Truth 1: Not-that-expensive tablets have been in the market for years now.
Truth 2: In the past, it was hard(er) to recommend any of the cheap(er) tablets, mainly because it was easy to tell that many of the must-have tablet features were sacrificed to cut costs (and thus be able to cut their pricing).
But then something like Realme Pad 2 comes along and you actually get a tablet that’s quite affordable, and so does not create that big of a dent in your bank account, and yet has must-consider features that make the unit stand out in a crowded tablet market.
Realme debuted in 2018, but – thus far – it only has two tablets, the Realme Pad that was released in 2021, and the Realme Pad 2 that found its way in the Philippines only this October. There are major differences between the two, highlighting the “evolution”, if you will, of the line.
Start with the bigger size, since Realme Pad 2 has an 11.5-inch IPS display, while the earlier iteration was only 10.4”. Admittedly, the setting up took longer than I – personally – desired (e.g. too many info asked of me to proceed to the next steps), but as soon as this tablet is set, you’d immediately notice the slimmer bezels around the screen (still apparent, yes, but definitely slimmer); 2K (2,000 x 1,200) display that guarantees sharp details (no pixelated stuff here); and up to 120Hz refresh rate (meaning, this is fast enough to make most happy). As FYI: The screen is a smudge magnet, so the lack of pre-installed screen protector is a slight bummer (though not a deal breaker).
Only 7.2mm thick (or, more aptly, thin) and weighing only 518 grams, Realme Pad 2 is light (lighter, even, than some of the smaller smartphones in the market nowadays), and so light you’d almost immediately worry you could break it (at least that’s what it felt like for me). But since this is handy, you’d really only worry about the weight when using this with one hand (though, seriously, who uses any tablet only with one hand?), or for handling for long periods of time (like when doing movie marathons, or playing games, or trapped in nonstop reel viewing).
Available in two finishes — Imagination Grey and Inspiration Green – Realme Pad 2 has a metal rear panel with a dual-tone appearance. In the green unit reviewed by Upgrade Magazine, a bigger part has darker matte finish covering, while the strip running down from the camera module has lighter textured finish.
Realme Pad 2 has a 5-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The back camera, in particular, has a well thought of design – i.e. two cams “contained” in a round module, as opposed to simply dotting the space as if their placement was unplanned.
On one side of the tablet (almost at the edge of one side), you have the volume buttons; on the opposite side of that, you have the SIM card tray (that can accommodate only one SIM card and one microSD card for up to 1TB of storage); on top is the power button; at the bottom is the charging port; and both on top and the bottom, you have quad speakers supporting Dolby Atmos (alas, there’s no headphone jack for those still into plugging in, though – fortunately – even at high volume levels, Realme Pad 2 has no tunog lata/tin can sound).
Realme Pad 2 has standard communication features, including: Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.2, support for LTE bands, and satellite GPS.
All in all, appearance-wise, this unit looks sleek… and yes, expensive-looking. Not a shabby addition to anyone’s existing gadgets, indeed.
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE
Realme Pad 2 boasts a 6nm MediaTek Helio G99 SoC chipset (an upgrade over the Helio G80 SoC that the first generation Pad had). This is actually also used by many smartphones; meaning, this is more than sufficient to accomplish various tasks – e.g. surfing the internet, browsing through socmed, or even working using Google Workspace. A plus for me is the not-crappy capability to switch between apps (that four-finger gesture comes in handy), which – I’d say – may also be thanks to the 8GB of onboard RAM.
Realme Pad 2 comes with Realme UI 4.0 based on Android 13. That this is a UI is worth stressing as it allows you to – basically – set up the unit according to your own preference/s since (right after setting it up) there are only a handful of pre-loaded apps (e.g. Facebook’s there, but not Messenger, Twitter, Lazada, et cetera). Better yet: You can uninstall the preinstalled third-party apps.
Other must-mention features include: split screen, dual window and floating window so you can open more windows (even of the same app) that may be essential for multi-taskers – e.g. one time, no slowdown was noted even while I was uploading articles on our websites while watching YouTube videos and while checking emails.
Now, Realme Pad 2’s 120Hz display may feel smooth (no lag while surfing, for instance, or while doing basic work), but when using graphically demanding games (say, PUBG or Alien Isolation), you’d notice two things: frame rate issues, and heating (particularly when gaming was done for a longer period of time). Note that less graphically demanding games did better-than-okay.
Yet again, nonetheless, Realme Pad 2’s sound quality is worth stressing here because it made watching reels and flicks, and playing games an overall good experience. When reviewing units, reviewers always ask if the tunog (sound) is basag (broken, literally); for many, this is a deal-breaker. Realme Pad 2, thankfully, delivers a good – not distorted – sound.
READY, POINT, SHOOT
Already mentioned were the cameras Realme Pad 2 boasts – i.e. 5-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. Yes, these aren’t exactly eye-popping; instead, they’re very basic. And so when taking shots, you only get basic images (as example, when I opened the camera to shoot indoors, the very first word that came to my mind was “pixelated”). You can effectively use for video calls, of course (though preferably not while located I some dark spot). This means that while Realme Pad 2 is “capable”, this won’t be your replacement camera (although to be blunt, who lugs their tablet around for photo taking?).
Realme Pad 2 has an 8,360mAh battery unit (the earlier Pad only had 7,100mAh). How good is this?
- After fully charging the unit, it took over three days before I drained the battery while doing light to moderate tasks (e.g. uploading articles, surfing the internet, et cetera). With most gadgets needing to be charged at least once every day, Realme Pad 2’s battery power is a good surprise.
- Recharging (using 33W fast charging with SuperVOOC technology) takes less than two hours. Meaning, you spend less time with getting juice and more time enjoying it.
TO BUY OR… TO BUY
Realme Pad 2 is priced at PhP13,999 (for the 6GB+128GB variant) and PhP17,999 (for the 8GB+256GB variant). But this is actually an affordable offer, considering what you get in return – e.g. more-than-enough 11.5-inch screen; 2K (2,000 x 1,200) 120Hz sharp display; a fast-enough processor that allows you to multitask; and that long-lasting 8,360mAh battery, among others. We have here an overall solid tablet that could easily make you not dwell on its limitations, and instead stir you to grab and try it. And so you should.