A fun tablet for content consumption, not creation – Technology News, Firstpost

Rating: 4/5

Price: Rs 17,999

A few years ago, it seemed like tablets were a dying breed. But the pandemic-induced work/study/enjoying home culture seems to have sparked a resurgence in the category. Many consider tablets as an alternative to laptops for taking online lectures. Some find it better for group video calls because of the larger screen space. And they have always served as an extra screen in the house for personal entertainment.

Realme, a popular smartphone brand, has entered the budget tablet segment with their product that promises to offer more than what the incumbents are doing in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. The Realme Pad looks impressive on paper. Time to find out what’s good about it, what isn’t and whether it is indeed one of the best options in this budget.

The Realme Path. Image Courtesy: realme.com

Realme Path: Design

While this is a budget tablet, the design has more than a dash of style to it. The champagne gold aluminum frame and back look elegant and the tablet is less than 7mm thin; probably slimmer than all Realme phones if my memory serves me well. Here too you get a metallic gray color. It weighs about 440 grams but is not too heavy in the hand. If there’s one thing I’d change about the design, it’s the bezels; they could have been thinner than they are, yet you can comfortably grip the tablet from the sides.

The champagne gold aluminum frame and back look elegant and the tablet is less than 7mm thin; probably slimmer than all Realme phones

The Realme Pad is more intended to be used in landscape mode than portrait mode. The company hints at the same thing by placing the front camera in the center of the longer edge of the tablet. You get a power button, volume rocker, a SIM/microSD card tray, USB-C port and a pair of microphones along the edges, in addition to a pair of speakers on either side of the screen (in landscape mode). On the back of the tablet is an 8 megapixel camera.

Realme Pad: Display

The Realme Pad has a 10.4-inch 8-bit WUXGA+ display with a resolution of 2000 x 1200 pixels. Simply put, a screen with a slightly higher resolution than Full HD and capable of displaying 16.7 million shades of color, which is very good for a budget tablet. I believe it uses an IPS panel and the viewing angles are quite good. It has a default refresh rate of 60Hz and scrolling feels a bit stiff, or maybe I’ve been spoiled by 90Hz and 120Hz refresh rates on phones for the past year.

The Realme Pad has a 10.4-inch 8-bit WUXGA+ display with a resolution of 2000 x 1200 pixels.

The screen has a nominal brightness of 360 nits and is bright enough indoors and can get bright enough outdoors. The contrast is impressive and so is the color reproduction. While it doesn’t support HDR, the colors feel vibrant without being overdone. It is compatible with Widevine L1, which means you can watch Full HD content on OTT platforms such as Netflix on this tablet. The screen is protected by some sort of scratch-resistant glass (brand not specified), but it certainly doesn’t have an oleophobic coating and attracts a lot of smudges. You have to wipe it from time to time.

It is compatible with Widevine L1, which means you can watch Full HD content on OTT platforms such as Netflix on this tablet

Realme Pad: Specifications and Key Features

The Realme Pad is powered by a Mediatek Helio G80 SoC with Mali-G52 MC2 GPU and you get a choice of 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage or 4GB RAM with 64GB storage. You can further expand it up to 1TB with a microSD card, which is a great option to have. You get either a WiFi-only variant (3 GB/32 GB) of this tablet or a WiFi + LTE variant with a 4G SIM card slot for calling and mobile data. We received the latter for review with 64 GB of storage. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks.

The tablet has two 8MP cameras, one on the front and the other on the back. The rear camera is only there for basic use and not for serious photography. The front camera has an ultra-wide lens with a FOV of 105 degrees which is useful for video calls. As I mentioned earlier, the quad speakers on the Realme Pad are Dolby Atmos compatible and the output is surprisingly loud and punchy at near peak volume. One thing I missed here is a fingerprint scanner to unlock the screen. I still prefer it over face unlock or passcodes/patterns. However, I’m not sure if too many tablets in this segment have it.

Realme Pad: Software and UI

This tablet runs Android 11 with Realme UI for Pad. The UI here is much closer to Android than Realme UI you get on their phones. In any case, that’s not a bad thing. The user interface is clean, smooth and virtually free of bloatware. In fact, most of the pre-installed apps are Google services, perhaps with the exception of Facebook. Given the obvious possibility of this tablet being used by kids, you also have some kid-friendly apps like Kids Space and YT Kids. You can choose who (adults or children) will use the tablet during installation and it will be configured accordingly.

The user interface is clean, smooth and free of bloatware

Realme Pad: Performance

The overall performance of this tablet is fine. The G80 processor is powerful enough for everyday tasks such as browsing, watching videos, making video calls or listening to music. Things tend to get a little slow if you open too many apps at once, but that has more to do with the limited amount of RAM. Also don’t get carried away by the mention of Helio G80 as a gaming processor on the list page of this tablet. While it can handle some casual or less graphically intensive games with ease, don’t expect games like Asphalt 9 to run smoothly at high visual settings.

Typing articles on a tablet is not my thing, nor is it very comfortable on the Realme Pad. There is no keyboard accessory for this tablet that Realme has announced. In fact, I don’t think any accessories have been made available by the company yet. There is also no cover. This tablet is not ideal for creating content or using productivity apps. But when it comes to content consumption, this product is a great option.

Watching content on Netflix or Prime Video on this tablet was an enjoyable experience. While you can always use Bluetooth headphones with it, I often found myself watching videos without the earphones. The four speakers present here usually do a great job when you push the volume closer to 90 percent or more, and Dolby Atmos compliance gives it a wider soundstage than what you’d expect from built-in speakers on a tablet. Since this is an Android tablet, you have the option to cast the content to larger screens from compatible TVs.

The four speakers and Dolby Atmos compliance give it a wider soundstage than what you’d expect from built-in speakers on a tablet

Surfing the internet or reading e-books is also easy here. The screen offers multiple display modes for different lighting and activities. You get reading mode, night mode, dark lake and sunlight mode. While it doesn’t turn the screen into a Kindle, the first two modes are a lot easier on the eyes when reading in dimly lit environments. Video calls are also handled well and the larger screen gives you much more breathing room for group conversations with multiple participants.

While the front camera is good enough for video calls, the rear camera is nothing great. It is only there for basic use, if you urgently need to capture something on the tablet, and not as an alternative to your phone camera. The LTE variants of the Realme Pad allow you to add a 4G SIM card and make calls. It doesn’t have an earpiece like phones, but the built-in microphones and speakers manage conversations surprisingly well. You can always use a Bluetooth headset for better call quality or more privacy.

Realme Pad: battery life

The Realme Pad has a 7100 mAh battery that lasted for about two days of moderate use during testing, including a few hours of watching content on Netflix, two hours of browsing and reading e-books, and 30 minutes of video calling per day. That’s a pretty decent battery backup. It supports 18W fast charging and the included charger takes almost 3 hours to fully charge it, which isn’t that great. The tablet supports reverse charging and can be used as a power bank to charge other devices.

Realme Path: Price and Judgment

The Realme Pad can be bought for Rs 13,999 for the Wi-Fi only variant with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage, up to Rs 17,999 for the WiFi + LTE variant with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. The pricing is reasonable as the competition mainly from Samsung and Lenovo has nothing significantly better to offer below Rs 20,000. This isn’t necessarily a category-defining product, but it’s a well-rounded tablet that’s great for media consumption, reading and video calling, runs a more recent version of Android, offers decent battery backup, and is worth the asking price.

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