OPPO is gradually making its place on the French market. After having long been known on our lands as the sister brand of OnePlus, here it is now conquering many mobile segments. With the all-new OPPO Pad Air, the Chinese manufacturer is now trying to make its place with tablets, a segment that is experiencing a new upsurge in the Android world. Has the brand made wise choices for this introduction, or is it only a timid attempt while waiting to glean the first feedback from users? This is what we will determine in this test.
An entry-level tablet, really?
With such price placement, the OPPO Pad Air is meant to be an entry-level tablet. Especially as prices soar in this category, and some products can go well over 1000 euros once in your basket. But for all that, if there is one striking thing as soon as you take the tablet from the Chinese manufacturer in hand, it is that it does not at all look like an accessible product. Far from there.
Oriented to be used mainly in landscape mode, the OPPO Pad Air offers an almost entirely metallic chassis whose weight of 440 grams gives a reassuring impression of solidity. At the front, the screen is certainly surrounded by rather marked borders compared to any smartphone, but this is only for the sake of ease of handling. They are thin enough not to disturb media consumption, and wide enough for the fingers to find a natural place for a good grip. The contour of the tablet, flat and rectangular out of its rounded corners, gives it the feeling of being a small notebook that we can carry around with ease. An impression that is magnified by the official Smart Cover shell, whose small flap gives it the look of a small notebook.
But what we will remember most about this tablet is of course its back. The large flat metallic area is in fact overhung by a small textured plastic area with the appearance of ripples which gives it an original charm. It is also here that we will find the unique rear photo sensor, always a bit secondary when talking about this product category.
The landscape-optimized orientation isn’t necessarily reflected in the placement of its buttons. Like many tablets made to be used in both modes, the lock button is found on the left edge while the volume buttons are placed at the top left of the device. In portrait orientation, we find the lock button at the top right, and the volume buttons on the right edge. A perfect placement, although it is important to note that the front sensor is placed in the center of the display in landscape mode; using it in portrait mode will require some contortion for a good framing.
Note that in addition to the basic storage space, you can also insert a microSD card in the dedicated hatch to expand your available memory up to 512 GB. Attention always appreciated.
A true multimedia device
On the other hand, there is something that we miss a little: a jack port. If Bluetooth 5.1 can easily help us connect our favorite audio devices, the ability to connect a wired headset would have been a plus. For good reason: the OPPO Pad Air is a real pleasure to use for multimedia consumption, particularly well set up at home.
To understand it, just look at the characteristics of its IPS LCD panel. We have here a 10.36 inch diagonal panel supporting a refresh rate of 60Hz and a maximum brightness of 360 nits. This is a ratio of 5:3, which is a compromise on a tablet: it allows a comfortable wide display in portrait mode, while minimizing the black bars in landscape mode. However, many prefer a more optimized 4:3 for portraiture, or a perfect 16:9 for video. The panel itself isn’t the most contrasting or shimmering in the world, but still has a nice display that we won’t complain about.
Above all, it is on the side of the sound experience that is the good surprise. The 4 speakers located on both sides of the machine are able to send good volume, and the sound itself is really not bad for a device of this category. Watching a series or a movie in bed will be a very good experience on this tablet.
What will not necessarily be the case on the other hand will be… in mobility. This is where the jack port would have been appreciated, but also where a higher maximum brightness for its screen would have made the difference. With only 360 nits and a glossy screen, reading the screen in direct sunlight is almost impossible. That being said, we all know that the vast majority of tablets are used indoors. Still, being able to make this OPPO Pad Air a public transport companion would have given it a small advantage over the competition at this price.
The Achilles heel
Everything is beautiful in this world? Not quite. The OPPO Pad Air relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 for its daily performance, which is here coupled with 4 GB of LPDR4X RAM and UFS 2.2 storage memory. So many characteristics that are now aging in the mobile world, and which are the reason why the OPPO tablet has managed to reach the price it displays.
On a daily basis, you will not necessarily realize it. If not for a few ignition delays here and there, the tablet still manages to remain fluid on most of the tasks given to it. The experience offered by ColorOS 12.1, based on Android 12, also optimizes the use of this large screen. You have the possibility in a few finger slips to launch two applications side by side with great ease, or to display certain more simplistic applications as windows that can hover over the rest of your experiences. It’s all good in that regard to optimize productivity.
That said, there are a few shadows on the board. The security of the device for example, which only benefits from the simplest facial recognition supported by the very basic front sensor. No biometric recognition therefore, for a system that can easily be fooled. But also, the Snapdragon 680 and its Adreno 610 GPU are no longer quite up to par with the biggest gaming experiences available on Android. Genshin Impact will therefore not offer a very clear display or a very stable framerate. It will be better to settle for the more simplistic 2D games to avoid frustrations.
Multimedia therefore, yes, but with some limits. However, and this is the strength of this OPPO Pad Air, it is in truth the only real sacrifice made by the manufacturer.
No lie about autonomy
Because yes, when it comes to autonomy, the OPPO Pad Air is again excellent. Its large 7100 mAh battery promises 12 hours of movies for 15 hours of video conferencing without any worries. But in use, we especially notice its excellent standby mode which allows it to remain unused for a long time while remaining ready to be used at the slightest sudden desire. Difficult to take the tablet on this point.
It is perhaps on its recharge that we can be a little disappointed, since it only supports fast charging at 18W. These days, 18W isn’t exactly fast, especially for a tablet that has twice the battery of any smartphone. Recharging can be a bit long, but we can also argue that this recharging allows at least not to stress the battery too much and thus offer it a greater longevity.
OPPO Pad Air 64GB at the best price
Base price: €299
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OPPO Pad Air 128GB at the best price
Base price: €349
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Should you buy the OPPO Pad Air?
Yes ! Quite simply. The OPPO Pad Air has some limitations, of course, such as its screen which is not very bright or its performance which is not quite at the top of the standard. But these are just the classic limitations of its price class. In fact, between its display ratio, its successful design and its autonomy, the OPPO Pad Air is one of the most recommendable tablets on the market today. For a first introduction, the Chinese manufacturer shows that it has understood the priorities of consumers in this segment. Still, the competition is tough.