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realme Pad mini Review: A Cheap iPad Mini Competitor

The realme Pad mini is one of few 8-inch Android tablets. In my review, you learn whether it can compete with its competition.

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realme Pad mini test

We haven’t seen many 8-inch tablets recently but that changes with the realme Pad mini. This is an affordable 8.7-inch Android tablet that starts at just 180 Euros. For that, we get an HD display, a Unisoc octa-core processor, and a full metal body. Should you get it? That’s what you’ll learn in this realme Pad mini review.

realme Pad mini on* Amazon

Let’s check out the pricing first. The cheapest version with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage costs 179.99 Euros. If you want 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, you’ll have to pay 20 Euros more. Once you add LTE, the tablet costs 229.99 Euros. Prices should be similar in US dollars in most countries.

I like this pricing lineup because you don’t have to pay that much more to get more storage and LTE. My review unit is the LTE version with 4GB and 64GB.

Design & Built Quality

realme Pad mini built quality

The realme Pad mini is a very handy tablet. It’s about the same size as most 8-inch tablets are, but due to slim screen bezels, it has an 8.7-inch display. On its shorter side, it’s 12.5cm wide which means it fits in many jeans’ back pockets and also in most jackets. With 7.6mm, it’s not super slim, but slim enough so that it does not feel thick.

I like that we get a full metal body. The built quality is very good and it feels higher-end than the price suggests.

On its sides, we get a metal power button and a metal volume rocker. A standard 3.5mm headphone jack sits on the top, and on the bottom, we get a USB C 2.0 port. That means while you can attach tons of accessories, external monitors are not among them. On the left, we get a microSD card slot, which can also fit two SIM cards, if you get the LTE version.

realme Pad mini Audio port

When holding the Pad mini in landscape orientation, we get a speaker on each side, so two in total. While the sound quality is not amazing, the speakers are certainly loud enough and fine for watching YouTube and listening to a bit of music.

Cameras & Facial Recognition

The tablet does not have a fingerprint scanner but you can unlock it using facial recognition. It does not have an extra sensor for that and uses the webcam alone, so it’s not super secure. But it works fine.

Photos of that webcam have a resolution of 5 megapixels and the main camera on the back offers 8 megapixels. Both are usable for video chats but not much more. Videos with that webcam look a bit soft and are over-sharpened at the same time. And videos with the main camera just look too soft. But that’s the case with all tablets of this price range and I don’t think you’ll get it for your holiday snapshots anyways.

Display: 8.7-Inch HD Screen

realme Pad mini Display

The realme Pad mini has an 8.7-inch display which is a standard LCD screen. It has a resolution of 1340 x 800 pixels – similar to a standard HD display. While I think that resolution is okay, it’s certainly not the sharpest one. Especially when looking closely at texts, you can see some pixelation. A full HD resolution would have been nicer.

Everything else is not outstanding but good. Contrast and colors look fine, viewing angles are wide, and it’s bright enough for inside use with 360 nits. When you’re outside in direct sunlight, however, it’s a bit too dark. I’d say it’s still kind of usable, but outside, I constantly wish it would be a tick brighter. It’s a good tablet to read E-Books with, but not at the beach.

I think this is the same screen that Samsung uses on the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite. The dimensions and resolution match and except for some color variation, they look the same to me.

realme Pad mini Galaxy Tab A7 Lite comparison

Read: The Best 8-Inch Tablets Tested

Since my review unit is an early sample, I wasn’t able to test Netflix on the realme Pad mini. My version does not have the necessary PlayProtect certification. However, according to realme, it should run fine on the normal retail versions of the tablet.

By the way, as is common in this price range, the tablet does not support an active pen. You can use generic ones made for capacitive touchscreens. But they’re much worse than an S Pen or Apple Pencil is.

Hardware & Performance

realme Pad mini Geekbench 5

Inside the realme Pad mini runs a Unisoc T616 octa-core processor with cores clocked at up to 2Ghz. We get 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. I’ve got the version with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage.

You can see in the Geekbench 5 benchmark, that the performance is much better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite and it’s also a bit faster than the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus. Both are cheaper 8-inch Android tablets that are older but still compete with the realme Pad mini. The performance is a bit below the 10-inch Galaxy Tab A8. So, based on benchmarks, it’s certainly an entry-level tablet. The Apple iPad Mini is much, much faster, but it’s much, much pricier too.

realme Pad mini 3D Mark

Games like PUBG Mobile don’t run with the highest graphics settings. Instead, I was able to select HD graphics and that game runs fine with that. Other games like Asphalt 9 and especially R.A.C.E run well too. So, you will be able to play most games but if they’re a bit more demanding, you’ll have to select a bit lower graphics settings. This is not the best gaming tablet.

The system itself runs surprisingly smooth. I compared it with the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite and the realme Pad mini is much smoother with everyday tasks. Surfing the web and watching YouTube works great and a little bit of multitasking, like Chrome and YouTube next to each other, is possible too.

realme Pad mini With Lightroom

You can use more demanding apps like Adobe Lightroom as well, of course, but here you sometimes will see a little bit of stuttering when working with bigger or lots of files. With tasks like these, the iPad Mini is a lot better.

LTE & Phone Calls

You can get the tablet with LTE and that is the version that I got. That one has a dual SIM card slot which means that you can either use two different SIM cards or one SIM and a microSD card at the same time. The WiFi version has one microSD card slot.

realme Pad mini MicroSD

Read: The Best Tablets With SIM Card Slot

Pre-installed are the standard Google phone and messaging app. With these, you can make phone calls and send SMS text messages just as you can do with a standard smartphone. There is one caveat, however, because the tablet has no earpiece. So, you can make phone calls using the normal speakers or a headset but nobody will see you holding an 8-inch tablet next to your head.

Software: Android 11

realme Pad mini Android 11

Out of the box, the realme Pad mini is running Android 11 and on top of that sits the realme UI R Edition. Obviously, Android 12 would have been nicer especially since we don’t know if and when realme will release any major software updates.

I asked them during a press event and they said they’re exploring the possibility of releasing updates. So, I guess that means no, but since the larger brother will get Android 12 and a couple of years of security updates, there is a tiny bit of hope. But better expect it’ll get nothing.

Even though the interface is customized a little bit, it’s mostly vanilla Android. And I think that’s great. We get all the standard Android features like the split-screen view, a dark mode, a blue light filter, and so on.

realme Pad mini as an E Book reader

Read: The Best Android Tablets – A Comparison

Pre-installed are many apps from Google including the Kids Space, as well as a couple of basic ones like a calculator. No ads or apps that take up tons of space. That’s how it should be.

Battery Life

realme Pad mini Battery Life

The realme Pad mini has a battery with a capacity of 6400 mAh and it supports 18w fast charging. In my battery test, it got a runtime of 9.15 hours. For this, I’m always looping an HD YouTube video at maximum brightness. So, the battery life is quite long, which is great, but also a result of the darker screen.

realme Pad Mini Review: Final Verdict

realme Pad mini

So, is the realme Pad mini a good tablet? Yes, I think it is. Especially when comparing it to other 8-inch Android tablets, the performance is good. I also like that you don’t have to pay that much more to get LTE and more storage. The metal body is premium-feeling, we get decent speakers, and overall, it’s a nice tablet to surf the web with, watch some YouTube, and play a couple of games.

On a negative note, I wish the realme Pad mini would get Android 12. I also wish the display would be a little bit brighter and have a full HD resolution. But considering how inexpensive it is, I think the screen is good enough. Overall, it’s a pretty good 8-inch tablet. Which is not that hard as there’s lacking competition in this size.

Let’s check out those alternatives.

If you’re looking for something cheaper, you can check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite. As far as I can tell, the display is exactly the same and here too we get a full metal body. With that being said, the performance is noticeably worse. However, in Europe, it usually is around 50 Euros cheaper and it’s okay for reading and surfing the web.

The next best 8-inch tablet is three times pricier because it’s the Apple iPad Mini 6. Everything is much better here. Really much, much better. We get much better performance, a much nicer screen, better speakers, Apple Pencil support, and for sure much longer updates. But as I said, you’ll have to pay three times more.


8

realme Pad mini test
Review: The realme Pad mini is one of few 8-inch Android tablets. And it’s a pretty good one, especially in its price class. We get a premium-feeling metal body, a solid screen, good enough CPU power, usable speakers, and vanilla Android. On a negative note, the screen resolution could be a bit higher and I wish it would get software updates.
Positive
  • Premium metal body
  • Solid screen
  • Fast-enough CPU
  • Good speakers
  • Very affordable
  • Optional 4G
Negative
  • Updates unlikely
  • Screen resolution low
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3 Comments

3 Comments

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