After months of rumors, the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 is real: this is a close rival to Apple’s iPad Pro and it also comes alongside its own Pro model with some high-end specs. It was launched at an event in China, alongside the Mi Mix 4, a sound system, new TVs and more.
Our iPad Pro comparison isn’t just tech-journalist rhetoric: Xiaomi itself shared lots of spec comparisons between its new slate and Apple’s early-2021 version, during the launch event.
The Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 Pro is the real gem here, with loads of specs that legitimately do blow Apple’s devices out the water, but the ‘standard’ slate isn’t anything to turn your nose up at as its lower price will likely make it the more popular model.
Plus, the Mi Pad 5 series was unveiled alongside ‘MIUI for Pad’, a version of Xiaomi’s smartphone fork of Android called MIUI which is designed for tablets. This is a thinly-veiled rival to Apple’s iPadOS, which could bring useful productivity features.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Xiaomi’s first tablet since 2018
- When is it out? We don’t know that
- How much will it cost? It sounds startlingly affordable
Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 release date and price
We don’t actually know the global availability for the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 series – or if it’ll be available outside China at all – but we can look at the Chinese pricing to get an idea.
This is a startlingly affordable slate, at least in China. The ‘standard’ tablet starts at just CNY 1,999 for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, a price which converts to around $310, £220, AU$420. There’s a version that bumps the storage up to 256GB for CNY 2,299, or about $350, £260, AU$480.
For the Pro model, the prices go up, but only slightly, making it the more tempting buy. The 6GB RAM and 128GB model costs CNY 2,499 (about $390, £280, AU$530), a 6GB / 256GB version is CNY 2,799 (around $430, £310, AU$590), and the top-spec model with 8GB RAM, 256GB storage and 5G compatibility, is CNY 3,499 (roughly $540, £390, AU$740).
Chinese conversions are often much lower than final prices in other regions, and we should warn you that Xiaomi products don’t go on sale in the US, but even still those prices suggest the Mi Pad 5 series won’t cost as much as an iPad Pro.
Oh, one thing though: unlike other Android tablets from Samsung and Huawei, you won’t get accessories with the slate such as a stylus or keyboard folio.
Design and display
Both the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 tablets have the same design. The screens are 11 inches diagonally, with resolutions of 2560 x 1600, or 2.5K, as well as 120Hz refresh rates, 500 nit max brightness, LCD technology and HDR10 support.
On the front the cameras are housed in the bezel, not in cut-out segments like on some other tablets.
In terms of looks, they look largely like Xiaomi Mi 11 devices that’ve been stretched out – that comparison is mainly in the camera department, with a similar-looking bump. Overall, though, this is a pretty usual-looking slate – you see one tablet, you’ve seen them all.
The slates are available in white, black or green, though the Pro doesn’t get the latter. They have four stereo speakers tuned by Dolby Atmos.
Performance, specs and cameras
These aren’t the most powerful devices ever running Android, but they’re close.
The Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 chipset, while the Pad 5 Pro bumps that up to the Snapdragon 870 – both are powerful, and while they won’t quite provide the performance power of the Snapdragon 888 or 888 Plus, you might not notice in everyday use.
The software at use here isn’t quite MIUI, the Android fork that Xiaomi phones use, but ‘MIUI for Pad’, a fork of the fork in the spirit of Apple’s iPadOS.
The main changes here seem to be a greater focus on multi-tasking mode, with easy split-screening or app windows that you can drag about. An entertainment center was also shown off, though judging by the app choices, it could be China-only.
The slate works with a stylus and a keyboard folio, two types of accessory tablet fans will be well versed in. The former is used for note-taking and sketching, the latter is a case which doubles as a keyboard you can use for easy word processing.
There are some differences in the camera department. The slate has an 8MP front and 13MP rear snapper, and on the Pro that latter one is paired with a 5MP depth sensor. On the 5G version of the Pro, the main rear camera is actually a 50MP one.
The battery life is one department where the standard model of the tablet is actually preferable, though not by much.
The Xiaomi Mi Pad 5 has a 8,720mAh power pack, while the Pro drops that down to 8,600mAh. A difference of 120mAh isn’t much though, and might not be noticeable in day-to-day use.
Charging is an area in which the Pro easily wins though, boasting 67W wired powering. In comparison, the standard Mi Pad 5 only hits 33W, which is relatively slow, though it still beats most other tablets.