We don’t get to see too many different branded tablets here in Australia. Sure, there are quite a few of the cheaper brands but for a decent tablet there is basically Apple and Samsung. Now though there is a new player in the Australian Tablet market, OPPO, with the Pad Air.
The OPPO Pad Air is designed to provide a decent experience but at an affordable price. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 (mid-range) and sports a big 10.36-inch IPS LCD display. Tablets these days are often used for consumption of media and as such OPPO has included four stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support.
The OPPO Pad Airis extremely thin and light, hence the “Air” moniker, coming in at just 6.9mm thin and weighs in at a feathery 440 grams. In the hand it feels extremely easy to hold with OPPO including a “Sunset Dune 3D” textured top of the rear of the device to make it easier to hold. Personally, I normally use my tablets in landscape mode and hold it on the sides so the textured rear means nought to me – but it does look great.
The body is actually a premium-feeling anodised aluminium although the textured section is apparently plastic.
The rear of the body is complete with a camera – you won’t and you shouldn’t be using this for your keepsakes but would certainly suffice for taking photos of items required for your work environment.
The front of the Pad Air houses the massive display and some relatively small bezels – you really don’t want them too small on a tablet or you won’t be able to hold it properly without triggering a touch on the display. When holding the tablet landscape the selfie camera is situated in the middle at the top of the display.
This selfie camera is also used for OPPO’s face unlock which is great but it did not seem as fast as that on their premium smartphones. In saying that, it is still one of the fastest available on the market.
Tablets are used mostly for media consumption, so it is important for one to be successful that it has a decent display. The Oppo Pad Air has a 10.36-inch IPS LCD display with 1200 x 2000-pixel resolution, which is a 5:3 aspect ratio.
The display looks decent while watching movies – even in those dark scenes of a horror flick and although you won’t get a perfect experience it is definitely still good enough for most of us. If you wish to change the temperature and white point etc of the display OPPO has included controls for that within their ColorOS 12 operating system.
OPPO’s four speakers put out decent sound but I expected louder and better from four speakers with Dolby Atmos support. I’m not normally one for using the speakers on a tablet (or a smartphone for that matter) though because I find it obnoxious and inconsiderate of others around you and who doesn’t carry headphones with them these days if you are going to be consuming media on any device for any extended period of time.
For video conferencing though the speakers were crisp and accurate and allowed me to easily hear and decipher the other end of the conversations.
Battery Life and Charging
The OPPO Pad Air sports a massive 7,100mAh battery which alongside a mid-range Snapdragon 680 promise amazing battery life. In my use I was able to consume Netflix etc for close to 10 hours with ebook reading and web browsing lasting for longer than that.
If you are on a long flight somewhere (lucky you) then you will need to make sure you take your charger for the Pad Air along with you. The Pad Air does support 18W fast charging via the charger included in the box (along with USB PD) which is actually a bit disappointing.
OPPO currently includes up to 80W charging with their premium smartphones and even 30W and 65W with their mid- and entry-level smartphones so 18W is not good enough. OPPO has included so much research into their VOOC charging and it is surprising to see them not use it in this tablet – it is possible that using VOOC on such a large battery and VOOC charging it for so long would degrade the battery but that is the only reason I can see for not including it.
ColorOS is now one of my favourite Android skins and the new Tablet version of ColorOS is much of the same. There are all the usual enhancements that many love from ColorOS for phones plus a couple that work especially well on tablets.
Split screen is of course great for multitasking and with a 12-inch display is essential. It is also super easy to use – you can either draw down from the top of the display with two fingers or you can hit the split screen icon above the app in the recents menu. Easy and useful.
OPPO also has a new implementation of MultiScreen Connect that allows you to control your phone from the display of your tablet – as long as your phone is an OPPO smartphone running Android 12 or above. The tablet and phone connect directly to each other and then you can no only see the phone notifications on the tablet but also control the replies etc. You can also open and run apps that way too. This is extremely useful and given the tablet is a more affordable tablet is a surprise to see it working so well.
Unfortunately my main issue with the software on the OPPO Pad Air was with app compatibility which is not their fault but Google’s and the app developers. The NBA app was unable to stream games because the app did not talk to the GPS/location of the Android system properly. After a few back and forths with the app developers they said “oh yes, it’s a bug we are working on fixing.” Whether this is Google’s or the app developers’ fault I have no idea but Kayo worked fine so I’m assuming it’s the developer. Extremely annoying and you can bet they wouldn’t release an app to iOS with such a massive bug.
I’m not convinced that tablets are all that useful for gaming. I find them cumbersome to hold and navigate and control actions within games due to their sheer size. For those who do want to use the tablet for gaming do not expect to get premium performance from it.
For the more mild games such as a 1942-style game I did not have a single issue but for the faster-paced FPS games there was a small amount of lag. For most though, the OPPO Pad Air will be used for media consumption and productivity and for that the combination of the mid-range Snapdragon chipset and the 4GB of RAM is enough, just.
I do wonder just how much extra it would have cost OPPO to stick 8GB of RAM into the tablet as that would undoubtedly improve performance. While we are talking about short-changing on specs I do need to make mention of the lack of storage memory. OPPO has included JUST 64GB of storage, with 14GB of that taken up with the operating system, leaving just 50GB for apps, movies etc. This is woefully inept and whoever’s decision it was to only put 64GB in a multimedia device should rethink their choice. There is of course a microSD card slot but this is 2022, you should not have to resort to an SD card.
OPPO Smart Cover
OPPO included their smart cover with the review Pad Air. while it pales in comparison to that from some other brands it performs relatively well. The crease to sit the tablet halfway up wasn’t deep enough for a solid stand but I was able to use the flap at the top to get it to sit comfortably in the end.
I would say that if you are going to be buying this tablet, buy the OPPO Smart Cover — it’s not like there will be a heap of aftermarket cases available like there is for iPads.
Is there a place for the OPPO Pad Air in Australia?
Without a doubt. For those who want to purchase a tablet to perform basic tasks such as emails, web surfing along with multi-media consumption without breaking the bank there is very little available here in Australia — especially in the 10-inch range. The OPPO Pad Air sits comfortably in this range and offers great value for money.
Retailing at RRP $379 the OPPO Pad Air is a budget option when compared to the higher end Samsung and Apple tablets. As such you should not expect the same performance but for most people it will be able to comfortably perform all tasks asked of it.
I can certainly recommend the OPPO Pad Air if your budget cannot stretch as far as an iPad and you want a lightweight, decent tablet for basic use. Just remember if you want to store movies and more on it you may want to also purchase a micro-SD card for it at the same time.
- Body: 245.1×154.8×6.9mm, 440g
- Display: 10.36-inch IPS LCD, 1B colours, 360 nits, 1200x2000px resolution, 15:9 aspect ratio, 225 ppi, Stylus support
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G: Octa-core, Adreno 610.
- Memory: 64GB 4GB RAM; microSDXC.
- OS/Software: Android 12, ColorOS 12
- Rear camera: 8 MP, f/2.0.
- Front camera: 5 MP, f/2.2.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 7100mAh; Fast charging 18W, USB Power Delivery, Reverse charging.
- Misc: Accelerometer, gyro, compass; stereo speakers (4 speakers).