Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone brand known for its competitively priced and technically impressive hardware, has revealed a successor to the only tablet in its range has unveiled three new products to mark the end of the year, and one of them is a real surprise. The trio of gadgets includes a low-cost smartphone with solid specs (the Redmi Note 3), the Mi Air Purifier (which may bore Westerners but plays into the company’s smart home ambitions), and — last but not least — a 7.9-inch metal-body tablet that looks like an iPad mini, but is available running Windows 10 as well as the company’s MIUI Android fork.
the original Mi Pad was colorful and plastic, the Mi pad 2 is all metal
This is the Mi Pad 2, which, like its predecessor, shares design notes with App le devices. But while the original Mi Pad had a colorful plastic casing that was reminiscent of an iPhone 5C, the new Mi Pad 2 has an all-metal construction that’s much more similar to the iPad mini. Xiaomi says the Mi Pad 2 is lighter and thinner than the first-generation Mi Pad, and comes with 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 64GB of internal storage, and a 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 resolution screen. The company has also swapped out the Mi Pad’s original Nvidia Tegra K1 chip for Intel’s 64-bit Atom X5-Z8500 processor, and given the tablet a reversible USB Type-C port. (The image at the top of this page shows a render of the Mi Pad 2 running Windows 10, but Xiaomi says the final appearance of the interface may differ at launch.)
As noted previously, Xiaomi decided to use an Intel’s 64-bit Atom X5-Z8500 processor to power the device. MIUI, the company’s tweaked Android user-interface, ran smoothly and the tablet didn’t get warm in our brief time with it. Other specs include Intel HD graphics, 2GB RAM and either 16GB or 64GB of onboard storage. The tablet packs a 6,190mAh battery into its frame, with Xiaomi claiming you’ll be able to read or watch videos for 12.5 hours on the slate. Like the iPad Mini 4, the Mi Pad 2 has a 7.9-inch display with a 2,048×1,536-pixel resolution.
Only the 64GB version of the Mi Pad 2, which goes on sale later in December, will be able to run Windows 10. Not only that, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun promises, it will be powerful enough to play competitive shooters such as Counterstrike: Global Offensive.
For the photographically minded, the device also comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a front 5-megapixel shooter. There’s no LTE version — the Mi Pad 2 only supports Wi-Fi.
As ever with Xiaomi, the price is one of the most interesting specs. The 16GB Mi Pad 2 will be available in China from November 27th for RMB 999 or roughly $156, while the 64GB version will sell for RMB 1299 or around $200. The Windows 10 version of the device will only be available with 64GB of storage and will go on sale in late December for RMB 1299. Rumors earlier in the year had suggested that Xiaomi’s new tablet would dual-boot Windows 10 and Android, but this is not the case — users will have to choose between Google and Microsoft’s operating systems.
Meanwhile, the standout feature on Xiaomi’s new Redmi Note 3 smartphone is a fingerprint sensor, located on the rear of the device in a ringed circle — similar to the design of the Nexus 5X and 6P. The Note 3 has the same processor as its predecessor (a 64-bit MTK Helio X10), and comes with a 5.5-inch full HD display, and 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras on the rear and front respectively. The Note 3 with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage will sell for RMB 899 ($140), while a version of the phone with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage will go for RMB 1099 ($171).
Xiaomi may struggle to replicate its smartphone success in the tablet market, but the Mi Pad 2 is not a slate to be quickly dismissed. The device will likely find plenty of eager takers, thanks to its Windows 10 capabilities, smooth UI and low price.