Since Mi Pad 2 is almost out, I’m going to call the first version of the Xiaomi tablet as Mi Pad 1 that I purchased 5-6 months ago. After reading a review you should be able to decide whether you should buy a particular gadget or not and I’m going to write this review keeping that in mind now that I have used Mi Pad 1 for quite some time.
I have been using a tablet for more than 4-5 years now. My first tablet was Samsung Galaxy Tab – the first ever to have been introduced by Samsung. I used it as a tablet as well as as a phone. It was my first experience with something touch-screen.
When the first Galaxy Tab wore off, I purchased the second edition and then again used it extensively. When I say extensively, I’m not a light tablet user. I do practically everything with my tablet that can be done on a tablet. No, I’m not a games fan. But I take notes, I schedule my tasks, I interact on social media, sometimes write blog posts, I set reminders, I take photographs and in many cases, also read books (despite having a Kindle Paperwhite).
I haven’t had much experience with tablets from different companies but a problem with Samsung Galaxy tabs is that they begin to get slow after a few months. I don’t know if this happens with every Samsung tablet or particularly the ones that I have used. And slow means, really slow. The second tablet grew so slow that I had to root it and install Cynanogenmod, and even that started causing problems. Since I practically manage my work with whichever tablet I have, my wife insisted that I should purchase a new tablet. I didn’t want to spend money so I borrowed my daughter’s iPad Air from her but using an iPad is not like using an Android tablet and besides, I have purchased lots of Android apps that I couldn’t use on the iPad.
My first choice was of course a higher version of Samsung Galaxy Tab but then this time I wanted to try out a tablet from another company and since I was constantly coming across the mention of Mi Pad 1 from Xiaomi I ended up purchasing this tablet.
How is it? Should you buy Mi Pad 1 or not?
To be frank the moment you take it out from the box, it gives you a cheap tablet feel but then compared to an iPad of course Mi Pad 1 is a cheap tablet. I felt bad that I should have shelled out Rs. 10000 more and gotten myself a decent looking Samsung Galaxy tablet. Another bummer was that it came with its own version of Android and some of the apps that I regularly use couldn’t be installed straightaway from the App Store. Fortunately, I came across a link that converts the play store links of the apps into normal URLs and from there you can download the .APK files that then can be easily installed on Mi Pad 1. Once this small hassle was out of the way the rest of the experience was quite nice as far as the interface goes.
The overall specs of Mi Pad 1
Mi Pad 1 from Xiaomi is often flaunted as a higher-end tablet with lower-end pricing. The operating system is a version of Android 4.4.4 (KitKat). It’s called MIUI. There is no SIM card so you cannot make phone calls with Mi Pad 1. The SIM card not being there also means that you cannot use a 3G or 4G connection and you need to be on Wi-Fi. For that, my workaround is, using your smartphone for the 3G or 4G connection and then tethering your Mi Pad 1 to it. Here you can read how to connect your tab to your smartphone to share its Internet connection.
It does not have a GPRS. In the back camera or the primary camera is 8 megapixels and the facing camera or the secondary camera is 5 megapixels. It has stereo speakers so you can listen to songs or watch movies without headphones.
In terms of screen size, the skin is pretty comfortable with 7.9 inches width and a resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels. It has an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 16M colours.
It weighs around 360 g.
With a quad core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15 CPU and ULP GeForce Kepler GPU the multitouch screen experience is quite decent.
Talking about multitouch, here is a nice feature I discovered accidentally. When you are taking photographs with your Mi Pad 1, you can comfortably hold the tablet even if your thumb or finger is touching the screen. Touching the screen while taking photographs is not going to launch one of the menu options so it is very easy to hold your tablet when taking photographs or making a video. This is something that other tablet manufacturers should also introduce. Of course you need to touch the screen in order to tap the camera icon but unlike other tablets where every part of the screen is touch sensitive, in Mi Pad 1, this is not the case, only the part that contains the icon is touch sensitive.
It has a microSD card slot where you can put a 128 GB microSD slot. Mine has the internal memory of 16 GB and 2 GB RAM otherwise you can also get a 16 GB Mi Pad 1.
Battery is good. Once you have charged unless you are running some really power-hungry apps it is going to last a couple of days.
Mi Pad 1 is a sturdy tablet. It has fallen full force twice and it hasn’t broken. It’s easy to clean the screen with a soft cloth.
As I mentioned above, although most of the applications can be installed from Google play store, there are some apps like Google Keep that you will need to install through an APK.
Should you buy a Mi Pad 1 if you are looking for a budget tablet as a first-time buyer?
I think you should. It’s a good tablet. It’s not very expensive and unlike other inexpensive tablets of the same range, you don’t feel like you have been shortchanged or you won’t feel awkward using Mi Pad 1 in front of others.
I have been using Mi Pad 1 for many months now, for many purposes from scheduling to tasking to watching videos and posting messages on Twitter and Facebook to taking photographs to posting blog posts to taking notes to listening to music and I have installed many apps without slowing it down. It isn’t as fast as it was when it came, but compared to other tablets, especially compared to the Samsung Galaxy tabs that I have used, this one hasn’t slowed down with every new installation.
As mentioned above, there might be some problem when you cannot install apps straight away from Google Play Store but it comes with all the apps you are going to require initially, for example search bar, calendar, calculator, clock, music player and notes.
Personally the only problem with me is there is no front button for waking the screen up. You have to press the button on the side. On the iPad for example, there is the Home button and even on latest Samsung Galaxy Tabs, you have the home button that you can use to wake the screen up. For someone like me who has to check the tablet again and again, this becomes a problem.
Other than that, there is no major problem with the tablet. It is Wi-Fi only so you will be able to use it only when a Wi-Fi connection is available. When I purchased it it cost me a little higher than Rs. 12,000 but now the prices must have come down. It’s a good tablet to give someone as a gift, especially one of your parents or teenage kids. It will also be good for your own work if you don’t need to work extensively the way you would work on a higher end Samsung Galaxy Tab or iPad.