Realme Pad Mini review: an e-reader, only better

Small and versatile, can the Realme PAd Mini really stand out as a great entry-level tablet? We do the test.

Mini tablets are rare on the market. Offered at less than €200, the Realme Pad Mini intends to combine decent features with contained format, perfect for dematerialized reading. A winning combo?

Design and technical sheet

Just a few months after presenting its first Realme Pad tablet, the Chinese brand presented a new version of its terminal, this time in mini format. Exit the diagonal of 10.4 inches, the Realme Pad Mini bets on a pocket size of 8.7 inches, much easier to slip into a handbag. A welcome change in size coupled with a featherweight of 370 gramswhich allows the tablet to fit perfectly in your hand.

© Amandine Jonniaux / JDG

Logically, this format change is also accompanied by some modifications under the hood. At less than 200€, we obviously do not expect top of the range. Equipped with Unisoc Tiger T616 octa-core chip, 800 x 1340 pixel HD screen and 6400 mAh battery, it is difficult to compare the tablet to the competition: not only is this type of form factor rare in the market, but in addition its technical sheet is not necessarily the most engaging. Next to the iPad Mini (sold almost 6 times more expensive), or the Galaxy Tab A8 from Samsung, it is difficult to compete technically.

That’s good, that’s not what we’re asking of him. With its small size and low price, the Realme Pad Mini aims above all to establish itself as a improved reader, easy to carry for reading on the plane or on vacationwhile maintaining the versatility of a classic Android tablet.

Especially since despite its technical sheet a little behind, the tablet is far from uninteresting. Its design and finishes, in particular, have nothing to envy to a more upscale model. We thus find an elegant aluminum chassis, a USB-C port and a handy mini-jack socket for long journeys, as well as a speaker on each side of the device. A SIM and MicroSD drawer completes the whole thing, while the volume and power buttons are naturally positioned under the right thumb. Obviously, at this price, we skip the fingerprint reader.

Screen: not so bad

For its entry-level, Realme makes heavy concessions on the screen, and it shows. Despite relatively thin borders and a 82% display area, the device’s IPS LCD panel suffers from its barely correct display. With its 800 x 1340 px (HD) and 179 dpi resolution, we are very far from 4K.

© Amandine Jonniaux / JDG

However, the Realme Pad Mini remains surprisingly convincing. At that price, we weren’t hoping to launch an online game, but the tablet can handle most common tasks, such as going on social networks, managing common office tasks, reading in dematerialized form, and even watching Netflix (provided you are not too demanding on quality). The display finesse is logically not the best on the market, but the Realme Pad Mini is distinguished by good brightness, very satisfactory contrasts and a more than correct colorimetric rendering. We will have no problem reading in full sun, a good point for the holidays.

Performance: an improved reader

With his chip Unisoc T616 – the same that already equipped the Realme C35 smartphone – the Chinese manufacturer opts for an octa-core SoC clocked up to 2 GHz, as well as a Mali-G57 MP1 GPU. Coupled with 3 or 4 GB of RAM depending on the configuration, the processor of the Realme Pad Mini obviously does not impose itself as a power model. For gaming, in particular, the task quickly becomes complicated. With a display of up to 44 fps, the rendering is correct but far from being optimal: to the many jerks is also added the rising temperature of the device as soon as it is a little too much in demand. Logic for this type of entry-level product, which focuses above all on daily tasks.

On the photo side too; the tablet’s only back module does no miracles. The 8 Mpx wide-angle sensor (f / 2) is not immune to noise and sometimes hazardous management of ambient light. Same observation at the front. The Realme Pad Mini swaps the 8 Mpx sensor of its predecessor for a 5 Mpx version, which lacks depth, especially in portrait mode. For video, you will also have to make do with video calls in 720p at 30 fps, so the quality is far from optimal. In reality, this failure is neither a surprise nor a problem: tablets are not known to shine on the photo planeRealme’s entry-level model is no exception to the rule.

Offered at less than €200, the Realme Pad Mini stands out on the other hand in a rather surprising sector, that of reading lights. Despite limited features, the tablet benefits from a rather satisfactory HD+ screen, as well as efficient multitasking management. Provided you are not bothered by reading on screen – very far from the comfortable e-Paper adopted by most traditional e-readers – the Realme Pad Mini stands out as an excellent alternative to Kobo, Kindle and other digital books.

© Amandine Jonniaux / JDG

With its pocket size, color screen and Android 11 interface, the tablet allows you to take advantage of all reading platforms without having to make a choice. Especially since if it does not shine with its performance, the device remains much more versatile than a classic e-reader. In particular, it can be used as an extra support for watching a YouTube video, taking notes or consulting social networks on the go, while enjoying a screen larger than that of a smartphone. Only fear for the future: the lack of almost confirmed support for Android 12. The brand has already announced that the update will not be done on the classic Realme Pad, so it is to be expected that the mini model will follow the same path.

Autonomy

Provided you do not impose heavy games on it that it would not be able to support, the Realme Pad Mini shows itself particularly autonomous, and that’s a really good point. Despite a 6400 mAh battery, the choice of an HD+ screen and a Unisoc T616 chip form a fairly energy-efficient combo, guaranteeing a good day of continuous use without any problem. Its 18W charger – the same as on the classic Realme Pad – allows it to be charged in just over two hours, which is a relatively short time.

Price and availability

Marketed since April 4, 2022, the Realme Pad Mini is available in blue or gray colors. Under the hood, two configurations clash: a version 3+32 GBand another (which we had in test) in 4+64 GB. Count 179€ for the basic model and up to 229€ for the higher version.

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