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I put two low cost Android tablets head-to-head. This is the one to purchase

The Amazon Fire Max 11 and Poco Pad in their keyboard cases.
Amazon Fire Max 11 (left) and Poco Pad Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

You’ve virtually definitely heard of the Amazon Fire Max 11 however most likely haven’t heard of the Poco Pad earlier than — principally as a result of Poco doesn’t promote its {hardware} within the U.S., but in addition as a result of it hasn’t made a pill earlier than.

If you’re searching for a fairly priced, multifunction Android pill, the 2 have quite a bit in frequent. So, can absolutely the newcomer tackle the established champion of budget-friendly Android tablets that comes with a keyboard?

Introducing the Poco Pad

A person holding the Poco Pad tablet.
Poco Pad Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’ll come again to the Amazon Kindle Fire Max 11 shortly however I wish to correctly introduce Poco and the Poco Pad. Poco is a part of the Xiaomi household and was as soon as well-liked for promoting one low-cost, surprisingly good smartphone. Since then, it has remodeled right into a model and sometimes targets younger tech consumers with its flashy, affordable Android phones. The Poco Pad is its first pill, and unexpectedly goes towards its love of shiny colours and funky designs.

Made of aluminum, the Poco Pad is a hefty beast at 571 grams and a whopping 1.02 kilograms with the keyboard case hooked up, however a modest 7.5mm thick, so it all the time feels snug to carry. The 12.1-inch LCD display screen has a 2560-by-1600-pixel decision, a 120Hz refresh fee, help for a stylus, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 excessive. Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 cellular chip with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of cupboard space, and microSD card help.

On the again is an 8MP digital camera, which is repeated on the entrance, the place it’s set within the prime bezel for those who’re trying on the display screen in panorama. The battery has a large 10,000mAh capability with 33W wired charging, and the software program is Xiaomi’s HyperOS, which is predicated on Android 14. It’s the identical software program you discover on Poco’s latest F6 and F6 Pro smartphones and the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, too.

What in regards to the Fire Max 11?

A person holding the Amazon Fire Max 11.
Amazon Fire Max 11 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

You can purchase the Poco Pad with a keyboard case and a stylus, which is how I’ve been testing it. That means it’s the identical package deal as a fully-specced Amazon Fire Max 11. Amazon’s re-imagined pill got here out in mid-2023 and I actually appreciated it on the time, and have additionally loved revisiting it in 2024, the place I discovered it nonetheless has only a few pure rivals. But once you verify the Poco Pad’s value, you’ll discover it is vitally related.

The Fire Max 11 has an 11-inch LCD display screen with a 2000-by-1200-pixel decision and a 60Hz refresh fee, housed in a 490-gram steel physique that’s 7.5mm thick. The package deal with the keyboard case is lighter than the Poco Pad at 907 grams and way more compact, too. It fortunately matches in my crossbody bag and doesn’t really feel as very like a mini laptop computer because the Poco Pad.

It has a MediaTek MT8188 processor with 4GB of RAM and both 64GB or 128GB of cupboard space, plus a microSD card slot. Like the Poco Pad, it has a pair of 8MP cameras, once more with the entrance digital camera within the prime bezel in panorama orientation. Amazon doesn’t state the battery capability and solely affords 15W wired charging. The software program is Amazon’s Fire OS, which is predicated on Android 11.

Screen and battery life

The Poco Pad and Amazon Fire Max 11's screen.
Poco Pad (left) and Amazon Fire Max 11 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Fire Max 11 is a superb pill for video, however the Poco Pad’s larger, higher-resolution display screen is a substantial temptation, even when it isn’t a fascinating OLED. There’s no getting away from the Poco Pad’s superior decision and better brightness. Videos look glorious, and so they expose the Fire Max 11’s shortcomings when the 2 are put alongside one another.

The Amazon pill’s display screen doesn’t look dangerous, however it isn’t fairly as sharp or shiny, simply as you’d count on from the specification. However, I typically discovered I prefered the tone and distinction ranges on the Fire Max 11, which is extra pure and never fairly as washed out because the Poco Pad’s display screen.

How about battery efficiency once you watch movies? Watching a 40-minute YouTube video performed at most decision, 1080p on the Fire Max 11 and 2160p on the Poco Pad, and at full brightness noticed the Fire Max 11’s effectivity shine via. The Poco Pad used 12% of its battery whereas the Fire Max 11 used solely 7%; its effectivity is assisted by its modest specification and lower-resolution playback. If you’re planning to make use of your new pill for lengthy intervals of time with out charging, the Fire Max 11 could go well with you higher.

Working on the Poco Pad

The Poco Pad and Amazon Fire Max 11 with their keyboard cases.
Amazon Fire Max 11 (left) and Poco Pad Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

You can get the Poco Pad with a keyboard case, identical to you may with the Fire Max 11. With Google Play installed on the Fire Max 11, it makes a pleasant, handy, however fundamental work machine. For the worth, although, it’s surprisingly competent, supplied you don’t need way more than Microsoft Office or Google’s instruments to get issues performed. The Poco Pad seems to be way more like a laptop computer, so does it carry out like one?

The Poco Keyboard is a whole case that clips onto the pill and provides it a stable base for its keys. To prop up the display screen, it magnetically clips to a slot on the flat keyboard part, holding itself at an angle. The keyboard makes use of Bluetooth to hook up with the pill and needs to be arrange manually, and there’s a bodily on/off swap alongside a USB-C port, which expenses the inner 210mAh battery. The Fire Max 11’s keyboard has a bodily pogo pin connector linking it to the pill.

The Amazon Fire Max 11 and Poco Pad's keyboard cases.
Amazon Fire Max 11 (left) and Poco Pad Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

What you’re studying now’s being typed on the Poco Keyboard, and the very first thing you discover is how loud it’s. There’s a definite plasticky clatter and a hollowness to the motion. It could look a bit like Apple’s Magic Keyboard, however it definitely doesn’t sound like one, though I can kind usually and on the identical velocity I do on my chiclet keyboard of selection. The journey is excellent, however there’s little or no resistance. It fits me, however for those who’re after a refined and expensive-feeling keyboard to go along with your pill, this isn’t it.

Outside in overcast daylight, there’s a whole lot of reflection on the display screen, however it’s nonetheless usable with brightness at most. However, the dimensions of the display screen is excellent, and it’s a really related expertise to engaged on my MacBook Air quite than my iPad Pro. It’s handy for me to make use of Google Docs to work, however it does want an web connection to open and edit paperwork. The Poco Pad linked with no downside to my iPhone 15 Pro Max’s hotspot. All-in-all, the Poco Pad and Keyboard is a stable work companion, however the racket it makes when typing does nothing to cover its relative cheapness.

Working on the Fire Max 11

A close-up of the Poco Pad's keyboard keys.
Poco Pad Keyboard Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Poco Pad with its Keyboard Case is way more laptop-like than the Fire Max 11, which doesn’t sit stably in your lap attributable to its kickstand. The keyboard is much extra nice to kind on, although, ideally at a desk, with a quieter and extra satisfying motion. I can kind on it on the identical velocity because the Poco Pad, and the accuracy is identical. There is one large distinction between the 2 keyboards: the Fire Max 11 has a touchpad.

This isn’t fairly the benefit you could assume it’s, because it’s fairly small, the assorted gestures are laborious to execute, and the button has an inexpensive, disagreeable clicky motion once you press all the way down to choose. I discover it’s preferable to make use of a mixture of the touchpad and the touchscreen, however skewed towards the display screen. It’s undoubtedly useful, however I don’t take into account it a purpose to purchase the Fire Max 11 over the Poco Pad.

The Amazon Fire Max 11's keyboard.
Amazon Fire Max 11 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Visibility in shaded daylight is nice on each tablets, so it’s potential to work exterior supplied you’re not in direct solar, however there’s no denying the Poco Pad’s bigger display screen is fascinating. It feels extra grown-up than the smaller Fire Max 11, however the Amazon pill and its textured magnetic case are extra tactile and expensive-feeling. My work calls for are fairly low, and each tablets are capable of deal with them with no downside.

What about residing with the tablets?

The back of the Amazon Fire Max 11 and Poco Pad.
Amazon Fire Max 11 (left) and Poco Pad Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There’s a really large distinction between the 2 tablets we haven’t spoken about but, and it’s the software program. Amazon’s pill makes use of its personal Fire OS based mostly on Android 11 with the Amazon App Store on board, whereas the Poco Pad has HyperOS based mostly on Android 14 with the Google Play Store. Using the Fire Max 11 is a bit like stepping again in time in comparison with the very trendy Poco Pad.

There are extra apps accessible via the Google Play Store than there are within the Amazon App Store, making it simpler to search out what you need and to get work performed on the Poco Pad. However, with some endurance, you can install Google Play on the Fire Max 11 do you have to really feel like trying it. I haven’t seen an excessive amount of distinction in efficiency between the 2, and each play common video games with no downside however aren’t designed for extra graphically intensive video games or lengthy play periods.

The sides of the Amazon Fire Max 11 and Poco Pad.
Amazon Fire Max 11 (left) and Poco Pad Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I just like the Poco Pad’s face recognition, which the Fire Max 11 doesn’t have, and its 3.5mm headphone jack. The Poco Pad has quad audio system with Dolby Atmos help, plus a helpful graphic equalizer characteristic hidden within the settings. The Fire Max 11 makes do with a pair of audio system, however they sound fuller and extra nice than the Poco Pad’s tinny, harsh audio system in any respect volumes, even once you fiddle with the equalizer.

What in regards to the batteries? The Poco Pad’s large battery will last more, and Poco claims 16 hours of video playback on a single cost, whereas Amazon simply states a extra basic 14 hours of use on a single cost. However, as mentioned earlier, the Fire Max 11 is surprisingly environment friendly, and relying on what you’re doing, they might equal out to run for related quantities of time. But it’s recharge time that actually separates the 2. It takes greater than 4 hours to recharge the Fire Max 11’s battery utilizing the included charger, which is terrible by trendy requirements. The Poco Pad comes with a 33W charger, and with it, the battery reaches 50% cost in an hour, and a full cost takes about two hours. This is a significant purpose why you could select the Poco Pad over the Fire Max 11.

Price and availability

The Amazon Fire Max 11 and Poco Pad together, showing the back panels.
The Poco Pad (prime) and the Amazon Fire Max 11 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Amazon Fire Max 11 is the simplest of the 2 tablets to search out and buy. The pill, keyboard, and stylus package deal from Amazon at the moment prices $330. Considering it’s important to pay at the very least that to get the Tenth-generation Apple iPad alone, it’s nice worth. The Poco Pad is more durable to supply in the mean time, however this could change as we transfer farther from its preliminary launch.

Right now, the Poco Pad could be bought via resellers in China for $300, whereas the keyboard case is anticipated to price $80 and the stylus $60. If you don’t need the stylus there isn’t a lot distinction in value, and don’t neglect the Poco Pad has a considerably larger specification than the Fire Max 11.

In typical Poco and Xiaomi trend, the Redmi model has its personal interpretation of the Poco Pad in its vary. It’s known as the Redmi Pad Pro, and it prices 250 British kilos, or about $316. The keyboard is 90 kilos, or round $115. The specification seems to be the identical because the Poco Pad. For comparability, within the U.Okay., the Fire Max 11 with the keyboard case begins at 340 kilos.

Which one do you have to purchase?

The back of the Poco Pad.
Poco Pad Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

In order to get to an affordable conclusion right here, we have to go away apart the inherent issues with Android on tablets, which applies to each fashions. It’s merely not as nicely optimized and doesn’t have the identical quantity of tablet-ready apps as iOS does. I nonetheless assume an Apple iPad, virtually regardless of which one, will likely be a wiser long-term buy than an Android pill.

However, utilizing the Poco Pad and the Amazon Fire Max 11 has been very attention-grabbing. The Fire Max 11 is a 12 months outdated, however it nonetheless holds up very well, and though the software program is out-of-date, it doesn’t hamper the pill, particularly if you wish to watch movies and browse books. There are not any apparent efficiency drawbacks, the keyboard feels nice to kind on, and the sound is best than the Poco Pad’s, too. But the Poco Pad’s sooner charging and probably longer battery life is an enormous profit, and makes the Fire Max 11 present its age greater than every other facet.

The back of the Amazon Fire Max 11.
Amazon Fire Max 11 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Fire Max 11 is the one to purchase right here, although, particularly for those who’re a frequent Amazon shopper, and it represents excellent worth for cash. The Poco Pad with its keyboard case comes a really shut second, however it trails due to it being more durable to search out, together with a budget, touchpad-less keyboard and its substandard audio system. I’m not all the time satisfied the display screen is best, even whether it is bigger. While it’s a loss for the Poco Pad, it’s nonetheless nice information for us as a result of it’s a stable, really helpful buy, and the extra moderately priced Android tablets with a keyboard case actually exist, the higher it’s for all of us.

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