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POCO Pad Review

Xiaomi’s sub-brand POCO has officially entered the tablet market with their very first offering simply named as the POCO Pad.

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For a ‘first’ in a new product line, this is packing some serious stuff. For starters, it boasts a large 12.1-inch display, an efficient Snapdragon 7s Gen 2, and a 10,000mAh battery with 33W fast charging. All these features come in a mid-range package, priced at only under sixteen-thousand pesos.

But the question is, does it offer more bang for your buck as compared to other contenders in its price range? Let’s find out in our full review of the POCO Pad. Let’s dive in!

Design & Construction

Design-wise, the tablet looks fairly conventional. It has the usual unibody metal chassis complemented with a flat screen, flat sides aesthetic. There are rounded corners for a more comfortable grip, and the material is in satin-like finish, so it won’t catch fingerprints and smudges that much.

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The camera island looks conventional as well with two big circles housing the main sensor and an LED flash on the right in landscape orientation. Our unit is in the Grey colorway, but with the Blue variant, the camera module will have golden-accented rings — which honestly adds a touch of elegance to the tablet’s overall design.

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POCO Pad in Blue colorway

It’s fairly light, weighing at only 571 grams, but I mostly use it with the keyboard accessory attached, pretty much using it like a laptop.

For I/Os, it gets a quad speaker setup aligned on two sides horizontally. On the right, we have the USB-C port and surprisingly, a 3.5-millimeter audio jack, and there’s the power button on the left. The bottom is empty, so no seamless connection to a physical keyboard via pogo pins. The volume rocker along with two microphones and a microSD card slot are located on the top side.

It’s quite interesting for a Wi-Fi model to include a microSD slot, because this is a feature typically found in LTE models. While there’s no confirmation of a cellular variant at this time, we could still possibly get one in the future.

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Because as you can see in the image above, there is enough room for a SIM card in here, but it’s intentionally blocked off. This is just a wild guess, but who knows? We may get a cellular version of the POCO Pad sooner or later. Regardless, having an expandable storage is always a plus in my book.

Display & Multimedia

Now, let’s talk about its massive screen. The POCO Pad has a 12.1-inch IPS LCD panel with 2.5K resolution and runs at 120Hz refresh rate. It uses a 16:10 aspect ratio, so we’re getting fewer black bars here when watching content. However, this also means we get slightly less vertical screen real estate to work with. The bezels are quite thin and are uniform on all sides giving the tablet a sleek and modern look.

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It’s an IPS-level screen, so viewing angles are great, although, no deep blacks in here since this is not an OLED panel. Brightness is decent at 600 nits (in high brightness mode), and you certainly don’t want to use this under the sun, considering it doesn’t come with any anti-glare coating. It does come with added protection, thanks to a Gorilla Glass 3 on top of the display.

When it comes to viewing experience, the POCO Pad definitely delivers. YouTube playback can be maxed out to 4K at 2160p, and aside from having Widevine L1, this thing has support for both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. With my experience, I pretty much enjoyed watching media content and listening to music on this tablet.

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The quad speaker setup can get loud and can fill up a room. Albeit the bass (or the lows) are not that punchy to my liking. The highs and especially the mids are nice though, with a good balance to them, and the audio doesn’t get distorted too much at max volume.

If you really want the best listening experience, there’s the 3.5 mil’ audio jack at your disposal. I also tried recording some audio samples with the tablet, and it outputs with good clarity and should be decent for online conferences and whatnot.

Camera

In terms of cameras, don’t expect too much. The POCO Pad only comes with a basic set of cameras: a single 8-megapixel rear camera and another 8-megapixel sensor for selfies.

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The image quality is acceptable but nothing impressive. Colors are decent in bright environments, and it gets washed out in low-light scenarios, as you would expect with a mid-range tablet.

Dynamic range isn’t that great, but it can still capture photos with decent clarity as long as there’s enough lighting, to say the least. What’s interesting though is when you switch to the selfie camera, it captures a wider field of view.

Videos are not the POCO Pad’s strong suit either. Video resolution is limited to only 1080p at 30 frames per second and the quality is bearable. Well, it’s not like we use a tablet of this size for casual snaps anyway, but what matters is the POCO Pad gets the job done.

Performance & Benchmarks

Moving on to performance, this is where the POCO Pad really shines. It’s got a Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chipset built on a more efficient 4-nanometer process node and it can reach up to 2.4GHz.

In our benchmark tests, the tablet was able to reach over 600K score in AnTuTu. That’s almost on par with the Xiaomi Pad 6 from last year, boasting the Snapdragon 870 with over 750K score.

Other benchmark results are also good. The tablet is able to run my favorite games, including Pokémon Unite and Asphalt 9. But as usual, graphics must be set to low for heavier titles like Genshin Impact to get stable frame rates.

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Doing productivity work is a breeze. I was able to shuffle through different apps without any stutters — all while playing YouTube videos and other apps left open in the background.

For configuration, our unit comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB expandable storage up to 1.5TB via microSD card.

OS, UI, & Apps

Software-wise, the POCO Pad runs Xiaomi HyperOS based on Android 14, and I’m happy to report that the tablet doesn’t come with a ton of bloatware out of the box. There are a few first party apps in here, but these are mostly the essentials such as Notes, Weather, and most importantly, Mi Canvas.

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Yes, the tablet has stylus support and I also got to try out the POCO Smart Pen along with the keyboard accessory. However, the tablet only connects to them over Bluetooth connection. No magnetic connection here, which is quite a hassle because I had to manually charge these accessories via USB-C.

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This also means the stylus can’t attach and charge magnetically to the tablet, making it a slight inconvenience for me, likely misplacing it somewhere.

The tablet adds this Interconnectivity feature in the Settings for seamless operation between POCO devices. This allows features like shared clipboard, seamless Notes app, and screen projection from phone to tablet. As of now though, only the F6 Series is compatible with this feature, and I hope POCO brings this to other devices in a software update.

Some software hurdles…

I have a couple of things to point out though. First, the OS installed on the POCO Pad is not the full-fledged HyperOS experience. This is evident with the absence of live blur on the notification panel or control center, which could also be the reason why some fluid animations are missing. When you unlock the device for example, it doesn’t show a satisfying animation on the home screen.

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Pulling down the control center or notification panel only shows a gray background instead of blurred interface.

Second is about the physical keyboard. When I try to do the Alt + Tab shortcut on the keyboard, the UI seems to lag a bit. The tablet doesn’t even do the shortcut itself; I was just taken to the recent apps panel. It was just easier to swipe left or right on the nav bar on screen to switch apps than doing Alt + Tab to be honest.

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Speaking of the keyboard, the typing experience is great. It has a short key travel distance at 1.3mm, the keys are quite large, and it has a good tactile feel. In fact, I wrote the script for this review entirely using the POCO Pad Keyboard.

Connectivity & Battery Life

The tablet packs a whopping 10,000mAh battery paired with for 33W fast charging.

In our PCMark test, the tablet was able to last 12 hours and 49 minutes which is pretty decent. But it’s a different story in our proprietary video loop test with the tablet only dropping from 100% to 5% in just 8 hours and 25 minutes.

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For connectivity, the tablet only features Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and only face recognition is the available biometrics for security.

Conclusion

To conclude, the POCO Pad offers impressive value for money. For just PHP 15,999, the POCO Pad brings an enjoyable viewing experience along with powerful performance that’s superior to other contenders in its price range.

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It even includes a couple of surprising features like a headphone jack and a microSD slot to boot. The tablet only falls short with camera capabilities and some software hurdles.

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But for the most part, the POCO Pad is a fantastic first effort from the company. It’s ideal for anyone who wants both PC-level productivity and a satisfying media consumption without breaking the bank.

What we liked:

  • Above-average raw performance
  • Large, crisp display
  • Addition of microSD card slot and 3.5mm audio jack

What we didn’t like:

  • Mediocre camera quality
  • Not using the full-fledged HyperOS
  • Keyboard shortcuts could get some improvements

POCO Pad specs:
12.1-inch 2.5K IPS LCD
2560 x 1600 pixels, 120Hz adaptive, 249 ppi
600 nits (HBM)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2
4nm, octa-core, up to 2.4GHz
8GB LPDDR4x RAM
256GB UFS 2.2 storage
Expandable up to 1.5TB via microSD
8MP f/2.0 rear camera
8MP f/2.28 front camera
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.2
USB Type-C
3.5mm audio jack
Face unlock
Quad speakers, Dolby Vision/ Atmos
Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14)
10,000mAh battery
33W charging (wired)
280 x 181.85 x 7.52 mm
571g
Grey, Blue

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Avatar for JM Chavaria

JM's highest stat is probably his curious ardor to anything tech—electronics and gaming in particular. He certainly heeds utmost regard to specsheet, visuals, and rule of thirds. If creativity and wit sometimes leave JM's system, watching films, anime and a good stroll for memes are his approved therapeutic claims.

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