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Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 is the small Android tablet you've been waiting for [Review]  December 30, 2017 – 09:13 am

Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 frontThere aren't many small Android tablets that can set your world on fire. The manufacturers that are still invested in this market no longer seem to be interested in producing smaller devices, as their attention is now either focused on larger slates or hybrid devices. So, if you are in the market for a small tablet that runs Android, you clearly aren't spoiled for choice.

This is why, after nearly three years on the market, the second-generation Nexus 7 is still my favorite. Google's last small slate got so many things right back in 2013 that I have been struggling to find an attractive replacement for it. But since Xiaomi introduced the Mi Pad 2, I have been wondering whether it is the successor that I have been waiting for so long. Given the opportunity to test it, I set upon to find out whether there truly is a small Android tablet to get excited about these days.

In The Box

Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 backThe Mi Pad 2 ships in a nice, white box with the tablet shown on the front. Inside you will find a USB Type-C cable and wall charger as well as the usual literature. The provided cable does not have USB Type-C ports at both ends, so you can plug it in any standard wall charger and it will work nicely; most of the time I have used my six-port USB charger to top up the battery on the Mi Pad 2. As you might expect, there are no headphones inside.


The Mi Pad 2 is one of the most beautiful tablets that I have ever seen. The front is all-glass while the back is made of metal. The model that I have been testing is the gold version (the photos do not accurately show it though), but there are also silver and rose gold options to choose from. On the side there are rounded edges, which make the device feel great in the hand. On the front and rear there are discreet Mi logos.

On the right side you will find two buttons, one for adjusting the volume and the other for power; both are clicky. For navigation, Xiaomi has opted for capacitive buttons, which are backlit. From left to right you have recents, home and back; they are all customizable in the settings menu, so you can choose how they work for a short and long press.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 capacitive buttonsAt the top of the tablet you will find the headphone jack, while the main camera is on the upper left corner of the back panel. The front-facing camera is above the display, right in the middle. The Mi Pad 2 also features a notification LED on the right side of the front-facing camera, and the software lets you choose which color you want to use for notifications.

The tablet itself is pretty easy to hold, thanks to those rounded edges, but because Xiaomi has opted to use a 4:3 display it is a bit wider than most Android tablets out there, which have a 16:9 or 16:10 screen.

After using a second-generation Nexus 7 for nearly two years, I can feel a difference though not a substantial one. Same goes for the weight. But, really, this tablet is not aimed at Nexus 7 users as much as it is aimed at prospective iPad mini buyers; this much is obvious after looking at it and using it.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 front cameraThe Mi Pad 2 measures 200.4 x 132.6 x 6.95 mm and weighs 322 grams. The latest iPad mini is very close in terms of size and weight, coming in at 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm and 298.8 grams. The second-generation iPad mini, which the Mi Pad 2 is closer to in terms of price, comes in at 200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm and 331 grams (the cellular models are heavier in both cases).


The display is probably the most polarizing thing about the Mi Pad 2. Unlike most Android tablets which have a wide display - as I mentioned above - the Mi Pad 2's screen has the same aspect ratio and resolution as that of the Retina iPad minis.

That means that you get a 7.9-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 2, 048 by 1, 536. And, as you might expect, everything looks sharp on it. The high resolution takes care of that. Viewing angles are good, colors look nice, and it gets bright enough too. But, how does it work while using the tablet?

Well, in the case of videos you do get black bands at the top and bottom, which are a given, but other than that it works without any surprises. Most apps that I have used had no problems with the aspect ratio and neither did all the sites I visited. While reading and using apps the aspect ratio works in its favor, as you get more content on the horizontal direction when holding it in landscape mode.

In fact, it works very well in both orientations, as no side is significantly longer than the other. This is a plus for me, considering that I tend to use my tablet a lot in landscape mode when reading the news or browsing, for the obvious reasons. And, when watching videos, I have no problems either. Other tablets in this segment tend to be a bit too long to be used comfortably in landscape mode, but the Mi Pad 2 manages to be quite versatile overall.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 rear camera Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 speakers Xiaomi Mi Pad Xiaomi Mi Pad 2_com.miui.home


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