Take a stroll through a Shenzhen Market in China, and you'll probably see more than a few Apple knockoffs from no-name (or "white box") companies. But what happens when one of China's biggest tech companies has a go at the iPad mini? Meet Xiaomi's Mi Pad.
If you looked at the Mi Pad from more than a few feet away, you wouldn't be crazy for mistaking it for an iPad mini. It has roughly the same size and proportions, and the exact same screen size (7.9"), aspect ratio (4:3), and resolution (2,048 x 1,536) as the iPad mini with Retina Display. The biggest external difference is its plastic build, available in a variety of pastel colors (yes, it's a little bit of an iPhone 5c knock-off as well). Hell, the Xiaomi employees at the tablet's launch event were even dressed like Apple retail employees:
Why bother putting the spotlight on such an undeniable clone job? Well, the Xiaomi Mi Pad actually carries some impressive specs for an equally impressive price. And since there are only a couple of legit Retina iPad mini rivals on the Android side of the fence (most notably, Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4), the Mi Pad could potentially fill a need for some hardcore Android devotees.
On the inside, we're looking at Nvidia's beastly Tegra K1 chip, with its quad-core CPU (this is the 32-bit version with A15 CPU) and insane 192-core GPU. The Mi Pad adds 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot. An 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front shooter, and a 6,700 mAh battery round out the key specs.
As for the software, well, we start with Android 4.4 KitKat with Xiaomi's MIUI custom skin sitting on top. And go figure: MIUI is the most iOS-like Android skin we've seen. Xiaomi's gall here makes Samsung's alleged Apple copying look like child's play.
If you're looking for an all-original tablet, then you'll want to look elsewhere. And I personally wouldn't recommend throwing your money at such a blatant knockoff. But if something like this floats your boat, then you'll be able to get your hands on the Mi Pad later this year. The 16 GB Mi Pad will start at RMB 1499 (about US$241) while the 64 GB model will retail for RMB 1699 (around $273).