The Realme Pad X was unveiled back in May of this year and has been available for sale since July 2022. Realme sent us the Glacier Blue Pad X along with the Smart Keyboard and the Realme Pencil. The entry-level Wi-Fi 4/64GB model is priced affordably at €220.
I have been reviewing Realme smartphones and wearables for quite some time now. However, this is the first tablet that I have gotten to review from Realme. And what a first impression this Glacier Blue creates. It is definitely one of the best-looking Android tablets currently available on the market.
Budget price and premium design
I have to admit that the Realme Pad X does look like it decided to emulate the iPad Pro design language to some extent. And that is not a bad thing because this tablet looks better than a lot of other Android tablets- some of which costs hundreds more than the Pad X.
On the front is an almost 11-inch display with fairly thin bezels. The video conferencing camera (who really takes selfies with a tablet camera?) is on the longer edge. Or I daresay in the correct location for video calls and chats. The tablet is quite comfortable to hold because it weighs just 500 grams and is only 7.1mm thick.
The attention to detail is excellent and you can easily mistake the overall construction to be made from aluminum. However, both the frame and the back cover are made of plastic. The Glacier Blue color and matte texture give it a really unique look. It doesn’t matter which angle you look at it, the Realme Pad X looks premium.
No headphone jack and USB-C headphones don’t work either
You will see a set of symmetrical grilles on the short edges for the four speakers onboard. There are also small cutouts for the two microphones along with a USB-C charging port. The location of the power button and volume rocker is identical to what you would see on an iPad. Realme sent us the data-capable version of the Pad X. So it has a dual-SIM tray with a micro SD card slot which is also something you don’t see nowadays.
There is no headphone jack and that is a glaring omission in my opinion. What is more egregious is the fact that USB-C headphones don’t work on this tablet – even those made by sister company Vivo. If you want to watch something without disturbing anyone around you, then you are stuck using wireless headphones/earbuds with this tablet.
The display on the Realme Pad X is actually quite good considering the price
The Realme Pad X has a 10.95” WUXGA+ (1200 x 2000 pixels) IPS LCD Display. The display has a 5:3 ratio, a 213ppi pixel density, and an 84.6% screen-to-body ratio. It has TUV Rheinland certification for ‘Low Blue Light Eye Protection’.
There are a couple of other display options that improve the viewing experience such as O1 Ultra Vision Engine and DC Dimming. Specs-wise, it has a peak brightness of 450 nits and I did not have any issues using it indoors during my review period.
In terms of daily use, I found that colors are vivid and quite accurate. Even though the max resolution is only 1080p, it didn’t seem to pose any issues watching videos on YouTube, Netflix, or Prime Video. Also interacting with the UI including the Smart Sidebar didn’t have any issues in terms of touch sensitivity.
Performance is great thanks to the Snapdragon 695
The Realme Pad X comes in Wi-Fi and 5G models. We got the top-of-the-line 5G model with 6/128GB. But, from a raw performance standpoint, I doubt the RAM and storage will make much difference across the entire range. The Snapdragon 695 5G processor is built on a 6nm wafer fabrication process. The Geekbench scores are middle of the road and about 25% less than the base 10.2-inch iPad running on the A13 Bionic processor. In other words, it’s definitely good enough for everyday tasks, watching videos, and light gaming.
There were no issues with browsing, emailing, video calls, meetings, or other productivity tasks. Running two apps side by side was also a breeze on this tablet (more on multi-tasking a bit later in the software section of this review). Ditto for watching videos on various streaming apps on the Pad X.
Playing games is not a big issue on this device from a hardware performance standpoint. The main issue is that with 213ppi and a 60Hz IPS display it is best to run games at medium settings in order to not get a lot of jitter while gaming.
The battery life is great on Wi-Fi but not while using 5G
There is a fairly large 8340 mAh battery onboard with 33W fast charging support. During my review period, on Wi-Fi, this tablet easily got 10+ hours of SoT watching videos and browsing. However, battery life takes a hit on 5G, where the SoT was around 6-7 hours. I also noticed that the standby drain was fairly hefty on 5G versus Wi-Fi. So, that is something to keep in mind while using the Realme Pad X.
The retail box does come with a USB cable and a 33W charger. Another neat feature that Realme included is reverse charging so you can use the Pad X as a power bank to charge your earbuds or even your smartphone if necessary.
The Realme Pad X has 5G Connectivity
So, here is an interesting story. A few months ago, I reviewed the Realme 9 5G smartphone which has the exact same Snapdragon 695 6G processor as this Realme Pad X. On that smartphone, I never got a 5G signal. On the flip side, I got a 5G signal as soon as I put in my SIM card in this Realme Pad X. Not exactly sure what is going on, as both of these are global devices running Android 12 and Realme UI 3.0.
I used this tablet on the road a few times and I had no issues watching movies and TV shows or sending emails or making calls on the Realme Pad X. I love the fact that most non-USA data-capable tablets let you make phone calls!
Multi-screen collaboration – a fancy term for using your phone on the tablet works great on the Realme Pad X and comes in handy in certain situations when you want to share data from the phone quickly while using the tablet with a keyboard for work emails or file sharing. You can then cut, edit, and process files on the large tablet screen, for increased efficiency.
Another option to transfer photos, videos and documents between your phone and tablet with one touch is Realme share. Other connection options include Bluetooth, Screencast, and Tethering. I think you will be very happy with the options the Realme Pad X has in terms of connectivity.
The Quad speakers on the Realme Pad X sound amazing
The Realme Pad X has four speakers – two on each side – and they sound phenomenal thanks to Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res Audio. I took the tablet on a road trip and thoroughly enjoyed the immersive sound from the quad speakers whilst catching up on multiple TV shows on Disney+ and Prime Video.
While we are on the topic of sound, the Pad X pairs very quickly and efficiently with other Realme devices. Pairing with a pair of Realme Buds Air Pro was effortless and seamless with a visual indication of the battery life of the earbuds as well as the amount of charge left in the case. Let’s say you are streaming sound on the earbuds and you get a phone call, the Buds will automatically switch to answer the phone call which is quite convenient.
Realme U1 3.0 has a lot of useful features for productivity
For the most part, Realme UI 3.0 is identical to what we saw on the Realme 9 5G smartphone. This is a custom ROM running on Android 12 with the May 2022 security patch. Most of the differences from the smartphone software are in the “Special Features” section of the settings menu. I found split screen, smart sidebar, and display size options to be the most useful ones.
Useful multi-tasking features are available on realme UI 3.0
Split screen works in an app that supports this option with a 2-finger swipe down from the top to split the screen. You can also use the recent tasks menu, tap the More button in the upper right corner (3 dots) and then tap ‘split screen‘. Another option is to drag the app that supports split screen directly from the smart sidebar.
Smart Sidebar is always available from the edge of the screen and comes in very handy to launch an app quickly. You can then resize it so it floats over whatever work you are doing or going split screen for more efficient multi-tasking.
If an app does not support fullscreen display in landscape mode, you can change its display size to mimic what you get on a smartphone and use it. This allows you to use the remaining display for another app. For example, Twitter and Gmail work quite well in this scenario.
Another very useful feature is Limelight for video calling. The front-facing camera keeps you in the center of the frame during video calls and meetings. It works really well with Google Meet and Zoom.
I do a decent amount of reading on my tablets thanks to the free books available from Prime library. The Realme Pad X has quite a few good options for reading – eye comfort mode reduces blue light, and reading mode simulates the experience of reading a book printed on paper. In addition, there is a dark mode available which offers a high-contrast option for reading without too much stress on the eyes.
A few glaring drawbacks that dampen the overall software experience
There are a couple of glaring drawbacks from a software perspective. First off there are no good note-taking or doodling (sketch) apps to take advantage of the excellent Realme Pencil. Second, I had to sideload Netflix which is a big dealbreaker. Third, the security patch is May 2022 so long-term software support seems to be lacking.
The Cameras are surprisingly very good for a tablet
The 8MP f/2.0 front-facing camera with a 105° field-of-view is really good for video via Google Meet or Zoom. The colors are spot on, the detail isn’t too bad and the best thing is the all-new ‘Limelight’ feature. The machine learning and AI onboard are extremely good at detecting your face and keeping you in the center of the frame during video calling. Selfie pictures from the FFC aren’t too shabby either.
On the rear, there is a 13MP f/2.2 camera which is quite capable. It is able to scan text from documents and books, although holding a tablet to scan is a bit unwieldy. However, it is nice to see a good camera with useful features in a tablet. Oh, and the pictures from the 13MP rear camera are quite good in daylight in terms of detail and color science.
The Realme Pad X has excellent OEM accessories to enhance the user experience
Besides the Pad X, Realme also sent us an OEM keyboard case and a Pencil for review. Both are sold separately from the tablet and are similar to what Apple, Samsung, and Huawei offer for their tablets.
The OEM Keyboard case works like a charm
I typically use cases on all my gadgets. Sometimes OEM cases are great and at other times 3rd party cases seem to work better. In the case of the Realme Pad X, the keyboard case made by Realme is excellent. Overall fit and finish are great, keys are clicky with good feedback making it effortless to type. Most of this review was actually typed using the keyboard case.
The case does fully cover the tablet offering a reasonable amount of protection. However, there is only one default position available to lock the tablet in on the case which is a bit irksome. Another thing to note is that there aren’t any pogo pins, but until the tablet is seated in the groove above the keyboard, it will not work despite being connected via Bluetooth.
The Realme Pencil works very well as a stylus
The new Realme Pencil is very stylish and looks/feels/works like a real pencil. It also charges very fast (~15 minutes) via the magnetic strip on the tablet just above the front-facing camera. Realme claims about 25 minutes of writing time with only 1 minute of charging and a full charge should last about 10+ hours. From the quick seat of the pants testing, I can vouch that these claim times should hold up in real-life use scenarios.
Realme claims that the Pencil has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. During my review period, it worked very well as a stylus thanks to the 240Hz touch sampling rate. I wasn’t able to use it to sketch or take notes since there wasn’t any first-party app loaded on the device. This is definitely something Realme should have addressed in terms of software on the Pad X.
The Realme Pad X is a genuine Android alternative to the base iPad
The Realme Pad X starts at INR17,999 ($225/€220) for the Wi-Fi-only 4/64GB model, and INR25,999 ($325/€320) for the 5G 4/64GB model. If you want the accessories, the Realme Smart Keyboard is priced at INR4,999 ($63/€61) and the Realme Pencil is INR5,499 ($69/€68). So for roughly the same price as the 2021 base iPad you get a 5G capable tablet and for about $130 more you can get the keyboard and the Pencil. A similar iPad setup would cost you over $1000 and even the Samsung Tab S8 would cost you quite a bit more.
For those not wanting 5G or the OEM accessories, $225 is a great price for a tablet with a gorgeous display, stellar hardware design, good battery life, great cameras, and absolutely phenomenal speakers. The software experience could be better, but I am hoping that Realme fixes that with a subsequent update.