Xiaomi Pad 6 Review - Great for entertainment but there are compromises
- Xiaomi today introduced the Pad 6 starts at price of ₹26,999
- Xiaomi Pad 6 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC
- Xiaomi keyboard folio and smart pen 2 are also introduced for the Pad 6
Xiaomi’s foray into the tablet space saw a golden run last year with the launch of Pad 5. Self-admittingly the brand was also surprised with the bumper response the device received, flying off the shelves in minutes. The supply couldn’t keep up with the demand. Riding on that success, Xiaomi this year is back with the Pad 6. Taking lessons from the response from the Pad 5, the brand claims we can expect a different experience here. Having reviewed the Pad 5 last year, I believe I can be a judge of that. So, are these changes incremental? And can this device go against the likes of OnePlus Pad or the mighty iPad Pro? I answer this in my review.
Xiaomi has also introduced a new keyboard case along with the smart pen 2. I will be touching upon them as well.
Price & Availability
Xiaomi Pad 6 will be available in two variants. There is a variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage priced at ₹26,999 . Then there is a variant with the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage priced at ₹28,999. The keyboard case and smart pen 2 are sold separately and are priced at ₹4,999 and ₹5,999 respectively.
You can buy the new Xiaomi Pad and its accessories from Amazon and Xiaomi’s own D2C website.
The blueprint for the design of the latest Xiaomi Pad was set last year itself. Since, the Pad 6 not only feels premium, but also lighter in the hands. The weight distribution is commendable, and irrespective of the size I didn’t find any issue maintaining a grip around it. The flat edges also help in holding it better, something that the iPad is famous for.
Xiaomi seems to be taking inspiration for the camera module on the tablets from their flagship smartphones. The Pad 5’s camera module resembled the 11 Pro’s while the Pad 6’s resembles the Xiaomi 13 Pro. It does look subtle here, given the massive real estate on the back, however there is some wobble to it. Something that totally vanishes once you slap on the case.
The review variant with me is in a graphite grey color, which looks nice, but does register fingerprint smudges easily. Again, something that is avoidable with the case.
The build quality of the tablet is also satisfactory. It comes with an IP53 dust and water resistant rating, important if you travel with your devices.
Xiaomi Pad 6 does not feature a fingerprint scanner, something I complained about last year as well. You are dependent on the optical set-up to unlock the device or feed in the passcode. The face unlock works well in most cases except if you are sitting in a dark room, or when its laying flat on a table.
AdvertisementThere is a power button that appears on the top left in landscape mode and top right in portrait. On the bottom we have a USB Type-C port which is now upgraded and is compatible with HDMI output. A crucial step to bridge the gap between tablets and consumer PCs. You can also connect a wired mouse and keyboard with an extension here. I tested it out, and liked it a lot. For that matter, this section of the review is written with the help of a third party wired keyboard.
On the right side we have the volume rockers which are tactile and work well. The placement for the smart pen dock has also been shifted downwards making it easier to put back and retract.
Xiaomi Pad 6 features an 11-inch 2.8K Display. It’s an IPS LCD panel with 1800x2880 pixels resolution. Xiaomi has taken care of the bezel situation this time, since they are slimmer than what we saw last year. This is a welcoming change, however it still is a LCD panel and not an OLED.
The viewing experience on the Xiaomi Pad 6 is more or less the same as the Pad 5. The display can be characterized by its vibrant illumination and ability to render natural colors while preserving intricate details. However, it should be noted that the black levels, particularly in the corners, could be improved, although this is a common characteristic of LCD screens.
The Xiaomi Pad 6 does support HDR10+ along with Dolby Atmos across all the compatible apps. So if you are primarily buying the tablet to watch content you are in good hands. The content across all OTT apps bounce out and looks great. However, it’s not just the virtual prowess that stands out; the audio set-up here is also top-notch. The quad speaker set-up fires audio parallelly which delivers room filling audio. To give you a context - me and my brother watched Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantamania on the tablet without finding a need to hook up a speaker.
You can also set-up HDR to some compatible apps like the calculator or notes. I doubt anyone would need to use it, or realize that it exists but it does.
There are a couple of areas Xiaomi Pad 6 has improved over the Pad 5. Like an improved 144Hz max refresh rate. Moreover it can switch between 7 stages of refresh rate with a max refresh rate of 144Hz. This basically covers all your needs- gaming to reading on the web. And the responsiveness of the tablet is in fact top tier across all use cases.
While the auto-switch does work well, I preferred keeping the tablet on 144Hz throughout my testing. The trade in for a negligible dip in battery is worth it.
Now to compliment this display we do have a newly designed Xiaomi Smart Pen 2. The design change is utilitarian, with two hard press buttons adding to the convenience. From clicking screenshots to switching between different pen styles the SmartPen 2 is more democratic with your usage. It is also very responsive, be it taking notes or just doodling in general. You can also design with it, especially given the battery life here is solid at 150 hours. Moreover a minute of charge can give you 7 hours of battery life. Technically this thing is unkillable if you keep your pad charged up at all times. Since it sticks to the tablet very conveniently.
However, there is one area that I am disappointed in - backward compatibility. Xiaomi Pad 6 does not work with last year's Smart Pen. This implies that a user needs to buy the newer smart pen even if they might have an existing unit. Any brand trying to create an enclosed ecosystem has to be more liberal, and backward compatibility is a major factor to hold customers. I hope Xiaomi works on this moving forward.
Xiaomi Pad 6 runs on Android 13 out of the box, and comes with MiUi 14 skin. Like we observed on the Xiaomi Pad 5, MiUi is optimized for a tablet here.
Xiaomi has been able to retain what I liked about the Xiaomi Pad 5 last year, in this iteration as well. What comes as a bonus are some add-on features, many of them are useful but some of them are not.
Before we move on to that, aesthetically, the MiUi 14 looks great on the tablet, and minimal bloatware is always appreciated. It retains its useability, with minimal effort required to understand how it works. Something crucial for tablet space considering there will be people buying it for their kids to study.
Moving to the upgrades now in the UI. Just like last year you can open up to 2 apps together on the screen. While that was great given the screen size, you can now also pin another app on top and move it around. This comes in very handy for workflow management. Example, I maintain a spreadsheet for our Amazon Live Streams. This requires addition, creating tables and referring to video files as well. I could ditch my laptop and maintain this all on the Xiaomi Pad 6.
The UI also provides shortcuts to change the display mode, which I used quite often while watching content. A factor that not a lot of people touch upon are the widgets on the Xiaomi Pad 6. My favorites being the calendar and email, cementing further that logistical productivity can be maintained here.
Now talking about the add-ons that sit in the middle. They exist, but don’t have an immediate use case. Xiaomi is trying to build an ecosystem here, and the first step is to let their smartphones communicate with the Xiaomi Pad. The catch is - only one smartphone for now, the Xiaomi 13 Pro.
Like the Apple devices, now you can update notes, click images and maintain communication between the devices easily. The UI also allows you to remotely use the 13 Pros camera to click images and update them in folders in real time.
All these features work smoothly, but the real question remains - how many people own the 13 Pro? While we can appreciate the inclusiveness Xiaomi is trying to build here, for now it seems half baked. I hope over time with OTA updates we can see more devices becoming compatible with this.
Xiaomi does provide a saving grace with the promise of 3 years of software updates and 5 years of security updates on the device.
Xiaomi Pad 6 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC, which admittedly is a 2 year old processor. While the purists can complain about the relevance of the processor here and that it is too old, I tend to disagree.
The new processor argument sits well with a smartphone more, compared to a tablet. Mostly because a tablet's use case is comparatively limited. While there can be other reasons for you to not consider the Xiaomi Pad 6, processor should not be one of them.
Moving to the actual performance output on the Pad 6, I can put it in one word - optimal. The tablet can easily perform everyday tasks with a breeze. This involves internet surfing, watching content or basic computing. The apps are well optimized and when put together with the hardware do not let you down.
AdvertisementThe 8GB RAM on board can hold lighter apps for longer durations as well. So spreadsheets, calculators and other utilitarian apps work beautifully. There is a dip in performance when you switch to heavier apps.
Games like COD: Mobile and asphalt 9 work decently on the tablet but I did notice heating after a spell of 20 minutes. The gameplay was smooth however, the RAM did struggle to hold them in place while I switched between apps.
Internal storage here though is solid at 256GB which means you can download and store content, files and documents without breaking a sweat. And if you want additional storage, you can also hook up your hard drives with the USB-C port.
This golden run of the Pad 6 comes to a hault with the absence of the SIM card slot here. Yes, just like last year the tablet will be available in WiFi only variant. This informally suggests that the Pad 6 is only an entertainment device, since utility requires network connectivity as well.
Yes, you can take notes, download content, and then sync them up later. But, a dedicated SIM card here would add another layer of utility which I missed dearly.
AdvertisementBattery life on the Xiaomi Pad 6 is solid, the 8840 mAh battery can easily last over 2 days with light usage. Over the weekend when I was binge watching content on it, I found myself charging it only at the end of the day. The 33W fast charger in the box takes about 2 and a half hours to charge it, which is good speed for a battery of this size.
While I write this review I haven’t had the chance to check out the keyboard case. However this space will be updated as and when I test it.
The tablet's camera serves two important purposes: video calls and document scanning. The Xiaomi Pad 6 like last year excels in these areas. Its main camera boasts a 13MP resolution, capturing decent images. They are not worthy of your social media feed, but occasional photography is taken care of.
Xiaomi understands the significance of document scanning and includes a document mode in the camera app, something we see in their smartphones as well now. You can convert them in different doc formats as well.
While the main camera can shoot 4K videos up to 30fps, the results are underwhelming.
Like last year ,the presence of a lens module on the back might give the impression of a dual-camera setup. But it is not.
For video calls, the front camera is an 8MP shooter and performs well. However, when it comes to taking selfies for social media, it's best to rely on your smartphone as the output from the tablet's front camera is also soft. Furthermore, its performance suffers in low-light conditions.
Xiaomi Pad 6 strongly sets the future for the brand in the tablet space. The upgrades for now are more or less incremental, but given the right situation can be useful. What does stand out is the design and the UI. The smart pen 2 also adds to the experience making it easy to interact with.
However, if you don’t want to compromise on the performance then you can look into the OnePlus Pad. And if you are in a creative field then I suggest taking the iPad route.
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