The emphasis on tablets has been huge this year, with Xiaomi starting somewhat of a chain reaction back in April. The market has evolved since then, especially in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment, with offerings from Motorola, Oppo and Realme. Realme has been a value proposition champ in the smartphone space, and they wish to bring the same to their tablets, first with the Realme Pad Mini in May and now with the Realme Pad X.
Realme Pad X₹19,999
DESIGN & BUILD8.0/10
VALUE FOR MONEY8.0/10
What Is Good?
- Long battery life
- No bloatware
- Decent performance
- Wide support for 5G bands
- 2K display
- Quad Dolby-tuned speakers
What Is Bad?
- No display protection
- Display maxes out at 60Hz
- Dismal peripheral support
Although the tablet market has been slow for a while now, with tons of options and deals on products, it seems like the perfect time to buy one. The Realme Pad X tries to distinguish itself from the pack by being an all-rounder, much like Jacques Kallis. It offers a relatively newer chipset in the form of a Snapdragon 695, Dolby Atmos-tuned quad-speakers, an 11-inch display and by providing support for a proprietary style (Realme Pencil) and a keyboard folio case. But the biggest proposition here is wide support for 5G bands, although a Wi-Fi-only variant is available at Rs 19,999 as well.
Xiaomi’s Pad 5 has been the category favourite for Android users, but its availability has always been an issue, and it’s also somewhat pricey. The Realme Pad X, on the other hand, is nearly always in stock, and it has one leg below the Rs 20,000 mark and the other straight up Xiaomi Pad 5 territory.
So should you get one? More importantly, who exactly is the Realme Pad X for? Find out in the review.
Realme Pad X Review: Design and build
The Realme Pad X follows similar design lines to the new iPad Air, sans the metal body. Instead, it has flat edges and curved corners, yielding a contemporary look. The front has no physical buttons, so the bezels are thinner yet present at 1cm wide. They help in gripping the tablet when it’s resting on a surface.
The 8-megapixel selfie camera is present on the right side of the display. This is an important design decision, as attending conference calls makes more sense. Unfortunately, the Xiaomi Pad X has a selfie camera on the top, which makes for a very awkward video calling experience.
In terms of buttons, grilles and ports placement, the right side hosts the volume rocker and the mic hole, and the top is super busy with dual speakers, another mic hole and a power button. The left side of the frame is nearly empty, with just a SIM tray, whereas the bottom also has dual speakers along with a USB Type-C port to charge the tablet up.
It takes some time to get adjusted to the buttons. In order to orient yourself, remember the selfie camera lies towards the volume rocker because other than this, there are no visual marks to help you understand which side is up.
It is slim but dense, tipping the scales at 499g. The weight is evenly distributed, and the centre of mass is around the middle of the tablet, so it doesn’t fall on your face when you’re using it in bed. The in-hand feel is decent, but it still feels like an affordable tablet due to the lack of a metal body.
The Pad X has an all-plastic build, except for the front display, which doesn’t have any protective glass. Even after two months of use, our unit hasn’t caught many scratches on display, but that was mostly because we kept it tucked inside a keyboard case.
There is no water or dust resistance rating here, so you will see by yourself if you accidentally spill something on it or dunk it somewhere.
Realme Pad X Review: Display and sound
The Realme Pad X comes with a 10.95-inch LCD display. It has a resolution of 1200 x 2000 and an aspect ratio of 5:3. So, on paper, it’s smaller than the Xiaomi Pad 5 and pushes marginally fewer pixels. But, in reality, it’s not that big of a difference in terms of the crispness of the text.
The refresh rate of 60Hz stings us because the Xiaomi Pad 5 offers a 120Hz panel that is super smooth to use. Further, there’s no compliance with Dolby Vision or HDR10, which can be a bummer if you’re a media consumer.
We could notice slightly dull colours compared to the Xiaomi Pad 5, but the brightness, which peaks at 450 nits, was acceptable indoors and even under direct sunlight. We also liked the contrast of the display, and there weren’t any major blooming or light bleed artefacts coming in our way while watching videos.
We have spent at least four hours on average every day in the last two months watching all kinds of content on Pad X, and we can safely say that it delivers. Although we initially complained about the lack of Dolby or HDR compliance, we feel that the slim bezels, contrast and brightness of the Pad X’s display made up for everything. In addition, thanks to Widevine L1 certification, it can also stream HD content on Netflix, Prime and Hotstar.
The lack of a high response rate display often turned us off while scrolling through social media and multitasking, but otherwise it didn’t really come much in the way.
Dolby Atmos tunes the quad-speakers we mentioned before. They offer plenty of loudness and don’t crackle even at the highest volume level. It’s more suited for listening to dialogues than music, as the mids are more pronounced, which isn’t necessarily bad. The depth is decent, but the bass is average at best, which is expected from such a slim form factor. The prominent stereo effect enhanced our movie-watching experience, especially in scenes with sound effects.
Realme Pad X Review: Performance and software
Android tablets are often scoffed at for providing lacklustre performance. Xiaomi Pad 5 pushed the benchmark of performance at this price, and the Realme Pad X follows suit. It is powered by MediaTek G99 SoC, which is also a 5G-enabled processor. It comes in two variants with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage and 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. You also get a MicroSD expansion slot that the Xiaomi Pad 5 misses. All this is run via Realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12, but here’s the cool bit – there’s no bloatware here!
In terms of synthetic benchmarks, the Realme Pad X managed to score 391208 in AnTuTu v9, which is a respectable score but not as good as the Xiaomi Pad 5, which posted a score to the north of 5 lakh. In Geekbench v5, the Realme Pad X posted 693 and 1973 single and multi-core scores, respectively, which again are inferior to those of the Xiaomi Pad 5.
In real-world use, the Realme Pad X manages to keep up with most lightweight apps and some moderately demanding ones, such as Basecamp and Google Docs. It’s not an entirely smooth experience. Bringing up the multitasking menu can take a couple of attempts. RAM management is also an area where it can improve as it often shuts down recently and frequently used apps. This happened with our variant with 6GB of RAM, so that the lower tier variant may provide an even worse experience.
Since the Pad X only comes in Wi-Fi/5G configurations, many buyers would be curious to know the band situation here – so you get support for 13 bands. This is impressive for a tablet.
The overall UI experience is what we want all Realme smartphones to have – a bloat-free utopia. It’s not all stock, though, there are a few Oppo/Realme tweaks here and there, like the O-Ultra Vision Engine display setting, Realme UI icon pack and Realme Lab’s Dual-mode audio setting that allows you to listen to a wired and wireless headset together. We are guessing Realme might have envisioned people sharing music or content with others, but we created an interesting stereo effect with a couple of soundbars at our place with this setting instead. We liked the fact that there was no Themes app; some people like it for customisability, so you might have to look at other ways to customise.
We also tried gaming but restricted it primarily to less serious games like Angry Birds, Hocus, Leo’s Fortune and Alto’s Adventure. It did run graphically taxing games COD: Mobile just fine, though – it defaulted to High graphics and frame rate settings. The area around the camera got a little warm to touch after gaming for about 15 minutes. The gaming experience was mostly smooth, although the 60Hz display doesn’t do any favours when it comes to high-precision aiming or movement.
Larger devices, like tablets, are preferred by some gamers who play with a claw grip as it gives them a larger area to look around, so it’s an opportunity missed. Nevertheless, casual games ran just fine – there were no stutters and the tablet heated up after 20 minutes of Leo’s Fortune by just a teeny weeny bit.
Realme Pad X Review: Accessories
The Pad X supports proprietary Realme accessories like the Realme Pencil and Realme Smart Keyboard. Both connect wirelessly using Bluetooth to the tablet, but there are magnets that help the pencil snap on the frame.
We didn’t illustrate much using the Pencil because after 10 minutes of use, and we would often end up with dotted lines. We aren’t sure if this was an issue specific to our unit, but it did happen. We did take a few notes with the Pencil during a briefing, and it worked fine, but this time we made sure we gave the Pencil breaks every five minutes or so.
The Smart Keyboard case communicates back and forth with the tablet, seemingly with India Post – it registers inputs extremely slowly! This is an issue for fast typers because it makes you lose track of your thoughts. You might have typed out an entire paragraph, but you’d see the words on display catch up with you after a good 5-6 seconds – it’s very disconcerting! The keyboard also supports two button shortcuts, but using them is a nightmare because of the delay. Imagine lodging a copy command, only for it to get registered two seconds later when you have moved the I-beam cursor way ahead.
It’s a shame because the key travel is decent, and the keys are spaced out fairly well. There’s a little bit of flex on the deck, but that’s how folio cases are at this price.
Realme Pad X Review: Battery life
One major strong point of the Pad X is its insane battery life. Thanks to the large surface area, it can accommodate a massive 8340mAh battery, a few mAh lower than the Xiaomi Pad 5. In addition, the power-efficient duo of a 60Hz LCD display and the Helio G99 SoC based on a 6nm process works wonders here.
We have seen some insane standby times – it went a whole week untouched and lost only ten per cent battery. With our four-hour average usage, the Pad X could survive three good days without a charge. On one particularly lazy day, the Pad X managed to squeeze out nearly 11 hours of playtime or roughly two full seasons of Panchayat on Prime Video.
Charging up the Pad X takes about two hours for a full charge using the bundled 33W charger, which is miles beyond the competition that’s mostly stuck at 18W charging. However, this is well within the acceptable range for a tablet because it’s not a primary device for many people.
Realme Pad X Review: Verdict
The Realme Pad X’s main strengths include wide support of 5G bands, long battery life, near-stock Android UI and decent performance. The display, which is usually a key selling point for tablets, isn’t the best in business here, but it gets the work done even without certifications. Unfortunately, the 60Hz display is a bit of a disappointment at this price, and so are the peripherals.
Pricing starts at Rs 19,999 for the 4GB/64GB Wi-Fi-only variant. The 4GB/64GB Wi-Fi/5G variant can be bought at Rs 25,999, which puts it straight up against the Xiaomi Pad 5. The top variant sells for Rs 27,999.
Considering the competition, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is its key contender at Rs 26,999. It has a great display and fantastic performance, but it doesn’t offer 5G connectivity. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a WiFi-only tablet, then the Pad X will provide a better value for Rs 19,999, but in that case, be ready for a bit of performance compromise as the 4GB variant may not tackle background memory management all that well.
The Moto Tab G70 is available for a few bucks under Rs 20,000. It has a nice display but doesn’t have a powerful processor. So if the display is your priority, the Moto Tab G70 will be an excellent alternative.
To sum it up, the Realme Pad X is an all-rounder that finds itself in a middle spot where it undercuts the top rival but overcuts the more affordable tablets.