I ordered a Xiaomi Mi Pad, here’s why!

I’m a technology enthusiast from India. There are three things that you should know about me.

  1. I read a lot. A lot. I mean, dozens of articles, daily, about the happenings in technology
  2. I really like trying new gadgets and technologies out. Ask my wife or anyone who knows me. They’ll tell you about the number of gadgets that I’ve owned and used
  3. I like technology even better when it comes at a bargain. That’s something every Indian will associate with

So, when over the last weekend, I found out that in the name of Sankranti, Xiaomi had cut down the price of its Mi Pad (not even trying to sound different from the iPad there) by INR 3000 (we all know that the price cut is to make room for the Mi Pad 2, though), my ears stood up and I, casually, started reading everything I could find on the tablet. ‘Inspired’ from the iPad Mini, Xiaomi’s offering seemed like a good fit for me for many aspects.

I’ve been using an iPad 3 (iPad with Retina Display, for all the Apple purists out there) since 2012 and have loved every minute of it. Lately, though, the iPad had slowed down to a crawl and opening tabs, launching apps, running videos and scrolling or zooming became too much effort (not to take anything away from the iPad. There aren’t many devices that last for 3 years, forget about turning on and running well). So, I had been on the lookout for a replacement for some time. Of course, my first choice was getting an iPad.

I decided to wait for the iPad Air 3, expecting, based on Apple’s yearly refresh cycle, that it’d be released in September 2015. September came and with it came the iPad Pro, but no new iPad Air. The iPad Mini got refreshed, though, finally coming up to speed with the iPad Air 2. If not September, I thought that Apple would release the new iPad in March 2016 and resigned myself to wait till then. And with the performance issues that I was facing with my iPad 3, I stopped using it all together.

I had been reading about all the Android tablets launched in the last couple of years and I think that tablets are where the kinks in Android’s armor really start showing. The under-par hardware, the lack of tablet-optimised software and the paltry collection of tablet-optimised apps on the Play Store ensured that I never took Android tablets seriously. The Nexus 9, the new Pixel and the Dell Venue 8 7000 made me take notice but only out of curiosity, never because I wanted to buy them. I would’ve been interested if any of the good Android tablets were cheap. But, they are almost the same price as iPad and I’d always choose an iPad over any other device if I was paying that much.

So, ya, waiting for the iPad Air 3, not wanting to get an Android tablet, I decided that I might as well sell my iPad before it loses its value too much and start saving up to be able to shell out INR 35k when the iPad Air 3 arrives. I sold my iPad on Atterobay (I’ll have my thoughts about them and the process up soon) for around INR 10k. And it so happened that, at the same time, I read about the Mi Pad’s price going down to around INR 10k. I was intrigued but still very wary of using Android on a tablet. Plus, Mi Pad has a very customized MIUI running over Android Kitkat (2 generations old) (I had promised myself that if I got an Android device, I would get a Nexus one for the stock Android and quick updates). But, then, I re-evaluated the use of a tablet for me and realized that reading was all that I used a tablet for. And as long as a tablet had a great screen, was comfortable to use and didn’t make me wait to read the next article, I felt that it’d be good.

The IPad Mini 3c AKA the Xiaomi Mi Pad

And that’s where the Mi Pad came in and kind of, won. China’s Apple’s tablet is designed to match the iPad Mini (with the plastic back, you could call it an iPad Mini 3c), has the same form factor, screen size and pixel density, and is quite fast with the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and 2GB RAM. And it is INR 10,000 now! It would be less than one third the price of an iPad Air and less than half the price of an iPad Mini and I figured that I’m a geek, I could flash AOSP Android on it, if I wanted to. Plus, it’d replace my iPad right away and I wouldn’t have to pay anything for it. I’d just use the money that I got from selling the iPad.

So, ya, I went ahead and ordered the Xiaomi Mi Pad. I received it a few days back and am liking what I’m seeing till now. I’ll be sharing my first impressions and a detailed review soon. So, stay tuned.

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