Artist Review: Xiaomi Pad 6S Pro with Xiaomi Focus Pen

I had bought the tablet and pen for the review purposes so this is not a sponsored post. So if you guys have intention to buy this tablet or accessories, consider using the affiliate links to support the work I do here and on my Youtube channel.


I had bought this tablet for SGD 699 (USD 520) with flip case included, and the pen for SGD 97 (USD 73) from Shopee SG. Xiaomi global store is selling the tablet at a much more expensive USD 888 on AliExpress, with other stores selling at USD 777 which is still expensive. Those in Singapore can also find this on Lazada SG.

The Xiaomi Pad 6S Pro can be seen as the middle model between the 11-inch Xiaomi Pad 6 and Xiaomi Pad 6 Max 14, both released in 2023. This tablet has the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, uses the new Xiaomi HyperOS instead of MIUI, and uses a new pen called the Xiaomi Focus Pen.

Bottom line

This has to be the most iPad-looking like tablet that's not an iPad. Build quality feels premium. The bright, vibrant and sharp display is definitely a selling point. Audio sounds terrific. Performance with the latest Snapdragon 8 gen 2 is awesome, of course. Battery life is long.

The new HyperOS v1 looks good, works fine but has limited features. The tablet has no bloatware included except for some utility apps. The Global ROM version of this tablet has official support for Google Play Store.

With this new tablet, there's another new pen called Xiaomi Focus Pen. Palm rejection works well and pressure sensitivity is excellent, on par with Apple Pencil. Tilt sensitivity is not being advertised and when tested, it does not work consistently so if you use tilt brushes this is a deal breaker. The three buttons on the pen are not customisable and locked to shortcuts of the OS.

Below are the specs comparing the various Xiaomi tablets and the 12.4-inch Samsung Tab S9.

Things included

  • Tablet
  • 120W USB-C charger
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • User manual
  • Warranty info

Specs

Here are the specs compared to other Android tablets

Model Xiaomi Pad 6 (2023) Xiaomi Pad 6S Pro (2024) Xiaomi Pad 6 Max 14 (2023) Samsung Tab S9+ (2023)
Display 11-inch LCD @ 144Hz, 550 nits 12.4-inch LCD @ 144Hz, 700 nits 14-inch LCD @ 120Hz, 600 nits 12.4-inch OLED @ 120Hz, 420 nits
Resolution, aspect ratio 2880 x 1800, 16:10 3048 x 2032, 3:2 2880 x 1800, 16:10 2800 x 1752, 16:10
Chip Snapdragon 870 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM 6 - 8GB 8 - 12GB 8 - 16GB 8 - 16GB
Storage 128 to 256GB 256 to 512GB 256GB to 1TB 128GB to 1TB
Main camera 13 MP, f/2.2, PDAF 50 MP f/1.8 (wide), 2 MP f/2.4 (depth) 50 MP f/1.8 (wide), 2 MP f/2.4 (depth) 13MP AF + 8MP ultra-wide
Speakers 4 way, stereo 6 way, stereo 4 way, stereo 4 way, stereo
Battery 8,840mAh 10,000mAh 10,000mAh 10,090mAh
OS Android 13, MIUI 14 Android 14, HyperOS 1 Android 13, MIUI 14 iPadOS 16.1
Dimensions 254 x 165.2 x 6.5 mm (10.0 x 6.50 x 0.26 in) 278.7 x 191.6 x 6.3 mm (10.97 x 7.54 x 0.25 in) 318.6 x 206.1 x 6.5 mm (12.54 x 8.11 x 0.26 in) 285.4 x 185.4 x 5.7 mm (11.24 x 7.30 x 0.22 in)
Weight 490g 590g 750g 586g
microSD card slot No No No Yes
Port USB 3.2 type C USB 3.2 type C USB 3.2 type C USB 3.2 type C
Stylus support Xiaomi Smart Pen 2 (US $50) Xiaomi Focus Pen (US $99) Xiaomi Smart Pen 2 (US $50) Samsung S Pen (included)
Price (US$)n $350 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage $479 with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage $500 with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage (no global rom) $899 with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage

The hardware is great. Only downside is the lack of a microSD card slot for a tablet this big.

Design


Design of this tablet looks beautiful. My first impression is it looks very much like the iPad Pro with the flat sides, thin bezels, rounded corners for body and display. This tablet uses the 3:2 aspect ratio instead of 16:10 so that makes it look even more similar to the iPad Pro.

I love the 3:2 aspect ratio because I do use my tablets as external wireless displays in vertical orientation. This aspect ratio also means the width is less narrow, less awkward, when drawing in portrait orientation, or showing vertical web pages.

The 32MP front camera is located on the landscape orientation. The tablet supports face and fingerprint unlock.


This is graphite gray colour. The back is matte textured metal and does a decent job at resisting fingerprints but not completely. There's a 50MP camera on the back and the pogo connector for the keyboard case. I did not buy the keyboard case because I did not want to spend that much money.

This is a tablet that looks and feels premium.

The 12.4-inch display uses a 12-bit IPS LCD with 3048 x 2032 resolution (294 PPI), 144Hz refresh rate and has DCI-P3 coverage, 1400:1 contrast ratio and up to 700 nits brightness.

In case you don't know, colour accurate monitors mostly use 10-bit colour LCD displays, and this Xiaomi tablet is using 12-bit which is suppose to be better. However, I could not measure the actual colour support since there are no Android apps for my Spyder colour calibrator.

Since the display is big, it works great as an external wireless display when used with SuperDisplay, SpaceDesk or Duet Display.


This is a bright, vibrant and sharp display.

The high brightness is very usable when used outdoors in bright environment as long as you are under the shade. I've tried drawing on this outdoors and I did not experience any overheating that causes the display to dim, an issue that is quite common with the iPad Pro at maximum brightness outdoors.


The glossy display does not have anti-reflective coating.


The bezels on this Xiaomi tablet are so thin that when I hold the tablet in hand while drawing, there's a tendency for my fingers and base of my thumb to go on top of the touchscreen and interfere with the pen.

It will take some time to get used to holding the tablet so that your fingers from your holding hand won't go on top of the touchscreen while drawing.


The display is laminated so when writing, there's almost no visible gap between the pen tip and the line.


There are four sets of speaker grills for the six speakers in the tablet. Volume is loud and the audio quality is excellent.

The USB-C port has USB 3.2 gen 1 transfer speed and can output video. Charging speed is up to 120W.

By the way, there's no 3.5mm audio jack.

The tablet is 6.3mm thick which is just 0.1mm thinner than the M2 iPad Pro (2022) but thicker than the 5.7mm Samsung Tab S9+. Weight is 590g vs Samsung's 581g.

12.4-inch is a big tablet. This is not a tablet I can hold for long periods of time comfortably for drawing unless I have it on a table or some form of support. Weight is the reason why I switched from using a 12.9-inch to 11-inch iPad Pro.

OS and UI

This tablet runs on Android 14 and Xiaomi has switched from using MIUI 14 to the new HyperOS v1 with this new tablet. I don't really keep track of Xiaomi OS so I can't really say what are the new features. Basic features such as split screen, tap to wake, auto brightness are there.

The user interface actually looks beautiful so you may not need to install your own launcher.

There is PC mode that provides a desktop-like experience with the dock, instead of taskbar, at the bottom. Nice thing about PC mode is phone apps will open at the correct size and not stretched. Limitation of PC mode is when you connect an external display, you only get mirror mode.

There is no bloatware included except for some utility apps.

The File Manager app unfortunately does not have integration with Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. To use those cloud storage services, you will have to use the individual apps, and of course when you export files there are options to upload to those cloud storage services.

Transferring your art from another tablet

If you're upgrading from another Android tablet, make sure you check that all your artworks and other files have transferred over.

For Infinite Painter, I was not able to just copy and paste the folder with my artworks to the new tablet. The problem is due to Android Storage Access Framework that locks the Android/data folder. The workaround is to connect the tablet to your computer and transfer the files using the tablet as an external storage.

If you save your artworks to the cloud, then you won't have to worry about artworks that are saved into the Android/data folder.

Backups

Xiaomi does provide several backup options with this tablet. You can use either Xiaomi Cloud, Google Drive or external storage.

I don't think Xiaomi actually backups everything. They mentioned not all apps support backups. So it is recommended to backup your artworks manually too, just in case. So it's important to know where your artworks are saved to, and backup those artworks. If you use cloud storage to save your art, then you won't have to worry about backups.

Xiaomi Focus Pen


This is the new Xiaomi Focus Pen. Yes, another tablet, another new pen.

I've tested Xiaomi Smart Pen 1 made for the Xiaomi Pad 5, Xiaomi Smart Pen 2 made for the Xiaomi Pad 6 and now there's this new pen. I am not sure if the older pens can work with this new tablet since I no longer have the old pens.

This pen is 16cm long with an 8.8mm diameter. Weight is 15.6g. The design looks good and build quality is solid.

https://www.parkablogs.com/sites/default/files/2024/xiaomi-pad-6s-pro-1…
The replacement pen tip is different from Xiaomi Smart Pen 1 and 2. There is only one replacement pen tip included in the box. I don't suppose the pen tip will wear down that fast since the tip is quite smooth on the glass display.

And since the pen tip is quite smooth on the glass display, it's gonna take time to get used to how smooth it is.


Latency is advertised as 3ms but whether you can get that will depend on the apps you use. From what I have tested, latency performance is good. The photo above is exaggerated for testing purposes.

Touch sampling rate is 240Hz.

The pen supports palm rejection, 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity but there is no mention of tilt sensitivity.


The pen can attach magnetically to the side of the tablet for charging and pairing. While the magnetic attachment is strong, the pen can still be knocked off with sufficient force.


The pen has three side buttons which are shortcuts for the OS. Unfortunately, these buttons cannot be customised with shortcuts from drawing apps.

The standalone button is called the Spotlight button and here's what it does:

  • Press and hold and you'll get a red pointer on the display. This is useful when tablet is connected to an external display for presentation
  • Press once and you can draw on the display to mark out areas you want people to look at
  • When using the camera app, this can work as a shutter button

The middle button is a screenshot button. Press once to get into screenshot mode, and you can draw a selection to create a screenshot, or make a full screenshot.

The first button (closest to pen tip) is the writing button. Press once on the home screen to open the Mi Notes app. Press once when you're using some other app to open a small notepad by the side.

Line tests


These line tests were created with Medibang Paint.

1. Initial activation force is minimal. Thin lines can be drawn easily even with a thick brush selected. Thin lines can be drawn as long as pen is in contact with the surface even if no pressure is applied.

There's slight wobble or jitter with slow diagonal lines, but not really an issue.

2. Lines can taper smoothly and sharply.

3. Line transition from thin to thick is smooth. Thin line can be drawn easily after the thick line which means this pen is capable of detecting minimal changes in pressure when drawing with minimal pressure.

4. Consistent line width can be drawn easily by maintaining consistent pressure.

5. Dots can be drawn easily.

6. Lines can join without leaving gaps or lines overshooting regardless of the angle of the pen.

The pressure sensitivity performance with this pen is excellent, and is in my opinion on par with the Apple Pencil. This pen has better pressure sensitivity than the Xiaomi Smart Pen 2 that's made for the Xiaomi Pad 6


This was sketched with Infinite Painter using the Manga Inker brush. The thin and thick lines came out exactly as I expected. Performance is predictable and consistent.


These are tilt sensitivity tests created with Infinite Painter. I've compared the Xiaomi pen (left) with the Samsung S Pen (right).

Xiaomi Focus Pen's tilt sensitivity does not work consistently, and most of the time tilt just doesn't work. Well, Xiaomi did not advertise tilt support so I guess I can't fault this as a downside but more of a limitation. Anyway, if you're someone who uses tilt brushes often, this is a deal breaker.


This was sketched with Infinite Painter using the Dry Inker brush which works with tilt sensitivity. The thin lines look too dry and rough which is not how this brush should perform.

Brushes that are affected by tilt sensitivity do not work well.


This was sketched with the S Pen on a Samsung tablet and the Dry Inker brush works as fine. I could get thin, thick and broad strokes without issues.


This was drawn with Concepts app. I wasn't using a pressure sensitivity brush. I did not experience any issues drawing except tilt sensitivity does not work well with the pen.


This was drawn with Concepts using the Watercolor B4 brush with pressure. Works fine.


Since the pen has excellent pressure sensitivity, the handwriting and note taking experience is great. Latency is minimal and the tablet and pen are able to capture my handwriting style quite accurately.

PC or Workstation mode

HyperOS has a desktop UI called Workstation mode and it's extremely limited in terms of features.

The only settings available is to enable or disable Workstation mode.

There's only full-screen mode, floating window and close. Minimising floating windows will just close them, but thankfully the last page is saved when app is opened again.

Apps will open in vertical mode, just like phone apps, and many phone apps don't scale well even in the vertical window.

Many widgets take up more space than they have do.

There's no way to arrange the app drawer in alphabetical order.

3:2 aspect ratio does not update for external displays.

Conclusion


The Xiaomi Pad 6S Pro is a great Android tablet. It looks good, has good specs and performs well. If you want to buy this tablet, make sure to get the Global ROM version which comes with Google Play Store, and not the one with Chinese ROM.


For drawing purposes, just note the limitations. Tilt sensitivity does not work consistently and the pen's shortcut buttons cannot be customised. On the good side is palm rejection works reasonably well except when affected by the thin bezels as mentioned earlier.

Pressure sensitivity is excellent and this is great for creating line art. This tablet is also wonderful for taking notes and handwriting due to the pressure sensitivity and minimal latency.

The bright, vibrant and sharp display is definitely a huge selling point. I use my tablets outdoors for sketching quite often and having a bright display makes is so much easier to work with under bright lighting conditions.

Availability

If you have intention to buy this tablet, considering using the affiliate links below to support the work I do.

This tablet is available on Shopee SG, Lazada SG and AliExpress.

A reasonable price for this tablet (without pen) is USD 500 to 600. If prices are higher on AliExpress, look for other sellers, or wait for the price to drop.

So if I’m getting a tablet for my 15yo daughter with drawing as the main focus (but I also want to get a larger size), is the Samsung S7 FE still the best value for price? (I can get a new one for $379 usd right now) I can also get a S6 lite new for $200 on sale, or a refurbished S7+ for $339. I’ve looked at XPPen magic pad, oneplus, and the xiaomi 5 pro and 6 pro. Again, I don’t really care about internet, perfect os, etc… the main focus is as a drawing pad to work on digital art and animation. We are on the go a lot. She has a very old iPad that is just not working anymore (and she wants a larger than 10inch size… ideally 12”+). Thanks for all of your reviews! I’ll try to use an affiliate link for purchase.

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