Oppo Pad Neo review
Image: supplied.

Oppo Pad Neo review: a good indoor read

8.2

Shaped more like a magazine than a movie screen, the Android-powered Oppo Pad Neo tablet is easy on the eyes. 

Tablet screens tend to come in two main shapes, or “aspect ratios”. Apple’s iPad features a 4:3 aspect ratio, meaning it’s roughly the shape of an A4 sheet of paper. Meanwhile, most Android tablets feature a much wider 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio, shaped more like a widescreen movie.

Either way, there’s a trade-off, depending on what you want from your tablet. Turn a 16:9 Android tablet sideways to landscape mode and it’s great for watching blockbuster movies, whereas the more squarish 4:3 iPad will offer a letterboxed picture with black bars at the top and bottom.

Yet hold an iPad upright in portrait mode and it’s perfect for reading, whereas the Android tablet is more awkward to hold. The 4:3 aspect ratio is also better for working with productivity apps like word processors and spreadsheets.

The new Android-powered Oppo Pad Neo bucks the trend with an unusual 7:5 aspect ratio. It’s a compromise between 4:3 and 16:9, aiming to offer the best of both worlds, although it’s closer to the shape of a book than a movie. To be fair it’s not alone, with the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+ opting for an 8:5 aspect ratio.

Oppo Pad Neo review

Oppo Pad Neo first impressions

With a slender, lightweight design, the 11.4-inch Oppo Pad Neo has an elegant look and feel. At first glance, it’s an identical shape to an 11-inch iPad, but look closer and you notice the long side is about 2.5 cm longer.

The Pad Neo feels comfortable to hold in portrait or landscape mode, although it’s interesting to note that, unlike an iPad, the front camera is located in the centre of the long edge. Oppo obviously expects the tablet to be held sideways in landscape mode, at least when making video calls, as your hand would likely cover the camera when holding it upright.

The power and volume buttons are at the top right in portrait mode, meaning they’re still easy to access on the top left when you turn it sideways. At the rear, you’ll find a single camera lens, directly behind the selfie camera. The highly reflective strip across the back adds some style by contrasting with the body’s matte finish, although unfortunately, the strip is a fingerprint magnet.

Turn the tablet over in your hands and you’ll find a USB-C charging port on one short side, and what looks like a SIM slot on the other side – but is only a microSD slot. Each short side also features two speakers to boost its multimedia credentials in landscape mode, including support for Dolby Atmos.

Fire up the tablet and you’re presented with a crisp 2408 x 1720 LCD screen, which is more than enough to do justice to Full HD 1080p video but not 4K. While the screen supports a 90 Hz refresh rate and 10-bit colour, the 400 nits brightness is a little disappointing and there’s no HDR support when watching streaming services like Netflix.

Oppo Pad Neo specifications

Display size11.4 -inch 7:5 aspect ratio
Display resolution2408×1720 pixel (260 ppi)
Display technologyLCD (LTPS) 
Brightness400 nits
CPUMediaTek Helio G99 (8 core)
GPUArm Mali-G57 MC2
Rear camera8MP; f/2.0; FOV 78°
Front camera8MP; f/2.0; FOV 78.2°
RAM6 GB LPDDR4X
Onboard storage128 GB UFS2.2
microSD slotYes
ChargingUSB-C with support for 33W SUPERVOOC fast charging
Battery8000 mAh
Wi-FiWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11a/b/g/n
WLAN 2.4G/WLAN 5.1G/WLAN 5.8G
BluetoothBluetooth 5.2 Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC
Operating systemColorOS 13.2 (based on Android 13)
SecurityFace Unlock
Dimensions255.12 x 188.04 x 6.89 mm
Weight538 gm
ColoursGrey
Price$449 RRP
Warranty2 years
Official websiteOppo Australia

Features

Similar to Oppo’s smartphones like the A18 and Reno 11 F 5G, the Oppo Pad Neo runs Android 13, customised with Oppo’s own ColorOS. Oppo says the tablet will receive three major Android updates and with quarterly security updates for four years. 

Under the bonnet it packs an 8-core MediaTek Helio G99 power plant, accompanied by a generous 6 GB of RAM but only 128 GB of storage which can be expanded via microSD.

The 2408 x 1720 pixel LCD (LTPS) display is more than sufficient for day-to-day tasks, although those with an eye for picture quality will be disappointed that it doesn’t support HDR for greater detail in the brightest highlights and deepest shadows.

Meanwhile, the quad speakers offer a wide soundstage in landscape mode, with good volume even if the sound is a little lacking in the low end.

One of the Oppo Pad Neo’s big selling points is the “ReadFit” screen designed to be easy on the eyes. Thankfully it’s not another attempt to create a paper-like display, such as that on the TCL Nxtpaper 10s tablet. Instead, ReadFit reduces screen flicker and adjusts the colour temperature, including a reduction in blue light which can interfere with sleep patterns.

The Pad Neo features a decent 8000 mAh battery which is good for around 14.5 hours of continuous video playback – a figure helped by that limited 400-nit brightness. Regardless, it should make it to the end of most days before needing a recharge.

The tablet is compatible with a 33W SUPERVOOC fast charger. Unfortunately, it’s not in the box, but rather a $35 optional extra (as is the $24.95 SUPERVOOC cable, which is currently on special for $4.95). Oppo also sells a $59.99 smart case which protects the screen and puts the tablet to sleep when you close it.

Quality

The Oppo Pad Neo is certainly capable of handling day-to-day tasks, which includes taking advantage of Android’s split-screen functionality to run apps side-by-side.

Geekbench 6 results of 714 single core, 1923 multi-core and 1380 OpenCL aren’t bad, although they fall a little short of the similarly-priced $479 Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+ (which also bumps up to 8 GB of RAM).

Don’t expect much from the 8 MP front and rear cameras, which produce mediocre shots that really struggle in low-light conditions.

As for the screen, your opinion will vary depending on how you tend to use your tablet. The default screen colour mode is set to Vivid, which is common with Android devices, but some people will prefer Natural. In this menu, you can also manually adjust the screen’s colour temperature.

Interestingly, Oppo’s Nature Tone, which automatically changes the colour temperature in response to ambient lighting, is disabled by default. Turning it on overrides the default modes and works well as you move between different lighting environments, to provide a comfortable viewing experience. 

The adjustments of Nature Tone also help with the contrast of text on a white background when reading text. Thanks to the screen’s 7:5 aspect ratio, it’s great for reading websites and ebooks, but when it comes to widescreen movies you still need to tolerate some letterboxing.

Support for 90 Hz is also easier on the eyes when scrolling, while the auto-brightness also helps with readability. It’s not overly aggressive – unlike on some devices which get so dim in a dark room they’re impossible to read.

If this isn’t enough control, you can also enable Bedtime mode which switches to warmer colours at night, as well as schedule Eye Comfort which also adjusts the colour of the light.

The viewing experience while moving around the house between different lighting conditions is very good. Unfortunately, the screen falls short outside due to the lowly 400-nit brightness, which can make it difficult to read in direct sunlight. The low brightness also means it lacks the headroom to support high dynamic range when watching movies.

Who is the Oppo Pad Neo for?

If you’re looking for a house-bound Android tablet that won’t struggle with day-to-day tasks, the Oppo Pad Neo is certainly worth considering. Especially if you’d take advantage of the various ways to optimise the picture quality for reading, making the most of that book-ish 7:5 aspect ratio.

If your Android tablet is likely to spend more time outside, then that 400-nit brightness might leave you frustrated and you’ll find brighter screens elsewhere.

Oppo Pad Neo
With a magazine-shaped screen that's easy on the eyes, the Android-powered Oppo Pad Neo is a tempting choice for avid readers.
Features
8
Value for money
8.5
Performance
8
Ease of use
8.5
Design
8
Positives
Good aspect ratio for reading
Comfortable to hold
Screen adapts well to various inside lighting conditions
Negatives
Screen brightness struggles in sunlight
No HDR for videos
Mediocre cameras
8.2