It feels like tablets-especially those with dedicated keyboards and accessories like the OnePlus Pad-are becoming more commonplace for business. What used to be good enough for streaming your favourite shows or keeping your kids entertained with games are now becoming powerhouses. Tablets are emerging as well-rounded devices, perfect for work or play, and the new OnePlus Pad does it all and then some.
The first thing that caught my eye was the aesthetics of the OnePlus Pad. With its crisp “Halo Green” metal frame, the OnePlus Pad has a unique style compared to other tablets on the market. Its 88% screen-to-body ratio and 11.61-inch screen are intriguing, to say the least. The OnePlus Pad isn’t the biggest tablet out there, sitting somewhere between the Samsung S8 at 11 inches and the S8+ at 12.4 inches, but it felt massive to me. Long gone are the days of oversized phones that feel like they’re more novelty than anything else. The tablets of 2023 are here to compete.
Here are the OnePlus Pad’s nitty gritty details: It features 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128GB of storage, and runs OxygenOS 13.1. The operating system is something to note for people who are used to stock Android or iOS exclusively. OnePlus devices run on OxygenOS, and though it is a bit of a learning curve, I find it just as easy to use as standard Android.
This also plays into getting used to the gestures and menus that come with the OnePlus Pad. I had a hard time getting used to all the different commands. Two fingers up will open your app drawer, three fingers down will take a screenshot, and so on. Two fingers down allows you to split the OnePlus Pad’s screen, which is really helpful for anyone who wants to work or multitask.
“Tablets are coming out as well-rounded devices, perfect for work or play, and the new OnePlus Pad does all that and then some.”
OnePlus has included some fun features for its smartphone users as well. Cellular sharing is available, allowing you to connect your device directly to the OnePlus Pad, allowing it to share your 5G data. From there, you can also share pictures across devices allowing you to edit on the go saving time with transfers.
The OnePlus Pad has a MediaTek Dimensity 9000 CPU and ARM G710 MC10 GPU. It features a 9510 mAh battery that handles 67 SUPERVOOC charging. The battery was never an issue, with the OnePlus Pad streaming video for two six-hour flights with ease. I’ve left it on for days without needing to charge it. If you’ve used a OnePlus device, you can attest to their battery life, and they continued the trend with the OnePlus Pad.
The OnePlus Pad became a stellar device for work and travel when I added the keyboard from OnePlus that can be purchased separately for $149 USD (available for free if you pre-order the tablet). While travelling to IEM Rio 2023, I brought the OnePlus Pad for some real-world testing. Though the device might work well from test to test, taking it on the road would let me know how likely I am to use it daily.
First, not having to take my laptop to another continent is a nice thought. I originally lugged it through the airport with the tablet, just in case I couldn’t do what I needed to do on the tablet. It turns out I didn’t need to take my laptop out at all during the trip. From watching shows like Succession, which I downloaded for the plane, to writing articles on the fly, the OnePlus Pad met my needs and then some. It didn’t hurt that the device is 6.54mm thick and weighs 555g, which is a third of the weight of my HUAWEI Matebook 14s laptop.
The OnePlus Pad boasts Dolby Vision HDR, 500 nits brightness, 10-bit true colour, 2800×2000 resolution with 296 PPI, and a 144Hz refresh rate makes for a competitive display, especially in a tablet. For example, the Galaxy Tab S8 series and iPad Pro offer a 120Hz refresh rate, while the Redmi Pad offers a 90Hz. This higher refresh rate means that scrolling, watching, and even gaming are smooth as can be on the OnePlus Pad. Though I put the device through simpler games like Stardew Valley and Among Us, I can say that everything looked crisp and clear, and there was never any blurring during movies, streams or games.
The OnePlus Pad had a few really impressive tricks up its sleeve, the first of which was its sound. The device features what OnePlus calls “Omnibearing Sound Field technology.” Essentially, the tablet has a speaker firing in each corner of the OnePlus Pad that comes from the sides of the device, not the back or front. This means that no matter how the tablet sits, nothing ever sounds muffled or faint, and it leads to overall exceptional sound.
I literally took this tablet from person to person to see if I was overreacting to how great the OnePlus Pad sounds. Of course, it doesn’t have the deepest bass or feature the most intricate details of your favourite music, but the OnePlus Pad’s speakers will fill the room without losing any of its sound quality. The speakers never crackled, and the sound never became tinny. The OnePlus Pad was an all-around genuinely excellent listening experience.
“…the OnePlus Pad’s speakers will fill the room without losing any of its sound quality.”
The second surprise that OnePlus has packed into its first tablet is the surprisingly decent camera quality—at least compared to other tablets. Its front camera sits in the center of the tablet instead of in the corner, keeping users in the center of the frame. The camera is only 8MP, but the image for video calls and even selfies was pretty good. I will note that the front-facing camera blows out the colour a bit, making photos paler than they should be—something I definitely don’t need.
The OnePlus Pad’s rear camera is a 13MP camera, which is on par with Samsung’s S8 series and slightly above the iPad Pro. However, you won’t find any additional cameras beyond the single primary camera on the back. There’s no ultra-wide shooter or tellephoto on the OnePlus Pad, but I’d say it’s unnecessary anyway (who uses their tablet for photos?). The rear camera can record 4K and 1080p at 30fps and has Gyro-EIS for image stabilization. The front camera is capable of 1080p at 30fps.
Here is what I think I like best about the OnePlus Pad. It isn’t filled with bloat. OnePlus may have a lot of buzzwords surrounding their devices, but they aren’t adding features that people don’t need (like that ultrawide camera) just to justify a price hike. The OnePlus Pad features 128GB of storage—which I do worry may not be enough for some, but there is a 256 GB option, it seems—but it rings up at $639 CAD, which is $340 less than the 128 GB S8 at $999 ($860 below the S8 Ultra), and $160 cheaper than the iPad Air that only has 64GB storage.
This is an incredibly affordable option for what is on offer. The OnePlus Pad has a stunning display, crystal clear sound, a sufficient camera and a price I can stomach. However, if you want any extras, they will cost you. The magnetic keyboard runs $209 CAD, the Stylo is $139, and the case is $57. The complete package definitely ups the ante, but even still, it comes in lower than some other options out there.
The OnePlus Pad brings a lot to the table for tablet users and can bring even more if you’re willing to pay the additional costs. I’d recommend the OnePlus Pad to anyone looking for a portable professional solution or even someone just looking for a great-looking and excellent-sounding device to stream Netflix or Crave. I wouldn’t ask for anything more.