Xiaomi MiPad has been around for a while, but is still quite relevant today. This festival season, you can easily score it for around 9,999 INR using one deal or another, and that makes it a compelling product (that is, on paper) for whoever is looking forward to invest in a tablet.
Apparently there aren’t many. We have heard reports of how the tablet market has been shrinking and how consumers aren’t very enthusiastic about updating them. It’s been a while since we owned a tablet ourselves but just for the heck of it we gave MiPad a shot over the last few weeks. Before we proceed with our review, let’s get the hardware specs out of the way.
|Display||7.9 Inch, 1536 x 2048 pixels, 324 PPI|
|Processor||Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15 with ULP GeForce Kepler (192 cores) GPU.|
|RAM||2 GB (Around 1GB Free on first boot)|
|Internal Storage||16GB, expandable up to 128GB|
|Software||Android 4.4.4 Kitkat based MIUI6|
|Primary Camera||8MP, LED flash|
|Dimensions and weight||202 x 135.4 x 8.5 mm; 360g|
The big display matters
Arguably, the most important aspect of a tablet is its display quality, especially since they are popularly used as media consumption devices. Xiaomi has nailed it in this regard. The display is sharp, crisp and bright, and an absolute treat for an under 10k price.
I was often reaching out for the MiPad instead of my smartphone whenever I needed to read stuff, navigate YouTube or simply watch movies as so much more can fit-in on the 7.9 Inch display and also since chrome opens Desktop sites by default. Music was also streaming in the background most of the times, which is a luxury we usually refrain from on our Smartphones, since battery juice is critical and charging them is an inconvenience.
Also it’s worth pointing out that the MiPad includes a 4:3 Aspect ratio screen rather than the conventional 16:9. The form-factor is better suited for reading purposes as it doesn’t look like a large phone after all. However, time and again we ran into apps which didn’t scale well (like MX Player). This however wasn’t that big an issue. The display is also a bit reflective, but sunlight legibility doesn’t take a massive hit.
Not everything is right with the design though
While the MiPad sees some victory in the display arrangement, the build quality wasn’t particularly impressive. The hard buttons, i.e., the power key and volume rocker aren’t easily accessible in landscape or in portrait mode.
Then the 3 software navigation keys are spread across 5+ Inch strip below the display and you will have to hit the exact spots for it to work. They are rather easier to miss when the backlight goes off. We kept missing the keys for like, 3 out of 10 times, and that can be vexing. The glossy plastic back can easily accumulate scratches and lastly, we heartily wish it were lighter.
But don’t get us wrong. Most of these anomalies are easy to look past, especially for an under 10k price.
MIUI Software, works well with the Tablet
If you have used any recent Xiaomi Phone, you will find yourself right at home here. The MIUI looks great as ever. The settings menu takes advantage of large screen real estate and that makes MIUI even more manageable. However, you might find it hard to overlook that the software is based on Android 4.4 KitKat, which is a bit dated today.
The antiquated nature of Android ROM that lies deep below the MIUI layer didn’t interfere with the way we used our MiPad, but time and again you might come across a few things missing here and there. For example, the Lollipop based MIUI 6 on Mi4i had double tap to wake feature which we would have liked on this pad. There is every chance that Xiaomi might add this via software update later, but we are not betting on it. The vast community support for MIUI will also favour users who wish to dive deeper and customize every aspect of their device.
Performance well suited for every need
Over 3 million units of original iPad are still in use. This certifies that most people aren’t using their tablets for demanding tasks, but if you among others and want to purchase this for hard-c0re gaming, you won’t be disappointed at all! In fact, we would go as far as labeling it the best Android tablet for gaming in under 15K budget.
At first the gaming performance didn’t feel up to the mark. This was a bit baffling in light of immensely powerful CPU – GPU combination inside, but we soon realized that MiPad was running on ‘balanced mode’. After switching to ‘Performance mode’ all high end games ran ultra smooth. However, the sheer weight of the device makes it uncomfortable to wield over extended period of time.
Camera and Battery backup
Again, tablets are not meant to be magnificent shooters as it doesn’t make much sense to carry such large form factor around. Either ways, Xiaomi has provided with a decent 8MP rear shooter and a much more useable selfie camera on the MiPad, which more than covers all basic needs.
Battery backup is also pretty good in balanced mode. If you are casually using it at the end of your day, you can easily last for 2 to 3 days on a full charge. Even with fairly heavy usage, you can comfortably make it through one whole day. Standby times are pretty awesome too. check out some camera samples in different lighting conditions.
Xiaomi MiPad Camera Samples
The Xiaomi MiPad isn’t a perfect Android tablet, but if you are looking for something around 10-15k, this is the one which makes most sense. There is no native 3G support, but you can always make a hotspot from your mobile phone while on the move. It offers a perfect mix of usability with a good quality display and that’s much more than what we expect at this price.