At a glance
Lightweight and refined designExcellent audio90Hz displayKiller battery life
Slow chargingTwo OS updatesSome bloatware
The Redmi Pad SE is ideal if you’re looking for a tablet for streaming and using social media – plus, it undercuts rivals from the likes of Samsung with its affordable price.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE
If you’re in the market for a budget tablet, then Xiaomi may have the model for you. The Redmi Pad SE comes in under £200, offering a sleek build, a decent battery life and excellent audio with Dolby Atmos support.
At this price, this isn’t a model for any heavy-duty creative work or intense gaming. However, for streaming, productivity tasks and general browsing, this tablet has a lot going for it. But how does it fare against rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8?
Design & Build
The Redmi Pad SE has a sleek design, with an aluminium alloy finish. It comes in three colours: Lavender Purple, Graphite Grey, and Mint Green. I tested the grey, which has a refined and sophisticated look – the other two colours are for those who prefer bolder finishes.
The tablet is 7.36mm thick, so nice and slim for slipping into bags. It’s also light to hold at just 478g, which is 30g less than the Galaxy Tab A8. There isn’t a case included in the box, but the tablet does come with an IP52 rating, so it has some limited protection against water spray and dust.
I have noticed that the paintwork around the charging slot has picked up some wear and tear during testing.
You can get some accessories, such as a case/stand and stylus, over on Mi.com. There isn’t an official keyboard available but third-party Bluetooth ones should work just fine.
The bottom has a USB-C port for charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The power button is on the top, and the volume rocker is on the ride-hand side, along with a slot for a microSD card. If you want a tablet with SIM support, then this isn’t the model for you as it’s Wi-Fi only.
There isn’t a fingerprint sensor included, but that’s quite common on a budget tablet. There is face recognition available, which works well in daylight, though it’s not able to distinguish my features when wearing glasses. Alternatively, you can just use a passcode or pattern.
Audio is colourful and detailed, and bass tones even have a slight thump to them
Screen & Speakers
90Hz refresh rate
Struggles in bright conditions
The Redmi Pad SE boasts an 11-inch LCD display. It comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and 207ppi, a 16:10 display ratio, 1500:1 contrast ratio and 400 typical nits of brightness. Whilst the display is bold and bright when used indoors, you may encounter some glare outdoors in bright sunlight.
Most excitingly, the refresh rate goes up to 90Hz. You can either keep the tablet on this permanently, opt for the lower option of 60Hz, or turn on balanced mode so it can switch between the two. With the high refresh rate turned on, graphics are smooth and responsive.
Whilst this may just be an LCD panel, it’s still great for watching Twitch, YouTube, Netflix and the like on. This is doubly true when you consider the quad speaker set-up, which come with support for Dolby Atmos. Audio is colourful and detailed, and bass tones even have a slight thump to them.
Specs & Performance
Performance sufficient for basic tasks
The Redmi Pad SE runs on a Snapdragon 680 chip, the same processor packed in the Realme 9 and the Motorola Moto G52.
This is paired with 4GB RAM and 128GB worth of storage, though this can be extended up to 1TB with a MicroSD card. Other markets offer higher RAM options, too.
Day-to-day performance is about what I expect from a tablet of this price point. It’s slow to boot up, and sometimes not completely fluid when switching between apps. However, you shouldn’t notice this too much if you’re just using the Pad SE for notetaking, watching videos and surfing the web.
Our benchmarking tests show that it outperforms the Tab A8 and the Nokia T21, but is on par with the Oppo Pad Air:
I was able to play Genshin Impact on the Redmi Pad SE. However, the tablet did default to low graphics settings to avoid overclocking, and even then there was still some popping and slight lag. I’d advise sticking to more basic games for this device for the smoothest performance.
Day-to-day performance is about what I expect from a tablet of this price point
8Mp rear camera
5Mp front camera
Tablets don’t typically have the same powerful camera set-ups that you’d find on smartphones, and the ones on the Redmi Pad SE aren’t anything to shout about. However, I wouldn’t put that as a huge negative, as this is very much the case across all budget tablets.
You’ll most likely be using the front-facing 5Mp camera (with a f/2.2 aperture) most for video calls, and for that, it works just fine. For selfies, the front camera has a soft look to details, and colours are more muted than what you’d find on a more expensive device.
Annoyingly, Xiaomi enables ‘beautify’ mode by default – a personal bugbear of mine as it encourages unrealistic beauty standards.
The 8Mp camera (with a f/2.0 aperture) on the rear can get clear shots in good lighting conditions indoors and outdoors – it captured the plants and greenery surprisingly well, though textures that are further away, such as leaves at the top of trees, loose clarity.
Bright lighting results in glare and lots of shadows, whilst any of lack of light results in a blurry image. There is a night mode, but this blows out the colours and doesn’t really highlight any textures better than the standard mode.
You can use up to x5 digital zoom, but I wouldn’t recommend anything past x2. Even that results in colours becoming much more insipid and images losing depth and detail.
Both cameras can do basic video recording in 720p and 1080p at 30fps.
It’s always a good sign when I’m struggling to wear down a battery on a device I use for testing purposes
Battery Life & Charging
Killer two-day battery life
It’s always a good sign when I’m struggling to wear down a battery on a device I use for testing purposes.
The Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE has an 8000mAh cell, which on average gave me two days of usage. That was with the maximum 90Hz refresh rate turned on, and not using any conservation modes.
If you turn on the VRR (variable refresh rate), or use the power-saving modes, then this tablet would stretch further.
Whilst the battery itself is a winner, charging is not. The Redmi Pad SE managed a measly 16% charge from flat in 30 minutes with the included 10W brick, with no faster speeds supported.
On average it takes around three hours to charge from flat to full, which is notably slower than some rivals and feels like something that should be well in the past.
Two years of OS updates
The Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE runs on MIUI 14, Xiaomi’s skin over the top of Android 13. You get all the Google apps as standard, including Drive, Photos, Gmail and more.
Like its phones, the tablet does come with some annoying bloatware courtesy of Xiaomi’s basic apps including calendars, browsers, note apps and more. However, the brand isn’t as egregious as some rivals.
iPhone users will be used to navigation on the Pad SE, as the quick settings is accessed from swiping down from the top right, whilst notifications show up by dragging down on the left. Annoyingly, the quick settings (which look remarkably like Apple’s) are siloed to the corner of the screen rather than being fully optimised to take up the whole top half as they do on mobile.
Xiaomi has confirmed that this tablet will get just two years of OS updates, and three years of security updates.
Price & Availability
The Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE costs just £199 and you can buy it from Mi.com and Amazon.
As with other Xiaomi products, this tablet is not available in the US.
This price undercuts Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 and is on par with the Nokia T21. That said, it’s lighter, offers a better battery life and an awesome pair of speakers. For the price, you really do get a lot.
For more options, check out our charts of the best budget tablets and the best tablets overall.
Should you buy the Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE?
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my experience with the Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE. The powerful speakers mean that streaming sounds great, and the screen is also great to use indoors. Plus, it doesn’t run out of battery easily.
Sure, the Xiaomi Redmi Pad SE makes compromises in some areas – all budget tablets do to keep the costs down. However, these shortcomings are all in the right areas, such as the cameras and charging speeds.
If you want a tablet just for videos and day-to-day tasks and don’t want to spend a lot of money, then this is a stellar choice.
Can the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 beat it? We’ll find out when that arrives for testing.
MIUI 14 (Android 13)
11-inch FHD+ LCD display
Qualcomm Snapdragon 680
Storage: 128GB + microSD up to 1TB
Cameras: 8Mp rear, 5Mp front
Ports: USB-C, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, SIM, MicroSD
Virtual ambient light sensor
Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, 4G (on LTE models)
Quad speakers with Dolby Atmos support
Dimensions: 255.53 x 167.08 x 7.36mm
Launch colours: Mint Green, Graphite Grey and Lavender Purple