I review tablets for a living and I admit, sometimes it's hard differentiating the best Android tablets from the not-so-best ones. There are meaningful differences in performance and price, but in terms of design they're mostly a pile of sleek black slates—and that predictability can make it difficult to get excited about these products.
Then there’s the OnePlus Pad, which stands out due to its unique features. This includes an unorthodox aspect ratio, a centered back camera and rounded edges. It looks different, which is saying a lot for an Android tablet. Even if the Dimensity 9000 chip powering the slate is unlikely to challenge Apple's M1 or Apple M2 processors, it should be as capable as the Oppo Find N2 running on the same CPU.
I still have some questions about the OnePlus Pad — namely its price and performance compared to other tablets. But based on our OnePlus Pad hands-on preview, there’s enough to actually get me excited about this Android tablet.
A unique Android tablet
As I said, tablets generally tend to have a similar appearance. That’s understandable given how the industry has worked to perfect tablets over the years — and how many have tried to ape the popular iPad’s design. But while I don’t have a problem with the way tablets are designed, the familiar design can sometimes feel uninspired.
The OnePlus Tab is an 11.6-inch device with a 7:5 aspect ratio display. That's unusually square for a tablet. For instance, iPads have a 4:3 aspect ratio. According to OnePlus, this was done with the intention of making the OnePlus Pad have a similar ratio to an open book. The company says this will make the tablet ideal for reading and working.
I currently read books on the Amazon Kindle (2022). I don’t see myself dropping Amazon’s e-reader in favor of reading on the OnePlus Pad, but I might be more inclined to at least read more books on the tablet if its unusual aspect ratio can better replicate the experience of reading an actual book.
Another distinct feature is the OnePlus Pad’s edges. Three of the tablet’s sides have curved edges that are unlike the flat-sided iPads and Galaxy tablets. However, there’s a cutout with a flat edge on the top side for magnetically attaching and charging the stylus. As we said in our preview, this design choice looks somewhat odd but it’s practical.
I’m curious to see if the OnePlus Pad’s curved edges will make it easier to hold for extended periods of time. I wouldn’t say holding flat-edged tablets is difficult, but I’ll often have to reposition the tablet I'm holding when the edges begin making my inner palm uncomfortable. If the OnePlus Pad is as great to hold as something like the round-edged Galaxy S23, it would make the slate extremely appealing.
Lastly, there’s the strange-looking 13MP back camera, which is housed in a black protruding circle. I have mixed feelings about this one. If you’re one of the folks who enjoys taking pictures with tablets, the centered camera should make it easier to avoid offset pictures. On the other hand, the protruding camera means the tablet won’t be able to lie perfectly flat on a surface unless you get the optional case to go with it.
The OnePlus Tab is expected to arrive sometime in April 2023. I’m eager to test this promising device to see if it can possibly rival the best Samsung tablets and the best iPads. Its 7:5 aspect ratio is intriguing and could make reading e-books a pure joy. I’m also curious to see if the round edges make the tablet more comfortable to hold than its competitors.
We still don’t know how much OnePlus is going to charge for its first tablet. With a low price, folks might be inclined to snatch up a OnePlus Pad over a Samsung or Apple tablet. Of course, performance is another factor on my mind. An affordable tablet is great and all, but if its specs aren’t up to snuff, then I won’t care how cheap it is.
We’ll soon see what the OnePlus Pad is all about so stay tuned for our full review.