Xiaomi Mi Pad: The almost perfect tablet under 15k

  • Overall Rating

  • Performance

  • Features

  • Price

Price: ₹ Rs. 12,999 (16 GB)

Key Specs

    7.9 “ IPS LCD capacitive display 1536 x 2048 pixels (~324 ppi pixel density), 2.2 GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra k1, 2GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage & expandable up-to 128GB, 8 MP rear camera & 5 MP front camera, Android 4.4 with MIUI 6, 6700 mAh battery

Pros: Amazing performance, sharp display, good rear and front cameras, better battery life than its competitors, expandability up-to 128GB, sturdy built quality, a value for money product

Cons: Slippery & plasticky construction, no SIM card support, no Theme Engine for customization

Bottomline: Following the company’ tradition, Mi Pad is a low cost high performance device which delivers amazing multimedia performance than its competitors. However, the non availability of SIM card can be a deal breaker if voice calling and cellular data connectivity is one of your requirements from a large screen device.

Not too long ago it was believed that you cannot experience the computing power of a flagship mobile product at a pocket friendly price. Budget devices had pathetic screens, poor processing power, cameras that were better shut off and buggy user interfaces. However this is not the situation nowadays and you don’t need to spend a fortune to buy a product with a sensible performance.

One manufacturer which has helped in bringing this change in the technology landscape is the Chinese firm, Xiaomi. Its low cost high performance products such as Mi3, Redmi 2, Mi4 have set new standards in their respective price brackets. And now the company’s foray of powerful yet affordable products further extends to the large screen devices with their first tablet for the Indian market-the Mi pad.

We took the tablet for a spin and here is our experience with the first big screen device from the house of Xiaomi for Indian market.

Sturdy, durable but slippery construction

IMG_20150401_115250_AO_HDR

A glance at the tablet makes its clear why Xiaomi is considered as the Apple of China. With the same plastic as seen on iPhone 5C, the non-removable back of the tablet is tough, durable but quite slippery. You have to be careful with one hand usage otherwise it can take frequent falls.

The front is very similar to iPad Mini minus the circular Home button. There are three touch capacitive buttons that sits on the broad bezel at the bottom, a 5 MP camera at the top with the sensor and Mi logo on the left.

Currently, the tablet is available in white, but Xiaomi will introduce other color variants in coming months.

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There are two speaker grills at the bottom, a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top and an 8 MP camera on the left corner with a microphone.

The left edge houses the memory card tray which can add up-to 128 GB of external storage. The power and volume rockers placed on the right give an eccentric feel because of their silver finish. The same white plastic would have maintained the symmetry. The USB charging port sits at the bottom.

With the clean lines and edges, we found the overall design of Mi Pad clean and minimal.

Superior multitasking and gaming experience under 15k

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Display: The similarities with the iPad Mini is not just limited to the design. Mi pad features a 7.9 inch IPS LCD display with the similar resolution, “1536 x 2048” pixels and the decent pixel density of 326 ppi. It is enough to make text, images, icons, etc. amazingly sharp and clear.

The screen is a perfect companion of the Nvidia’s graphical power as it was a treat to play the 3D games watch full HD videos with the vibrant eye popping colours. The tablet also performs well in the Sunlight legibility test as the good viewing angles let you consume multimedia content without any issue.

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Performance: We knew that the spec sheet of Mi pad is at par with the high-end pricey competitors. But is it really a performer in day to day usage? We tried some of the most graphical intensive games such as Marvel Champions, Asphalt 8, Nova 3, etc. The results were more than satisfactory as the NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip in sync with the 192 core GeForce Kepler GPU handled everything without breaking up a sweat. There were no lags during game play; the graphics were rendered smoothly and moreover the tablet showed minimal signs of heat.

Talking about the general usage, the 2.2GHz quad core processor took no time to load whatsoever application we tried and the 2GB RAM handled multiple tasks with an ease. At times, we realized that we were running more than 15 applications in the background and still there were no signs of slowing down. Not for a moment it felt like a sub 15K device.

The synthetic benchmarks also signify the same. You can check the numerical numbers in the pictures below:

Antutu: 49,912

Vellamo: 4,640

Vellamo: 4,640

Vellamo: 4,640

3D mark, ISU: 26,009

3d Mark, ISU: 26,009

3d Mark, ISU: 26,009

The 3D Mark Extreme was maxed out, however quadrant did not run on the device.

If you wish to buy a tablet for multitasking and to play graphical intensive gaming (under 15k) then Mi Pad is your best bet. The tablet is best in its price bracket and even outshines various high end flagship tablets in terms of raw performance.

Decent pair of camera in comparison to its competitors

Xiaomi smartphones have impressive camera modules and the manufacturer has managed to keep this feature workable on its tablet as well. We hardly have any tablet in this price bracket that can capture pictures like Mi pad is capable of.

Below are the pictures taken from the rear and front cameras –

shot by 8 MP rear camera

Shot by 8 MP rear camera

Shot by 8 MP rear camera

Shot by 8 MP rear camera

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Shot by 8 MP rear camera (in-door)

As you can see, the pictures shot in day-light conditions display good details and natural colors. However, the in-door shots have noise and there is no flash light to serve the purpose of taking pictures in low light conditions.

Shot by 5 MP front camera

The 5 MP front camera does a decent job in the day-light conditions.

However, the camera UI is not similar to what we have seen in Mi4 and Redmi 2. It looks more like a beta app that Xiaomi wants to test before the finished product comes out.

Lasts longer than competitors

Another aspect that we have noticed in Xiaomi devices is their ability to last longer than the competition. The tablet was able to survive a day and half easily with a heavy usage. We played games for about 2 hours, watched a movie, played songs, crawled through web pages at a stretch and still the 6700 mAh battery lasted for 36 hours. And on our video playback test (full HD video on full brightness at Wi-Fi), Mi Pad touched a mark of 11hours 15 mins, which is quite decent.

The audio performance on the device is also good. The dual speakers at the back deliver loud and clear sound while you play games or watch a movie.

No cellular connectivity

Undoubtedly, Xiaomi Mi Pad offers an amazing performance at an affordable price point but it completely lacks in an important aspect of connectivity. There is no SIM card integration, so you cannot make voice calls with cellular connectivity and if Wi-Fi is not available, you cannot access the internet.

This can be problem for customers who wish to travel with a large screen device and needs calling and internet connectivity on the go. Tablets such as Micromax canvas P666, Asus Fonepad 7, Lenovo A7-50, etc. have SIM card connectivity at lower price point.

MIUI 6 without the Theme Engine

Mi Pad runs on Android 4.4.4 with Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 6, which has been modified for the big screen. The left swipe takes you to the widgets and the right side takes you to the icons. The widget area does not show the dock row, which can be irritating.

Another setback is the non availability of the powerful theme engine, which is the lifeline of Xiaomi’s custom UI. So for any customizations such as launchers, themes, icon styles, etc. you have to rely on the regular tweaking stuff available in the Google Play store. All other applications are modified according to the 7.9 inch screen and works well.

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