Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9 review: Up-and-comer
Busy making a name for itself, Xiaomi must be hoping their first ever tablet will get the attention it deserves, following a couple of flagships that had the cheek to challenge the big boys. Just like them, the Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9 will try and wow you with specs without making it too hard to guess who it is they've copied this time.
Sometimes referred to as the Chinese Apple, Xiaomi's approach to design isn't free from controversy but their devices have delivered a solid bang for the buck - hardly a surprise to users who are willing to look beyond the replica outfit.
The Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9 is, at first glance, a cheap version of the Apple iPad mini 2 - it has the same 7.9" diagonal, the same 1536 x 2048 resolution and MIUI looks and acts more like iOS than Android, on which it is based. The design is almost identical too though they couldn't quite match the slim profile. Made of glossy plastic, the Mi Pad 7.9 looks like the lovechild of an iPad and an iPhone 5c.
With a mix-and-match Apple design and a MIUI skin for Android 4.4.4 KitKat looking like a pretty convincing iOS clone you're probably thinking you know where this is going. But Xiaomi just loves proving people wrong. If the screen resolution wasn't a clue, the Mi Pad 7.9 has some specs that are sure to impress. This is the first commercially-available device to be powered by Nvidia's Tegra K1 chipset combining a quad-core Cortex-A15 processor and a 192-core GPU for desktop-grade gaming graphics.
Here's what else in on the list.
- 7.9" 1536 x 2048 IPS LCD of 324ppi, Gorilla Glass 3
- Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset, 2GB of RAM
- Quad-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A15 processor
- ULP GeForce Kepler GPU with 192 cores
- Android 4.4.4 with deep-running MIUI customizations
- 8MP back and 5MP front cameras
- Stereo speakers
- MicroSD card
- 6,700mAh battery
- Competitive price
- No cellular version
- Plastic build
- Sold exclusively online
Xiaomi most certainly want their first tablet to make it big for reasons other than its likeness to Apple's iPad mini. Yes, the similarities are just hard to ignore but Xiaomi probably thought there's no such thing as bad publicity, especially when it's their first tablet ever. Plus, they have the specs to silence the doubters. The Mi Pad has a stellar screen, a portable body, a chipset with great potential - especially for gaming - at a great price. Whether it's the 16GB or the 64GB version, a Mi Pad 7.9 will set you back some €100 less than any direct competitor.
It is obvious too that MIUI has seen a lot of hard work, both from Xiaomi and the developer community, despite of the looks, which would make Apple copyright lawyers cringe.
The company has given up brick-and-mortar retail and sells all its devices via its regional online shops. They won't sell to anyone residing outside of the official Asian Pacific markets. So if you don't happen to live in the handful of countries they do business in (China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan), you'd have to go to a third-party online reseller to get one and hope nothing goes wrong or else you'll need to ship your product back to a service center abroad.
But back to the Mi Pad 7.9 - if you're interested in this device it doesn't hurt to read on and find out whether it is just another iPad replica or the best possible alternative that makes your budget.
Special thanks to HonorBuy for providing the review unit.