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Hardware POCO Pad review

As POCO’s first Android tablet, the POCO Pad marks an impressive, well-rounded debut that’s capable of decent gaming and productivity uses.
 
 

General Information

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Along with the POCO F6 Pro, POCO launched its very first tablet, the POCO Pad. After leaving a positive first impression during my early hands-on with the product, I was eager to test it further. Having had the opportunity to do so, I will share my experience in this review.

POCO Pad contents, specs and accessories

The POCO Pad retails at $329 and comes with the following items:
  • POCO Pad Tablet
  • Charging Adapter
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • SD Card Eject Tool
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Specs of the tablet can be found below:

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In addition, POCO has an ecosystem of accessories for the Pad. There's the $60 POCO Smart Pen, the $80 POCO Pad Keyboard and the $20 POCO Pad Cover.

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Quality hardware for a first-timer

When I first tried the POCO Pad during a hands-on event, it left a positive impression on me and this did not change during my review of the device. The sleek unibody metal frame with its matte finish delivers a premium product feel and ensures a sturdy build. Being 7.52mm thick, this tablet is also very easy to carry around and to fit in a backpack.

One feature that is uncommon in tablets (and, increasingly, smartphones) that the POCO Pad includes is the headphone jack. Yes, POCO has brought back this outlet and it is a very welcome feature which I wish more tablets included considering their large size which can accommodate such a port. That said, the quad speakers, with Dolby Atmos support, deliver quality audio if you do not wish to use headphones.

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However, at 571g, I found the POCO Pad to be relatively heavy as I am used to lighter tablets. But this is also due to the Pad being on the larger end of the tablet size spectrum, with a 12.1" display. This lends itself well as a secondary display for on-the-go productivity and entertainment.

POCO sells accessories to support such uses and they can be purchased separately. They each compliment the tablet's premium feel. I am particularly fond of the Smart Pen to jot down notes and easily take screenshots. Being pressure-sensitive, it is also adequate for making sketches. The POCO Pad Keyboard is something of a must-have if you want to use the tablet for productivity. It makes the experience akin to using a laptop, with responsive keyboard input and it also doubles as a cover to protect the screen when not in use.

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The Smart Pen and Keyboard cover connect to the tablet via Bluetooth and I haven't encountered any connectivity issues or noticeable latency in their use. However, I would have preferred if they were powered directly by the tablet, like with the Xiaomi Pad 6.

One major downside of the keyboard cover and the regular cover is that they don't have a magnetic closing mechanism. This feels like an oversight as the cover "flap" tends to dangle when the tablet is being carried around. Also feeling like an oversight is the Smart Pen tab. It is attached with a double-sided tape and feels like an afterthought rather than a feature designed from the get-go. In addition, I would personally have preferred if the accessories were included in the base package, rather than being sold separately.

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That said, they are not excessively pricey and neither is the tablet. Indeed, at its price point, the POCO Pad is an impressive first outing for POCO on the hardware front, although some aspects of the accessories could be improved.

Gaming performance of the POCO Pad

Being a company known for targeting its products mostly towards gamers, I was looking forward to the gaming performance of POCO's first tablet. With 8GB RAM and 256GB storage (expandable up to 1.5TB) and a Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chip, benchmarks via GeekBench 6 position the POCO Pad as a mid-tier device.

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With its specs, the POCO Pad can handle Android games well. Titles such as Dead Cells, Alien Isolation and Pascal's Wager run smoothly on the device. The large 12.1" display makes 3D games like Alien Isolation more immersive and console-like, with the quad speakers adding to the immersion.

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On the emulation front, the tablet has no issues running older systems. Dreamcast games such as Crazy Taxi 2 and Dead or Alive 2 run at 60fps. For GameCube at 3x resolution, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes plays at a stable 60fps, while The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would play between 25-30fps but is more stable at 2x resolution.

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For more demanding systems, you will have to temper your expectations in terms of enhanced resolution and fps. PS2 games, such as Ratchet & Clank and Shadow of the Colossus, run between 45-60fps at 1x resolution. However, at 2x resolution, both suffer from performance drops and audio lags.

As expected, Switch emulation is title-dependent on the now-defunct Yuzu. Less demanding games like Cuphead run at 60fps while Untitled Goose Game's performance varies between 25-40fps. However, Super Mario Odyssey is stuck on a black screen when starting a new game.

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For a tablet, I found the performance of the POCO Pad to be rather decent. It's not on par with gaming smartphones, such as POCO's own F6 Pro, but it does offer acceptable performance over a range of systems at an affordable price point.

POCO Pad: a gaming-friendly Android tablet?

In addition to gaming, the POCO Pad is also well-suited for productivity and entertainment uses. With the Smart Pen and Keyboard, you can easily carry this tablet around during your commute or travels for some document editing or sketching some designs. Tablets aren't known for their camera prowess but the ones on the POCO Pad are serviceable. I would like to see a more powerful front-facing camera for video calls and I hope to see this is a feature in upcoming tablets as I might have already caught POCO's attention regarding this issue.

While the display is not a fancy OLED one, the LCD material does deliver vibrant visuals and the 120Hz refresh rate makes it easy to multi-task. Multi-tasking is particularly apt on a display with a 16:10 aspect ratio with Android's split screen mode.

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For entertainment, the tablet has no issues streaming videos and audio playlists. The quad speakers really add to the immersive experience and the 10,000mAh battery ensures a whole day use.

Of note, the experience of using the Android 14-based HyperOS is fluid and is refreshingly devoid of the traditional bloatware on Xiaomi phones.

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Overall, the POCO Pad is an affordably-priced quality tablet that adopts a no-frills approach and delivers an all-rounder experience. Some aspects of its accessories can be improved but as POCO's first tablet, the POCO Pad is an impressive debut.

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