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Realme Pad LTE review: a solid entry into the budget tablet segment

With the advent of big screen smartphones, the demand for tablets plateaued. While Apple showed us time and again that tablets still have relevance if you deliver the right product, for Android tablet makers the market had stagnated with only a handful of brands still focused on the segment. But with the shift to online education in the last year, the demand for tablets has spiked once again. Realme, like other brands, is looking to stay on top of the trend.

Also read: Realme Book Slim (Core i3) review: a promising start

Realme Pad is the first slate from the company, and with a sub-Rs 20,000 bracket, presents an affordable option. The device gives you a large screen which sits between your phone and the laptop. But can it rely on Android to become its success recipe? I used the new tablet for over a week and here is my review.

Design and display

  • 246.1 x 155.9 x 6.9mm, 440g
  • 10.4-inch FHD display, 360 nits brightness

The moment you open the box, the look and feel of Realme Pad feels like a change that was long overdue for this segment. The brushed aluminium texture at the back and the overall slim footprint of the tablet gives you a good first impression.

Yes, the bezels could have been slightly thinner in 2021, but I’m willing to overlook that for the overall convenience of using the device. The dimensions tell you that the company has focused on making the Realme Pad portable and easy to use. It gets a thickness of 6.9mm, which is impressive for a tablet. It weights only 440g, which adds to the comfort factor even more.

As for the ports, you have the power button on the top bezel towards the right corner, and the volume rocker at the top of the right spine. The USB Type-C port is at the bottom. However, I’m not sure why Realme decided to put the headphone jack in such an awkward place (see image below). Placed at the corner of the lower bezel, wired headphones jut out at an odd angle. Surely, there was some room to accommodate the port elsewhere?

As for the display, the large 10.4-inch Full HD screen gives you 2,000 x 1,200 pixels resolution. It does not support a high refresh rate but in this price range that would have been a lot to ask for a tablet. Like I said, the bezels are too big for my liking, but the moment you start watching video or your favourite shows, you don’t notice them anymore.

Having said that, the panel quality leaves a lot to be desired, especially because the glare on the screen makes it hard to use, and smudges have to be cleaned up frequently.

The overall display quality is quite pleasing, and be it gaming or watching movies, you will enjoy the experience. The big screen size would also work well for online classes.

Performance, software and battery

  • MediaTek Helio G80
  • 3GB + 32GB, 4GB + 64GB
  • 7,100mAh battery, 18W charging
  • Android 11 with Realme UI for Pad

Realme Pad is powered by MediaTek Helio G80 chipset with 3GB or 4GB RAM options. Knowing the capability of the hardware, I toned my expectations in terms of the performance. There is a reason why Realme is marketing the Pad as a consumption device. It does not want people to expect heavy usage out of the slate. And that makes sense in this segment. You can enjoy light gaming, multi-tasking, and streaming content online.

The lack of accessories for the Realme Pad means your use case is limited to basic computing needs. You can surf the web, browse through apps and play games. The Dolby Atmos-powered quad speakers are loud and clear, and are great for watching videos and even Zoom calls.

In addition to RAM options, Realme offers this tablet in Wi-Fi only and LTE models. The internal storage is expandable, but there’s a single hybrid slot for the microSD and SIM card. It would have definitely been better to have a separate slot for both to make it convenient.

Realme Pad has 8-megapixel cameras on both sides. The front unit has a ultra-wide sensor which is ideal for calls and group meetings. The one at the back is for casual photography, offers basic quality as expected.

Realme says it has customised the Realme UI for the tablet (Pad) but I did not see major difference compared to the versions on its smartphone. Yes, the bloatware is much less than what I’ve seen on Realme phones, but as for customisations, not a lot has been done on that front. Of course, you have access to Google Play Store to download apps.

The app drawer comprises mostly Google apps like Docs, YouTube, Assistant and Calculator. The interface is slick and I did not notice any lag or issues with the software during our time with the device.

Since it’s a tablet, you have a larger 7,100mAh battery which goes the mile and a bit extra without breaking a sweat. The unit supports 18W charging speed via the USB Type-C port, and that takes well over 3 hours to fully charge. This might seem like a long time, but for a tablet it’s fine given the large battery size.

Bottomline

The Realme Pad is a good entry from the brand into the tablet segment at price of Rs 13,999 for the Wi-Fi model, and Rs 14,999 for the LTE variant. The 10.4-inch Full HD display paired with the Dolby Atmos speakers make it ideal for browsing the web and streaming videos. The Helio G80 SoC under the hood is sufficient for basic tasks and has more than enough horsepower to be a daily driver for online classes or Zoom calls.

The few extras loaded by the brand such as an ultra-wide front camera and SIM card support are great for productivity. The battery life is good enough to last a couple of days or more. There are a few areas where the brand could have made improvements, most notably in the quality of the display and the odd placement of the headphone jack, and we hope to see improvements in the next iteration.

Pricebaba’s rating: 8 / 10

What works

  • Compact, lightweight design
  • 4G support
  • Dolby Atmos speakers
  • Long battery life
  • Ultra-wide front camera

What doesn’t

  • Display quality could be better
  • Weird placement of headphone jack
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