Realme Pad Mini Review: Decent tablet for the price, but keep your expectations low
Google’s recent push to improve Android for large-screen devices has prompted several OEMs to enter the Android tablet space once again. But while some OEMs, like Samsung and Xiaomi, are focusing on the flagship and mid-range Android tablet segments, others like Realme are betting big on the entry-level tablet market. After launching the budget-friendly Realme Pad in several markets last year, Realme recently launched an even more affordable tablet — the Realme Pad Mini — in India.
The Realme Pad Mini is essentially a smaller version of the original Realme Pad, and it offers budget specs at an even more affordable price point. The tablet is equipped with a Unisoc T616 octa-core SoC, coupled with up to 4GB RAM, up to 64GB storage, an 8.7-inch 800p display, and a 6,400mAh battery. Although these specs sound unimpressive, the Realme Pad Mini is a decent buy for anyone looking for a secondary device for content consumption or some light schoolwork, as it comes at a starting price of under $150.
Navigate this review:
- Pricing & availability
- Design & Display
- Performance, Battery life & Software
- Should you buy the Realme Pad Mini?
Realme Pad Mini: Pricing & availability
- The Realme Pad Mini is currently available at a starting price of ₹10,999 (~$144) in India. It’s also available in the Phillippines.
- Realme is offering both Wi-Fi only and LTE variants of the tablet, with the top-end 4GB RAM and 64GB storage model priced at ₹14,999 (~$197).
In India, the Realme Pad Mini is available through Realme’s website, Flipkart, and offline retail stores. The tablet is available in two RAM and storage configurations, both with and without LTE support. The variants are priced as follows:
- Wi-Fi only:
- 3GB + 32GB: ₹10,999 (~$144)
- 4GB + 64GB: ₹12,999 (~$170)
- 3GB + 32GB: ₹12,999 (~$170)
- 4GB + 64GB: 14,999 (~$197)
All four variants come in two colorways — Blue and Gray.
Realme Pad Mini: Specifications
|Specification||Realme Pad Mini|
|Dimensions & Weight||
|RAM & Storage||
|Battery & Charging||
|Security||Software-enabled face unlock|
|Rear Camera(s)||8MP f/2|
|Front Camera(s)||5MP f/2.2|
|Software||Realme UI for Pad based on Android 11|
About this review: Realme India sent the Realme Pad Mini (4GB/64GB LTE) to us for the purposes of this review. Realme had no input into the contents of this article.
Realme Pad Mini: Design & Display
- The Realme Pad Mini has an 8.7-inch LCD panel.
- The tablet measures just 7.6mm thick, but it still features a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Although Realme has made some polarizing design choices with some of its recently released smartphones, the company has not taken the same approach with the Realme Pad Mini. Like its predecessor, the new budget-friendly tablet sports a minimal and premium-looking design. It has a slim metal chassis with square edges, a plain back panel with no hilarious slogans, and a rectangular camera island in the top left corner that houses the primary 8MP shooter.
Over on the front, the Realme Pad Mini sports an 8.7-inch display with chunky bezels on the top and bottom that make it easy to hold in landscape orientation without worrying about accidental touches. The LCD panel has a resolution of 1340 x 800 pixels, which is a bit low for a display of this size. This means that content (especially text) does not look as crisp as it does on a full-HD panel. But it’s decent enough for an entry-level device. Surprisingly, the display gets sufficiently bright, so you won’t face any visibility issues with a brightness dialed up to 100 percent.
As far as the tablet’s buttons and ports are concerned, the volume rocker and power button reside on the right edge, while the SIM card slot on the LTE variants is on the left edge. The 3.5mm headphone jack and USB Type-C port can be found on the top and bottom edges, respectively.
The Realme Pad Mini also packs a dual speaker setup, which can get quite loud at max volume and offers decent stereo separation when you hold the tablet in landscape orientation. The speaker setup is fine for content consumption, but you’d be better off using wired earphones if you plan on playing games on the tablet. Speaking of playing games, I wouldn’t do much of that if I were you — more on this in the performance section.
I have no qualms about the Realme Pad Mini when it comes to its design, but its display leaves a lot to be desired. The display’s shortcomings will be quite obvious to those of you who regularly use high-resolution, high refresh rate panels on a smartphone. But I wasn’t really disappointed with it, as I had low expectations from the get-go, given its price point.
Realme Pad Mini: Performance, Battery life, & Software
- The Unisoc T616 SoC on the Realme Pad Mini is good enough for content consumption, web browsing, and some casual gaming. But you shouldn’t expect a great gaming experience in demanding titles.
- The 6,400mAh battery will easily last you through a workday if you plan on using the Realme Pad Mini for web browsing and basic productivity tasks.
The Realme Pad Mini packs a Unisoc T616 octa-core SoC, paired with up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. I’ve been using the 4GB/64GB LTE variant for a little over a week, and I did not experience any stutters or lags while browsing through the UI, watching videos, or reading an eBook.
That’s not the case with demanding workloads like gaming, though. I experienced frequent stuttering and frame drops while playing PUBG, even though the game runs at the medium frame rate setting and balanced graphic setting by default. Casual games like Clash of Clans run fine for the most part, but I noticed occasional frame drops when attacking high-level villages with many buildings. Based on this experience, it’s safe for me to say that the Realme Pad Mini will not serve well as a gaming tablet. But if you’re getting it for your kid to play some casual games, it’s serviceable. It’s worth mentioning that the Realme Pad Mini does get a bit warm during extended gaming sessions, but it never got hot enough to make it uncomfortable to hold.
For those of you interested in benchmark scores, the Realme Pad Mini manages to secure a measly 371 points in Geekbench 5’s single-core test and 1381 points in the multi-core test. You can check out the full results by following this link. In PC Mark’s Work 3.0 benchmark, the tablet scored 8301 points. As mentioned earlier, the tablet does not get hot during extended periods of use and, therefore, it does not thermal throttle enough to show any visible performance degradation. Even after multiple runs of the CPU Throttling Test app, the CPU only throttled to 91 percent of its peak performance, which is better than what I expected from the Unisoc T616.
Performance-wise, the Realme Pad Mini offers what I expected when I first went through its spec sheet. It’s not bad for the money spent, but it’s not great either.
The Realme Pad Mini’s battery life, however, is surprisingly good, and the 6,400mAh battery will easily last you a full day of heavy use. With light workloads, you won’t feel the need to charge the tablet more than two or three times a week. The tablet comes with an 18W charger in the box, which takes a couple of hours to get the tablet from 0 to 100%. It’s not particularly fast, but it gets the job done. And since you probably won’t be using the tablet as your primary device, the slow charging speeds shouldn’t be a hindrance.
In the software department, the Realme Pad Mini runs Realme UI for Pad based on Android 11 out of the box. Although Realme’s name for its Android skin for tablets will lead you to believe that it features UI optimizations for large-screen devices, it does not. It’s a relatively barebones version of Realme UI with a couple of Google apps preinstalled, like Google Kids Space, Google TV, Google One, GPay, Play Books, etc. Realme UI for Pad doesn’t offer any feature to help you better utilize the extra screen real estate for multitasking. So just expect a giant smartphone experience for the most part.
Should you buy the Realme Pad Mini?
Based on your use case, the answer to this question can either be a resounding YES!, an undecisive maybe, or a strong no.
Are you purchasing the tablet for your kid to watch videos or play some casual games? I think you should get it right away. It’s a cheap tablet that gets this job done, and since the hardware is inherently basic, it works as advertised for these basic needs.
Do you currently binge Netflix on your phone and want to get the tablet for a better viewing experience? You can consider buying it, provided you’re OK with the low-resolution display. Again, the price of this tablet makes it easy to overlook several of its flaws.
Do you plan on playing demanding games like PUBG or getting some serious work done on the tablet? Your money would be better spent on a mid-range phone or a slightly more premium tablet like the original Realme Pad, the Nokia T20 Tab, or the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8. The Galaxy Tab A8 is a particularly good alternative in this price range, as One UI offers some great features for productivity. It even secured a spot on our list of the best Android tablets.
Buy the Realme Pad Mini if:
- You want a budget-friendly secondary device for content consumption.
- You want a cheap eBook reader that offers great battery life.
Do not buy the Realme Pad Mini if:
- You plan on using it as your primary device.
- You plan on playing games like PUBG.
- You want an optimized software experience that utilizes the extra screen real estate for productivity.