OPPO Pad Air review: a noteworthy debut

Here's our review of OPPO's very first tablet

The tablet segment seems to have woken up from slumber in recent times, with one brand after another trying to make its presence felt in this space. The latest to make the jump is OPPO, which has made a fashionably late entry into the world of slates with its OPPO Pad Air. While the name might sound quite familiar, the device itself seems quite interesting overall, rocking respectable specs and a price tag that doesn’t seem too heavy. Let’s take a closer look at his hits and misses and see if it has what it takes.

Hits

  • First up, the design. Overall, the slate seems well built and the dual-toned chassis that uses a mix of plastic and metal gives it a premium look. Just about 7mm thick and weighing 440g, the tablet is quick slim and lightweight too and can be held in the hand for long periods or carried around without weighing you down. The 10.36-inch screen does have noticeable bezels all around, but they help in a way, letting you grip the slate without triggering accidental touches when you’re using it. The ports and button placement are standard, so when the device is held in the landscape orientation, you can see the power key on the left, discrete volume keys and a microSD card slot on top, and a Type-C port on the right. The tablet offers quad speakers too, with two of them placed on either side. The rear stands out with its dual-toned design, with a textured finish on the top portion, and a large camera lens sticking out towards the side.


  • The 10.36-inch display is of the LCD variety, and comes with 60Hz refresh rate, though that’s to be expected in this price range. It does offer 2k (2,000 x 1,200 pixel) resolution though, and is quite capable too… offering nice colours and ample brightness (360 nits).

  • The slate runs ColorOS 12 over Android 12, but the stock Android interface has largely been left untouched. There’s hardly any bloatware either, and anyone who has used stock Android before will feel right at home. The extremely handy Kids Space app from Google comes preloaded, and lets you create separate user profiles for kids, serving up age-appropriate content. OPPO has added a few customisation options as well, and more importantly, also included a useful set of features for multitasking. These mainly include the usual suspects like floating windows and split-screen multitasking, but I do like how the latter has been implemented. Basically, a downward two-finger swipe over a compatible app, dividing the screen into two, pushes the said app towards one side and lets you open another on the other side. It’s a feature borrowed from OPPO’s foldable Find N (review), and is quite intuitive to use. A sidebar is available as well, and you can populate that with the apps you use frequently.

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  • The Snapdragon 680 that powers the OPPO Pad Air won’t set the benchmarks on fire, but offers a decent amount of grunt for most use cases. There’s 4 gigs of RAM and up to 128GB UFS 2.2 storage as well. Most productivity and entertainment apps run fine on the device, and the same holds true for casual games as well. I didn’t notice any significant lag or stutter during my usage.


  • The quad speakers churn out decent audio, making the OPPO Pad Air a nice media consumption device. The 8MP rear and 5MP front cameras do their jobs, scanning documents and handling video calls etc… no complaints there.

  • The 7,100mAh battery lasts long, and with intermittent usage, you can go days without charging the tablet. With heavier use though, you’d obviously need to charge it more often, though that would depend on your usage. With regular, medium usage I subjected it to, I ended up charging the tablet every three days or so.

Misses

  • The OPPO Pad Air misses out on a headphone jack, which means you’d need to stick to the built-in speakers, use wireless headphones, or find a compatible 3.5mm to Type-C audio adapter.

  • There’s no fingerprint scanner for authentication. You do get the usual PIN- and password-based unlocking methods. There’s face unlock as well, though that doesn’t really work that well when ambient lighting is low.
  • Speaking of ambient lighting, the auto brightness sensor can be a tad iffy at times.


  • The 18W charging supported by the OPPO Pad Air seems quite slow and takes two and a half hours to juice up the slate fully. This means the tablet will end up being tethered to a power socket for a while each time it needs to be charged.

Verdict


With its starting price of Rs 16,999, the OPPO Pad Air is priced affordably and gets quite a few things right. It does have to contend with existing options from the likes of Realme and Nokia, and the recently-announced Motorola Tab G62 also looks like a strong rival, too, especially because it comes with similar specs and pricing as OPPO’s offering. All said and done, the OPPO Pad Air turns out to be a compelling option for anyone looking for a reasonably-priced tablet for home use.

Editor’s rating: 4 / 5

Pros:

  • Good design and build
  • Decent performance
  • Long battery life
  • Useful software features

Cons:

  • Iffy ambient light sensor
  • No headphone jack
  • Slow charging