Remember when tablets were trying to break out in the market primarily ruled by smartphones? Apple undoubtedly set the ball rolling by creating a large space of acceptance for tablets with iPads. The trend was taken forward by brands like Samsung, Amazon and others who came up with their own iterations of different tablets running Android. But there was one company that wanted to challenge Apple at its own game, Xiaomi. The company’s Mi Pad lineup came in close competition with iPad in terms of design and the overall form factor sans iPad OS.
Xiaomi Mi Pad lineup witnessed some compelling tablets in the past. The Mi Pad 4 and Mi Pad 4 Plus were the most recent in the series, but that was back in 2018. It’s been more than two years since Xiaomi has announced a new Mi Pad. But all that might change soon as we could finally be getting a new Mi Pad this year, expectedly the Mi Pad 5.
Is Mi Pad 4 Plus Still Worth It In 2021?
Since Xiaomi’s most recent tablet was the Mi Pad 4 Plus, it only makes sense to give you an overview of that. Also, the burning question here is if it is still worth it in 2021? This question is more directed towards potential buyers who love the Mi Pad and wonder if the Mi Pad 4 packs some kick.
We reviewed the Mi Pad 4 Plus in 2019, and here’s what we think after revisiting our review as we now think from the perspective of owning a Mi Pad 4 Plus in 2021.
The Mi Pad 4 Plus still gets it right with a premium design accompanied by slim bezels. It manages to look like a trendy tablet that replicates the form factor of an iPad. And the full-HD resolution is fine to get by, but one thing that lags is the incompatibility with a stylus.
Most of the tablets these days are coming with stylus support, which means that if you still go for the Mi Pad 4 Plus, then you’ll be missing out on this functionality that stimulates creativity and overall device navigation. Thankfully, the tablet supports other external devices like a keyboard.
Coming to power and performance, the Mi Pad 4 Plus is backed by an octa-core Snapdragon 660 chipset. Although this chipset was among the best in 2018, it may feel a bit underpowered in 2021, especially when you can buy another Android tablet with a more powerful chipset.
The same goes for the software, the Mi Pad 4 Plus shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo OS with an overlay of MIUI 10.2 on top, which could feel pretty basic now.
Lastly, the tablet supports 4G connectivity. And that may do the deed for you until the 5G rollout begins in full swing. At this moment, we think one should buy a device that aligns with the future needs, and 5G connectivity is definitely the kind of future-proofing that you may want.
Mi Pad 4 Plus Overview At A Glance:
- Premium design with slim bezels.
- Decent display but lacks stylus support
- Mid-range Snapdragon 660 octa-core chipset, which might not feel that great in 2021.
- Android OS (Oreo) with an overlay of MIUI 10.2
- 4G connectivity that may not stand the test of times when 5G fully deploys
Imminent Launch of Mi Pad 5: Expected Specs
The revival of the Mi Pad lineup means that we could finally get a whole new tablet that could go on to become a worthy alternative to one of the latest iPads. Of course, a lot would be depending upon what kind of specs and design Xiaomi throws in for the next Mi Pad. If the brand sticks to its previous path, we could be getting something worth waiting for.
Xiaomi is working hard on bringing in new devices this year. In fact, the company is also planning on increasing its workforce of engineers to broaden its launch deck for 2021. As a result, the Mi Pad 5 is expected to debut sometime this year. Some of the new leaks concerning the upcoming tablet have surfaced on the internet, and if they turn out to be true, we will be looking at an alternative for the iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S7.
One of the biggest leaks surrounding the Mi Pad 5 was on Weibo, the Chinese social network. The leak also featured some of the concept renders of the upcoming tablet. The renders of the Mi Pad 5 seem to align with Xiaomi’s recently launched Mi 11 smartphone aesthetically.
As per the leak, the upcoming Mi Pad 5 could pack a 2K LCD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It will feature a 144Hz refresh rate and 480Hz touch sampling rate. Design-wise, the device could use aluminum alloy material as the iPad. On the side, we may get a fingerprint scanner. The device would also support a magnetic capacitive stylus.
Under the hood, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset could power the device. On the rear, we may get an angel-eye matrix multi-camera module sporting a 20MP+13MP dual-camera setup, wherein the primary camera would feature a Sony IMX586 sensor.
The Mi Pad 5 could be debuting in four variants. Below we list them out with expected pricing:
8GB RAM + 128GB storage (expected pricing CNY 3,999 ~ $619)
8GB RAM + 256GB storage (expected pricing CNY 4,299 ~ $666)
12GB RAM + 512GB storage (expected pricing CNY 4,999 ~ $774)
16GB RAM + 1TB storage (expected pricing CNY 5,499 ~ $851).
On second thought, these leaked specs seem to be a tad bit exaggerated, so it would be wise to take it all with a pinch of salt until we get to witness the official launch. If they actually prove true, then this could be Xiaomi’s big break into the premium tablet segment.
Xiaomi’s Obsession With Everything Apple
When the first Mi Pad debuted, many talks were surrounding it being a budget version of the iPad. This was not a new thing for Xiaomi, though; the company has been infamously going after Apple’s design and software since its inception.
The Mi Pad stood the highest of scrutinies as its name also heavily embraced Apple’s tablet lineup. Apple even prompted legal action against Xiaomi over the naming of the Mi Pad. The Cupertino giant accused Xiaomi of stealing its trademark. Apple lodged a formal complaint with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Although EUIPO sustained the accusation, it did not prohibit Xiaomi from using the Mi Pad name in Europe and other parts of the world. It only prevented Xiaomi from registering it as a trademark due to stark similarities in the name.
While the design of the Mi Pad was everything iPad, even the forked version of the iOS/iPad OS running on the tablet was clearly ‘inspired’.
Xiaomi has come a long way, and we can now see the company trying many different designs and software elements that are not Apple-inspired. But for the Mi Pads, the company is still sticking to a similar design and form-factor. The Mi Pad 4 lineup also followed the same streak, and now with the Mi Pad 5 on the horizon, we are excited to see if it does things differently this time. Of course, the renders of the Mi Pad 5 serve the replicated iPad design; but we are yet to see the official images. We better hold our judgements.
Let’s wait and watch Xiaomi’s re-launch into the tablet segment after a two-year sabbatical. We will be updating this article as it happens! Stay tuned with us.