Xiaomi Pad 5 review

A bold alternative

₹ 28,999

When you think of mobile tablets, Apple’s iPads invariably come to mind, unless you’re a Samsung user and want to stick to its ecosystem. But there’s a new tab in town that is challenging the status quo. 
It does so by offering a premium design, nearly every feature you can think of, productivity-boosting accessories, and at a price that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Yes, we are talking about the Xiaomi Pad 5, and having spent the past few weeks with it, here’s our review.


If we’re being honest, this tab does look like the lovechild of an iPad and one of the flagship Xiaomi smartphones. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. From the front, it looks like any other tab with rounded corners and slim bezels surrounding an all-touch screen. The flat metal edges and speakers on the corners add to the iPad vibe
But the story is different on the back. Xiaomi has gone for a minimalist look featuring a plastic panel that’s been given a polished metal-like finish, and a camera module that reminds you of the Xiaomi Mi 11 series of smartphones. At first glance, you might think that there are two lenses housed in the module, but look closer, and you will only find one lens and ‘13MP’ written where the second lens would have been. 
No matter where Xiaomi’s designers may have taken their inspiration from, there’s no denying that the Xiaomi Pad 5 looks and feels premium, and at 511 grams, is easy to carry around in your backpack without it feeling like a burden.


Among the highlights of the Pad 5 is the display, which is a thing of beauty. Despite it “just” being an LCD panel, it doesn’t come across as a compromise. What helps its cause is the 2.5K resolution, and 120Hz super-smooth refresh rate, which is unmatched by tabs in this price range.
As we’ve seen on Xiaomi’s smartphones, there’s an option to tweak the colours a bit to suit your liking. One can head over to settings to choose between vivid, saturated and standard colour modes. 

Whether you’re reading books, browsing the internet or looking at pictures of food and travel destinations on social media, they all just look great. Support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision also makes this suited to long hours of binge-watching.
Sticking with streaming, and aiding the overall entertainment quotient are the four speakers placed at all four corners. They are sufficiently loud and offer rich audio when watching OTT content or listening to music. An interesting feature is the tab’s ability to automatically adjust the stereo sound when switching between portrait or landscape orientation.


Under the hood is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 860 SoC accompanied by 6GB of RAM, and both offer enough juice to easily handle basic tasks, office work, and bingeing on OTT content. While we didn’t use the tab like an everyday gaming machine, it was able to survive a few intense Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty sessions. Both games worked at max settings, and the tab didn’t seem like it was struggling. 
While tabs aren’t really meant for photography, there are two cameras on board. A single 13MP snapper at the back shoots passable photos but does get a document scanning feature. 

The front 8MP camera is good enough for video calls, though the placement could have been better. Located at the top in portrait orientation, it ends up being on the left when the tab is in landscape mode – which happens to be the majority of the time. This means during video calls, the angle tends to be a bit low, and there’s unwanted focus on your double chin.  
One aspect missing here that would have really made the tab portable is the lack of a cellular option. The Indian market only gets the Wi-Fi model (for now), and that too without a built-in GPS. In other words, you’ll always need the help of your local cafe’s free Wi-Fi or your mobile hotspot when you want to work away from your home or office. It feels like Xiaomi missed a trick here, and a cellular option (even if more expensive) would have been a great option to have. 

Battery life

Making sure everything ticks is a decently sized 8,720mAh battery that easily lasts over a day on a single charge. With judicious usage, it can even go a couple of days before you have to hunt for an empty socket. 
When you do need to charge, there’s support for 33W fast charging, but Xiaomi only bundles a 22.5W charger in the box. It’s certainly not the fastest around and takes over two hours to fully charge. Fortunately, we had a faster charger lying around at home (nature of the job), and it got the job done considerably faster. 


Xiaomi has announced two optional accessories, which together make the Pad 5 a productivity champ. The Xiaomi Smart Pen (₹5,999) does exactly what you expect it to do – scribble, doodle or take quick notes. It works well for most things and has impressively low latency but at times we did notice that it missed a few strokes. It clearly has some way to go before it can match the refinement of the styluses from Samsung and Apple. 
The Pen magnetically attaches to the top edge, and it connects with the tab almost instantaneously. It’s also when docked here that it charges itself. 

The other accessory is the keyboard cover, which at ₹1,999 is a steal. This keyboard, which is also a folio cover for the tab, connects via the pogo pins, and again the connection is almost instantaneous. 
The keyboard itself isn’t the biggest around, but the keys are well spaced out, making it easy to type on. There’s a function key here that can be used in combination with other keys as shortcuts for certain tasks or basic navigation. 
There’s no trackpad here – did you really expect one at this price? – but one can connect any Bluetooth mouse for navigation. The tab offers certain settings for the mouse like the ability to set pointer speeds.


One of the aspects that have really held back Android tablets is Android. The OS is just not optimised for the bigger screens. Xiaomi’s solution to that is to create a customised version for its tab called MIUI for Pad. It is minimal without any bloatware and has a few tricks up its sleeves that add to the user experience. 
There are now gestures that have been improved to suit the bigger screens but the biggest change is the implementation of split-screen. Enabling split-screen is as easy as going to the Recents menu, long-pressing on an app to see if it supports split-screen, and then tapping on the split-screen button. Alternatively, you can also have an app open as a floating window, which can be easily dragged around to any corner of the screen. It’s all quite easy and works really well. 

But it’s not all rosy, and Android’s ugly head does rear up. Some apps are yet to be fully optimised. Take for instance the Disney+ Hotstar app, which refuses to open in landscape mode. It is weird navigating through the app with your neck tilted at 90 degrees. If you manage to get to the desired video without spraining your neck, at least that opens in landscape mode.  
Having said all that, Xiaomi’s attempts at making Android useful on tablets are among the best we have come across so far. With Google’s Android 12L for foldable and tablets in the pipeline, the overall experience is only expected to get better. 


The Xiaomi Pad 5 may not be perfect, but it’s hard to nitpick when prices start at only ₹26,999. Even the additional accessories don’t cost a bomb. 
At this price range, you’re getting a portable machine with a premium design, more than enough resources under the hood, and a great display. The icing on the cake is how Xiaomi has largely succeeded in making Android usable on a tablet. There’s finally a worthy alternative to Apple’s entry-level iPad range.

Stuff Says

Its versatility and wallet-friendly price tag make the Xiaomi Pad 5 a worthy challenger to the iPad’s dominance.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Accessible price tag

  1. Display and build quality

  1. Accessories boost productivity

  1. UI optimised for tab use

  1. No cellular option

  1. Charging not the fastest

  1. No biometric scanner

Display: 10.95in WQHD+ 120Hz
Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 860
Memory: 6GB RAM / 256GB storage
Cameras: 13MP (rear) / 8MP (front)
Battery: 8,720mAh
OS: MIUI for Pad
Dimensions: 254.69 x 166.25 x 6.85 mm
Weight: 511 grams