OnePlus has long been known mainly for its smartphones in India. However, over the past three years or so, it has also introduced smart TVs, monitors, personal audio products, and smartwatches. The company also designs and sells its own smartphone accessories along with backpacks and other travel gear. At a recent event, the brand even announced its own mechanical keyboard which has yet to go on sale in India.
Bragging rights aside, OnePlus is also known for its unique designs and well-optimised software. So, what happens when OnePlus makes a tablet? Let’s find out.
OnePlus Pad price in India
The OnePlus Pad is available in a single finish called Halo Green. Thankfully, there are some options when it comes to the configuration. There’s the base model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, priced at Rs. 37,999. The second variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is available at Rs. 39,999. In my opinion, it makes sense to go for the top-end model.
OnePlus Pad design and accessories
OnePlus’ smartphones have generally maintained a rounded design language, with the exception of perhaps the OnePlus 10R 5G. With the OnePlus Pad, the company has stuck with this same design philosophy and this helps it stand out when compared to any other tablet currently available in India.
Its metal unibody design looks and feels very premium. The Pad is incredibly thin at just 6.5mm and will make any recent Apple iPad appear chunky in comparison. Despite its slim design, the tablet is quite sturdy with absolutely no flex or creaking sounds upon applying pressure.
Even after using aluminium for its construction, the OnePlus Pad still feels quite heavy at 552g when performing regular tasks, or when simply holding it with one hand for browsing. I often ended up sitting on the couch or laying it on a table when using it, especially with the keyboard accessory which is sold separately. The finely etched texture on the back side gives it a very unique look, but it also makes it a smudge magnet and these marks are very difficult to wipe off. Thankfully, there are two optional cover accessories, to keep that messy rear surface covered at all times.
The sides of the OnePlus Pad are also rounded which makes it comfortable to hold, unlike most other tablets which have flat sides and flat corners that can poke into your hands. While the bottom, left and right sides are rounded, the middle area at top is flat because that’s where the magnetic connector for the OnePlus Stylo accessory resides. The three flat pins to power and use the keyboard accessory are at the bottom.
While the edges of the tablet have been given a rounded treatment, the display glass is flat and is seamlessly integrated with the frame, making swipe gestures near the edges of the display a good experience. The display glass also gathers smudges, but these can be wiped off easily.
The OnePlus Magnetic Keyboard accessory is available at Rs. 7,999 in India. The quality is top-notch and it feels quite premium with a grippy faux-leather texture on the front and rear panels. The keyboard connects and is powered via its three pins so it needs to be physically connected to the tablet in order to function and cannot be used wirelessly as a Bluetooth keyboard.
The keys on the Magnetic Keyboard have good travel for its type and also produce a nice tactile feedback, which makes for confident and mostly error-free typing. However, they are a bit stiff so my hands did end up feeling fatigued after a few hours of typing. The keyboard layout is also quite compact, but I surprisingly got used to it almost instantly.
The keyboard has a function key and which when combined with the number keys, can be used to trigger special functions such as navigation for the back, home and recents functions or for adjusting the volume. There’s also a command key which can trigger numerous pre-defined keyboard shortcuts like locking the screen, when combined with other keys.
OnePlus has surely worked its magic when it comes to the keyboard experience. What I really like about it is that it has a minimal learning curve and most of the functions are easily identifiable as they are similar to the way Windows or macOS works. The trackpad was spot on, both in terms of sensitivity and function. Gestures worked beautifully once I turned off “tap to click” mode in the settings. The trackpad can be pressed down with little pressure but it’s just one large button, so it does not have a right or left click. I mainly ended up using it for selecting items or entering text fields. Selecting text has to be done using the shift and arrow keys, which is why this combination is better suited for light work.
However, I wish there was at least a 1cm gap between the top row of numbers keys and the tablet when mounted, as I did end up tapping the display accidentally when hitting the number keys.
The OnePlus Stylo stylus, which is priced at Rs. 4,999 in India, works as expected and charges quickly when placed on the magnetic area at the top edge of the tablet. However, it’s not easy to find the perfect contact patch on the stylus itself when docking it, so there were times when it did not snap on perfectly and came off easily even with a slight tap.
OnePlus Pad specifications and software
The OnePlus Pad has a MediaTek Dimensity 9000 SoC, which is usually seen on premium smartphones. My review unit came with 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The tablet does not have a SIM card slot, so there’s no mobile data functionality or expandable storage either.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3 and support for the usual satellite navigation systems. The tablet lacks cellular connectivity, but OnePlus makes hotspot data sharing easier with its Cellular Data Sharing feature which auto-connects the tablet to a OnePlus smartphone. For this to work, the tablet has to be between one to five metres away from a OnePlus smartphone. The tablet is powered by a 9,510mAh battery and OnePlus includes a 100W charger in the box. However, the charging rate is capped at 67W for the tablet.
OnePlus has cut a few corners by ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack and not including a secure biometric mode for unlocking the tablet like a fingerprint sensor. The tablet can be unlocked using the standard PIN or by using face unlock via the front camera which isn’t the most secure but works reliably under good lighting.
Despite lacking cellular connectivity, I was able to place voice and video calls via WhatsApp from the OnePlus Pad and everything worked as expected, with the person on the other end being able to hear me clearly using the tablet’s built-in mic. The selfie camera comes with OnePlus’ Limelight camera feature worked quite well during video calls and was able to keep my face centred, provided I did not move to the extreme edges of the camera’s frame.
The OnePlus Pad runs OxygenOS 13.1 which is based on Android 13, along with a few tablet-friendly customisations. These customisations come in the form of a dock at the bottom, which shows pinned apps and recently used apps much like one can find on an Apple iPad with iPadOS. A swipe up from the bottom reveals the app drawer.
OnePlus has added a few software features which make OxygenOS more useful on a bigger display. You can open one app in a resizable floating window and even two apps side by side by using the split window feature. This allows a total of three apps to be displayed at once. However, not all apps scale well when they resize to fit a floating window and this also includes some of Google’s own apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets and more. Indeed, this seems to be a bug and hopefully will be resolved in a future update.
OnePlus Pad performance
The OnePlus Pad has a 11.61-inch LCD display with a resolution of 2800 x 2000 pixels. The display is quite bright at around 500 nits, which is good enough to be viewed outdoors and under direct sunlight. Viewing angles are also quite good, but showcase slightly saturated colours at the default Vivid colour profile. Blacks are quite good, even though they cannot match up to an AMOLED panel. The tablet’s display is Dolby Vision-certified and content appears as expected on Netflix and YouTube. Accompanying that display is the quad-speaker setup which gets loud and sounds immersive thanks to Dolby Atmos support.
What sets this display apart from the rest of the competition is its aspect ratio. OnePlus has gone for a rather odd 7:5 aspect ratio with the Pad’s display. While I agree that it manages to deliver a bit more vertical screen space for browsing web pages or excel sheets, I did find the layout a bit squished when viewing two apps side by side or in split view. This is more so, because the display’s scaling has only two options, Standard and Small, with no setting higher than small, which would let me view even more content in the same screen space.
The LCD panel on the OnePlus Pad offers a 144Hz refresh variable refresh rate and can switch between 30Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz when needed. During the review period I did notice that the 144Hz refresh rate is only available in certain apps such as Chrome, which have been “whitelisted” by OnePlus. Even when using the interface or browsing the homescreen, the display automatically switches between 60Hz (when idle) and 120Hz (when in use) most of the time.
Most games including some casual titles (that actually support high refresh rate displays) were capped at 60Hz, with only some such as Call of Duty: Mobile which allowed to utilise 90Hz refresh rate when using the ‘Ultra’ framerate setting. I didn’t notice the screen drop to 30Hz in my testing and neither is it fully utilising its 144Hz capability most of the time.
The SoC in the OnePlus Pad performs as expected managing 8,29,370 points in AnTuTu (v10). In terms of graphics, the tablet managed 32fps, 55fps and 60fps in GFXBench’s Car Chase, Manhattan 3.1 and T-Rex test suites respectively.
Overall gaming performance is quite good. The tablet did get warm when playing Call of Duty Mobile at ‘Very High’ graphics and framerate settings, but did not get hot even after gaming for 30 minutes at a stretch. Asphalt 9 Legends appeared almost console-like in terms of graphics with buttery smooth frame rates as the device also supported the 60fps mode. What I did find a bit insufficient was the 120Hz/144Hz touch sampling rate when playing Call of Duty Mobile as it just wasn’t quick enough despite tweaking its sensitivity using its built-in gaming tools.
Apart from the severe lack of tablet-optimised apps on the Google Play store, the OnePlus Pad manages to do a really good job at handling apps that are mainly stretched-out versions of smartphones apps. Sadly, there are some official apps from Instagram and Reddit which still refuse to run or support a horizontal layout, despite being available for tablets.
As for software performance, the 12GB of RAM is more than sufficient to handle the multitasking capabilities and widgets, along with keeping app pairs and floating windows in RAM for a long time. In terms of bloatware, OnePlus has kept it under control by including only the Netflix and WPS Office apps, both of which are useful but can also be uninstalled.
OnePlus Pad cameras
Image quality from the OnePlus Pad’s 13-megapixel rear camera is decent at best. While colours appear mostly natural, resolved detail is quite low, even with objects closer to the camera. The 8-megapixel front-facing camera is not the best when shooting selfies as the details are on the lower side and the images often have a dream-like, HDR effect.
Still image quality in low light using auto mode was below average and passable when using Night mode because they showcased a noticeable watercolour-like effect with flat textures.
The rear camera is capable of recording video at 4K 30fps and it appeared sharp with good dynamic range and details, but was quite shaky. 1080p 30fps video utilises electronic stabilisation for reducing hand shakes but appears a bit soft with less detail. Low-light video quality isn’t good with plenty of noise and softer textures.
OnePlus Pad battery life
The OnePlus Pad’s battery life is quite good and lasts over two days with regular casual use. My usage mainly included playing casual games and streaming video, scrolling through social media apps and two email accounts in sync. It seems quite good for a regular-sized tablet which is this slim. Our HD video loop test also managed a good 18 hours and 10 minutes of runtime, which is impressive for a slim tablet.
I also used the tablet in proper work mode doing everything I would normally do on my laptop. With the display set to 50 percent brightness and a timeout of five minutes, it surprisingly managed to last two whole work days (about nine hours each), which was pretty impressive.
Charging the OnePlus Pad was also quite fast despite the capped charging speeds. The tablet managed to charge to 47 percent in 30 minutes, 85 percent in an hour and completed the charge in an hour and 29 minutes.
Until Google’s Pixel Tablet arrives in India (if it ever does), the OnePlus Pad might be the best Android tablet experience you can currently get. This is especially true when you consider its high-refresh rate display, fast charging capability and quality accessories, which are offered at reasonable prices. At a starting price of Rs. 37,999, I did find it to be bit expensive when it was announced but after using it, I think there’s plenty of raw performance available that should be good enough for light work or casual use, and it all comes in a package that’s easily lighter than most laptops at this price point.
OnePlus has also done its magic with software, balancing sustained performance with features such as split-screen mode and floating windows, all of which work as expected thanks to the capable hardware which powers this device.
In short, there’s very little to nit-pick and complain about, unless you crave an AMOLED panel for which you can take a look at Lenovo’s P11 Pro Gen 2 which is similar to the P11 Pro we reviewed earlier. It’s priced at Rs. 44,999, but does not offer the same software experience as the OnePlus Pad.
On the Apple side of things, there’s the new Apple iPad (2022) (Review) which starts from Rs. 44,900 for the Wi-Fi-only model, but you will be stuck with an standard refresh rate display and just 64GB of storage as only other variant costs Rs. 59,900 (for 256GB). Those looking for cellular connectivity or a robust app ecosystem with tablet-friendly apps will also find the Apple iPad an attractive option. However, accessories for it aren’t cheap, especially if you are going to use it for work.