OnePlus has done a great job with its first tablet – the OnePlusPad. The OnePlus Pad has a great screen, excellent performance and a sleek design. It also boasts incredibly long battery life. Its $479 price is also lower than the top-tier tablets from Apple and Samsung.
This story will sound familiar if you are familiar with OnePlus. The company first appeared on the market about a decade back with Android phones that offered premium specs for low prices. A OnePlus phone used to be the best deal for enthusiasts. In recent years, OnePlus phones have become more expensive and difficult to differentiate from Samsung counterparts. The Pad feels like a return of the old OnePlus.
This is not to say that the Pad is flawless — it is far from being so. It has the standard stylus and keyboard accessories that are expected of a tablet by 2023 but they’re not as good as Apple’s or Samsung’s. It doesn’t offer the same level of features, accessories or integrations that a Samsung or iPad tablet offers. I wouldn’t choose it as a tablet for productivity.
The OnePlus Pad is a great Android tablet if you want to watch movies, play games (native or emulated), browse the web and read.7
- The screen is fast, bright and pixel dense.
- Snappy performance
- The product is of excellent quality and very comfortable to hold.
- Apple and Samsung have more apps.
- Multitasking is not a feature that can be used to its fullest.
- Errors can be caused by small bezels
- The keyboard and stylus could work better
You’d think that the OnePlus Pad, with its size and price would be able to compete with Apple’s $599 iPad Air, or $449 10th generation iPad. Or even Samsung’s midrange tablet. The Pad’s specs, and screen quality make it a serious competitor to Apple’s and Samsung’s top-end tablets.
The Pad’s 11.6-inch display puts it in between the iPad Pro 12.9 and 11-inch models. The Pad’s trimmer bezels allow it to fit a larger screen into a footprint that is similar to the 11″ Pro. The small bezels on the Pad make it look fantastic next to the iPad but can cause problems when you are using the tablet. It would often register touch gestures on the side I was holding. It was especially problematic when I used the Pad to read a website or book in portrait mode.
The screen of the Pad is impressively large for its price.
It’s a pity, because the Pad is incredibly versatile thanks to its unique 7:5 ratio. It works well both in landscape and portrait modes. The Pad’s 7:5 aspect ratio makes it as comfortable for reading in portrait orientation as an iPad. It’s surprising how few Android tablet makers understand the importance of aspect ratio to the tablet experience. I am glad that OnePlus has clearly considered it.
Display itself is very good. It is a 2800 x 20000 pixel LCD that can reach a brightness level of 500 nits. This makes scrolling and navigating as smooth as on the iPad Pro or Tab S8, both of which have screens that refresh at 120Hz. It has great viewing angles, bright colors and deep blacks, almost as good as OLED screens. The display on the Pad was so good that I was genuinely surprised by how well it worked for watching movies. (Okay, okay, it was Butt-Head).
The iPad Pro and Tab S8 both have a quad speaker system that supports Dolby Atmos. The speakers sound good and are clear. There’s no 3.5mm jack on the phone, so Bluetooth headphones are your only option. A USB-C adapter is also available for $9.95 (not included ).The cloud is shaped like a butt.
The Pad is surprisingly comfortable for a device of this size. OnePlus rounded off the edges of the Pad, instead of going with the flat sides and sharp corners that Apple and Samsung have been using. The result is a much more comfortable device to hold. The Pad is thin but not too thin. It weighs 558g (1.23 lbs), which is about 80 grams (about 2.83 ounces) heavier than an iPad Pro 11-inch. However, the weight of the device feels well balanced and it’s not tiring.
The Pad is otherwise similar to any other tablet. However, instead of the rear camera being in the corner (when held landscape), it is centered at the top. The 13-megapixel camera has a single lens and an LED flash. It works well for scanning documents or other items with the tablet. The Pad is only available in dark green. This is an interesting choice, if not a major one, by OnePlus. It does stand out from the seas of gray and silver iPads.
The 8-megapixel front facing camera of the Pad is placed in the Correct Spot : the bezel along the edge of the tablet. This means that when you are on a landscape video call, and you hold the Pad in landscape mode, you won’t be awkwardly positioned to one side as you would on an iPad Pro. OnePlus has an auto-following feature that you can use in popular video calling applications (it worked in my testing with Google Meet and Microsoft Teams) to keep you centered.It is odd that the camera is mounted at the center of top edge. The front camera is also mounted in the center, so video calls won’t appear odd.The Pad’s sides are rounded as opposed to the iPad and Samsung tablets, which have squared off edges. This makes it easier to hold and more comfortable.
The Pad has 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. In the US, there is no microSD slot or option for additional storage. At this price, 128GB is not bad. Apple’s iPad Air comes with 64GB and costs $120 more. I would have preferred to be able to purchase at least 256GB so that there was more space for movies and games.
The Pad uses MediaTek Dimensity instead of Qualcomm Snapdragon, which is the processor we see on Android devices in the US. This is not a big deal for most tasks — the Dimensity offers snappy performance with good power efficiency. The UI is responsive, websites load quickly and switching between apps is seamless. Some Android apps are not well optimized and stutter while scrolling. YouTube is the worst offenders.
The Pad’s processor can keep up with Apple and Samsung for intense gaming but isn’t fast enough to do most everyday tasks.
In this area, the processing power of the Samsung Tab S8 and iPad Pro was also inferior. The Pad was unable to play Genshin Impact at 144Hz, and could only manage 30 frames per seconds. This is far below the maximum of 144Hz that the screen can handle. It’s also nowhere near the performance of the iPads. The Pad performed better with asphalt 9 despite it being a less graphically demanding game.
Battery life was not a problem during the weeks that I used the OnePlus Pad. I was easily able to get through a whole day of usage, and standby drain was minimal even when it was left unused for several days. It’s good to know that OnePlus isn’t one of the few tablets with real battery issues. The 67W charger in the box takes around 80 minutes to charge the Pad.
The OnePlus Pad is equipped with OnePlus OxygenOS, which runs on Android 13. This is a slightly customized version of Android that relies heavily on Google’s implementations, such as multitasking. The Pad will receive OS updates for three years and security patches for four years. This is one year less than the company provides on its smartphones.
The OnePlus Pad is not as functional as Samsung’s tablet options because of its lighter software. While the Samsung Galaxy Tab provides a full-on desktop windowing environment and can be plugged into an external display for more real estate, the OnePlus Pad has a basic homescreen-plus-app-drawer layout. You can use gestures to navigate between apps and split screens is also possible. You can also use a floating window by pinching the screen with four fingers, but it doesn’t always work and is hit-and-miss. It’s only useful for utilities, like calculators.While the Pad doesn’t have as many windowing and multitasking options as an iPad, you can split screen two apps or have a floating app window.
Android tablets are often criticized for having so few apps which take advantage of the larger screen. This makes them difficult to sell in comparison with iPads. The OnePlus Pad is no different. Google’s Chrome, Gmail, and Microsoft Office work great. But there are far too many apps which behave like blown up phone apps when viewed on a larger screen. Slack and Pocket are two popular apps that I use daily. They look ridiculous on the Pad’s almost 12-inch screen and behave differently than they do on an iPad.
Even worse, the Android apps themselves are utterly lacking in support for keyboard shortcuts. Google has failed to deliver: Gmail does not have any keyboard shortcuts that can help me manage my inbox. There are some system-wide keyboard shortcuts to go back to the homescreen and take screenshots. But they can’t compensate for the fact Android apps don’t prioritize keyboard navigation.
This all makes the Pad more suitable for content consumption rather than productivity or creation. You can certainly use the Pad to send an email or catch up on Slack, but it would be difficult for me to replace my laptop with this device. Netflix, Disney Plus or YouTube TV are better streaming services for watching movies and TV. Apple TV Plus is not supported, sadly. It wouldn’t work on the OnePlus Pad Chrome browser. (No Ted Lasso on this page.)
Samsung, Apple both have features that allow their tablets to integrate with other products. OnePlus is trying to do the same. In the future, the company claims that the Pad will support features such as hotspot data, clipboard sharing and call, message and notification sync. This feature was not available for testing in this review, and it will only be accessible if you own a OnePlus smartphone. The magnetic keyboard case is $149 and provides access to volume and brightness. It also has an integrated trackpad. Unfortunately, the case only supports a single viewing angle.
You can extend the functionality of the OnePlus Pad by adding accessories, just like the iPad Pro or Samsung Tab. The OnePlus Pad comes with a $39 folio, a $149 keypad case and a $99 stylus. All three can be magnetically attached to the side for charging and storage, just like Apple Pencil. I was able to test the OnePlus Magnetic Keyboard as well as the OnePlus Stylo.
There are things that you will like about the keyboard and also things you will criticize. The keyboard has a nice layout with decent key travel to ensure accurate typing. The trackpad integrated into the laptop is small, but it supports scrolling and multi-finger gestures without issue. While typing, I had no problems with palm rejecting. There is no dedicated function row on the key layout, but you can access basic system controls such as display brightness and volume via a function layer located above the number keys. Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which is completely devoid of function keys, has a lot less functionality.
It is not necessary to pair or charge the keyboard as it attaches magnetically to the Pad and connects via pogo pins. It only has one viewing position, which is too steep to use on my lap. The keyboard also lacks backlight. The keyboard is good for the price and can be used to send emails or type documents on the Pad.
Stylo is essentially Apple’s Pencil 2nd generation, with tilt and pressure sensitivities. The Stylo supports writing and erasing with a double tap on the side.
The Pad’s Stylo screen responds quickly and smoothly, with no lag or wiggle. OnePlus’ Notes app is the only one that supports all of its features. This includes quick tool switching, lower latency and more. It’s a barebones app which doesn’t sync to any cloud services. The company claims to have developed an SDK that third-party apps can use for better support. However, there are currently no apps available that integrate it. The Pad is probably a better option for most people.The 7:5 aspect of the Pad allows for comfortable reading in portrait orientation.
If you are looking for a tablet for 2023, and for whatever reason you don’t want to buy an iPad, the OnePlus pad is a great option. The OnePlus Pad’s speakers and display are on par with Apple’s and Samsung’s 11-inch top-tier tablets. It’s a great device to watch movies or read on. You can also get premium tablet features like quad-speakers and a fast-refreshing display for less than you would pay for an iPad Pro or Tab S8.
The OnePlus Pad is not a good tablet if you already have an iPhone, Galaxy or other smartphone. It’s not a laptop replacement, nor is it a tablet with the best performance for traditional tablet tasks.
Google’s Pixel Tablet, which has been long anticipated, is also expected to be released in the near future. Google’s Pixel Tablet is aimed at a different audience, but it’s still hard to tell how it will compare with other tablets and the Pad.
The OnePlus Pad is a good tablet. It does all the tablet tasks well and at a fair price. It’s good to see the older OnePlus back.