If you’re looking for an Android tablet, this Xiaomi Pad 5 review is a good place to start.
Sleek and modern with plenty of power from both the processor and the battery, this is one of the best tablets you can buy in 2021. It hardly matches up to the much pricier Apple iPad Air but it's still a great alternative for Android fans.
This year, Android tablets have been released left, right and centre. Now Xiaomi has joined the party with the Pad 5, a mid-range tablet that can be used for everything from work, to mobile gaming and catching up on your favourite shows.
Here you can find out everything you need to know about the Xiaomi Pad 5, from its design and display to the performance and battery life.
Xiaomi Pad 5 review: price and availability
You can buy the Xiaomi Pad 5 directly from Xiaomi starting from £359 in the UK with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage - the tablet won’t be available in the US but it is likely to be released in Australia at some point in the near future.
Xiaomi Pad 5 review: design and screen
Sleek and modern, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is undoubtedly a good-looking slate. The glossy 11-inch display is surrounded by slim bezels and a metallic frame. The back of the tablet echoes Xiaomi phones, with a similar rounded square camera module - it does stick out a little which will make it a little annoying to use on a flat surface but that doesn't take away from how gorgeous it looks.
You can buy the Xiaomi Pad 5 in one of two colours: Pearl White and Cosmic Gray. I took a look at the latter which looks and feels high-end.
Weighing 511g and measuring 254.69 x 166.25 x 6.85mm, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is lightweight and slim, despite not being the slimmest or most lightweight tablet you can buy. It’ll be difficult to use one-handed but if you use both hands then it feels fine to hold. It’s compact enough to carry with you when you go out and about as well.
In the box, the Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with an adapter and USB Type-C Cable. If you plan to use this for work and you need extra tools to help you, like a stylus or keyboard, then you’ll have to buy them separately as they aren’t included here.
Unfortunately, you don’t get a 3.5mm audio input either so if you’re still using wired headphones, you’ll need to upgrade to some of the best wireless headphones or buy an adaptor instead.
The 11-inch screen on the Xiaomi Pad 5 is a beauty, offering 1600 x 2560p (WQHD+) resolution at 500 nits peak brightness and a 120Hz refresh rate. Using IPS LCD technology, it’s not as effective as what you’d get from an OLED screen but I still found it to be very bright, sharp and colourful. No wonder, Xiaomi claims the screen can produce up to 1 billion different shades! Whether you’re watching videos or editing photos, the screen copes well and the Dolby Vision enhances imagery making everything look even more vibrant and immersive.
Thanks to the high refresh rate, it feels seriously smooth to scroll through social media, flick through the web and swipe through mobile games. The only problem is that it won’t automatically adjust the refresh rate according to what you’re doing on the screen, you’ll have to do that yourself if you want to conserve battery life. Because of that, I’d imagine most people would leave it at 60Hz the majority of the time but still, it’s nice to know is there if you need it.
Using the flat screen day-to-day was fine, there's no curvature on the edges but it's still very easy to grip. You will be plagued with fingerprint marks though, both on the back and the front of the tablet.
To protect your eyes, the low blue light display also has a light sensor and adaptive brightness, the screen will dim as the sun goes down so you won't find yourself squinting at an overly bright display.
Xiaomi Pad 5 review: performance and battery
The brain of the operation is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor which sits alongside 6GB of RAM and a choice of either 128GB or 256GB of storage. This is a Wi-Fi-only tablet, there’s no way of getting it with LTE.
Using the tablet feels great because everything opens instantly and it responds without hesitation. I’d say you could use this for even the most demanding tablet tasks. On the Geekbench 5 benchmarking test, the Xiaomi Pad 5 achieved a score of 660 in single-core and 2,707 in multi-core. While that’s slower than high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+, it’ll still be powerful enough to cope with most uses.
A large 8,720mAh battery powers the Xiaomi Pad 5 and it seemed to do the trick when I used it throughout the day. I didn't find it needed plugging in until the evening or even the next day.
Xiaomi claims it’ll last 16+ hours of video playback and 10+ hours of gaming, so I put that to the test by downloading and running an HD TV show over two hours on full brightness. In that time the battery dropped by 26% so would have lasted nearly 8 hours in total but obviously, if the brightness were turned down lower it would last longer. Then using the included adaptor and USB-C cable, it took just under two hours to recharge it from empty to 100%.
MIUI for Pad is a Xiaomi operating system based on Android, they have basically taken Android for tablets (which has a few flaws) and adjusted it to suit the larger screen. They've done a pretty good job of it too.
You’ll be able to have multiple windows open on the display at once, either side by side or over one another, which makes this a much more plausible work slate than some other Android devices. It also keeps your app notifications and settings like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles separate, appearing in separate lists that you pull down from different sides of the screen. I had no problems with the running of the software, it seemed to work well across most of the apps I opened up on it.
There are four built-in speakers supporting Dolby Atmos surround sound. They're easily good enough to watch TV shows and movies, and they even sound full enough to play music on which is a massive plus point.
As you'd expect from any tablet, the cameras are less impressive. The 8MP selfie camera is okay, you won't get much in the way of detail but the photos are bright and polished. Its positioning on the short edge of the screen is quite counter-intuitive but you do get used to it. On the back, there's a 13MP lens that takes decent shots, but don't expect it to match up to the quality you would get from a phone camera because it's a long way off.
Xiaomi Pad 5 review: verdict
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is an Android tablet that looks good and performs well, it has a decent amount of power, a reliable battery that will easily last you the day and a stunning 11-inch display.
You’ll be able to use it for everything from work to play, but if you need extra accessories for it you will have to buy those separately.
What’s really great here is that you do get so much for your money, this is a mid-range tablet that could have fooled me into thinking it’s a much pricier piece of kit than it actually is. Any Android fan will get along well with the Xiaomi Pad 5.
Xiaomi Pad 5 review: also consider
If you want an Android tablet but you’re on a tighter budget than this, take a look at the Nokia T20 instead - it’s really cheap and has a 10.4inch 2K display. It’s a solid and reliable tablet suited to families who want a slate to share around.
Those who need a tablet for work should first consider the Microsoft Surface Go because it runs on Windows 10 which means it doubles up as a computer. You can easily use it with the pen and keyboard before sliding it back into your bag at the end of the day. It's pricey but worth it!