When introducing the Xiaomi Pad 5, the Chinese company made tons of comparisons to the iPad Pro and while it does resample Apple a bit, it does have a different operating system and plays in a different price class. Instead, I think the Xiaomi tablet competes more against the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. Both are running Android and many features are very similar. Which one is better? That’s what you’ll learn in this comparison.
Let’s quickly compare prices. Since the Xiaomi Pad 5 is not available in the United States, I’ll use Euro prices and you can just convert them to your local currency. The Xiaomi Pad 5 officially starts at 399 Euro and the original price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 starts at 699 Euros. You can sometimes find great deals for both. Usually, the Samsung tablet is at least 150 to 200 Euros pricier.
Design & Built Quality
The design of both tablets is very similar. In fact, the basic design is almost identical but there are some differences. While Samsung uses a full metal body, the Xiaomi one has a metal frame and the back is plastic. The S7 is super premium-feeling, but the transitions from the frame to the rest of the body with the Xiaomi one is not as elegant.
We get a USB C port on both and a headphone jack is missing too. The S7 has a microSD card slot which Xiaomi does not. Both have four speakers in total and the sound quality is great and similar. However, in a direct comparison, Samsung’s sound a little bit better.
While the Galaxy Tab S7 has a fingerprint scanner, the Pad 5 does not. You can unlock that one using the webcam only which is not very secure.
The screens of the Xiaomi Pad 5 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 are almost identical and it could be that Xiaomi even uses the same display that Samsung is. Both are 11 inches in size, are 500 nits bright, and have a very high resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.
Contrast and color reproduction are great. There are some minor differences regarding color but that might be due to software. Nothing major.
I also like that both screens support 120Hz so that animations look very smooth. Really nice.
Let’s get to their pens and you should factor that into your price comparisons. That’s because while you’ve got to buy the Xiaomi stylus extra, the Samsung S Pen is included with the tablet at no extra charge.
Both pens are very similar. They’re made of plastic, have two buttons on their sides, and a pressure-sensitive tip that supports 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. They’re equally comfortable to hold and both are charged inductively by their tablets.
The Xiaomi stylus comes closer in quality to the Samsung S Pen and Apple Pencil than almost all tablets I reviewed recently. But it does not reach their excellent level quite yet. It gets close but is a little bit weaker.
Both pens are about equally precise. However, especially when drawing fast with the Xiaomi, the writing lags behind the pen a bit. I’m not sure why because usually, with 120Hz screens, it’s almost instant. And that’s the case with the Galaxy Tab S7. Here, the writing is almost instant.
Xiaomi has its own notes app which is a clone of Apple Notes and they’ve got a couple of gestures to take screenshots and so on. But that’s it. Samsung has much more software features built into their UI which Xiaomi is lacking.
The most important feature is Samsung Notes which I think is by far the best note-taking app for Android. We also get the Air Commands with tons of features for the pen and you can even use it as a remote in Microsoft PowerPoint. Sure, many of those S Pen software features are not that useful. But many are.
Hardware & Performance
Let’s get to the internal hardware. Inside the Xiaomi Pad 5 sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB internal storage. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, on the other hand, has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB internal storage.
You can see in my benchmark comparisons, that both in Geekbench and 3D Mark, the Galaxy Tab S7 beats the Pad 5. Not by that much but it is measurable both in CPU and GPU benchmark tests.
Both tablets are great for gaming and you’ll be able to play all titles with high graphics on both. However, sometimes there are some differences which the benchmarks showed already. For example, when playing Fortnite, you can set the graphics to “epic” on both. But while the Pad 5 supports 30 FPS only, the S7 can handle 60 FPS.
A big difference is the software even though both are running Android 11. In the past, Samsung has been fantastic with updates and I’m expecting it to get Android 12 and Android 13. But since the Pad 5 is the first tablet Xiaomi is shipping globally, I have no idea and certainly no reference regarding their update policy. They do release updates for their phones which is great. But we don’t know how they’re treating their tablets long-term yet.
We don’t get vanilla Android on either and both companies customize their UI a lot. Xiaomi’s looks a little bit like a hybrid of Android mixed with iPadOS. They did copy quite a lot of elements and the Floating Windows look very similar to Apple’s Slide Over. Anyways, the basic Android features including a split-screen view are there, of course.
Samsung’s UI is customized a lot too and there are tons of features that many Android tablets don’t have. I mentioned the software features for the S Pen already. The other major highlight of their software is the Samsung DeX desktop mode which transforms Android into a kind of desktop operating system. While it’s not perfect, it does work very well and I use it a lot. Xiaomi does not have a desktop mode.
For both tablets, their companies are selling official keyboard covers. The Xiaomi one is quite a bit cheaper but is lacking features. This is a standard keyboard cover that protects the front and back and has a decent keyboard built-in. I wrote quite a lot with that keyboard and it’s good.
The Samsung keyboard cover is fantastic too and has a couple of advantages. For one, there’s a touchpad built-in which is very useful when you want to get lots of work done. And it’s great in combinations with Samsung DeX. Here I also like that the back cover with its integrated kickstand can be used separately from the keyboard. So, it’s both, a stand and a keyboard cover.
With 9 hours, the Xiaomi has a bit longer battery life than the Galaxy Tab S7 with 8 hours. For this, I’m always looping an HD YouTube video with maximum screen brightness.
Xiaomi Pad 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Comparison: Final Words
So, which tablet is better? Well, you’ve seen it. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is clearly the better tablet. It has a more premium built quality, features like a fingerprint scanner and a microSD card slot, as well as a bit better performance. I also love that Samsung is great with updates and offers lots of software features like Samsung DeX and Notes. The S Pen is a bit better than the Xiaomi stylus too.
But the Galaxy Tab S7 costs at least 150 to 200 euros more. And you’ve seen in this comparison that many aspects are very, very, very similar. For its price, I think the Xiaomi Pad 5 is a fantastic value. So, if you want to save a bit of money and don’t need some of those higher-end features, the Pad 5 is a fantastic choice. But make sure you do compare prices. When prices are almost the same, I would go with the Samsung.
- Fantastic screens
- High-end build quality
- Fingerprint scanners
- Great speakers
- Android 10 with three updates
- Fastest Android tablets in 2020
- S Pen is included
- Good keyboard cover
- 2018 iPad Pro is faster
- No AMOLED for Tab S7
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