Xiaomi Mi Pad first impressions: a solid rival to the Apple iPad Mini

“The Mi Pad hasn’t been launched in India yet, but looks like yet another scorcher from Xiaomi”

Update: The Mi Pad has been launched in India for Rs 12,999. 

Xiaomi’s upcoming Mi 3 promises to be a killer smartphone when it becomes available to buy, and from what we’ve seen of it, looks good enough to make mincemeat of everything in its path. The Redmi 1s (first impressions) and the Redmi Note (first impressions) also look great, but these are not the only scrumptious gadgets the Chinese brand has in its kitty. Apart from a bunch of accessories and other peripherals, the Mi Pad, a premium and loaded 7.9-inch Android slate, is also part of the portfolio. Though the company hasn’t announced a price or a launch date for it in India yet, we sure hope it does land soon. And the reason for this is simple – the slate looks gorgeous and comes with loaded specs. We played with a demo unit at the Xiaomi event in New Delhi, and when you read what we have say about it, you’ll agree wholeheartedly.

The tablet tips the scales at 360 grams, and oozes class in terms of look and feel. It’s clad in plastic, but feels extremely well-made and premium.

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Encased in glossy white, it sports a 7.9-inch display offering a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. Under the screen, you’ll find three backlit capacitive keys, while the 5-megapixel front shooter sits on top.

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The controls and port placement is fairly typical, with the headset socket on top, micro-USB port at the bottom, and the volume rocker along with the power key on the right… when the tablet is held in portrait mode.

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At the rear, sits an 8-megapixel shooter that lacks a flash, but boasts a five-element lens with f/2.0 aperture. Below, you’ll find the pair of speakers, hidden beneath grilles. A 6,700mAh battery is responsible for powering the show.

Underneath that high-res screen lurks an NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, which is a quad-core chip clocked at 2.2GHz. In fact, the Mi Pad is the first device to be powered by this ARM Cortex A15 SoC, which also includes an extra battery-saving core, and a GPU that boasts no less than 192 cores. This should translate into zippy performance and an immersive gaming experience too.

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There’s 16GB of internal storage, over 13GB of which should be available to use. A microSD card slot lets you add another 128GB. There’s another storage variant that offers 64GB of expandable storage too. The slate also supports USB OTG. There’s no 3G version, but you do get dual-band Wi-Fi ac support, Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth 4.0 in terms of connectivity.

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The underlying platform is Android 4.4.2 KitKat, but as usual, Xiaomi has used its MIUI custom OS on top to offer a feature-rich and highly customisable experience to users. While we didn’t get the chance to try out its camera properly, the high-res screen looks absolutely gorgeous, and the loaded innards ensured there were no lags at all. 

As we mentioned earlier, we don’t have a pricing or an expected launch date for the Mi Pad in India yet, but if the brand prices it as aggressively as it’s priced its smartphones, we’re going to have another scorcher on our hands.

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