MiPad: Hands-on with Xiaomi's first tablet

A 7.9in tab armed with a high resolution screen, a Sony camera and one welcomed Android overlay

50,000 in less than four minutes: that’s how quickly Xiaomi's first tablet, the MiPad, ran out of stock. It is now being shipped in limited numbers and Good Gear Guide has gone hands-on ahead of our detailed review.

Read the full Xiaomi MiPad review here

“Touch me,” it whispers. “Do it.” The encouragement comes from the MiPad’s 7.9-inch screen. A 2048x1536 resolution endows it with a 326 pixel-per-inch density. Smartphone’s have nailed pixel densities this high for a while, but few tablets have achieved the milestone, including Apple’s retina iPad Mini and Google’s Nexus 7. The rest of the MiPad’s specs continue to exchange punches with these established foes.

Behind the screen is an Android 4.4 KitKat operating system dressed in the second most recent version of Xiaomi’s MiUI custom skin, MiUI 4. Xiaomi smartphones have newer software but this version of MiUI has been overhauled to accommodate the tablet form factor. The overlay is heavy, but the polished software holds promise in its balance of functionality, ease of use and appearance.

Powering the MiPad is a 2.2GHz quad-core Tegra K1 CPU and a 192 Kepler GPU from NVIDIA. There’s 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 64GB of internal storage and the option to expand memory by a further 128GB with the presence of a microSD card slot.

Testing the MiPad required brightness to be set to max. It isn’t as bright as Apple’s iPad Air
Testing the MiPad required brightness to be set to max. It isn’t as bright as Apple’s iPad Air

Read the full Xiaomi MiPad review here

Letting the MiPad down is a soft connectivity repertoire with notable absentees including support for SIM cards and no in-built GPS receiver. The tablet has dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac for web browsing and Bluetooth for file transfers.

Built into the MiPad is a lithium polymer 6700 milliamp-hour battery
Built into the MiPad is a lithium polymer 6700 milliamp-hour battery

Xiaomi’s tablet takes more pride in its imaging credentials. The back hosts a rear 8 megapixel camera from Sony, while the front has its own 5 megapixel camera. Both cameras benefit from a suite of software enhancements, have stunning interfaces and record videos in 1920x1080 resolution.

Xiaomi’s MiPad is being supplied by an Australian reseller for $399. For reference, Apple’s introductory iPad Mini retails for $479 and Google’s Nexus 7 starts from $299.

Here's a small taste of MiUI

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Tony Ibrahim
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