A few years ago, the demand for entry-level Android tablets came to a halt. However, it rebounded with the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing and online classes forced people to search for affordable devices with a big display that can be used for children’s online classes.
Smartphone screens are not big enough and laptops are too costly and complicated for children. Hence, people turned to affordable Android tablets. After launching the Realme Pad, the company launched the Realme Pad Mini to target that market.
The Realme Pad Mini starts at ₹10,999 and goes up to ₹14,999. It has decent specifications for its price: an 8.6-inch HD LCD screen, a Unisoc T616 SoC, up to 4GB RAM, up to 64GB storage, Android 11 OS, an 8MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, cellular connectivity option, and a 6,400mAh battery. On paper, it looks like a good option. However, specifications don’t tell the whole story, do they?
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Well, Realme was courteous enough to send us the Realme Pad Mini for review. The one we got is a 4GB + 64GB unit with cellular connectivity. I have been using the tablet for over two weeks now and here is my Realme Pad Mini review.
Realme Pad Mini Price In India, Specifications, Availability
|Realme Pad Mini Model||Price In India|
- Display: 8.7-inch LCD, 1,340 x 800 pixels resolution, 60Hz refresh rate
- SoC: Unisoc T616 (12nm, 2x Cortex-A75 at 2GHz + 6x Cortex-A55 at 1.8GHz CPU cores, Mali G57 GPU)
- RAM and storage: 3GB + 32GB, 4GB + 64GB ; support for microSD card up to 1TB
- OS: Android 11 (stock Android)
- Front camera: 5MP (F/2.2 aperture, up to 720p 30fps video recording)
- Rear camera: 8MP (26.58mm focal length, F/2 aperture, up to 1080p 30fps video recording
- Battery: 6,400mAh, 18W charging speed, reverse charging
- Connectivity: Available in Wi-Fi only and cellular variants; dual-SIM, 4G, VoLTE, VoWiFi, dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS with Beidou and Galileo, USB Type-C port, 3.5mm audio jack
- Dimensions: 211.84mm x 124.48mm x 7.6mm; 372 grams
- Colour options: Grey, Blue
- Availability: Realme Official & Online Stores
While other tablets in the segment offer an 8-inch display, the Realme Pad Mini comes with an 8.6-inch screen. One of the main reasons people buy a tablet is because they want a device with a big screen to watch videos, browse the internet, and work on it comfortably. The Realme Pad Mini indeed fulfils those requirements better than other tablets in the price segment.
The display looks pixelated due to the poor resolution (1,340 x 800 pixels), though. It didn’t seem like a glaring issue at first. However, after spending a couple of hours with the device and going through different UI elements, I realised that the sharpness of the display is not enough for a comfortable viewing experience.
Smaller UI elements such as the SIM card numbers on the VoLTE and VoWiFi icons in the taskbar are not visible clearly. You have to look closely to understand the SIM card numbers on those icons. Text on web pages doesn’t appear sharp enough when zoomed out completely. Other types of content, such as videos and games look pixelated as well, but the issue isn’t noticeable in such dynamic content. The low resolution of the display is bearable but it makes your life hard in some scenarios.
Being an LCD unit, and that too an entry-level one, the brightness and colour reproduction aren’t up to the mark. While the screen is bright enough for indoor usage, it looks a bit dull under direct sunlight. If you are planning to buy this tablet for home use, you won’t face any issues with the brightness. However, if you also plan to take it with you outdoors, don’t. The colour reproduction is far from accurate. The colours look washed out, but you can’t expect any better from a tablet that costs ₹10,999?
While the display has low resolution, low brightness, and dull colours, it is acceptable at this price. I haven’t used many entry-level tablets but I don’t think other tablets in this price range offer any better. However, I would have definitely liked to see a sharper and brighter display in the future.
The Realme Pad Mini will be used mainly for entertainment and educational purpose, and therefore, it is important that it has good speakers. So, does it? Well, there is some good news and bad news.
How Are The Realme Pad Mini’s Loudspeakers?
Let us start with the good news. The tablet has two speakers, one at the top and one at the bottom, and the volume you get from these speakers is loud enough. It is adequate for watching videos and playing games.
The bad news is that the speaker quality isn’t all that good. The bass is almost non-existent. The highs aren’t sharp and the mids get muddier when there are too many types of sounds in the audio. That being said, what else can you expect from an entry-level tablet, right? In my opinion, even though the sound quality is not great, most people will be satisfied with it.
Does Realme Pad Mini Support Voice Calls?
The Realme Pad Mini is available in India in Wi-Fi-only and cellular variants. I think the brand did the right thing by offering the Realme Pad Mini in cellular variant and I believe it will drive the majority of the sales of this tablet.
I say this because most people in India like to get a tablet that can accommodate a SIM card so that they can use mobile data whenever their Wi-Fi router goes offline due to an electricity outage. Many people also like to use their tablet as their primary smartphone, mainly because they cannot afford two devices. The Realme Pad Mini, however, won’t be able to serve this purpose very well.
Does Realme Pad Mini support VoLTE and VoWiFi?
Before inserting SIM cards into the Realme Pad Mini, I went through the spec sheet of the tablet and I noticed that the brand did not mention anything about VoLTE and VoWiFi. So, I thought that the tablet doesn’t support the two features and was quite disappointed with it. However, when I inserted the SIM cards, I found out that the tablet supports VoLTE and VoWiFi on both SIM cards.
There is one major issue with cellular connectivity. The Realme Pad Mini does not have an earpiece. So, whenever you take calls on this tablet, the sound will be transmitted through the two loudspeakers. It means everybody around you will be able to listen to it. I think Realme Pad Mini is not viable for someone who wants a tablet that can double up as a smartphone unless you use wired or wireless earphones.
Speaking of earphones, the Realme Pad Mini comes with a 3.5mm audio jack. Most people who buy an entry-level tablet are tight on budget. In case they get a tablet which doesn’t come with a 3.5mm audio jack, they will not be comfortable spending money on wireless earphones or adapters. I’m glad Realme thought about this issue and packed the Realme Pad Mini with a 3.5mm audio jack.
The Realme Pad Mini supports Wi-Fi 5 and I found no issues with it. There is also Bluetooth 5.0, which means you won’t have any problems connecting truly wireless stereo (TWS) earphones to it. Fortunately, the Realme Pad Mini has a USB Type-C port, unlike some entry-level tablets that use the age-old microUSB port.
Design & Build Quality
The Realme Pad Mini has an amazing build quality. When I first held the tablet, I could not believe that it starts at ₹10,999.
The Realme Pad Mini has an aluminium chassis and it feels that way when you hold the tablet in your hand. It is dense, very solidly built, and premium. You don’t hear any creaking sounds when you try to flex the tablet. In fact, it didn’t flex a bit even after applying a good amount of pressure. Of course, I didn’t take apply too much pressure like JerryRigEverything does because, at the end of the day, I have to send back the device to Realme in working condition.
The ergonomics of the device are quite good as well. It is compact and light enough to be held comfortably in hand even for a long period. Its edges don’t dig into your palm. That is another reason why it feels comfortable to hold.
The power and volume buttons, however, and squishy. You don’t get satisfying tactile feedback from these buttons. This isn’t a big issue but is worth pointing out.
Being an entry-level tablet, the Realme Pad Mini comes with basic cameras on the front and the rear. Therefore, I expected these cameras to offer a below-par image quality. However, I was surprised to see that the images were good enough for you to use these cameras for general photography.
At the rear, there is an 8MP camera sensor. The images captured with it in daylight are bright and detailed. Surprisingly, the colour reproduction was also very close to reality.
In low-light conditions, there is a considerable amount of noise in the pictures but they are bright and vibrant, which in my opinion is not bad for this price segment.
The rear camera gets a portrait mode but it is pure garbage. It has poor subject recognition. However, I don’t expect an entry-level tablet to perform well at portrait shots.
For selfies, you get a 5MP camera. Even it captures pretty good pictures. The images are bright, detailed, and vibrant. Not as good as what you get from smartphones in this price range but still good enough for most people.
The front camera gets portrait mode as well. Unlike the rear camera, however, it offers excellent portrait shots. I was surprised actually to see that an entry-level tablet can offer such good portrait images from its front camera.
While the images captured with both the cameras aren’t as good as the ones you get from smartphones that cost between ₹10,000 to ₹15,000, they still are pretty useable in my opinion, especially for the price of the device. In comparison, the image quality from other tablets in this price range is garbage. Realme is indeed pushing the bar higher.
The downside of both the cameras is their video recording quality. The videos from the rear camera have low brightness, a poor amount of details, and a lot of noise. They are also very shaky. The same goes for the videos from the front camera.
When I received the Realme Pad Mini, I thought it would be slow and laggy, like most other entry-level Android tablets. However, I was surprised to see that the Realme Pad Mini was decently fast. Most entry-level tablets (and phones) stutter when downloading apps, but the Realme Pad Mini didn’t.
How Fast Is The Realme Pad Mini’s Performance?
The Unisoc T616 processor that powers the Realme Pad Mini isn’t very powerful. However, it works well in this tablet because it has to drive just an HD display. It also seems to have a good thermal solution, which could explain why it doesn’t slow down even after prolonged heavy usage. I used the 4GB RAM variant, though. And I am sceptical about the performance of the 3GB RAM variant.
Another instance where entry-level tablets/phones stutter is when returning to the home screen from a game like PUBG Mobile or Call Of Duty Mobile. The Realme Pad Mini didn’t stutter at all. Moreover, the tablet feels fast and smooth when performing most day-to-day tasks, such as opening and switching between applications, browsing the web, using audio and video applications such as Apple Music and YouTube, and scrolling through feeds in social media apps.
Initially, I felt that the tablet was stuttering, especially when scrolling. However, I later realised that it’s because of the 60Hz refresh rate and I am used to a 120Hz refresh rate on most modern phones.
How Is The Realme Pad Mini’s Gaming Performance?
Even gaming on the Realme Pad Mini is smooth enough. I played Call Of Duty Mobile for around two hours and it showed no signs of stuttering. However, the tablet only supports medium graphics quality and a high frame rate in COD Mobile.
The Realme Pad Mini comes with Realme UI for Pad based on Android 11. Its name would make people think that it is a customised version of Realme UI specifically made for tablets. However, Realme UI for Pad is far from what it sounds like. It is actually a stock Android user interface. I don’t understand why Realme decided to slap its branding on a barebones Android theme. Maybe the company will release a better UI with the Android 12 update.
It lacks most Realme UI features. It means you cannot install two versions of the same applications (dual-apps), hide apps, lock apps, customise UI elements including app icons, and apply themes. These are only a few to name. There are plenty of other features in Realme UI related to privacy, customisation, convenience, gaming, and performance which are not present in Realme UI for Pad.
But isn’t stock Android good? Some people would say that stock Android is better. Well, not in my opinion. Stock Android lacks many useful features that custom UI from brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, and Realme offer. These features come in handy for most people in India, especially the ones who will be using an entry-level tablet. For example, many people like to install two WhatsApp accounts, one for each SIM. This functionality is not possible with Realme UI for Pad.
Another reason I didn’t like the stock Android experience in Realme Pad Mini is that the software isn’t optimised well enough. There are plenty of bugs which can irritate you quite often.
Realme UI For Pad Problems
- Widgets disappear from the home screen every now and then.
- I wasn’t able to rearrange the Google Search widget on the home screen; it stays stuck at the top of your home screen.
- I wanted to turn off the option that adds icons of newly downloaded apps to the home screen. However, I just couldn’t find that option, at least initially, because the home screen settings menu was stuck on the page where I can select home screen layout. It wasn’t letting me go to the menu where I can turn off the option to add icons to the home screen. After a little bit of troubleshooting, I was able to turn off the option but by that time, the icons of all the newly-downloaded apps were added to my home screen.
- When I wanted to delete those icons, I had to delete each icon one by one. There is no option to delete the whole page.
- Rearranging icons is a messy affair. When you hover an icon over another icon, you expect that icon and all the icons beside it to move one position forward. Unfortunately, in Realme UI for Pad, when you hover an icon over another icon, that icon, instead of moving one position forward, goes to the last position on the home screen. It is frustrating for people like me who like to arrange icons on the home screen alphabetically.
The software is not bad, but it could certainly be better. I am okay with losing out on features of Realme UI but what I am not okay is with facing so many software bugs. I am certain that Realme will solve these issues with software updates. So, even though my experience with the software has been negative, expect things to get better in the future.
The Realme Pad Mini packs a 6,400mAh battery which is significantly bigger than most tablets in this price range. The combination of a big battery, a low-resolution display, and a power-efficient processor results in great battery life. On a single charge, the Realme Pad Mini lasted almost two days with about 8 hours of screen-on time. That is quite impressive.
The tablet supports up to 18W charging speed and comes with an 18W charger inside the box. Realme deserves a lot of credit for offering a fast charger with an affordable tablet in a world where brands are not shipping chargers even with smartphones that cost upwards of ₹1,00,000. Anyway, it took the tablet exactly three hours to charge from 0-100%. That, in my opinion, is not bad for an entry-level tablet that has a 6,400mAh battery.
Which Fast Charging Technology Does Realme Pad Mini Uses?
The brand hasn’t mentioned which fast charging protocol the tablet uses. Since we were curious to know, we charged the tablet using a 120W USB Power Delivery (PD) charger and the tablet took the same amount of time to charge as it did with its stock charger. So, yes, the Realme Pad Mini supports USB PD. Excellent job Realme.
Is The Realme Pad Mini Worth Buying?
The Realme Pad Mini has a few issues, but most of them are bearable for the price. It has some software bugs but they can be fixed with updates. As for the display, it might not be as sharp as you’d like but you will still be able to check emails, read news, and watch videos on it without any issues. The speakers are average, but they will get the job done. There is no earpiece but if you are not using it as a smartphone, I think it won’t be an issue.
With all those things in mind, I think the Realme Pad Mini is a good option for people who want an affordable tablet which they can use in their homes for web browsing, watching videos, and checking emails. It also suits those who want to give this tablet to their kids for their online classes or to their parents as a media device.
Since the Realme Pad Mini has a good build quality, you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged in the hands of kids. If you get the cellular version, it can offer uninterrupted online classes even in the case of an electricity outage, Thanks to its fast performance, you won’t have to worry about stutters or lags during day-to-day tasks. Given that it can take fairly good pictures, you can also use it for casual photography as well. All-in-all, the Realme Pad Mini is a good tablet for its price.
Realme Pad Mini
All-in-all, the Realme Pad Mini is a good tablet for its price. It is a good option for people who want an affordable tablet which they can use in their homes for web browsing, watching videos, and checking emails. It also suits those who want to give this tablet to their kids for their online classes or to their parents as a media device.
- Performance is fast enough for most day-to-day tasks.
- Image quality from front and rear cameras is good enough.
- Excellent battery life.
- Good connectivity options for price.
- Excellent build quality.
- Display has a low resolution.
- Software has many bugs at the moment.
- Stock Android UI lacks features that custom UI offers.
- No earpiece for taking calls.