BEIJING -- While Xiaomi's first tablet didn't quite make the splash the company was hoping for, its second 7.9-inch slate could make more of an impact. Like all of its products, Xiaomi is selling the new tablet at a ridiculously low price point, in this case just 999 yuan (approximately $155, £105 or AU$215). Along with the Redmi Note 3, it goes on sale on November 27 in China.
While the Mi Pad 2 is designed as an Android tablet, Xiaomi also announced a Windows 10 version for December. That's because, instead of the Nvidia Tegra K1 chip that powered the first Mi Pad, the Mi Pad 2 is using a quad-core Intel Atom X5-Z8500 processor, which allows it to run Microsoft's new operating system. Xiaomi did not, however, announce any accessories, such as a keyboard or stylus for use with the Windows 10 version of the tablet.
As with the company's smartphones and first tablet, the Mi Pad 2 is unlikely to become officially available outside of China and Asia. Thankfully for Xiaomi fans abroad, third-party online resellers will likely stock the tablet, so if you're hankering for a cheap new slate, keep an eye out.
With its plastic back, the first Mi Pad looked like a mix between the iPad and the iPhone 5C. It's not too surprising, then, that the Mi Pad 2 and its full metal body take after the iPad Air 2. Despite its low cost, the gold Mi Pad 2 that we spent time with on Tuesday had a build quality that felt on-par with Apple's more premium tablet line.
The Mi Pad 2 is a bit thicker, at 6.95mm, than the iPad Air 2 or the iPad Mini 4, which both come in at 6.1mm. Still, Xiaomi's 322-gram (11.4-ounce) device was light enough to hold. The curved edges don't dig into your palm and the Mi maker says the tablet is designed to resist accidental presses of the Home, Menu and Back buttons, especially in landscape mode.
At the bottom you'll find a USB Type-C port, making it one of the few available devices to sport the new connector. This may actually be a slight inconvenience, since you won't be able to charge the tablet with the more widely used micro-USB cables.
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 2,048x1,536-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.
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.