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Ever since the pandemic, many people are looking for devices bigger than their phones for work or study. And now, there are two prominent Android tablets that I think will definitely make your eyebrows raise. We have the new Xiaomi Pad 5 and also the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE (WiFi version with Snapdragon 778G) and I’ve been using both of them for more than a week.

In today’s comparison, let’s put these two tablets against each other. Spoiler alert – I can’t wholeheartedly recommend one tablet over the other since they both have their own pros and cons.

Price

Okay, let’s start off with the biggest factor – the price. The Xiaomi Pad 5 starts at RM1,399. For a tablet with such specs, it’s pretty reasonable – but then when we include the price of the pen – which is sold separately and priced at RM399 – then the Xiaomi Pad 5 becomes RM1,798. That is now about the same price as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 FE.

Xiaomi Pad 5
Xiaomi Pad 5 @ RM1,399 + Xiaomi Smart Pen @ RM399 = RM1,798

As for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE, the price starts at RM1,899 but the S Pen is already included in the box. In this aspect, it seems like the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a better deal, right? But, let’s move on to the next point – the pen.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE

Here’s a quick summary of the specs and price.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE

Stylus

I think we’re all familiar with the S Pen now. Samsung has continuously improved the S Pen every generation and most of that technology has been condensed into this tablet. The S Pen that is included with this Galaxy Tab S7 FE has a thicker body for a more comfortable grip and a single button at the side here. It is also a passive stylus – so no battery charging is required but there is also no BLE connectivity.

With that said, all of the S Pen features found in other Samsung devices are present on this tablet too.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Samsung’s software is made to make use of the S Pen to its full potential.

However, the way that the Galaxy Tab S7 FE stores the S Pen is… a bit weird. It’s just awkward to put in the bag but it does snap on strongly at the back part here with magnets and it won’t fall off easily.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
The S Pen just sticks there magnetically.

The Xiaomi Pad 5 on the other hand… has the Xiaomi Smart Pen. While writing, the pen is grinding its plastic tip with the glass screen, similar to the iPad with Apple Pencil. The writing experience overall is also quite okay overall but it does have a noticeable delay when compared to Samsung’s S Pen.

Xiaomi Pad 5

However, the features available for the Xiaomi Smart Pen is very limited. There are two buttons on the pen but they are not customizable. And this pen will also need to be charged before using.

Xiaomi Pad 5
The only two things you can do with the Xiaomi Smart Pen.

To charge – you’ll have to place the pen at the side of the tablet. The magnets aren’t particularly strong and it can actually shake off the tablet easily. At least it’s not awkward to put in the bag.

But since the Xiaomi Smart Pen connects to the tablet with Bluetooth, that means this pen can become a presentation clicker – but it’s not going something feasible for reasons we’ll go through later.

Xiaomi Pad 5

Software

Let’s now proceed to the software side of things. I think one of the best descriptions for Android tablets is that Android tablets are just bigger Android phones. To some extent – I agree. That is why these brands are building their own features on top of Android base to create a better experience.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Xiaomi Pad 5

Xiaomi tried to do this with the Pad 5, but unfortunately, I have to say that they need to buck up. This Xiaomi Pad 5 is still just a bigger Android phone and brought all of the buggy software along with it.

Imagine this – the interface between the Xiaomi Pad 5 and the Xiaomi 11T Pro – both devices that are launched at the same event – don’t work the same. Missing settings button, missing the ability to change between different quick settings interface, and also missing 90fps option for screen recording option.

Samsung’s One UI is consistent between phones so there’s really nothing to talk about since it is literally a bigger Samsung phone. But, then comes the next part – desktop mode.

Using the tablet as a laptop replacement

Desktop mode is also a big highlight for Android tablets mainly because it becomes a PC instead of just being a bigger phone. Samsung has been excellent for years in this regard. For the Galaxy Tab S7 FE, I can easily swipe down, press on Samsung DeX and it immediately changes into desktop mode. It looks and feels like a PC and some apps have the ability to be resized too.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE

Many of the keyboard shortcuts on Windows PC works the same on Samsung DeX so it does feel like second nature to me. And I just took my mouse and keyboard, connected them to a USB-C dongle, and connected that dongle to the tablet. Everything worked instantly and I can have a fantastic time working on this tablet

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
One dongle for my keyboard and mouse – everything worked instantly

As for the Xiaomi Pad 5, the desktop mode is essentially still not publicly available. I had to sideload the PC Launcher app to have the option change to the desktop interface, and it has a lot of translation errors as well as an unpolished interface. I can forgive Xiaomi for this since this is not a publicly available feature.

What I cannot forgive Xiaomi for is the inability to use a USB-C dongle. It just doesn’t work. I tried two different dongles and the Xiaomi Pad 5 just doesn’t detect my keyboard and mouse through the dongle. If I skip the dongle and connect only my mouse or keyboard, then it works.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Both keyboard and mouse do not work.

But that’s not all – the Xiaomi Pad 5 still lacks the HDMI output via USB-C. That means, despite the fact that the Xiaomi Smart Pen can become a remote presentation clicker, it is not able to connect with other displays via a cable.

The Galaxy Tab S7 FE, on the other hand, has HDMI output over USB-C. Even works with DeX too – and we can still use the tablet while DeX is working on an external display!

Performance

Okay, onward to performance. In terms of specs, the Xiaomi Pad 5 will win hands down. With its more powerful Snapdragon 860 chipset and 6GB RAM, this tablet is overkill for online classes. Once classes are over, we can play games on the Xiaomi Pad 5 since it has a very powerful GPU when compared to the Galaxy Tab S7 FE.

Xiaomi Pad 5

The Galaxy Tab S7 FE is still powerful and can offer a fantastic gaming experience, but not as powerful as the Xiaomi Pad 5. Our unit has a Snapdragon 778G chipset and 6GB RAM and it can still run games very well. It’s just that this tablet is a little too big to hold to play games with the touch screen.

If you want a more in-depth gaming review of both these tablets, then check out our videos down below.

Size and screen

Then comes the size. The Galaxy Tab S7 FE is big. That 12.4-inch IPS LCD screen has a resolution of 2560×1600 and it feels absolutely amazing to see, but a bit too big to interact with. And it is also relatively heavy too.

The Xiaomi Pad 5 on the other hand, has a more manageable screen size of 11-inches with the same resolution of 2560×1600 – plus, it’s also at 120Hz. It’s also a bit more lightweight which makes it more pleasant to hold over a long period of time.

Battery life

For battery life, the Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with an 8,720mAh battery and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE has a bigger 10,090mAh battery. Both these tablets will last for a very long time, but the Galaxy Tab S7 FE will not last as long as the Xiaomi Pad 5 in our battery life test. They’re close, though.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE

The charging time though, is something that we can’t really compare since the Xiaomi Pad 5’s charger seems to be faulty for our particular unit. Nonetheless, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE will be faster since it supports 45W whereby the Xiaomi Pad 5 only supports 22.5W.

Which one do I recommend?

So, in the end, which one do I recommend? I think it depends on what you want to do with a tablet. If you want to get a tablet just for watching videos or playing games, then the Xiaomi Pad 5 will be a better choice for you.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Xiaomi Pad 5 for watching movies and gaming.

If you want to use a pen with your tablet, then the Samsung Galaxy S7 FE is much better.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
The S Pen is simply much more superior.

If you want to use desktop mode and use the tablet as a laptop replacement, then the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is also better since it does have HDMI output over USB-C, supports USB-C hubs, and Samsung DeX is much more matured and refined than the PC Launcher that Xiaomi is still preparing.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is the ultimate productivity machine.

By the way, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE does have a microSD card slot but the Xiaomi Pad 5 doesn’t have it.

Xiaomi Pad 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE

But, there is another tablet that you can consider getting – the new iPad 9th Gen. It starts at RM1,499 and is also compatible with the Apple Pencil too. And given Apple’s superior long-term software support, the new iPad 9th Gen is a compelling option too.

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