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Poco Pad Review: An all-around great tablet!

For a few years there, we thought that the tablet was dead! There was a period when only Apple and Samsung made tablets that were worth anything. However, while the tablet market isn’t exactly flourishing, we’re seeing more companies put more effort into their slabs. Poco just made its foray into the tablet market. I was given the opportunity to review the Poco Pad, so let’s see if this tablet is worth the money.

Many of us in the mobile tech world know about the Xiaomi Poco brand and its significance. This is a brand that came out of the gate swinging with the Poco F1. That phone was sporting the most powerful Snapdragon SoC of the year along with other flagship specs for a measly $300. This was a true Flagship Killer back in the age when that term was in full swing. So, there’s the expectation that all of its products will share this mentality.

Well, I recently reviewed two phones that uphold the Flagship Killer name. Firstly, there’s the new Poco F6 (Review). This is a Snapdragon 8s Gen 3-powered beauty of a phone. It’s a great phone with a beautiful design, nice speakers, smooth performance, and other amazing attributes. It starts at $399.

Next up, there’s the Poco F6 Pro (Review). This is the more advanced version of the Poco F6 with a powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, up to 1TB of storage, a gorgeous premium design, great performance, a solid camera, and other great aspects. It’s an amazing phone to pick up for the starting price of $499.

So, let’s see if the Poco Pad is a proper addition to this family.

Poco Pad Review: Design

In terms of this tablet’s design, there’s not much to talk about. I have to admit that many of the tablets that come out don’t really have notable designs. Most tablets nowadays share a similar aesthetic. There’s not much of a need to make tablets as diverse as phones. You’re more likely to take your phone out with you, so there’s more of a chance that people will see it. However, tablets are designed to stay at home. You’re not really planning to impress people while watching Moana on your couch.

So, the design of the Poco Pad isn’t really anything to write home about. It matches the aesthetic of most of the other tablets on the market. I received the gray colorway, and it has a sort of elegance to it. It’s not meant to be flashy. The tablet is designed to give off an appearance of professionalism.

The Poco Pad has a pretty minimalist design with a unibody that covers the back and the frame. As far as branding goes, the only text on the back is the Poco branding at the top left of the tablet. On the other side, we see two pretty large camera modules. In my opinion, they seem pretty big, but they do help give the tablet a more unique look.

Poco Pad (4)

In terms of design, I don’t have any complaints. I don’t expect the company to do something wild and outlandish with the design because there’s not much of a need to. The design is nice for what it is.

Poco Pad Review: Build quality

In terms of the build quality, I think that Poco delivered a solidly built device. When I pick it up, I don’t get the impression that I’m holding a cheap device. Firstly, it’s a pretty hefty tablet. There’s a decent amount of weight to it. It’s the kind of heavy that lets you know that it was made with quality materials. It doesn’t feel clunky or cumbersome.

As for the materials, Poco chose to use a metal unibody for the tablet, and that lends to the overall feeling in the hand. It feels nice grabbing a metal device rather than a plastic one. Not only does it feel nice, but I also get the impression that I’ll be able to use it for quite some time. You never want to use a device that feels like it’s going to be broken in a year or two.

I performed a slight bend test on this tablet, and, just as I expected, there was a little bit of flex to it. Since tablets are much bigger than phones while remaining as thin, they’re much easier to bend. Adding a bit of force to the tablet from both the front and back, I found that there was definitely some give to it, so you’ll want to be careful not to sit on it. There’s a chance that it could bend.

I also listened for any creaks or other sounds, and I did hear a few. It wasn’t bad, but I mostly heard them from where the frame of the tablet met the glass. This doesn’t mean that this is a poorly built tablet. It’s just one of those areas where Apple and Samsung tablets show why they cost so much money. You wouldn’t really hear these creaks from an iPad or Galaxy Tab. In any case, the Poco Pad is still a well-built tablet.

Poco Pad Review: Display

A big part of the tablet experience (both figuratively and literally) is the display. Many people buy tablets to consume media, so having a nice display can be make-or-break for some users. With much more expensive tablets, you can expect brilliant OLED displays. In the case of the Poco Pad, the company opted for a less flashy panel and went with a typical LCD display.

However, there are tablets out there like the OnePlus Pad and the Galaxy Tab S9 FE that have beautiful LCD screens. So, let’s see where this tablet’s screen falls. Just like with the Poco F6 series, it’s a bit tough to judge this display because it has several options to customize it. There aren’t as many customizations as with the F6 phones, but there are a few.

Poco Pad (11)Poco Pad (11)

There are three color saturation modes that you can choose from. There’s the Standard mode which gives you more natural colors and the Vivid mode which automatically adjusts the color saturation based on the content you’re watching.

The last mode is the one I’ll be using, and it’s called Saturated. This will push the display to its highest saturation setting. People are more likely to use this setting, so I’ll be judging the screen by this setting.

Brightness

Starting off with the brightness, the Poco Pad’s screen can definitely get up there. It’s more than bright enough for indoor use. I used the tablet in some brightly lit indoor environments, and I was still able to see the screen without any issues.

When I took it outside, I was still impressed with the brightness. With older screens, I shudder to think of how bright sunlight ruined the viewing experience. In the case of the Poco Pad, I was still able to see the screen pretty well in the bright sunlight. I admit that this isn’t the brightest screen on the market, but I was still able to comfortably view the tablet’s screen in the sunlight. This included navigating the interface, using apps, and playing games. I was able to comfortably see everything on the screen. If a screen can pass the sunlight test, it’s a win in my book.

Colors

In terms of the colors, I think that this is a pretty good performer. I’ve seen several LCD panels produce colors that are basically on par with OLED panels. Well, the Poco Pad doesn’t have one of those displays. In its Saturated mode, the colors do look pretty punchy for an LCD panel. I feel that blues get a nice little pop.

However, in terms of overall saturation, I feel like the display strikes a nice balance between saturated and bland. The colors are on the punchy side, and they do make for some nice visuals. I was still able to enjoy watching movies and other videos on the display. It’s a nice-looking panel, don’t get me wrong, but you shouldn’t really expect it to blow your mind.

There are additional settings that allow you to change the color temperature of the screen. You can use these settings to further cater your viewing experience to your tastes.

Resolution

Are you a pixel peeper? Don’t be ashamed! This is a tablet with a pleasant-looking screen; a good resolution would only make the experience better. The Poco Pad has a QWXGA display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. This gives the tablet a pixel density of 249 PPI.

Plainly put, that’s a decent resolution for this tablet. It’s more than double the resolution of 1080p, and you’ll want to have the extra pixels if you plan on watching content or gaming on it.

Overall

The Poco Pad has a generally good display. It has decent brightness, nice colors, and a good resolution. Take those with the 120Hz refresh rate, and you have a really good viewing experience. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best part of this tablet’s experience, but it’s not bad by any means.

Poco Pad Review: Speakers

Tablets have more real estate for larger speakers. This is why some tablets have really amazing speakers. There are some tablets I’ve used that I just use instead of a Bluetooth speaker; the speakers are just that good! The Poco Pad boasts an impressive four speakers. How do these speakers perform?

Poco Pad (2)Poco Pad (2)

I tested these speakers using a set of test pieces. Each of these pieces was designed to accentuate a particular aspect of the tablet’s audio. These are the Loudness, Bass, Treble, Vocals, Balance, and Immersion. I also just generally used the tablet, so I’m not only judging the speakers on the test pieces.

Loudness

One thing I mentioned in both my Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro reviews was the fact that they weren’t particularly loud. Well, the same is true with the Poco Pad. It’s plenty loud for personal and indoor use. Again, you’re more likely to use your tablet at home, so the speakers are perfect for the most part.

However, at their highest volume, I find that they’re a little quiet compared to other tablets that I reviewed. At their highest volume, I would have liked just a bit more punch. If you’re outside or in a loud environment, then you’ll certainly have trouble hearing the speakers on this tablet.

Bass

In terms of the bass, I wasn’t really surprised by the sound that I heard. When reviewing the Poco F6/Pro, I found that these phones’ speakers could produce some great bass. With the Poco Pad, it seems that the company paid an equal amount of attention to the speakers.

The bass that these speakers could produce is pretty great. It’s warm and rumbly without sounding muddy. The test piece that I used had a lot of lower instruments like Double Basses, Bassoons, Contra Bassoons, and Tubas. Not only was I able to hear the tone of each instrument, I was able to hear the low rumble that really characterizes lower tones. The speakers produced a very wide and rich sound, and that contributes to the overall experience.

Treble

It’s easy to overlook the treble, but you shouldn’t. The test piece that I used for the treble had certain instruments like Piano, Celeste, Violins, Flutes, and Pizzicato Strings to really drive the higher notes. I was listening for clarity in the sound, and I think that these speakers did a pretty good job creating clear high notes.

I wouldn’t say that the treble performance was a highlight of the speakers; I would have liked to hear just a bit more clarity. However, they’re not bad. I could hear some nice detail in the higher registers of these instruments. If your guilty pleasure is a little ASMR, then you won’t be disappointed.

Balance

While high notes and low notes are on opposite sides of the spectrum, it’s important that these two parts of the sound play nicely with one another. Balance is a crucial part of the audio experience.

When it comes to balance, I think that these speakers were able to give me a nicely balanced sound. Neither the bass nor the treble outshined the other. The piece I used was a very balanced song that had a fair share of low-end thumps and high-end notes. Listening to the song, I didn’t feel that I really needed any more of either the highs or lows.

Poco Pad (4)Poco Pad (4)

Vocals

If you’re going to be listening to songs on these speakers, then vocal performance is important. Overall, I think that the speakers on the Poco Pad do a good job of projecting voices. No matter what song I listened to, the singer’s voice was able to cut through the music and be heard as clear as day.

Immersion

Immersion is where all of the elements of the audio come together to create an all-encompassing sound. Overall, I think that the speakers on the Poco Pad achieve this. The sound coming out of the speakers is very immersive.

Overall

I think that the speaker performance is one of the best things about the Poco Pad. The audio from the speakers, while not the loudest, checks a lot of boxes when it comes to quality. I could listen to these speakers without needing to reach for a pair of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.

Poco Pad Review: Performance

Using this tablet, I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s not quite using the latest and greatest silicon from Qualcomm, but many devices wound up surprising me by using less powerful chips. In the case of the Poco Pad, I was thoroughly impressed with the performance. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 7s Gen 3 SoC, so it’s not quite at the cutting edge. However, that’s not to say that it’s a sluggish chip either. This is the kind of chip that won’t show its weakness under typical loads. It’s the kind of chip that you have to push to great heights in order to start seeing some slowdown.

Typical day-to-day performance is rather smooth. I didn’t experience any stutters or dropped frames while navigating the software, using the apps, or performing any tasks. Everything flowed, and I thank both the hardware and the software for this. This is the kind of tablet that you’ll most likely use for media consumption, but that’s not to say that you can’t use it for some work, If you’re going to use this tablet for some writing or drawing, you’ll have more than enough power to do that. Other than that, you won’t need to worry about it slowing down while performing other tasks.

When using affordable hardware, we’ve become accustomed to expecting a sluggish experience. We have cheaper tablets from back in the day to blame for this. Imagine using a $300 tablet back in 2016 (Yikes!). Nowadays, the companies making those crappy $300 tablets back in the day have learned better ways of optimizing their software to work on cheaper hardware. We also can’t forget about the major steps that the chipmakers took to boost the performance of their lower-powered chips.

Poco Pad (5)Poco Pad (5)

Geekbench scores

Yes, I know that benchmark scores aren’t a proper measure of a device’s performance. However, it’s still nice to see some numbers every now and then to see where certain chips stand. I ran the Poco Pad through Geekbench 6.

This tablet got a single-core score of 1034, which is pretty wimpy by most standards. The performance seems to be comparable to a flagship phone from a few years back. It was able to land just below the Galaxy S21 FE (1096). So, it’s safe to say that this chip rests comfortably in the mid-range area… on paper.

Moving onto the multi-core score, the story isn’t much different. It scored 2974. Again, the performance was basically neck-and-neck with the Galaxy S21 FE. This time, it beat the Galaxy by four points. So, this tablet’s chip is performing on par with a two-year-old phone running on a three-year-old chip… on paper.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t expect to be using this as an alternative to an iPad Pro. However, the software and hardware are working together to give this tablet some nice and smooth performance. At no point during my usage do I find myself wanting more power.

Poco Pad Review: Gaming performance

With great chips comes great gaming performance! At least, that’s what we’ve been led to believe. This is the kind of mentality that leads us to think that devices not running the latest and greatest Snapdragon chips suck at gaming. It blinds us to performers that manage to leverage their chip’s power to push some graphically intensive games.

To test out the Poco Pad, I used two rather graphically intensive games and two of the prettiest games on the market. As for the first two games, I installed Asphalt 9 and Sky: Children of The Light. I turned all of those games up to their highest settings, and I expected to see some sort of stutter. However, the Poco Pad was able to power through them without breaking a sweat. I didn’t notice any dropped frames or hitches.

We all know how intense Asphalt 9 can get. It was once one of the most graphically intensive games on the market. It still holds up today, but most phones have managed to conquer it. Sky is also a very pretty game, and it’s not shy about having wide-open spaces.

Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail

Now, let’s kick things up a notch. Running these games on a device using an upper-mid-range processor sounds like some cruel form of torture, but don’t worry, the tablet’s fine. In fact, I was rather surprised by its performance.

Beginning with Star Rail, seeing the tablet stutter on the title screen didn’t give me much hope. Then again, that damn screen slows down just about every phone I’ve used.

When it comes to the actual gameplay, the Poco Pad powered through like a champ. I maxed out all of the graphical settings and set the frame rate to 60FPS. Overall, the gameplay was smooth. I feel like the tablet touched 60fps at points and remained between 40fps and 50fps the rest of the time. There are points when the animations don’t feel silky smooth, but they rarely ever got to the point where I saw any dropped frames. There were maybe one or two instances where I saw a dropped frame, but the general performance is smooth as butter.

Moving on to Genshin Impact, the performance was much the same. Again, I maxed out all of the graphical settings and set the frame rate to 60fps. Just like with Star Rail, I was able to play the game smoothly while getting some pretty high frame rates. This was consistent throughout my gameplay. It didn’t matter if I was in an open environment, a town, or in the heat of battle, the gameplay remained smooth.

Poco Pad (12)Poco Pad (12)

Overall, if you’re looking to make this a bit of a gaming machine, go for it! It’s powerful enough to handle the best of what the Play Store has to offer.

Poco Pad Review: Battery

In terms of battery life, I don’t think that this tablet could go up against some of the best on the market, but it’s still able to deliver some decent numbers. Using it in my daily life, I’m able to get through a good work session or movie-watching session before needing to plug it in. If you’re planning on doing some hardcore work, you’ll definitely want to keep the charger on hand.

In order to test the battery, aside from using the tablet as I would typically use a tablet, I also ran it through a test. I charged the tablet to 100%, put on a 24-hour video, and let it run all the way down to 0%. The Poco Pad lasted about five and a half hours before giving up the ghost. Your mileage will vary, of course.

In any case, if you’re going to be using this tablet for casual use, you shouldn’t have to worry about the battery life. It should get you through what you need to do. However, it’s not the best. If you plan on doing any sort of serious work or gaming, then you’ll need to make sure you have the charger handy.

Poco Pad Review: Software

In terms of software, I don’t really have any complaints…. except for the big one. The Poco Pad uses Xiaomi’s HyperOS Android skin running on top of Android 14. HyperOS is starting to grow on me. I’ve been using it while reviewing the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro. I will say that the version on the Poco Pad isn’t quite as flashy as the version on the phones. There aren’t as many impressive animations throughout the software. For example, when you pull down the notification shade, you don’t see the clock slowly grow and change position.

In any case, it’s still a good Android skin, and there are some nice tablet optimizations like the bottom panel on the home screen and the window options. These window options let you easily place apps in split-screen mode or pop them out as windows.

My big complaint

So, what’s my big complaint? Well, remember Android on tablets BEFORE Google brought Android 12L? Well, it feels a bit like I’m using that version of Android on the Poco Pad sometimes. The place where I felt that the most was the notification shade. As you may know, HyperOS splits the notification shade into two separate pages. If you swipe down on the top left corner of the screen, you’ll see your notifications and if you swipe down on the right side, you get your quick settings.

That’s tedious, yet understandable on a phone, but on a tablet?! When I summon the quick settings, they drop down and take up about 25% of the right side of the screen. The rest of the screen is just empty space. It’s literally wasted space. It’s similar with the notifications; in the case of the notifications, they’re in the center of the screen.

Poco Pad (6)Poco Pad (6)

I think that Xiaomi could have done what other companies have been doing and put all of the notifications and quick settings on one screen. The notifications could sit on the left side of the screen while the quick settings could sit on the right. That seems like a massive oversight on the company’s part.

Aside from that gripe, I think that the software’s great. I hope that the company will send an update that will change that.

Poco Pad Review: Final verdict

This is Poco’s first tablet, and I think that the company was able to deliver a very compelling device. The design is nice, the build quality is solid, the display is good, the speakers are great, the performance is smooth, and the battery life is decent. It’s an overall solid device, and it’s more than worth it for the price.

If you’re a person who’s looking for a great device for some work, play, or other needs, I recommend you give the Poco Pad a try.

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