- 7.9-inch QXGA display
- 2.2GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset
- 2GB of RAM
- 6,700 mAh battery
- Decent, lag free performance
- Crisp display
- Good battery life
- Affordable price point
- Lacks global positioning system (GPS)
- Stripped software
- Slippery rear panel
After having successfully launched a series of smartphones in India, Xiaomi, or ‘Apple of the East’ as it is popularly known, has now introduced its first tablet, the Mi Pad, in the country. With this device, Xiaomi makes its highly anticipated entry into the arena of tablets. Prior to this, the Chinese manufacturer had already established itself as a brand offering powerful, yet low-budget devices. Thus, this tablet, which comes with an Nvidia Tegra K1 chip, is likely to stand as tough competition for other tablets in the market such as HP Slate 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and Google Nexus 7. Furthermore, what really stand out for the Mi Pad is its price point - Rs. 12,999 - which is the icing on the cake.
The Mi Pad weighs about 359 grams and is 8.5mm thick which is slightly heavier with respect to its size. The device comes across as quite premium-looking. The rear panel is made of plastic and gives out a glossy finish, which unfortunately tends to retain fingerprints. It is suggested that you use a case or a cover for the rear panel. The volume rocker keys are placed at the top-right edge of the device while the power button comes just below the volume buttons. Other navigations are handled by the three capacitive buttons on the lower region of the screen. A micro-USB 2.0 port is situated at the bottom and a 3.5mm audio jack at the top. The primary camera is situated at the top left corner and a secondary front facing camera is placed at the top. Unlike the iPad Mini, the Mi Pad has an ejectable micro SD card slot to its right. The overall build quality of the device is impressive with the exception of the glossy finish, which not only retains fingerprints but also is slippery and likely to fall from the hand.
The Mi Pad, which looks pretty identical to the Apple iPad Mini, features a 7.9-inch IPS LCD display. It comes with an IPS display with a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels and a pixel density of 326ppi (pixels per inch). It has an aspect ratio of 4:3 which is compatible with most of the mainstream games and apps. The viewing angles of the tablet are quite good, though the display may not work as well in bright sunlight. The screen also includes Gorilla Glass 3 for protection against scratches. Apparently, Mi Pad does directly jab the iPad mini in terms of pixel density and aims to offer an crisp looking display at an affordable price.
The Mi Pad hits right on target in terms of its hardware. The device is powered by an Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset packing a quad-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A15 CPU to be able to handle any task thrown at it. In terms of graphics muscle, the device is powered by a blazing 192 GPU cores PC-grade architecture for the best gaming and graphics experience. The device comes with a 2GB LPDDR3 RAM and 16GB on-board storage, and one can add up to a 128GB microSD card to expand the storage capacity.
Connectivity options of the device include a dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11/b/g/n/ac connectivity, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth 4.0. The device, however, doesn’t come with a SIM card slot. The tablet has the usual set of sensors - Compass, Magnetometer, Accelerometer and a Gyroscope. If you wish to use data on the move, the absence of a 3G/4G SIM slot might pinch you a bit. You also do not get a GPS chip, so Google Maps is limited only to be accessed through Wi-Fi network. Apart from a few setbacks, the hardware of the Mi Pad is quite impressive and it's full potential is likely to be reaped by usage over a period of time.
The Mi Pad runs on the MIUI v6, a heavily customized operating system based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat, which has been developed by Xiaomi. Though the MIUI is quite handy, it appears to be stripped off some of its interesting features found on the MIUI for smartphones. The device doesn't get themes, security app, recorder, QR scanner, compass and the bug reporting tool as the other MIUI based smartphones get. A few hiccups are observed at times. Then again Xiaomi takes quite a lot of time to release the updates. The overall UI experience is smooth and is mostly lag-free.
The Mi Pad comes with an 8MP primary camera with a BSI sensor at the back without any LED flash, and a 5MP secondary front facing camera. The colours produced in the images captured using the rear camera are bright and vivid. One can also record HD videos in 1080p resolution using the rear camera, but features such as Optical Image Stabilisation and HDR are missing. It is also quite possible that several options from the camera app had been intentionally removed since a tablet is ideally not used for imaging. However, Xiaomi still throws in dynamic filters such as mono, indigo, mirror, sketch and fisheye. There is a built-in option to enhance the skin tone. The lack of an LED flash is an aspect that one needs to be concerned about. The front camera manages to get decent selfies and can also be used for good quality video calls. Overall, the camera performance is good and the image quality is suitable for a tablet.
On paper, the Mi Pad is a graphics powerhouse with the 192 supercomputer-class GPU cores to power the gaming and system experience flawlessly. The device supports 4k videos and Full-HD videos, however we did notice minute frame drops in the default video player, which can be overcome using any third party app such as Mx-player or VLC media player. The colour production of the screen gives out good clarity while playing Full HD videos. The crisp display is one of the crucial factors in making the decision to buy this device. With the exception of the sound clarity, which was not loud enough, the device can be given a full score in terms of its multimedia abilities.
The Mi Pad is the first of its kind to offer the NVIDIA Tegra K1 SoC. The on-chip combines with Cortex A15 Quad-Core CPU clocked at 2.2GHz with a ULP GeForce Kepler GPU consisting of 192 cores, which promises to give brilliant performance. The gaming in the device is pretty decent for many high end games such as Modern Combat and Asphalt 8 could be played smoothly even in high graphics mode. A closer look at the Benchmark scores revealed that the device possesses a high-end combination of both power and performance. The device is backed up by a 2GB LPDDR RAM which turns out to be quite useful while multi-tasking.
If you are a hardcore gamer, then this device is a good choice keeping the price in consideration. A drawback that we found with the Mi Pad was that one couldn’t move the apps to the external SD card. This was quite annoying since it restricted the space for apps.The sound output of the rear speakers was not as high as expected from such a powerful device, but it turned out to be good when used with a good pair of earphones.
The device has obtained a flawless 43 fps in GFXbench test, which is the best known standard to test the device ability in terms of graphics. When it comes to the overall performance of the device considering the CPU performance, data transfer rate and many other aspects, the device manages to get a score of 49050 in the AnTuTu benchmark.
This power packed device is fuelled by a 6700 mAh Lithium-Ion polymer battery which is very good for an 8-inch tablet. The device lasts for up to 5 days on standby mode and lasts for around 7 to 8 hours on continuous moderate to heavy usage. The device also gives an on-screen time of about 10-12 hours depending upon the usage, which is quite impressive for a massive processor like Nvidia Tegra K1. The device can be fully charged in about 3.5 to 4 hours and is compatible with both 9V 1.2A and 5V 2A inputs.
The Mi Pad is by far the best tablet in its price range, but is not completely without its flaws. Having said that, the flaws are not quite major and can be overlooked considering the affordability that this tablet offers. Note that the Mi Pad costs nearly half of the iPad Mini. So, if you’re looking for a tablet with a strongly built hardware primarily for entertainment purposes and don’t want to spend a lot, then this is your best bet.