Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 Review: A Samsung Flagship Killer?
In my Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 review, you learn if it’s worth it for you to import this 12-inch flagship killer from China.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 is a 12-inch Android tablet that directly competes with the flagship offerings from Samsung and Apple. It features a high-resolution 120Hz display, a fast Snapdragon 870 chipset, up-to-date software, as well as an optional stylus and keyboard cover. With under 500 Dollars, it’s much cheaper than the offerings from its competition. So what’s the catch? That’s what you’ll learn in this Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 review.
Let’s start with its biggest downside and that’s availability. As of now, the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 has been officially launched in China only. And I’ve got the feeling that it’ll stay this way because otherwise, they probably would have made an announcement already. That means if you want to buy it, you’ve got to import it. Yes, that’s very easy but I think you should always expect to not get great support in case there’s an issue with it. Maybe you will, but my advice is to expect the worse regarding warranty stuff and other issues.
On a positive note, the tablet is quite inexpensive for what it offers. So, let’s check out the tablet.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset which can be supported by 6GB up to 12GB of RAM, depending on the version you’re getting. You can also choose between 128GB and 512GB of internal storage. As of now, there’s no version with 4G support.
My Geekbench 5 benchmark comparison shows that the performance is much below the Apple iPad Pro, which is to be expected, and the CPU performance is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+. The graphics performance of Samsung’s flagship is noticeably better, however. The Xiaomi is a bit more powerful than the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro, which is another direct competitor with the same processor. This Android tablet is also faster than the Xiaomi Book S 12.4 which is a very similar device running Windows 11. And it’s much faster than mid-range tablets like the Galaxy Tab S7 FE.
In the 3D Mark Wild Life benchmark that tests graphics performance, the results are very similar. While it’s much more powerful than mid-range tablets, the Galaxy Tab S8+ and Apple iPad Pro remain faster.
People often say that benchmarks don’t represent real life. But in my experience, they almost always represent gaming performance. In Fortnite, for instance, you can set the graphics to epic, the frame rate to 60, and the 3D resolution to 100% and it runs okay. But I did notice some occasional stutters. To get it very smooth, it’s better to reduce the 3D resolution a bit. The Galaxy Tab S8+ performs a bit better with Fortnite, as the benchmarks suggested.
With PUBG Mobile, the performance is fantastic even when setting the graphics to Ultra HD. This shooter runs very smoothly and looks great. And that also means that the Pad 5 Pro 12.4 is a great gaming tablet. Yes, the flagship competitors from Apple and Samsung are better, but in real life, you won’t notice a huge difference.
The performance is fantastic for everything else as well. Android itself and all apps I tried including heavy multitasking work great. I wrote a lot in Microsoft Word while YouTube is running in the background, and even when opening Chrome and other apps in between and switching fast, I didn’t notice any stutters. So, it’s a great multitasking tablet even with the 6GB RAM version that I bought.
I also did a little video render test using the VN video editor. To render a 9-minute 4K video, the Xiaomi was just a little bit slower than the Galaxy Tab S8+. I’m guessing that this app uses the CPU instead of the GPU for rendering – otherwise Samsung should have a much better result.
Display & Speakers
The Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 has a 12.4-inch display and it’s a standard LCD screen. With 2560 x 1600 pixels, the resolution is very high so that texts and icons look sharp. I also like that we’re getting a 120Hz panel because that means that the animations look smooth. In case you want to extend the battery life, you can switch to 60Hz in the settings.
Most aspects of the screen are very good. With 500 nits it’s not as bright as an iPad Pro but as bright as an iPad Air. The colors look great, the contrast is high, and it’s fully laminated. Once you compare it to the Super AMOLED of the Galaxy Tab S8+ or the Liquid Retina XDR screen of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, however, you can see that blacks are not as black as on those. That’s normal with LCDs and especially noticeable in a dark room. When watching a movie, for instance.
Read: The Best Tablets With Large Screens
You can enjoy HDR content when watching YouTube and it looks great – well, like I said, except for those deep blacks. But you can’t watch HDR movies on Netflix and here, not even an HD resolution is supported. That’s because the tablet has a Widevine Level of L3 and that means you can watch Netflix in Standard Definition only. It might change if this tablet will be released internationally, but as I said in the beginning, it probably will not.
Besides that, it can be a fantastic entertainment tablet because the screen is good and the speakers are great as well. It has four speakers on the side and the sound quality is very good. I could not tell a difference when comparing it with the also excellent speakers of the Galaxy Tab S8+.
Xiaomi Smart Pen
The Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 works with the same Xiaomi Smart Pen that you can also get for the Xiaomi Pad 5 and even the Xiaomi Book S 12.4 Windows tablet. It’s great to see that the same pen works with all three tablets because, with some brands, you’ve got to buy different pens for different tablets.
Xiaomi’s stylus is pressure sensitive, has two buttons on the side, and is charged inductively by placing it on top of the tablet. Similar to the Apple Pencil but unlike the Samsung S Pen, the stylus has a hard tip.
I let an artist play a bit with the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ and their pens. She preferred the Xiaomi instead of the soft tip of the Samsung. That’s a matter of taste, of course, but shows that better technology on paper is not always perceived as better in the hand of consumers.
From my perspective, a reviewer’s perspective, the Galaxy Tab S8+ is better regarding handwriting and drawing. That’s mostly because the S Pen reacts almost instantly, while on the Xiaomi, the writing can lag behind the pen a bit especially when drawing fast. Sometimes that’s because of a slower refreshing screen, but in this case both support 120Hz. So it’s probably because Samsung has better software.
Read: The Best Tablets With A Stylus
And I think that’s the case objectively. Samsung has tons of features for the S Pen including the fantastic Samsung Notes app and the Air Commands. Xiaomi has some features for the pen too. You can quickly start a new note or take a screenshot and annotate it using gestures. But Xiaomi’s Notes app looks like a poor copy of Apple Notes. It works okay but not great and I can’t see myself using it in the long run.
With that being said, it’s Android and you can install other note-taking apps, of course. Nebo works very well, for instance, and you can paint with apps like Sketchbook. Overall, the Xiaomi Smart Pen works great. It’s comfortable to hold, reacts precisely, and I enjoyed writing with it. It’s a nice pen and I can recommend it. But, in direct comparison, I think the S Pen is better. As I said, that’s a matter of taste.
Software: Android 12 & MIUI
Out of the box, the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 is running Android 12 and on top sits the MIUI in version 13. In the past, Xiaomi has not been amazing with updates. They are improving since the one-year-old Xiaomi Pad 5 just did get a major software update. But I have no idea how they will be handling this 12-inch version especially if it’s not going to be released internationally.
As long as it is not being released internationally, the Google Play Store is missing out of the box. At least usually. Some shops pre-install the store themselves and that was the case with my version. If you get the tablet from a shop that doesn’t do it for you, you should be able to install the Play Store yourself. That’s very important to keep in mind and is something you can forget if it’ll be released internationally.
Well, the tablet is running Android and with the Google Play Store, it behaves just as every other Android tablet would. I was able to install most of the apps I wanted except for Google Chrome, which didn’t work at the beginning. But it did after an update. Opera and the Chrome Beta worked the whole time.
Netflix, YouTube, Microsoft Office, Amazon Prime Video, Adobe Lightroom, OneNote, and all the games I tried work just fine. Just like on a normal Android device.
Xiaomi supports great multitasking. You can open apps in a split-screen view and also open a third one on top of that in a free-floating and resizable window. That also means you can use it well with a mouse and keyboard. A desktop mode is not supported, however. I installed the PC Mode app but it doesn’t work.
While it’s standard Android, the interface is customized a lot. It often looks like a mix between standard Android and iPadOS. The Xiaomi Notes app looks the same and the free-floating window looks similar to iPadOS too. There are also tons of apps pre-installed which include their browser. They work but I didn’t use them.
Design & Built Quality
The Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 looks and feels like a premium tablet. We’re getting a full metal body and even the power button and volume controls are made of metal. The transition from the screen to the body is not as smooth as on an iPad Pro or Galaxy Tab S8+ but it’s pretty good. It’s 6.6mm thin and weighs 620g.
Some premium features like a fingerprint scanner are missing and it’s lacking a microSD card slot. On a positive note, the tablet has a USB C 3.2 Gen 1 port which also supports external monitors. There are four speaker grills on the side and a connector for an optional keyboard cover on the back.
The tablet can be unlocked using facial recognition. But since there’s no extra sensor for that, it’s not very secure. It does work well though. That 20-megapixel webcam takes great selfies and is fantastic for video chats as well. On the back, we get a 50-megapixel camera which is also very good, especially when considering this is a tablet. The main camera is supported by two additional sensors.
Xiaomi Keyboard Cover
You can get the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 with an official keyboard cover but you’ve got to buy it separately. That’s what I did and I did not regret it. I think the keyboard works very well and I wrote lots of articles with it including this review.
Depending on what you’re looking for, the keyboard is not perfect, however. It’s a great one if you’re looking for a slim keyboard cover that protects the screen and has a nice keyboard. The keys have proper travel and since it has a 12-inch display, they are quite big. I was able to comfortably type on it immediately.
Read: The Best Tablets With A Keyboard Cover
With that being said, it’s not as perfect as Apple’s Magic Keyboard, for instance. It’s missing a touchpad, there’s no background light, and you can prop up the tablet in two angles only. But on a positive note, this cover is very light and does not add much additional weight. It’s also much, much cheaper than the keyboards from Apple and Samsung.
In my battery test, the tablet got a runtime of 9 hours which is a fantastic result and to be expected because the battery is quite large at 10.000 mAh. For my battery test, I’m always looping an HD video at maximum brightness on YouTube.
Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 Review: Final Verdict
So, should you get the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4? Well, especially when considering its price, I think the screen is fantastic, we get a powerful processor, great speakers, a good keyboard cover, as well as a great stylus. The battery life is long too, the metal body is premium-feeling and it resembles the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ a lot but is a lot cheaper.
Not everything is perfect. Since you probably have to import it from China, you likely won’t get any local warranty. And chances are that you’ve got to install the Google Play Store yourself. For the same reason, you also can not enjoy Netflix with HD resolution. And some premium features like a fingerprint scanner are missing. I’m also not sure if and how many software updates it’ll get.
As long as the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 is not being released internationally, I can not recommend it to average consumers. I think it’s a great tablet, but chances are that you’ve got to deal with some issues yourself during the lifecycle of your device which you probably don’t have to when buying a tablet locally. If you’re fine with that, which I often am, I mean I’m a huge geek, then it’s a great tablet for its price. But otherwise, just get something you can buy locally.
Let’s check out those alternatives.
The most interesting alternative to the Xiaomi Pad 5 Pro 12.4 is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+. While it costs much more, it’s better in almost every way. Sometimes not by much but often at least a little bit. It has a nicer 12.4-inch Super AMOLED screen, the S Pen stylus is included and has more software features, the performance is a bit better, and I think it’s very likely that it’ll get much longer software updates. You can get it with two different kinds of keyboard covers and it has some additional features like a fingerprint scanner.
Another direct competitor is the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro, of course. It too is much pricier but is also much better in most aspects. Here it’s biggest advantage is performance because the Apple M1 chipset is much more powerful than every Android tablet. It has a fantastic Liquid Retina XDR display, Face ID, works with the fantastic Apple Pencil 2, and will probably get even longer updates than the Samsung.
If you just want a cheap 12-inch tablet, then check out the Honor Pad 8. It’s worse regarding pretty much everything. The screen has a lower resolution, the performance is much weaker, it does not support an active pen, no official keyboard cover, and might not get many updates either. However, it’s much cheaper and is being released internationally. That means you can watch Netflix in HD and you also should get a local warranty.
- Good display
- Premium built
- Powerful processor
- Long battery life
- Great pen
- Solid keyboard cover
- Quite affordable
- Available from China only
- No HD Netflix
- Often no Play Store
- No fingerprint scanner
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Peng Leong Kwan
March 9, 2023 at 7:38 pm
I can’t even get SD Netflix on mine, let alone HD. On the other hand, my cheap Samsung Tab 8 plays Netflix without any problems whatsoever.