We have on hand now a great new budget friendly tablet, but one that has some of the most curious software around. The Xiaomi MiPad 2, powered by MiUI, is an Android device, but you might have a hard time telling it apart from Apple’s mobile operating system.

With claims like that, we best start off by saying that this is one of the most solid built, premium-feeling tablets you’ll find in the sub-$200 segment. Considering you get full metal construction with an 8-inch display and resolution beyond HD, we’re excited to get started on this review.

Join us for our Xiaomi MiPad 2 review.

Buy now on ebay

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

Further reading:
Xiaomi MiPad 2 announced
Apple iPad mini 4 review
Xiaomi at MWC

Launched in the fall of 2015, the Xiaomi MiPad 2 is another in a long line of devices from this Chinese company that do nothing if not wow us on the spec sheet for their price. Luckily, the devices, including this new 8-inch tablet, often carry that wow factor into design, materials and the overall experience. If you can get used to their flavor of Android, Xiaomi devices are well worth your consideration.

Having said all that, Xiaomi is still a budding company that has yet to fully crack the global market. Despite having a U.S. online store, their phones and tablets are still not up for sale. You will have to pull some international strings to get the MiPad 2 in hand, if you are still interested at the end of this review.

Note: In the photos throughout this article you will see many ‘unboxing’ images that still have a protective film on the display, those bubbles you are about to see are not defects. 

Design

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

Let’s not beat around the bush, the look and feel of this Android powered device will be familiar to most iPad mini users. With similar overall measurements, and an OS that rather accurately emulates iOS in many ways, the Xiaomi MiPad 2 is, as I say, a curious device that may just be a brilliant take on what users want out of tablets today.

Looking at the device, you’ll see a full metal backing, a full glass front and the basic set of buttons, ports and sensors of the typical tablet on the market today. That is, there is a rear facing camera up in the corner, a front facing camera up top in the center. Power and volume buttons live on the right hand edge of the device, up near the top. Although, you’ll find the power button situated below the volume buttons.

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

The bottom edge of the tablet houses a single USB Type-C port, while dual rear facing speaker grills live right at the bottom of the device. There also also a few mic holes and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge.

Warning, it’s sharp!

I am trying to be funny more than anything, but you will absolutely find that the front edge of the metal, along the front edges of the Xiaomi MiPad 2, feel sharp. Funny thing is, it is not sharp. I did try to use the tablet to slice some paper, it didn’t work. However, if you slide your fingers outward off of the display with a bit of pressure, you will feel, and be able to see afterward, how the metal edge scrapes off impurities of your skin. Sounds gross, and sorry to say, it kind of is.

Display

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

Measuring in with a 7.9-inch IPS display, the Xiaomi MiPad 2 offers up 1536 x 2018 pixels of resolution, for 326 ppi. If you were keeping track, that is the same size and pixel count as the iPad Mini 4.

The display on the Xiaomi MiPad 2 is pleasant to look at, providing nice color saturation, great viewing angles and adequate brightness. When I say nice and adequate, I imply that this is not the best panel we’ve seen in our time. It would be unfair to say that you would be displeased with this device, but there is no question, placed side-by-side with most other current-gen LCD or LED display you will see the difference.

Xiaomi MiPad 2

On a positive note, Xiaomi has included some controls to make your display look like you want it to. First, you can choose the color saturation level, between two options. Then you can choose the general color temperature, with three options of normal, warm or cool. Last, there is a Reading mode available, adding that familiar yellow tint to the display that makes it easier to look at in the dark.

Xiaomi MiPad 2

I have to mention one last thing before we move on, there is a spec under the glass. At first I thought that the procedure I go through to test any new device’s display revealed a dead pixel, but, after close scrutiny, I’ve decided that it is simply a speck of dust under the glass. For those that are sensitive to such things, I cannot un-see this speck, it is driving me crazy.

Hardware

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

Before we start talking experience, let’s talk about the actual hardware of the Xiaomi MiPad 2. Picking up from the design aspects, that full metal back includes the adequate holes to support your normal 3.5mm headphone jack and the new USB Type-C charging and data cable. The front glass goes edge to edge and there are capacitive off-screen navigation buttons in the lower bezel area.

Inside the MiPad 2 is an Intel processor, the Atom X5-Z8500, with 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 64GB of internal storage and a 6190mAh battery.

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

As far as sensors go, look for a 5MP front shooter complimented by an 8MP rear shooter. We original were told we’d find an LED flash, but that is not present on our 16GB Android version of the tablet. Bluetooth 4.1 and WiFi ac are your main connectivity options. A selection of other typical sensors are on board, with one major exclusion, there is no GPS sensor in this tablet.

Xiaomi MiPad 2

As an opinion, this tablet feels good in the hand, measuring in at 200mm x 133mm at just 6.95mm thick, it is a nice weight at 322g. The power button being placed below the volume buttons takes some getting used to, but both are easily accessed and offer a decent tactile response.

Finally, the rear facing speakers are loud and difficult to muffle by hand, but you may not like the hollow and somewhat distant sound they produce.

Performance

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

With a new Intel Atom X5-Z8500 under the hood, that’s a 64-bit quad-core processor, and 2GB of RAM, I was rather surprised to see an AnTuTu benchmark score of over 70K. As I like to run these benchmarks, but do not rely on them to tell the whole story, I proceeded to install a few of my favorite processor heavy applications.

I don’t know if it is this Intel processor, the heavily skinned MiUI version of Android 5.1 Lollipop, or the Intel HD Graphics for Atom, but everything I do on this tablet feels sluggish and slightly delayed after my touch. Navigating the OS is smooth enough, and the animations are fast, but as I say, there is a bit of a delay in the process. Mostly, it is the off-screen capacitive navigation buttons that cause me grief, often I miss them entirely or hit them twice as I am awaiting a response.

Xiaomi MiPad 2

If this sounds like disapproval already, wait until you hear about my go-to, cross-platform game for testing. If you have not noticed yet, I have now played Asphalt 8 on Android, Windows and iOS devices for testing here on the site. This includes Android tablets with benchmark scores half that of the Xiaomi MiPad 2, but sadly, somehow, the MiPad 2 offers up abysmal game performance, indeed, the worst I’ve experienced on an Android device.

It’s not all bad. Despite a little bit of delay when scrolling a large web page, as an example, the overall OS and app performance is adequate for your day to day needs, the average user will be happy with their experience. However, if you are a gamer, or need to run any processor intensive software, I’d recommend you try before you buy on this one.

Battery

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

Now that I’ve thoroughly bashed the Xiomi MiPad 2 for its processing performance, let’s look at a more impressive part of the device, the battery life. Equipped with a fair sized 6190mAh battery, the MiPad 2 manages to keep the lights on for a respectable amount of time. Our initial run with the device included benchmark test, gaming, watching video and other hard hitting tasks to put the device through its paces, considering all this, we were happy with just over 5 hrs of screen-on time.

Xiaomi MiPad 2 battery

On our normal day to day operations with the device, the Xiaomi MiPad 2 offered up the industry typical 5.5 to 6 hours of screen-on battery life. If that is not enough for you, the Xiaomi MiPad 2 comes with a Battery Saver mode, shutting down various services and tasks to extend battery life.

Camera

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

As the camera on the Xiaomi MiPad 2 is, as with many tablets, more of an addition than a feature to focus on, let’s keep this simple. The 8MP sensor performs well, but without image stabilization we found more than one of our photos had to be discarded because of movement blur. Mostly this was a difficulty in the location of the on-screen trigger button, requiring two hands to take a photo if you plan to do any selective focusing.

Xiaomi MiPad 2 photo samples

I found the camera glass to be sensitive to fogging. At first I thought the sensor just couldn’t handle low light shooting, but frequent quick cleanings of the glass and low light performance is actually pretty good. Daylight shooting is solid as well, but the absolute bottom line, please do not purchase this tablet for photography purposes, in the end, it is just a tablet.

Software

Xiaomi MiPad 2

There is a thing that device manufacturers do with software on mobile devices, they take Android and create what we call skins or ROMs. The result is an Android powered device that has manufacturer specific design, hardware support, features, apps and more. The Xiaomi MiPad 2 uses a base of Android 5.1 Lollipop and converts it into what they call MIUI 7.1. There is an optional Windows 10 model available as well.

Here is the thing, and this is likely one of the main reasons that the Xiaomi MiPad 2 is not available for sale in the U.S. at this time, MIUI is designed to be comfortable and familiar for iPad users. This is a decidedly non-Android approach, but it creates one of the most unique flavors of Android you will ever see, that is, it looks and feels like iOS.

Xiaomi MiPad 2 MIUI

Many will be turned off by MIUI 7.1. After all, if they wanted an iOS powered device, they would have purchased an iPad, but there is so much more to it than this. We’ll talk about the price difference later, but for now, let’s just say that the Xiaomi MiPad 2 costs a lot less than the iPad mini 4.

Price aside, MIUI is still Android at heart. While the difficulties in bouncing between software ecosystems are less these days, there is still a divide. Those familiar with Android apps and features will be at home on the Xiaomi MiPad 2, and at the same time, those familiar with the user interface of iOS will be pleased to not have to learn many new techniques.

Xiaomi MiPad 2

That being said, catering to both sides inevitably means compromises. These shortcomings are only compounded by the fact that Xiaomi is unable to pre-load Google apps and services. That’s right, you will need to follow some Chinese guides and sideload some apps befire you can use the Play Store to download your favorite apps and games.

Loading Google apps and services on your Xiaomi MiPad 2 is not the end of your struggles. You may find, as I have, that the Play Store crashes frequently, and if you cannot read Chinese, there will always be a few pre-installed apps that you may never even know what they are.

Xiaomi MiPad 2

Another quick example is the fact that installing Google Play Service includes the Google Settings app, instead of the MIUI iOS looking alternative. This is great news for Android fans, but aspects of it are still broken, you will need to head back to the MIUI app management as the Apps section in the Google Settings tool crashes every time.

Bottom line, even with a custom launcher to ease the user experience for the average Android fan, the software still feels and acts a little buggy. If I knew how to read Chinese, this might be a different story, I might have even stuck with the default MIUI a little bit longer before installing a new Launcher.

Xiaomi MiPad 2 AnTuTu

Last item in terms of software, we suspect that one of the biggest issues with device performance is the OS on this tablet. With a benchmark score of near triple that of our old Nexus 7, the latency of the software should not feel near equal. Don’t get me wrong, the OS itself navigates fast and smooth, it is just that fact that there is a unexpected delay when hitting the navigation buttons that actually disrupts the flow of the device.

Specifications

ProcessorIntel Atom X5-Z8500, 1.44GHz quad-core, 64-bit
RAM2GB DDR3
Display7.9-inch IPS
2048 x 1536
326ppi
Internal Storage16GB or 64GB
I/OUSB Type-C
Bluetooth 4.1
WiFi ac
Camera8MP rear with LED flash
5MP front
Battery6190mAh
Size200mm x 133mm x 6.95mm
322g
ColorChampagne Gold and Dark Gray

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

In many aspects of retail there is an absolutely true statement, “you get what you pay for.” The Xiaomi MiPad 2 is a wonderful device in the budget segment, but is not exactly the bang for the buck device you might be hoping for. Please keep in mind we are only speaking of the Android version for now, we do not yet have our hands on the Windows 10 powered option.

For those that like to see a numeric value applied to their reviews, I would give the Xiaomi MiPad 2 a final rating of 6.5 out of 10 stars. That’s 8 stars for the hardware, at least for the look, materials and feel in the hand, but only 5 stars for software and overall performance. Just please keep in mind that this is personal preference more than anything – I am still new to MiUI, and those few performance issues are not always present, it is just that when they do pop up, they ruin the overall experience for me.

We previously highlighted the Xiaomi MiPad and MiPad 2 on our list of best cheap Android tablets. Now that we’ve thoroughly tested the tablet, our opinion of the device is not what it once was. We are not removing the MiPad from the lis, but we certainly do not want to get your hopes up if you ever imagined this budget tablet could compete with the premium flagship devices on the market today.

Xiaomi MiPad 2 unbox

With a starting price of 999 yuan, or about US$155, the Xiaomi MiPad 2 is a fun device for the money. We highly recommend you try before you buy, if possible. There is no mistaking that the MiPad 2 is a curious device, seemingly offering the best of both Android and iOS in one package, or Windows, if you opt for the Windows 10 version. Please note, however, that you should expect to pay a little more than just US$155, it was closer to $200 by the time ours arrived with lengthy shipping times and costs.

Internal storageXiaomi MiPad 2
16GB999 yuan (about US$155)
64GB1299 yuan (about US$200)
64GB
Windows 10
1299 yuan (about US$200)

Once you dive into the world of Mi, it is important to mention that you are joining a large and friendly community of technology enthusiasts. This does not have to matter to you, but the culture around the brand is light-hearted and filled with fun mascots and accessories. Xiaomi pays close attention to its users, if ever you wanted to help influence what the next manufacturer built device or software will include, this is the ecosystem that you want to get involved with.

Further reading:
Best cheap Android tablets
Best Android tablets
Lenovo Tab3 series tablets

While we cannot deny that we’ve rated the Xiaomi MiPad 2 fairly low, it is still a great budget offering in the 8-inch Android tablet space. Is it good enough for you?

MiPad 2 - $258 - ebay

This review originally posted on our sister site TabTimes.

  • mrjayviper

    It’s “speck” not spec. Had read it several times to get what you actually meant.

    • That’s funny. Thank you, I totally typed that without thinking, ‘spec’ is used far more often around here.

  • devilreaper

    I have heard that the windows 10 version is better. It handles all games perfectly and even runs cs go and league of legends at a respectable fps. If you have one please test it and let me know if it is true. I want to buy one as soon as it get released in India. So any thoughts or advice would be nice.

    • PokemonX2013

      That’s not possible with an atom lol

  • Edin Edo Ademović

    I have an asus memopad 7 me176cx with an intel atom z3745. I felt like the OS was sluggish, nevertheless was I talking about kitKat or Lollipop (5.0). The multi-tasking is very bad and overall performance (even though antutu shows 30k+) it was very very slow, and it still is. Maybe it’s the intel atom CPU and it’s complexity it’s not meant for android (RISC vs CISC cpu’s debate)

  • Akira Tabuchi Yagui

    Like all of the Android Authority reviews, they always give terrible scores to any xiaomi product just because they hate the UI.

    As I always say, If you’re gonna buy a Xiaomi product, you need to flash your device. Yep, because there are a lot of apps that are useless if you don’t know Chinese, but after you flash it properly, you have one of the best experiences for the price. (or at least root it and remove all the useless apps by hand)

    I have a Galaxy Tab S 10.5″ and this, and side by side there is almost no difference in build quality. Also, the Samsung one lag way more because of touchwiz and the bootloader is locked, so I can’t change it to Vanilla Android…

    I don’t know, but after the MWC coverage, I’m starting to think that Samsung and LG have pay you to give them all the coverage because all the other brands got almost no articles…

    • Kunal Narang

      The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 got an 8.5 score on this site. What do you say about that?

  • Falenone

    16gb tablet with no sd card slot? Someone should be fired and bunched in the face

    • Karly Johnston

      You mean Nexus?

    • Abbas Mustafa Bhaiji

      There is a 64gb option for freaking only 200 usd

  • bob

    availability is the big issue here ,right now this product is not announced yet in india which would probably be at the end of the year,when these specs would be old when it get released eventually

  • s2weden2000

    choice…

  • cjdacka

    You screwed up the resolution under the ‘display’ part of the article. Should be 2048 not 2018

  • Faizan

    just wait for the tablet to be launched outside China. then xiaomi will release a global ROM with no Chinese & Google apps by default

  • Da Fuq

    I’ve had the original Mi Pad and I can say it’s nowhere near the quality of the Xiaomi phones. I recommend to stay away from it.

    • balcobomber25

      The new on is much better quality than the original. The first one was Xiaomi’s first attempt at a tablet, they had no experience with tablets in the past so a lot of mistakes were made. Their first phone wasn’t anything close to what they are now either.

  • aaloo

    this is fairly pathetic.

  • john

    Hi Jonathan. Well like you said the MIUI is similar to iOS and even the settings. I would like to say is yes it is like iOS but it is Not iOS. Apple makes the h/w and s/w hence we get an optimised OS with smooth experience and almost no crashes. MIUI is customized Android yet its much better than any such type of Android. It gets regular updates every few weeks. I have been using it daily for more than two years and it hasn’t crashed more than once all this time, as I keep it updated. I never get bored with the OS as they keep adding and changing features.
    Try killing all apps when gaming or you need power performance. Well its not iOS right. You can multitask when using non-gaming apps.
    If the RAM doesn’t get cleaned try restarting the mi pad it will clear RAM and it will run smoothly. Please try these solutions and share your experience after that.

  • Dante

    removw the matte protector and the tab wont feel sluggish , used a ton of xiaomi devices and this was always a problem

    • gg

      Pls, tell tha newbs how-to fix dis…

  • Kody

    Idk, I probably wouldn’t. When I compare it to my Nexus 7 2013 the specs don’t really justify the need to upgrade. And if anything the reason I don’t like the ipad is because I HATE that annoying 4:3 screen ration.

  • Ankit Kabeer

    Please do a full Xiaomi Mi5 review and also a detailed camera review.

  • Digiteye

    I own this pile of a crap tablet, 64 GB. Do not buy it! Even typing is so sluggish that it drives me mad every time. The Antutu benchmark must be fake. NOTHING works smoothly on this shit. Years ago I had another Chinese tablet 7.9 with way lower specs and it was a champ compared to this. Wirh retina display etc. Never bother with remembering the name. It always crashed but when worked it was another league compared to this MIUI mountain of shit
    The tester was VERY subtle saying that it’s a little sluggish. No. It’s a built in delay in everything and if you believe you haven’t hit the key and hit again, it will even switch to that bloody magnified screen that you just don’t know how to turn off. Screw MIUI, screw xiaomi

    • balcobomber25

      I have it and don’t have any of the issues you described….

      • gtoon

        I have too and everything works fine. No lag just perfect tablet with a high quality screen

  • Aleen Baruah

    Please do a review of the windows version of mi pad 2. I think its important to a lot of people. MIUI is anyways shit and benchmark scores are totally pointless since it cant even deliver a solid performance in real world usage. I am happy that in this review you are mentioning about the software experience which is what determines the feel of any device. Many reviewers like (C4ET) dont mention about this very properly. Looking forward to a Mi Pad 2 windows version review!