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OnePlus Pad Review: One Month Later...


Last month, we got our hands on OnePlus' very first tablet and it was quite an experience. As we know, the OnePlus Pad is a very interesting take from the Chinese tech giant, it was the company's first tablet after all — it is feature-packed, powerful, and has an intriguing ecosystem which is also a first from the company.

Despite the interesting concepts the tablet has established, to call this an "iPad killer" would be a misnomer. Now, don't get me wrong, the OnePlus Pad has a lot of good qualities too, in fact, we've described it as "The Entertainment Frontrunner" in my initial review which can be found here — it's just that calling it an iPad killer would be an understatement.

A little bit of disclaimer though, this one-month review focuses on our... one-month experience with the OnePlus Pad, as well as personal insights that did not make it in my initial review. If you haven't read our initial review yet, be sure to check that out first because you would be missing out a lot.

My afterthoughts.

Image credit: Brahm Daniel Verano / androidist

After bringing the tablet outside every now and then, I have realized that people are more likely to mistake my OnePlus Pad for a MacBook than an iPad — of course, with all the accessories attached, that is. I don't carry this big boy outside without them, not to mention how fragile it feels to hold with one hand. It still looks identical to an iPad without the accessories nevertheless.

The display is still okay-ish.

Again, we're treated to its enormous 11.61-inch display up front along with an 8MP selfie sensor. The display is still big, and huge, up to this day but we cannot tell if the OnePlus Pad's 500-nit peak brightness is any better as we find the contents hard to view in light-centric areas, even with the brightness maxed out.

Image credit: Brahm Daniel Verano / androidist

But the Android tablet scene does not seem to have crossed that line yet as no brighter tablets have been released up to now, (except the newer iPads for sure). iQOO Pad, the most recent Android tablet release, which was announced last May, comes with 600 nits. It is 100 nits brighter than the OnePlus Pad but still not bright enough.

Though it's a good thing to see the peak brightness on Android tablets rise, although only measly at the moment, we'll get there, eventually. On the bright side, it's great to see how its 7:5 Aspect Ratio set the bar in the industry as other tablet makers follow the trend with subsequent tablet releases.

144Hz is 120Hz in disguise?

After playing with the tablet for a while, one thing came across my mind that was begging me to check the refresh rate indicator. And somehow, I got intrigued by it, so I did not hesitate to check it. After enabling the refresh rate indicator on Developer Options, a wild 120Hz appears. 

While the refresh rate only features two options: 60Hz and 144Hz, it's an odd thing to see the refresh rate indicator stay on 120Hz even when set at 144Hz. Although the 144Hz is suggested as the maximum, it only goes up when necessary on certain occasions. It may also depend on what apps you use, as well as your usage of the accessories, including the keyboard and the stylus.

And one more thing.

Image credit: Brahm Daniel Verano / androidist

Leaving it on 144Hz daily struggles to last a day, but the battery life is honestly not bad for a big 144Hz display with 2K resolution. Yes, I use the feature daily. I even forgot that switching it back to 60Hz is an option. I just don't go changing my refresh rate to 60Hz because it ruins the experience. Pretty sure no one plays their game with massive FPS drops.

To our surprise, using 144Hz daily lasts for about 4 to 5 hours on average, and I have to bring my charger with me every day to enjoy a full day. Of course, it would be a different story when you set it to 60Hz instead. (Speaking of chargers, the OnePlus Pad in other countries ships with chargers out-of-the-box. Thought we'd put it here.)

The other side.

Image credit: Brahm Daniel Verano / androidist

The material of the OnePlus Pad's back cover is very delicate to fingerprints. For some reason, it attracts fingerprints and it is very challenging to remove them. The material is rather picky for cleaning clothes — a generic cloth won't be enough to get rid of the fingerprints. We have gotten used to them though, the Folio Keyboard Case would later cover them after all. Although it would be an issue whenever I detach the tablet from its case.

More than what meets the eye.

As much as we'd like to read stories vertically, the OnePlus Pad has taught us that tablets are not always meant to be held vertically — reading stories in a portrait format is also an option to enjoy them. Not to mention, the display also brings a balanced contrast between text and images, especially for articles, making them easy to read with more leisure. The 7:5 Aspect Ratio also blends well with the reading experience when held horizontally. (It's not too narrow, not too big.)

Another thing is that pixels are not that visible even when meticulously observed, which makes the display a feast for the eyes despite lacking an AMOLED panel.

How the software ecosystem boosts productivity.

The screen mirroring feature is a great addition to the ecosystem. It is essential for those who multitask a lot, including me. I have tried the feature, it's great and it feels so surreal. Taking control of your phone through your tablet is one way to boost your productivity. It transfers clipboard content from phone to tablet and automatically adjusts its resolution on what it sees fit when on full screen. Albeit, it's not seamless at the moment as the delay is noticeable in most cases.

The screen mirroring feature is achieved by connecting to the same Wi-Fi network as the phone with Bluetooth turned on. Then head on to settings, locate the Screen Mirror feature, and pair the nearest phone that runs on OxygenOS 13.1. It is a nice inclusion to the OnePlus Pad's set of features.

Putting the stylus on standby affects the battery life.

The OnePlus Stylo is my favorite accessory from the ecosystem so far. It has become my companion whenever I want to write or do things my way, but there's one thing I've encountered lately and it's the way it behaves — apparently, leaving it on hold for a long time drains the battery, even when full. The stylus still charges on its own even after hitting the 100-percent mark, which is disappointing. Although a tablet case with a stylus holder would solve it.

The cameras.

Moving on to the camera department, the lenses on the OnePlus Pad are holding up pretty well. The tablet is able to produce decent and vibrant results despite having a moderate sensor, though sometimes oversharpened. To recall, the Pad features a 13MP shooter on the rear and an 8MP one on the front. Below are the photos we took with the main camera.

The front camera is wide and has a balanced color vibrance and contrast — not too saturated. It's something you would expect for an 8MP sensor. Below is a selfie I took in a cafe.

Final Thoughts.

Image credit: Kierre C. Cruz / androidist

Months after its initial release, the OnePlus Pad surely would still make a good companion for productivity. It still has the essentials you would look for in a tablet with remarkable flagship features to get hooked on.