Mi Pad: Is it Worth Your Hard-Earned Cash?
We’ve spent the last two weeks using the Xiaomi Mi Pad as our main portable entertainment machine. We’d take it out each time we had free time on our hands for web browsing, reading, watching pre-loaded videos (TV series/movies), and heavy gaming. Admittedly there have been a few hiccups here and there with the software but ultimately the Mi Pad offers amazing value for money. The 2.2GHz Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor combined with the GeForce Kepler (192 cores) graphics definitely lived up to the hype as it gave us the best performance so far in this price category for Android tablets.
To quickly recap, here are the official specifications of the Mi Pad.
Xiaomi Mi Pad specs
- 2.2GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor
- ULP GeForce Kepler (192 cores)
- 2GB of RAM
- 7.9-inch IPS display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 1536 x 2048 resolution
- 16/64 GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 128GB
- 8-megapixel rear camera
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG
- Android 4.4 KitKat with MIUI
- 6700mAh battery
The 2GB RAM and the lack of Android 5.0 Lollipop did leave us a bit wanting but it was easy to overlook since our main use for the tablet was mostly gaming, browsing, and watching videos. Noticeably missing are GSM/3G/GPS radios. Unfortunately the Mi Pad only comes in a WiFi variant for now with no GPS/aGPS capabilities. If you’re looking for a Wi-Fi only Android tablet though and you rarely need GPS, read on for our full review. 😛
Build: Sleek, Sezzy, but SlipperyAs we mentioned in our unboxing post, the Mi Pad looks and feels like a giant iPhone 5C. Xiaomi opted to go with the same plastic material for the back. It’s definitely sturdy and looks elegant but it is quite slippery. There were several times when we almost dropped the Mi Pad because of the bad grip. A back case is a definite must for people who will buy this, especially those who have sweaty palms.
As for the size, the 7.9-inch form factor isn’t new (popularized by the iPad Mini). Good example of something that follows the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The same build benefits that we got with the iPad Mini’s 7.9-inch build sans the aluminum are present. The Mi Pad is easy to carry around, bring out, and slide back in to your bag. You also won’t get arm fatigue if you hold it up for a while when you’re reading, watching or gaming.
Display: Superior to a lot of Other Android Tablets
The 1536 x 2048 resolution of the Mi Pad and color reproduction makes it stand out when it comes to displays on tablets in this price segment. Images, graphics, and text all came out way crisper and sharper compared to the lower resolution displays that usually ship in Android tablets at these prices. That said it’s truly a joy to just use the Mi Pad as a gaming or viewing machine when you’re on the go.
We do have some points for improvement. The bezels are still thick for our taste, especially at the bottom. Also, you almost always need to have Brightness at 80% even indoors. At 100% brightness outdoors under direct sunlight it was barely usable.
Performance: It’s a Beast
Where the Mi Pad really shines is in app performance, especially when you don’t multi-task too much. All the games we tested ran smoothly on the Mi Pad. We tried a bunch of them including graphics intensive titles like Dead Trigger 2 and Bard’s Tale. Barely any lag at all! We also did a variety of casual games like everyone’s favorite Clash of Clans and Kingdom Rush: Origins.
Just so you guys have an idea of how beastly this is, the Mi Pad registered close to 50,000 on Antutu Benchmark tests beating out even the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. 😮
You might want to note though that we did find the Mi Pad consistently getting hot each time we would play games for long periods of time. It wasn’t something that we would classify as a major deal breaker but it was quote comfortable for our hands 3 hours into playing Kingdom Rush: Origins, hehe.
A Few Software Hiccups with Multi-tasking
Now we get to the not-so-good part, hehe. Unfortunately while the processor is super-powered, the RAM is not. 2GB is just not enough anymore for a smooth Android tablet experience. We felt this a lot when we would exit an app and try to access something else. There’s always that persistent slow down that happens after. There’s just not enough memory to get a 100% all-around smooth experience. Take note though — it’s not really bad to the point where the tablet is unusable. It’s actually still better compared to a lot of Android tablets in this price range.
We also had the same issue with the default Twitter app that we experienced with the Redmi 2. Twitter lags terribly on the Mi Pad but this was easy to solve. We just downloaded a different Twitter client. For the Mi Pad we used Tweet Caster.
Battery Life is Impressive
The 6,600mAh battery pack on the Mi Pad was more than enough to get us through several days of moderate use. The only time we would deplete the battery in a day was if it were just doing gaming for hours. Even then we would still clock-in over 4-5 hours prior to needing a charge.
If you’re a casual-moderate user of tablets, the Mi Pad has enough juice to get you by for days.
Camera is Above Average for Tablets
Now this is where we were surprised! The Mi Pad actually has a decent camera for a tablet! It’s still not up to par to shots taken with smartphones in this price level but it’s definitely waaay better than the pics you would get with your iPad or other tablet cams.
In normal-great light conditions the photos turn out okay. There are some issues with noise and sharpness but very forgivable. As expected though the camera failed to take nice pics during lowlight conditions.
Here are some sample shots:
Not bad right? We were pleasantly surprised with this one. 🙂
Verdict: Fantastic Portable Entertainment Machine
So… is the Mi Pad worth buying for Php10,999? Everything considered we would say YES if you’re looking for decently priced but powerful portable entertainment device. This is the perfect companion for people who are always on the go and want a distraction while they’re traveling or when they’re not doing anything. The beautiful screen, lightweight build, and the raw power are the main highlights that makes it superior compared to other Android tablets in the same price level.
Before you take the plunge though just make sure that the lack of GPS and GSM/3G are not deal breakers. Also we would’t recommend this if you are in the market for a tablet that you would actually do work on (which would entail a lot of multi-tasking). It’s a great entertainment machine. Beyond that you might want to look for something else (but whatever that device is, it will probably cost you more).