There is presently a tonne of affordable tablet options available in India, however, most come from companies like Samsung and Lenovo.
As their primary focus is typically on providing a large display and a large battery, rather than on performance, these products provide just enough power to do the necessary tasks.
There is undoubtedly a market for these affordable computers, and the current pandemic has transformed tablets from being simply portable media consumption devices into crucial educational tools, a method of video conferencing, and other things.
The business opted to concentrate on providing exceptional build quality for its new Oppo Pad Air, which is its first tablet in India. The Pad Air appears to give all the basic necessities one might anticipate, but with a dash of elegance.
Does it, however, have what it takes to compete in its market? After using this tablet for a few weeks, I have some thoughts to share.
India’s cost of the Oppo Pad Air
In India, there are two variations of the Oppo Pad Air available. The base model I received costs Rs. 16,999 and has 64GB of storage in addition to 4GB of RAM.
With the same 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, the second option costs Rs. 19,999. Only one shade of grey is offered for the tablet.
Oppo Pad Air style
The Oppo Pad Air appears notably more luxurious than its asking price for a cheap tablet. It appears to be well-built and pretty sturdy, and it feels like it could withstand a few drops.
The Pad Air boasts a unibody aluminium construction with a lovely anodized surface that, unexpectedly, does not feel slippery.
The build quality is quite impressive with no sharp or rough edges and flattened sides with rounded corners.
Given its tiny size, the tablet has a great compact footprint and feels quite light at 440g. Although it is comfortable for one-handed use, it still requires two hands to operate.
The tablet does not sway when put on a flat surface despite the camera being the only protrusion around the back.
On the rear, there is a plastic strip with a lovely wave-like pattern that takes up a quarter of the space. Regarding connectivity, this ought to aid in improving signal reception.
In the upper left corner, there are buttons for power and volume (when held horizontally). Since the Pad Air is only available as a Wi-Fi model, the little pull-out tray on the top edge only accommodates a microSD card.
For a tablet, the display has a narrow bezel, and the corners of the cutouts are rounded to fit the contour of the tablet’s body.
When held horizontally, there are four speaker grilles on each side and a USB Type-C port on the right. Oppo only provides the Oppo Life Smart Stylus Pen, which retails for Rs. 3,999, as an attachment for the Pad Air.
Software and specifications for the Oppo Pad Air
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SoC, manufactured using a 6nm construction technique, powers the Oppo Pad Air.
Oppo also allows users to use up to 3GB of storage as extra RAM, which in theory should assist give better performance while multitasking. You get 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage, but Oppo also includes these features.
Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 are available for connectivity, but GPS is not included (uses Wi-Fi connectivity for positioning). Fortunately, the fundamental sensors, including an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, and magnetometer, are present.
A 7,100mAh battery powers the tablet, which can be recharged using the included 18W PD charger. The tablet lacks LTE capability and has a 2D face unlock technology that isn’t always reliable. It also doesn’t have a fingerprint reader.
Oppo has two storage choices, but it also supports expanded storage for cards up to 512GB.
The tablet is powered by Android 12.1 with Oppo’s ColorOS 12.1 operating system. According to appearances, the operating system is identical to ColorOS 12.1, which is used on Oppo smartphones like the Reno 8 Pro 5G. (Review).
Surprisingly, Oppo has kept many static backgrounds and a few live wallpapers. While they are lovely to have, they felt a bit burdensome for the system to operate.
There is also a tonne of customization choices in the personalizations section, including a wallpaper colour selection function that automatically themes the interface whenever you select a new wallpaper by selecting complementary colours for widgets, the accent colour, and the keyboard.
Even while having all of this on a cheap tablet is good, this particular version of ColourOS uses up roughly 14GB of internal storage (plus up to 3GB of expanded RAM), leaving about 47GB of room for programmes, games, and images. The only pre-installed app from a third party was Netflix.
In the Settings app’s Special features section, I located a floating window function called Flexible windows.
It performed admirably on the Oppo Pad Air, allowing me to launch the supported apps in a more manageable floating window and even allowing me to resize the windowed programme.
Even though there is only room for one windowed app and a second that runs in fullscreen mode in the background, everything runs pretty smoothly.
There is also a split-screen function called Dual Windows, however, I was unable to change the window’s size to my liking. From there, everything went well. The solution was to force programmes into split-screen mode from the recent menu.
Performance of Oppo Pad Air
On the Oppo Pad Air, software performance was at most acceptable with occasionally expected latency. Although multitasking wasn’t ideal, the ability to use extended RAM did allow for the maintenance of a few background apps.
To put it simply, every fourth app I opened from the Recents menu required a restart, but these did so fast.
When it came to artificial benchmarks, the Oppo Pad Air delivered underwhelming scores, notably in the graphics testing.
The phone scored 2,53,080 in AnTuTu and 384 and 1,618 on the single- and multi-core Geekbench tests, respectively.
In the T-Rex, Manhattan 3.1, and Car Chase tests, GFXBench recorded unimpressive results of 37 frames per second, 14 frames per second, and 7.6 frames per second.
I did play Asphalt 9: Legends even though this tablet isn’t really made for games.
Although the game had several missing frames and considerable stuttering at the basic settings, the visuals appeared extremely pixelated. Simple games like Subway Surfer performed more smoothly.
A 10.36-inch IPS LCD screen with a 2,000×1,200 pixel resolution is included on the Oppo Pad Air. Given that the majority of manufacturers often only provide 720p panels, it is wonderful to see a relatively high resolution in this market.
When using the tablet inside, both text and photos seemed fine and the colours looked realistic thanks to the display’s adequate sharpness.
The display struggled when used outside in daylight because the colours looked a little washed out. It can be a little difficult to watch movies in direct sunlight because the cover glass is so shiny.
Full-HD video playback is enabled via the Widevine L1 certification of the Pad Air. The sharpness of the content in standard definition was impressive, although the black levels might be much better.
I forgot that the tablet lacked a 3.5mm headphone connector because the quad-speaker system was so loud and enjoyable to listen to.
The 8-megapixel back camera’s performance was below average, and even in bright light, the photographs lacked detail and were lifeless. The 5-megapixel camera produced much better selfies in comparison, making it suitable for video chats. The primary camera’s ability to record video was rather subpar.
I ended up using it primarily for watching movies, browsing the web, and the standard social media apps because gaming was primarily limited to casual games and the camera was not very useful either.
When I used the Oppo Pad Air in this way, it typically lasted me a day and a half, or even two days if I only used it to view movies offline. The Pad Air lasted 18 hours and 40 minutes on our HD movie loop test, which was exceptional for such a little tablet.
It took the 18W charger around two hours and 34 minutes to fully charge the battery, which was respectable.
The company Oppo appears to have made a respectable effort with its initial tablet release in India. It has been able to provide a respectable low-cost machine with high build quality and performance for everyday use at a reasonable price.
The lack of 4G/LTE radios and a headphone port is somewhat made up for by the provision for expandable memory and a 128GB storage option.
Overall, it is adequate if all you want to do is watch movies, surf the web, or check email; but, gaming and productivity are not its intended uses.
Oppo must regret that the Realme Pad (Review) provides a comparable form factor and fundamental specifications at a lesser cost. A 4G/LTE version is also available, with prices starting at Rs. 15,999.
Due to greater tablet optimization, Realme’s software experience is faster than the Oppo Pad Air.
Lenovo’s Yoga Tab 11 (Review) offers a far superior design with a built-in kickstand and is designed for entertainment with excellent speakers that are loud enough to fill a small room if you are ready to spend a little extra money.