OnePlus Pad Go is all about refined versatility, rare in budget Android tablets
About time. Android tablets, particularly towards the more affordable end of the price spectrum, needed to hit the reset button. Those underpowered options from Samsung and Lenovo just weren’t cutting it anymore. Options that cannot be recommended. It has taken time, but the reset is very much happening. First the Xiaomi Pad 6 (that’s now ₹24,999 onwards, after some price corrections), indicative of a new approach in the mid-range price band. If you would still like to spend a bit lesser still, OnePlus’ second tablet, the OnePlus Pad Go priced ₹19,999 onwards makes things interesting.
More than anything else, it is the ease with which the OnePlus Pad Go follows the footsteps of the very impressive and more powerful sibling, the OnePlus Pad, is notable. There are similarities to the personality, a clear sign OnePlus is trying to build a recognisable family. It’ll pay dividend, with the passage of time. Attention this time, right down to the green colour, though in different shades and tonality. But of course, pricing differences (as you’d compare between the two OnePlus tablets nonetheless) do dictate aspects such as how thick a bezel around the screen would be. Or how big a screen and battery capacity you’d work with.
For all intents, the OnePlus Pad Go’s truest competition is the Xiaomi Pad 6, an impressive coming together of all things combining Android and a tablet (two that haven’t been easy to cobble together an experience with). In that respect, footprint remains largely similar, though the OnePlus Pad Go has a slightly bigger screen (11.35-inches compared with 11-inches) but is a tad heavier too in your backpack (532 grams versus 490 grams).
It is worth noting that price revisions and discounts now peg the Xiaomi Pad 6 in this price band – it started out much closer to ₹30,000 than ₹20,000 as it is now. The inception leads to a perception of better value, because it was originally priced half a segment above. Not that the OnePlus Pad Go falls short on performance or experience, it is simply having to punch above its weight.
That said, the OnePlus Pad Go does remain very much in the fight.
The MediaTek Helio G99 chip is no slouch, and for an everyday tablet, this simply provides the level of grunt you should require. Multitasking is a breeze, and is quite comfortable with casual gaming too. Choosing to stick with 8GB RAM, feels just about right here. Your everyday apps breeze along, and you’ll have no complaints with web browsing, binging on Netflix, e-reading and a spot of social media alongside quickly diving into your mailbox to sort a few conversations. You’ll enjoy getting the Adobe Lightroom edits and some creative creations on Canva, sorted in a jiffy.
Yet, there’s a limit to how much you’ll be able to push the OnePlus Pad Go, before it gets into the performance red-zone. Some serious gaming titles, for instance. Load times give a whiff of struggle, there will be stutters and frame rates won’t be the best. This is also when you begin to wonder if 8GB really is enough for the sort of experience OnePlus is going for.
The answer to this is simple – purely on price and category, 8GB is just the right approach. But price corrected competition, lends us a broader comparative perspective.
The 11.35-inch IPS display is quite bright (rated at 400 nits) and ticks of 90Hz refresh rate on the checklist. The 2408 x 1720 resolution (this is bookmarked as 2.4K; whatever you make of it) translates into 260 pixels per inch, which is just about enough for a crisp canvas to look at. Be it e-books or just the right amount of sharpness when streaming a live cricket match. Missing is any form of HDR support, but under the ₹20,000 price mark, it really cannot be held against the OnePlus Pad Go.
Some colour shift is quite noticeable if you’re looking at the tablet screen from an angle, but that’s more a display tech characteristic rather than something OnePlus has dialed in. The one thing they do well, including with their smartphones, is DC dimming, which enables for brightness level changes and eliminates flicker to a large extent, simply adding to the aspect of viewing comfort.
For what is possibly the largest tablet display size this south of ₹20,000, this isn’t at all falling short on the basics.
We’d seen this with the larger and more expensive OnePlus Pad as well – there’s smart ecosystem play, if you’ve one of the compatible OnePlus smartphones too. The ability to share the phone’s 4G/5G connection on the tablet, casting content from the phone to the tablet, alongside clipboard and gallery sharing, will add value via convenience.
If ever there was certainty that the Android tablet space was seeing the kind of reset long expected from it, this is what it looks like. OnePlus and indeed Xiaomi are on a mission, and that inevitable competition can only be good news for consumers who are looking for something that isn’t any one of the Apple iPads.
Despite being earmarked as a relatively affordable tablet, the OnePlus Pad Go is definitely good to hold (though it’s not a metal body; wonder what you’ll make of that), has the right mix of specs and delivers the experience of a tab that can easily hop between different use cases at home and as a second screen at work. It isn’t always easy to package a relatively premium experience without having a corresponding impact on the price tag. OnePlus has delivered that uncommon mix here. Refined versatility on a budget is the OnePlus Pad Go’s trump card.