OnePlus has come quite a ways from its humble “iPhone killer” beginnings. The company started by creating budget devices with nominal compromises to cut costs with stock Android. Now, OnePlus is actively challenging the likes of Samsung and Google directly with premium offerings.
I’ve been testing the OnePlus Pad for around a month and this is a natural progression of the OnePlus lineup. This premium tablet, keyboard, and Stylo stylus can go toe-to-toe with any other alternatives.
The OnePlus Pad is almost identical in dimensions to the current 10.2-inch iPads but the engineers have crammed a larger 11.6-inch screen on this tablet. You can tell OnePlus borrowed inspiration for the entire package design here, but that’s not a bad thing.
The iPad is a great device that has set the standard and the build quality and finish of the OnePlus Pad, Stylo, and keyboard are all top-notch. With an 88% screen-to-body ratio, the real estate creeps further towards the iPad Pro in a much smaller footprint.
The overall chassis of the OnePlus Pad is one piece of machined aluminum. The tablet has a sturdy feel and a well-balanced build. The bottom houses the USB-C port and two speaker grills. On the right side is where you’ll find the volume rockers and a magnetic indention for storing and charging the Stylo.
The Halo Green colorway of the metal body is pleasing to the eyes and has a premium quality to its look. OnePlus says it’s an active choice to represent the new pastures of tablets for the company and mark a beacon for the future.
The top holds the power button and two more speaker grills for the surround audio. Lastly, you have a pogo pin connector on the left-hand side while holding the Pad in portrait. This becomes the bottom of the tablet in portrait and pairs and powers the keyboard when attached.
Internally, you have a powerhouse you’d expect from OnePlus. The chipset is the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 series capable of a full 3.05GHz clock speed. Paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage you have a real workhorse. OnePlus is also using internal storage to act as more RAM if needed. This is similar to SWAP partitions in Linux machines and mimics additional RAM for a cache of up to another 8GB.
If you’ve used a recent OnePlus or even a Samsung device, the OnePlus Pad’s operating system will be familiar. The system is a modified version of the stock Android builds. This is mostly in the notification/quick settings shade, the home screen, and the app drawer. It’s subjective but overall pleasing even if it’s more layered than say a Pixel.
OnePlus notes its commitment to future updates as well. The company states that the OnePlus Pad will receive three years of OS updates and four years of security updates. This aligns it very well with the Android landscape and is on par with the rest of the OnePlus smartphones.
When you get into the more tablet tweaks is when you can appreciate what OnePlus has done with the Pad’s OxygenOS. OnePlus has done a great job of making gestures for first-rate interactions on the Pad tablet. First, you can simply swipe with different finger combinations on the home screens. A two-finger gesture is configurable in the Home Settings for universal search, notification tray, or to open the side shelf.
You can swipe down with three fingers to take screenshots. If you want to quickly split two screens side-by-side, then you can swipe down on the first app with two fingers. You then get this neat animation that looks like you are cutting a slit and the app slides to your left side of the screen and you then choose the new app to run on the right side.
You can also resize apps. From having them in smaller almost phone-sized little mini windows to freehanding to a perfect look you have many options. For any size, you get a little pill icon at the top panel of the app. This is your keystone to manipulate the window location. Tapping and dragging this pill allows you to slide the app anywhere you want it on the OnePlus Pad’s screen.
The final magic that OnePlus has added to the Pad is Cellular Data Sharing and notification mirroring with what the company calls Imperceptive Connection. With a compatible OnePlus smartphone, you can share both data connection and app interactions seamlessly. This includes your 5G connection and app notification.
It’s a full merging of software that makes this a top-notch ecosystem for OnePlus users. To say it’s “Apple-level” integrations between devices is worthy of praise and appropriate. I’d love to say that I’ve tested this outside of theory, but for some reason, this isn’t available at launch. OnePlus plans to have this added as a software update “sometime in June” for compatible OnePlus smartphones.
The endurance away from the outlet has been great. The standby time of this tablet is one of the best I’ve experienced. The 9510mAH battery pack makes this an endurance champ. I’ve had a great experience using the OnePlus Pad for around 10 hours of casual usage.
When you do need to reach for the charger, in true OnePlus fashion, the company has included a fast charger in the box. The 67Watt SuperVOOC unit can recharge the OnePlus Pad in around an hour. Not only does the Pad have great battery life, but you can also easily get back online with it in no time.
One of the most appealing parts of the OnePlus Pad is the optional combination of the Magnetic Keyboard cover and Stylo stylus. With both of these accessories, you can create a workflow very similar to that of a laptop.
Like the rest of the tablets, the Magnetic Keyboard and the Stylo are very well-built. The quality of materials makes this stand out in the Android market in my eyes. There are similar options, but outside of Samsung, there are not many that compare.
The key spacing of the Magnetic Keyboard is near perfect and will feel completely natural to anyone. The same can be said for the trackpad. It’s on the smaller side to make sure you can still have the full-sized keyboard but has a nice surface and travel.
The Magnetic Keyboard includes a magnetic back cover for the OnePlus pad to provide a kickstand while typing. The case is of a leather-like material and feels great. The kickstand provides a stiff enough hinge that it can be used in several orientations and I found it adequate on both flat surfaces as well as on my lap.
Lastly, the Stylo again borrows heavily from the Apple Pencil and its integration with the iPad… and that’s a good thing. There’s a magnetic area on the side of the OnePlus Pad that both holds and charges the Stylo. When you remove the Stylo from the Pad it’s instantly paired and ready with a UI pop-up to show you the battery life.
I’m not a huge stylus guy, but the OnePlus Stylo meets my needs with ease. OnePlus says the pen has less than 2 milliseconds of delay and I’d say that’s accurate. There’s almost zero lag with using the Stylo on the Pad’s screen. It also sports 60 degrees of angle and over 4000 levels of pressure.
It’s rare that you see a first edition of a product line with only a few flaws, but the OnePlus Pad hits this mark. This initial release of the company’s first tablet is beautifully built, has good software tweaks, and exceptional accessories. This should make it a list topper for anyone looking to have a productivity combination in an Android tablet.
The OnePlus Pad costs $480 for just the tablet from the OnePlus website. If you’d like to add the Magnetic Keyboard or Stylo, that will set you back another $150 and $100 respectively. One or all of these are great new options for the Android market worth the purchase price.