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About mid last year Chinese tech company Xiaomi announced plans to widen its market in the US, bringing with it a range of affordable smartphones and tablets including an 8-inch iPad alternative known as the Mi Pad 4.
Praised by Tech Adviser as compact, affordable and one of the best budget tablets available, the Mi Pad 4 is considered a solid alternative to the cheap and cheerful line-ups of Amazon and Google, at less than half the price of an iPad Mini.
So, what is the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4?
Chinese technology manufacturer Xiaomi only arrived on the tech scene in 2010, but in less than a decade has built up a huge range of products and avid followers.
The company specializes in offering budget tech products, selling its hardware for near cost price, while recouping its income on content.
Xiaomi started with smart phones but has rapidly expanded the line-up into tablets, wearable tech, and accessories.
At present, many of those accessories are available internationally, but smart phones and tablets have been largely restricted to markets like China and India.
Xiaomi released its first Mi Pad in 2014. The company is now considered one of the most valuable tech hardware manufacturers in the world with a market cap of $42 billion.
The Mi Pad 4 is an 8-inch Android tablet running a custom version of Android Oreo, known as MIUI. Released in 2018, the Mi Pad 4 is the company’s fourth revision of the budget tablet and has a starting price equalling USD$170 or AUD$230.
It’s also available in a Plus version of 10.1-inches.
So, what’s in the box?
The Mi Pad 4 features an 8-inch screen with a 1920 x 1200 display at 283ppi. Inside, there’s a Snapdragon 660 processor and available configurations include 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, or 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
Storage can be increased courtesy of the MicroSD card slot that can accommodate an extra 264GB.
In terms of other ports, connections, and media, the Mi Pad has Bluetooth 5, a 3.5mm audio jack, USB-C for charging and dual speakers, which Tech Adviser notes offer surprisingly good sound.
The tablet has both front and rear facing cameras, with a 13mp camera at the back and a 5mp selfie camera at the front. The latter supports Face Unlock.
Meanwhile, it comes in a Wi-Fi only option or with cellular connectivity of 4G LTE, and models are available in black or rose gold.
With a starting price of just US$170 (AUD$230 or UK£130) the Mi Pad 4 is cheap, and you get a fair bit for the price. In fact, the UK’s Tech Adviser labels it “right up there with the best budget tablets, especially when it comes with change from £200”.
But it does come with a few drawbacks. Currently Xiaomi doesn’t directly sell tablets in the US, Australia or the UK, with third parties like eBay, Gear Best and Geek Buying the typical suppliers.
In the US it’s hoped that will change this year, but political tensions between China and the US could see that stall.
In the meantime, the Mi Pad 4 comes with its own custom Android software known as MIUI. Google isn’t part of that installation, but can be downloaded from the Mi App Store
The Mi Pad also does not have GPS or Near Field Communication (NFC).
That said, Tech Adviser concludes: “The result is a powerful yet easily portable Android tablet with an abundance of storage for all the games, videos and all the other things you love”.