but I wish I knew the answer already.
Anyways, let’s check out the alternatives.
If you’re looking for a premium Android tablet, you should check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. Here the S Pen is included and that’s why you should compare carefully. Many features of the two tablets are almost the same. But the Samsung one has a fingerprint scanner, a full metal body, lots of additional software features like Samsung DeX, and will probably get more updates.
The Apple iPad 9 is an interesting competitor if you want as much performance for your money as possible. It’s a little bit cheaper and much, much faster. While it does have a fingerprint scanner and a great stylus, everything else is a bit weaker. The 60Hz screen is not laminated, the design looks old, and the sound comes from one side only. But it’s much faster.
Review: The Xiaomi Pad 5 is a fantastic tablet if you’re looking for a premium tablet but want to save some money. While it’s missing some premium features like a fingerprint scanner, it has a great 11-inch 120Hz screen, a fast processor, Android 11, and four great speakers. The active stylus and keyboard cover are good accessories as well. On a negative note, the built quality is not as exzellent as with the iPad Pro.
- Good 120Hz display
- Very powerful
- Affordable price
- Good stylus
- Solid keyboard cover
- Android 11
- Good speakers
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Xiaomi Pad 6 with Snapdragon 888 gets new certification
After the release of the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 back in August last year, the successor to this device will naturally be Xiaomi Pad 6. Xiaomi had a long break after releasing the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4 in 2018. The company did not release the successor (Xiaomi Mi Pad 5) until 2021, which is three years in between. Before the release of the Mi Pad 5, Xiaomi used to FOCUS on mid-range tablets. However, with the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5, the company adds some flagship features. From the reports so far, it appears that the Xiaomi Pad 6 series will have an entry-level model. The Xiaomi Pad 6 which is already on the EEC certification database will have as many as four models. These models are L81, L81A, L82 and L83. This should correspond to the Xiaomi Pad 6, Pad 6 Pro, Pad 6 Pro 5G and a Redmi tablet.
There are many Xiaomi fans that are looking forward to the 6th generation of Xiaomi Tablet products. Xiaomi officially released the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 in August last year. Returning to the market after several years, the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 series has achieved excellent results. Considering what the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 brings, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Recall that the Pad 5 comes with the Snapdragon 870 SoC. Thus, there is room to upgrade the chip and other aspects.
Xiaomi Pad 6 series is coming
The latest report coming out of China claims that a model of the Xiaomi Pad 6 series has a Chinese certification. The certification file reveals that the specific model number is 22081281AC. Recall that the codename of the Xiaomi Pad 5 series is M2105K81C. The last set of letters and numbers are very similar. This means that the device is most likely the iterative model of the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5.
Gizchina News of the week
It is worth mentioning that there have been several reports on the specifications of the Xiaomi Pad 6 series. The popular report claims that there will be two models in the series. However, there could be as many as four models in the series. The entry-level model uses a 2K/120Hz screen and will retain the Snapdragon 870 chip of the previous model. The positive side of this model is that the price tag will further reduce.
Flagship model will upgrade to SD888 SoC
The high-end model is the highlight of this generation. According to speculations, its chip will upgrade to the Snapdragon 888 series SoC. This means that the device will have a significant improvement in performance. Although the Snapdragon 888 has always been troubled by heat and power consumption on mobile phones, this shortcoming can basically be offset on the tablet. However, the large body of the tablet can perfectly make up for it in terms of heat dissipation and battery. In addition, if the screen is further upgraded, it may use a large 2K/120Hz OLED screen.
Unfortunately, in terms of official information, the company has been quite secretive about the upcoming tablet. However, just like the previous generation, we expect the new model to do well in the market. Since the advent of the pandemic, there has been an increasing demand for large-screen devices. This is because many people now work or school from home. Thus, not just Xiaomi, but many other brands are now releasing new tablets.
There are also reports that while Xiaomi is preparing its tablets, Redmi is also preparing a tablet. Furthermore, at least one of the Xiaomi tablets will support 5G network. This should be the Xiaomi Pad 6 Pro. In addition to the Snapdragon 870 SoC for the entry-level model and the Snapdragon 888 SoC for the flagship model, there are reports that the mid-range model will use the Dimensity 8100.