At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsExcellent 144Hz screen Impressive performance Premium build with IP53Good speakersConsMiddling battery life No fingerprint sensorNo software update commitment Our Verdict
The Pad 6 is the best mid-range Android tablet you can buy, and a convincing rival to the 10.2-inch iPad. Even the tablet version of Xiaomi’a MIUI operating system is decent, though software support is unclear.
Best Prices Today: Xiaomi Pad 6
For a company that mainly focuses on premium products, Apple has been surprisingly good at making cheap(ish) tablets.
The regular iPad was long considered the gold standard, though the 2022 model saw a significant price increase. Even at the time of writing, the cheaper 2021 version is a better pick for most people.
It means there’s now an opportunity for an Android tablet to fill the void. Samsung has got the premium tablet space mostly cornered off, and there are a few good options under £250/$250, but what if you want something in between?
That’s where the Xiaomi Pad 6 comes in. At £369, it’s not the cheapest device around, but still has the potential to offer great value for money. Ultimately, it delivers on that potential, though that doesn’t mean it’s the right tablet for everyone.
Design & Build
Premium build quality
No fingerprint sensor
If Xiaomi wants the Pad 6 to be the Android equivalent of the iPad, it makes a good start with the design.
From the front, you could easily mistake this for one of Apple’s tablets, with rounded corners and a slim, consistent bezel around the display. While a little uninspiring, it reflects well on such an affordable device.
And the build quality hasn’t been compromised, either. The aluminium back and frame feels impressively durable, while Gorilla Glass 3 ensures the screen is well protected against drops and scratches. I had no problem using the Pad 6 without a case, which can’t be said for every tablet.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
The device also has an IP53 rating, meaning it’s protected against most exposure to dust and sprays of water. Essentially, it’ll be fine in the rain or at the beach, but nothing more extreme.
In fact, the only genuinely fragile area is the camera module, which protrudes from the back of the device causing a wobble when trying to use face up on a table. I feel like Xiaomi could have made them sit flush with the back of the device – I personally wouldn’t mind a slight increase to the current 6.5mm thickness.
Despite the premium materials, the Pad 6 remains impressively lightweight. At 490g, it’s easy to hold with one hand or use for an extended gaming session. Of course, that weight will increase if you combine it with the official cover, which is sold separately for £29.
The aluminium back and frame feels impressively durable, while Gorilla Glass 3 ensures the screen is well protected against drops and scratches
But it’ll cover up the Pad 6’s attractive rear design. I particularly like the ‘Mist blue’ version I tested, which shimmers in the light and is generally good at avoiding fingerprint smudges. The finish on ‘Gold’ and ‘Gravity Gray’ versions looks to be similar.
However, the lack of a fingerprint sensor is a real disappointment. There’s an indent on the right side of the device which looks just like one, but it’s simply part of the design. Instead, face unlock is your only alternative to an old-fashioned PIN, pattern or password. It’s very fast at unlocking, but nowhere near as secure.
Despite what it looks like, this isn’t a fingerprint sensor
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
Screen & Speakers
11-inch LCD display
144Hz refresh rate
Impressive quad speakers
The Pad 6’s display is the most impressive thing about it. That’s despite the screen being LCD rather than OLED, proving that not all compromise is bad.
Instead, Xiaomi has focused on maximising pretty much everything else. The 2880×1800 resolution is very high for an 11-inch panel, and means text and images look clear and crisp. You also get rich, vibrant colours, making it ideal for browsing social media or watching videos.
But it’s the 144Hz refresh rate that sets the Pad 6 apart from most rivals (up from 120Hz on the Pad 5). It’s one of the most responsive tablets I’ve ever tried, zipping between screens and across menus with excellent fluidity.
With LTPO tech only available on OLEDs, it can’t automatically adjust all the way down to 1Hz (to save battery life) though. Instead, the default dynamic mode simply moves between 60-, 90- and 144Hz depending on what you’re doing, or you can manually select any of these.
It’s one of the most responsive tablets I’ve ever tried, zipping between screens and across menus with excellent fluidity
Given how portable the Pad 6 is, you might want to use it outside. And that’s very possible here, with an impressive maximum brightness of 550 nits. There’s also a separate ‘Sunlight mode’, which helps to improve visibility even further.
Overall, the Pad 6’s display is a joy to use. While not quite top-tier, it’s better than the vast majority of tablets around this price (the Galaxy Tab S9 FE is £449 and only 90Hz LCD). And I’m glad to say that the same applies to audio.
The quad stereo speakers – one in each corner – pack a real punch. They’re particularly strong for music, where most tracks have an impressive warmth and depth to the sound. But the clarity of voice-based content is also very good.
The main thing lacking is bass, but the speakers are still a great alternative to Bluetooth headphones or a speaker. There’s no 3.5mm audio jack for wired connections, though.
Specs & Performance
Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 and 6GB RAM
Impressive performance, including gaming
Only 128GB of storage
The Pad 6 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 chipset.
It’s an upgrade compared to the Snapdragon 860 on the Pad 5, but still debuted in phones back in 2021. As a result, I was concerned that it might be starting to show its age.
But I needn’t have worried. Performance is very strong, and a key reason to buy the Pad 6 over many other mid-range tablets.
The only model available in the UK pairs it with just 6GB of RAM, but I found that to be plenty for almost all everyday tasks.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
I used the device for web browsing, messaging, emails, watching videos and listening to music, often quickly switching between them. There were some slight hesitations at times, but everything still felt smooth and responsive, especially when combined with that 144Hz display.
Xiaomi markets the Pad 6 as a device for work. I think it’s a better choice for entertainment than productivity, but the impressive performance does make split-screen multitasking easy.
Performance is very strong, and a key reason to buy the Pad 6 over many other cheap tablets
It’s also very good for mobile gaming. I tried some of the most demanding titles on the Google Play Store, including Call of Duty: Mobile, PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9 and EA Sports FC Mobile.
Aside from a couple of dropped frames here and there, gameplay was just as smooth as a flagship tablet. And the device only ever got slightly warm to the touch, so the cooling system is doing a good job.
Xiaomi Pad 6 benchmarks
In terms of internal storage, you’re limited to just 128GB. This will be enough for most people, but around 25GB of that is taken up with system files, and there’s no option for expansion via microSD.
The Snapdragon 870 chip has a built-in 5G modem, but there’s no support for mobile data connections on the Pad 6. Instead, you’ll have to make do with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, though both work very well.
13Mp rear and 8Mp front cameras
Decent stills in good lighting
Let’s face it, you’re not buying a tablet for the quality of its rear cameras. But while there’s just one 13Mp shooter on the back of the Pad 6, the photos it produces are a pleasant surprise.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
In well-lit environments, you can get impressive images of both landscapes and architecture without too much effort. Detail and dynamic range are generally good, while exposure is handled well.
Like Xiaomi phones, photos are usually more contrasty and saturated than reality. I personally like this, as it means you often don’t have to edit photos before printing or posting to social media. Look elsewhere if you want images that are true to life, though.
On all mobile devices, there’s a difference between what you see in the viewfinder and the end result. But it’s particularly dramatic here, so don’t be put off by the underwhelming image you see initially.
In well-lit environments, you can get impressive images of both landscapes and architecture without too much effort
However, what you lose out on compared to smartphones is versatility. No telephoto lens means you’re limited to low-quality digital zoom, while the lack of an ultrawide sensor can be frustrating. You’ll also have to make do without portrait or macro modes, though close-up shots are still surprisingly good.
The only other core feature you’re getting is Night mode, which does a good job of brightening the image and preserving key details.
On the front, an 8Mp lens can capture decent selfies. Detail and colour accuracy are usually good, though backgrounds tend to be overexposed – particularly skies. There’s also an artificial beauty mode that’s applied by default, so I’d highly recommend turning it off for more authentic results.
See a range of camera samples in the gallery below:
The rear camera can take video up to 4K at 30fps, but the default 1080p at 30fps is fine for most situations. Sadly, a combination of washed-out colours and no image stabilization (footage is wobbly with any significant movement) means it’s only really good for the occasional casual home video.
However, the Pad 6 is still a decent option for video calls. 1080p footage from the front-facing camera is decent, and movement shouldn’t be a big issue here for tasks like video calls.
Battery Life & Charging
Average battery life
Decent 33W charging
The Xiaomi Pad 6 is equipped with an 8840mAh battery. That’s slightly larger than its predecessor, the Pad 5 (8720mAh), and the regular Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 (8400mAh).
While all three are 11-inch tablets, the Pad 6 has the highest resolution and refresh rate. This seems to have a clear effect on battery life, which isn’t quite as good as I was expecting.
How long it’ll last on a single charge depends on what you use a tablet for. With just a couple of hours of web browsing or watching videos in the evening, it’ll continue for 2-3 days. But if you’re using the Pad 6 throughout the day, or for a long gaming session, be prepared to charge it before bed.
That’s reflected in PCMark’s battery test, which simulates real-world tasks at 200 nits of brightness. A time of 8 hours and 15 minutes isn’t bad, but a clear step down from the best you’ll find on tablets.
If you’re using the Pad 6 throughout the day, or for a long gaming session, be prepared to charge it before bed
Of course, there are a few things you can do to extend battery life. Turning down the brightness, setting the screen refresh rate to 60Hz or enabling battery saver mode will all help, but they also make the Pad 6 less enjoyable to use.
Fortunately, charging is faster than you’d expect for a tablet. The Pad 6 supports 33W speeds via USB-C, and the necessary adapter is included in the box. From dead, it reached 21% in 15 minutes and 40% by the half-hour mark, with a full charge taking just under 90 minutes.
Not bad at all. There’s no wireless charging, but that’s not a surprise.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
Software & Apps
MIUI 14 over Android 13
Easy to get used to
No specific commitment to updates
The Pad 6 has hardware that can go toe-to-toe with the iPad, but don’t expect the same from its software.
Android simply isn’t optimised for the big screen in the same way as iPadOS, with many developers not viewing it as a priority. So, while many Xiaomi apps make the most of the large display, most third-party ones are simply magnified versions of the smartphone app.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
However, this is a problem that affects all Android tablets, and it’s by no means unique to Xiaomi. The company’s MIUI 14 skin (over Android 13 here) certainly is, though.
I’m not a fan of MIUI on Xiaomi smartphones, but the tablet version is much easier to get along with. The split notification shade and quick settings makes a lot of sense here, while the two-column Settings app is much easier to navigate.
I’m not a fan of MIUI on Xiaomi smartphones, but the tablet version is much easier to get along with
Elsewhere, intuitive floating windows and split-screen multitasking tools allow you to make the most of the large display. With smaller icons, their bright colours are nowhere near as distracting.
Of course, MIUI is far from perfect. There are still loads of annoying extra apps pre-installed, many of which are not as good as the Google equivalent. And I really wish the ‘Clear all’ apps button didn’t leave one open. But on the whole, it’s no less intuitive than any other Android tablet.
Anyron Copeman / Foundry
However, it’s not clear how long Xiaomi will support the device with updates for. Its official article on smartphones mentions at least two years, so it’ll probably be the same for tablets. But with no specific commitment, you’ll be buying the tablet without knowing for sure.
It also usually takes a while for the new version of Android to arrive. For example, at the time of writing, there’s no word on when the Pad 6 will get Android 14.
Price & Availability
At launch, the Pad 6 costs £369 in the UK. That gets you 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and it’s available from Xiaomi, Very or Amazon.
While not officially available in the US, you can still buy one via Amazon. Prices start at $349.99, though there are also options for 8GB of RAM and/or 256GB of storage here.
There’s no option for LTE connectivity, and so no networks are selling the device on contract.
The most obvious alternative is still the 10.2-inch iPad from 2021 (from £369/$329. On the Android side, consider the Lenovo Tab P12 (from £399.99) or OnePlus Pad (£449/$499).
Check out our charts for the best tablets and best Android tablets for more options.
Should you buy the Xiaomi Pad 6?
Want an affordable Android tablet that still performs to a high standard? The Xiaomi Pad 6 is the device for you.
Its Snapdragon 870 chip might be a little dated, but you can still expect very good performance – including gaming. Combined with an excellent 144Hz display and good speakers, it’s got the fundamentals of a great entertainment tablet covered.
If there’s one thing that might put you off the Pad 6, it’s the middling battery life. And I can’t understand why Xiaomi hasn’t included a fingerprint sensor.
But unlike its smartphones, the very good hardware here isn’t let down by software. And that makes the Pad 6 easy to recommend if an iPad is off the cards for whatever reason.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset
11in 144Hz 2.8K (2880×1800) IPS LCD display
13Mp main camera, f/2.2
8Mp front camera, f/2.2
Wired charging up to 33W
253.9 x 166.2 x 6.5mm
Android 13 with MIUI Pad 14