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.
Cameras & Speakers
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.
Hardware & Performance
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.
Fortnite is supported as well and here you can set the graphics to epic and the 3D resolution to 100% and it is certainly playable. But I did notice a bit of stuttering. To get a better experience, I suggest setting the 3D resolution to 75%. The Samsung S7 can handle Fortnite a bit better and with that one, you can select epic graphics and play it with 60FPS which is not possible on the Xiaomi.
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 prices 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.
- Good 120Hz display
- Very powerful
- Affordable price
- Good stylus
- Solid keyboard cover
- Android 11
- Good speakers
- No fingerprint scanner
- Unknown updates
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