Since its debut in 2018, Realme has only launched two tablet devices so far. The Realme Pad 2 is the brand's second tablet and comes with some performance and design-related improvements over the previous model. It also adds cellular connectivity to the mix which makes it a unique offering in the sub-Rs. 20,000 tablet segment, which consists mainly of budget-friendly tablets that lack this feature. There's also faster charging, and a fast 120Hz refresh rate display. More importantly, the base variant is also equipped with 6GB of RAM and its software has been optimised for a wide-screen experience. But has Realme cut any corners to deliver a tablet at this competitive price, and can it actually beat the recently launched Redmi Pad when it comes to value? Let's find out.
Realme Pad 2 price in India
The base variant of the Realme Pad 2 is priced at Rs. 19,999 in India and it gets you 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The top-end variant offers 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 22,999. Both variants offer LTE connectivity as standard, so the higher price tag over the older model is certainly justified especially when you consider the other upgrades it offers.
Realme Pad 2 design
The tablet is available in two finishes — Imagination Grey and Inspiration Green. As one can tell, Realme is targeting both these products at the youth, and the vibrant green unit we received for review sure looks refreshing even though I did find it a bit similar to Oppo's Pad Air in terms of construction and materials used.
The cutouts for the speaker grilles appear quite discreet and minimalistic
The Realme Pad 2 has a metal frame with flat sides and a chassis with a polycarbonate insert which takes up about a quarter of the rear surface. The plastic band sits on the top-half of the device (when held horizontally) and stretches from edge to edge (including the frame) with the large camera module placed at one end. The insert conveniently hides all the necessary antennas for radio communications under it. The camera bump, although prominent, does not protrude by much and does not make the tablet wobble when placed on a flat surface.
Since there are no joints or antenna gaps because of this minimalistic design approach, it ends up feeling quite premium and is also quite slim (7.2mm). I also liked the perforations for the four speaker grilles which also look minimal and discreet. There is a large 11.5-inch LCD display with a thin bezel all round with rounded corner cutouts, which blend well with Realme's software interface.
The Realme Pad 2's design uses a mix of metal, glass and polycarbonate
Just like the previous model, the Realme Pad 2 also does not come with any optional accessories. It's unclear why the Pad does not even have a basic kickstand folio cover on sale, but this does hint that the brand does not expect its tablet to be used for anything else other than a media consumption device. And since there is no optional case or stand, this meant that I had to always hold the tablet up or at an angle when viewing content or browsing through its interface. Weighing in at 518g, it did get tiring to hold up this tablet at the required angle especially while watching movies or shows.
Realme Pad 2 specifications and software
The Realme Pad 2 is powered by a 6nm MediaTek Helio G99 SoC and has been available in a number of budget-friendly devices for a while. This list of devices also includes the Redmi Pad which is this device's primary competitor. Communication standards include Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.2, support for several LTE bands and the usual satellite global positioning systems.
There's no headphone jack for those who want to plug in. But you do get a SIM card tray which has space for one SIM card and one microSD card, with support for up to 1TB of storage. The tablet has a 8,360mAh battery that can be charged using the 33W charger provided in the box.
For a sub Rs. 20,000 tablet I was also a bit surprised to see no form of secure biometric authentication. Just like the previous model, the Realme Pad 2 also lacks a fingerprint reader and the only way to unlock the device without typing in a passcode is to use the 2D face unlock. While this isn't a secure means to unlock any personal device, it did work well in most lighting conditions except in pitch darkness.
The Realme Pad 2 is capable of displaying up to three apps at a time
An improvement over the older Realme Pad would be its software interface. It isn't a ‘lite' or a stripped-down version of the regular Realme UI interface that is found on some of its entry-level devices which also included the previous model. The new Realme Pad 2 gets the full treatment with all the personalisation features that one would expect from its smartphones, and some more. This includes a bottom dock which shows pinned and recently-launched apps that are active in the background. However, the usefulness of this dock is limited to the homescreen as it's not available nor can be summoned anywhere else in the interface or pulled up over third-party apps.
The Realme Pad 2, unlike most other Realme devices and tablets at this price point, was not loaded with bloatware and had only one preinstalled third-party app (Facebook), which can be uninstalled.
Despite not having any officially supported accessories this tablet optimised version of Realme UI does have full touch pad support (under Additional Settings) with full support for gestures one would perform on a regular trackpad. There's also the regulars like the ability to run two apps in split-screen with one additional app which can be launched in a pop-up window, letting one have three apps on display at once.
Realme Pad 2 performance
It is possible to properly multi-task on this tablet. I could keep five Chrome tabs open along with the YouTube app displaying reels side by side in split-screen mode. It's also possible to open a floating window while doing all of this and the system seems to handle it just fine, with some lag when drawing long web-pages.
Regardless of this tablet's software performance which was good for a budget tablet, I did like the aspect ratio of this wide display. It is ideal for consuming content and is broad enough to run split-screen apps side by side. Thankfully, Realme has included support for Widevine L1 which let me stream and enjoy full-HD video content on this tablet. Outdoor visibility is good, but the display loses contrast when viewed at an angle. At the same time, the display isn't the sharpest one out there (given its resolution and size) and its MEMC high-refresh rate system gets quite choppy from time to time when scrolling or when transitioning between video and apps.
As for benchmarks, the tablet performed as expected managing scores that were on par with budget smartphones at this price point. The Realme Pad 2 scored 4,29,907 points in AnTuTu, along with 726 and 1,975 points in Geekbench's single and multi-core tests. In terms of graphics the tablet managed 25fps, 55fps and 15fps in GFXBench's Manhattan 3.1, T-Rex and Car Chase test suites respectively.
The Realme Pad 2's display is the largest among its competitors but it's not the sharpest
The MediaTek Helio G99 isn't a performance powerhouse, but it's good enough for running day to day errands. This makes this tablet better-suited for casual games than graphics-heavy titles despite having a 120Hz refresh rate display. I did try out Asphalt 9: Legends and it worked just fine at default settings with some skipped frames and minor stuttering.
What I liked about the gaming and video viewing experience was the sound which has improved over the simpler dual speaker setup on the previous model. The sound is definitely louder and more immersive compared to the previous model. The tablet also comes equipped with Dolby Atmos support.
The Realme Pad 2 has a 5-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. As expected, the primary shooter offers basic image quality below average detail but closer to natural colours. Textures even in broad daylight were mostly flat so you are indeed better off shooting with any smartphone camera available at this price point.
Selfies from the front-facing camera show low detail and flat textures. This camera is better suited for video calling as it did a good job of handling background exposure when shooting video, which is useful when placing video calls.
The Realme Pad 2 has a 5-megapixel primary camera
Battery life is quite solid for a budget tablet. In our standard battery loop video test, the Realme Pad 2 managed an impressive 26 hours and 13 minutes. With or without a SIM card inside, it can easily last around 2 days with heavy usage and 3 days with casual use, which is good for a slim tablet. The addition of LTE connectivity also means that it's a reliable road warrior that can provide uninterrupted entertainment (for OTT apps) or connectivity (video calls etc.) when on the move. Its bigger battery also means that it will last a lot longer than any smartphone that's in your pocket.
As for charging, the 33W charger managed to charge up the tablet to 33 percent in 30 minutes and 62 percent in an hour, completing the charge in 1 hour and 36 minutes, which isn't bad for a tablet.
From a broader standpoint, the Realme Pad 2 remains the same in terms of form and function as the previous model. It's best used as a media consumption device and nothing more. Realme missed the opportunity to utilise the tablet as a light productivity device by not launching a keyboard accessory with it. Neither can it be used scribble on, because it does not offer stylus support either.
However, the Realme Pad 2 builds on the weaknesses of its predecessor and manages to be an all-rounder of sorts by adding high-refresh rate display, an updated processor and cellular connectivity to its feature set. At Rs. 19,999, it's hard to get anything like it in the market. Its closest competition includes the Redmi Pad (Review) and the Oppo Pad Air (Review) which may be priced a bit lower, but lacks cellular connectivity, and have smaller displays and batteries.