Up in the sky. Look. It’s a tablet. It’s the Apple iPad? There’s a reason that the words tablet and iPad are so synonymous. Ever since the first iPad was unleashed back in 2010, Android tablets have been almost non-existent, barring the Google Nexus 7 in 2013. Since then Android tablets have lagged behind Apple’s line of iPads. But OnePlus is hoping to change that equation with the OnePlus Pad.
The OnePlus Pad is a tablet that punches above its weight, in spite of some of the limitations on the Android side. To put it bluntly, there’s finally a great Android tablet (Samsung’s much more expensive tablets aside) on the market, and it can be yours for just ₹37,999 (8GB RAM + 128GB storage) or ₹39,999 (12GB + 256GB). This tablet reminds me of the OnePlus of the past; pushing the boundaries while remaining very much value-for-money.
The OnePlus Pad comes in a single Halo Green colour variant and is available from Amazon, Flipkart, Reliance Digital, Croma, OnePlus authorised stores and the OnePlus online store.
With the Google Pixel Tablet and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 series also on the horizon, the Android tablet market is finally coming to life. Can the OnePlus Pad, the company’s first attempt at a larger device, match up to the rest?
On paper, the OnePlus Pad will not blow you away. It’s got a MediaTek Dimensity 9000, an 11.61-inch 144Hz IPS LCD display (2800x2000 resolution with 296 PPI and 500 nits of brightness), up to 12GB of RAM and a 9,510mAh battery (with a promise of up to a month of standby) and supports 67W fast charge. Out of the box, the OnePlus Pad comes with OxygenOS 13.1 (based on Android 13). There’s a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP selfie camera. The tablet weighs 552 grams and is 6.54mm thick.
The OnePlus Pad, to me, feels incomplete without some of the accessories. While the stylus ( ₹4,999) can be forgone, the OnePlus Magnetic Keyboard ( ₹7,999) is a must. There’s also a OnePlus Folio Case ( ₹1,499), if you absolutely don’t need the keyboard.
The folio design of the OnePlus Magnetic Keyboard acts as a case, making it more grippier and easier to hold one-handed. The keyboard itself isn’t as fancy as what we’ve seen out there (looking at you Apple Magic Keyboard) but it’s functionality is top-notch. The downsides are that the angle isn’t adjustable, there’s no USB-C port, and it isn’t powered by Bluetooth. On the flip side, you get a touchpad and a full-sized keyboard (that is nice to type on with good feedback). Having two windows open side-by-side is how I’ve been using the tablet for the most part of the week. One window had a YouTube video open and the other with Google Docs to get all my typing done. I’ve enjoyed my experience thus far.
You’ll immediately notice that display feels more book-like thanks to its 7:5 aspect ratio. OnePlus says that this is the first tablet ever to offer this aspect ratio and that it delivers better edge-to-edge viewing. The tablet is thin and light, and the bezels have been kept to a minimum.
If you’re disappointed about not having an OLED panel on the OnePlus Pad, then maybe the 144Hz refresh rate can help ease those concerns. Scrolling through webpages, playing games, and just general use feel buttery smooth. To help boost the experience, OnePlus also went as far as to get the display Dolby Vision certified. Personally, I would rate the display quite high. Despite it being an LCD, it has good viewing angles, punchy colours. The scrolling experience is smooth. The blacks aren’t deep enough, since its an LCD, but OnePlus had to cut corners somewhere.
The quad speakers (the right and left side both feature two speakers with Dolby Atmos support) are clear, loud and come with a complete soundstage. Furthermore, the tablet features OnePlus' Omni-bearing Sound Field technology. This means that the right and left audio channels will adjust depending on the screen’s orientation. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack here.
Performance is quite good, and I noticed no lags or stutters unless I was trying to play some high-intensity games. Yes, this isn’t a gaming tablet, and you shouldn’t be trying to push the boundaries with it, but for daily usage, it’s quite snappy.
The 8MP front-camera is quite good for video calls. OnePlus has included the auto-follow feature, which can be used in Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and other apps, to keep you centered at all times. The 13MP rear-camera is just fine. It gets the job done when you don’t have your smartphone lying around, but that’s about it.
What I was most pleased about was the battery life. OnePlus promises a standby of up to one month, and while I couldn’t test that, I still felt the battery was more than sufficient. I easily got through a day and a half of usage without having to worry about charging it. On one of these days, the OnePlus Pad was basically streaming sports all day.
With full brightness, I played YouTube videos one after another. During this test, the battery went from 58% to 7% in about six hours. That’s pretty good. The 67W charger, in the box, can juice up the tablet from 0-100 percent in just 70 minutes.
Let’s rundown the things that aren’t very good with the OnePlus Pad.
Face unlock for me was a hit or miss. It worked more often than not without a hitch, but sometimes would take multiple tries to get it going, especially in low-light conditions. OnePlus didn’t include a fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus Pad and that’s something I quite miss.
The stylus may be good but there’s no place to keep it. It magnetically attaches to the top of the Pad, in landscape mode, and that’s how it charges. But, throw the Pad in a bag, and the stylus can easily fall off. Copying text with the stylus is also difficult; the cursor moves randomly at times.
The brushed green metallic finish on the back is eye-catching but can get covered in smudges. It isn’t easy to clean either.
Crucially, there’s no SIM card support, which means you can’t get 4G or 5G on the OnePlus Pad. You’ll have to either hotspot or use a Wi-Fi network.
The thin bezels mean that accidental touches were frequent when the tablet was held in portrait orientation (best used for reading purposes). Also, when holding the Pad in portrait mode, your fingers will invariably smudge the camera bump. Flipping the tablet upside down is just not an option.
If you’re in the market for an Android tablet, then you could do far worse than the OnePlus Pad. The display, and speakers, match up to the mightiest from Samsung and Apple, and it costs a whole lot less. It’s got a high refresh rate and great viewing angles.
The OnePlus Pad is great for media consumption, reading, or basic office work. It isn’t a gaming tablet or a replacement for your laptop. But it has succeeded at mostly everything it set out to accomplish at an affordable price point. In short, the OnePlus Pad is a welcome addition to the list of Android tablets on the market.
Sahil Bhalla is a Delhi-based journalist