The design of the OnePlus Pad Go is fairly similar to the OnePlus Pad, especially when viewed from the front. The two tablets have similar dimensions, with the OnePlus Pad Go being imperceptibly smaller, thicker, and about 20g lighter.
The sharing of the design and dimensions with the more expensive model is a good thing, as the OnePlus Pad is one of the better-looking and built tablets on the market. The OnePlus Pad Go feels just as well-built and comfortable in hand due to the curved edges.
The only difference on the front is that the OnePlus Pad Go has sharp edges around the display as it uses a flat glass with a plastic border whereas the OnePlus Pad glass has gently curved edges that blend into the metal frame. This makes using gestures much more pleasant on the more expensive model.
The sides of the OnePlus Pad Go seem similar at first; you have the same curvature that makes the tablet easy to hold and pick up from a flat surface. You have a similar four-speaker system with one driver in each corner.
The physical buttons are still awkwardly split with the power button on the left and the volume buttons on the top. Having them on the same side as the power button would have made them much easier to access. As it stands, the buttons are never within reach no matter how you hold the device.
The differences with the OnePlus Pad come in the form of a lack of contact pins on the bottom. The OnePlus Pad uses these pins to communicate with its optional keyboard case but the Pad Go has no such accessory. The top of the OnePlus Pad Go is also flattened to magnetically attach the OnePlus Stylo for charging but the OnePlus Pad Go does not support that accessory either and thus has a curved top.
But the OnePlus Pad Go has something the OnePlus Pad doesn't: LTE connectivity and expandable memory. A slot can be found on the left edge of the device where you can insert a SIM as well as a microSD card.
The back of the device has the biggest visual difference to the OnePlus Pad; while the more expensive model has a uniform metal back with a spun-metal finish, the OnePlus Pad Go has a matte texture with a glossy plastic panel at the top. It's not clear if this panel is used for aesthetic, cost, or connectivity reasons.
Overall, the OnePlus Pad Go is a well-designed and well-built tablet. It's slim and relatively lightweight with good weight distribution. The curved edges make it comfortable to hold regardless of the orientation. The awkward position of the volume buttons is the only annoyance. The tablet also has no water resistance, so you can't use it around a pool, shower, or bathtub without risking water damage.
The OnePlus Pad Go has an 11.35-inch, 2408 x 1720 resolution, IPS LCD. The display supports 60Hz and 90Hz refresh rates with a 180Hz touch sampling rate. It has a claimed peak brightness of 400 nits. There is no HDR nor always-on support on this device.
The display has somewhat similar specifications to that of the more expensive model. It's less than a centimeter smaller with about one and a half million fewer pixels, which gives a pixel density of 260 PPI vs the 296 PPI of the OnePlus Pad. Not something you are likely to notice. Just like how you are unlikely to notice the slightly thicker bezel around the display, 8mm vs 7mm.
The IPS panel has okay color accuracy, decent contrast, good viewing angles, quick response times, and adequate brightness. Compared to the OnePlus Pad, the Pad Go doesn't get as bright and the color accuracy is a bit worse with a slight magenta tint on our unit but other than that they look very similar.
Unlike the panel on the OnePlus Pad, which is mounted in landscape orientation and is right side up, the panel on the OnePlus Pad Go is mounted in portrait and the wrong way up. If you want to hold the display such that it is refreshing in the correct direction (top left to bottom right), you need to hold the tablet such that the USB port is pointing upwards. Holding the tablet in landscape causes a small amount of jello motion as you scroll since you are moving sideways in the direction of the panel refresh.
The display on the OnePlus Pad Go can only refresh up to 90Hz and drops down to 60Hz when not in use. That's a significant drop down from the 144Hz supported by the OnePlus Pad but it's worth reiterating that the OnePlus Pad only refreshes at 144Hz in Chrome and a couple of other apps, with most apps being limited to 120Hz.
Unfortunately, refresh rate adjustment continues to be a clumsy affair on OnePlus devices. The OnePlus Pad Go will still randomly lock itself to 60Hz in some apps, including Instagram and most browsers such as Firefox. The display will also drop down to 60Hz after you stop interacting with it, regardless of what is happening on the screen. If you scroll rapidly on a long web page in Chrome and stop touching the screen, the refresh rate will eventually drop to 60Hz even though the contents on the screen are still moving.
There is no HDR support on the OnePlus Pad Go, which is just as well since LCDs aren't great at HDR, at least not without full-array local dimming. Besides, the OnePlus Pad didn't do much with its Dolby Vision capability as Netflix never approved it for HDR, and OnePlus also seemingly never bothered to check.
The OnePlus Pad Go has an 8000mAh battery, which is a fair bit smaller than the 9510mAh on the similarly sized OnePlus Pad. The charging has also slowed down from 67W to 33W.
However, despite the smaller battery, the OnePlus Pad Go faires quite well, in no small part due to the relatively efficient and frugal chipset. While we don't have full battery life figures today, the device easily lasted for 2-3 days on Wi-Fi with a few hours of use every day. While testing media playback, the tablet played for about 12 hours while streaming Netflix, and the device brightness was set to 75%.
Despite halving the charging speed, the OnePlus Pad Go charging speeds aren't far off from the OnePlus Pad. The tablet was able to charge up to about 37% in half an hour and 70% in an hour. Full charge comes in about an hour and a half. These numbers are pretty good considering the size of the battery.
The OnePlus Pad Go has a quad-speaker system, similar to the OnePlus Pad. The tablet has one speaker near each corner and regardless of how you hold the device, the speakers to your left will always be the left channel and those on the right will be the right channel. Like the OnePlus Pad, the OnePlus Pad Go also supports Dolby Atmos codec and audio processing.
Despite being similar on paper, the speakers on the Pad Go sound notably different than those on the Pad. The Pad Go speakers have a bassier sound with a more robust bottom-end but the top end sounds darker and less distinct. The OnePlus Pad has a more balanced sound with a brighter high-end. The Pad Go speakers sound ever so slightly louder at every volume level but both tablets get plenty loud. The stereo separation is also great in landscape and if you play native Dolby Atmos encoded audio then the sound is especially impressive.
It's disappointing to see that once again there is no provision to plug in wired headphones. There is no excuse for this behavior on a device this big and forcing users to opt for expensive and unreliable Bluetooth audio. And speaking of Bluetooth, the OnePlus Pad Go does not support the LHDC codec but you still get LDAC and all flavors of aptX.