Categories: Tech News

Under a Thousand – A basic drawing and doodle of Redmi

Mention the word “tablet” and there’s a good chance the geek team will think you’re referring to the iPad and its Android competitors. However, not all tablets command a five-figure price tag. In fact, the most basic ones are available for less than 500 rupees and are also very popular. We’re talking super basic dark “digital whiteboards” where you just scribble anything, erase, scribble again, erase, and repeat as long as you (and your tablet’s battery) want. They have no connectivity, no color, no sound, no apps. They are often available at extremely low prices (as low as 200 rupees) and are a gray market favorite – you can get one from a local general store or even off the curb. They are considered a great choice for children as they are easy to use and provide a writing and drawing surface that can be used again and again. Best of all, since these tablets don’t cost a fortune, even when they break, you can simply go out and get another one for about the price of a coffee at a fancy coffee shop.

The challenge with these basic scribble boards is that, as they are often found on the gray market, quality and warranty are in short supply. So much so that most people who collect them don’t even expect them to last too long. There are also no established brand offerings. Xiaomi is looking to change that with its Redmi Writing Pad.

Essentials in a stylishly designed, branded package

Priced at Rs 699, the Redmi Writing Pad may seem a bit expensive for those used to picking up basic digital whiteboards for half the gray market price. The point to note, however, is that unlike many of its low-priced alternatives, this is a product from one of India’s leading tech brands. And it comes with a three-month warranty. This is not a product you buy with a prayer in your heart expecting it to work and do for a while.

The Redmi Pad is more expensive than its rivals, but with the confidence of Redmi, here’s a three-month warranty. (Image source: Nimish Dubey)

It also comes nicely packaged in a typically orange Redmi box. Opening it up, you come face to face with the Redmi Writing Pad, which basically has a dark 8.5-inch display on the front and a black plastic back. It’s incredibly light at just 90 grams, lighter than your newspaper. It’s very thin and feels a little flimsy, but it’s well finished with no rough edges. It comes with a stylus for writing and drawing, which is a neat touch and can be placed next to the tablet. Below the screen is a bright orange button, the purpose of which is to delete whatever has been written on the tablet. There’s also a lock and unlock slider on the side – move it to lock and the delete button won’t work, allowing your content to stay on the board. There’s also a slot for the single-cell point-and-shoot battery, which you can replace yourself when it runs out.

It’s not fancy, but it just works

And it all works surprisingly smoothly. The Redmi Writing Pad certainly offers the best “basic doodling and drawing” experience we’ve seen on a very low-cost tablet. The LCD screen is very basic and a bit prone to smudges, but it’s very responsive. The pen is pressure sensitive, and while you can only write in green, you can change the thickness and shades of what you scribble based on how hard you press the pen on the surface or the angle you use it at .

The Redmi writing pad can be a perfect doodle pad, allowing you to make very quick notes or even small sketches. (Image source: Nimish Dubey)

There are no colors or anything like handwriting recognition. But we found doodling on the Pad to be fun. In fact, the Redmi writing pad can be a perfect doodle pad, allowing you to make very quick notes or even small sketches. Of course, it’s great for kids as they can draw and write on it endlessly. The absence of color also means that there is almost no eye strain when using this tablet.

The only thing we wish the tablet had was some option to save content. Right now, the most you can do is prevent it from being deleted by moving the slider to “lock”. But this is pretty much a wear and tear device. So if your child makes a beautiful drawing, the only way to save it is to take a picture of it. Yes, you can make sure it doesn’t get erased, but since the Pad doesn’t have a scroll option, you’ll have to delete the image before you can write or draw anything else on it. There are no multiple pages, no save options, and no sound.

The only thing we really wish the tablet had was some option to save content. Currently, you can only prevent a wipe by using the slider on the side to “lock” the screen. (Image source: Nimish Dubey)

Get it for your child (and use it yourself!)

The responsiveness of the screen and the performance of the pen make the Redmi Writing Pad perhaps the best super affordable digital whiteboard you can get for your child to draw and sketch. But you can also get it for yourself. It’s handy enough to place on a table for a really quick note – no shifting or booting involved. So you can literally just take out your pen and write a quick bullet point or phone number, URL or mail ID. It also has the potential to be used in restaurants and cafes – you can simply scribble the order. It’s at its best in a child’s hands, saving paper, enabling creativity and not being a strain on the eyes. But we bet the elderly won’t be averse to using it too. The battery is said to last 20,000 pages (so more than a year even if you draw 50 a day) and is replaceable. And if something goes wrong, you have a three-month warranty.

All this makes the Redmi Writing Pad a great choice for those who want to do digital drawings and doodles without entering the four-figure zone. It’s well-designed (if a little flimsy), runs smoothly, and is fun in a simply charming way. Buy it for your child, but be aware: you’ll find yourself using it just as often. And without the fear of damaging an expensive device.


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