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Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Review: An almost perfect iPad Mini clone?

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Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Display

The Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 is a 7.9-inch Android tablet, that has been out for a couple of months now. Even though it is quite inexpensive, it is offering some very nice features. Its highlights are a full metal body, a high-resolution display, and Android 7.0 Nougat. How good is this tablet compared to the competition? That‘s what you‘ll find out in this review.

While the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 is directly on sale in China only, you can get it worldwide from shops that export it. I got this review unit from GearBest. With the coupon MIMIPAD3, you can get it for just 229$.

Design and Build Quality

The design of the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 is great, you could call it awesome. It has a 7.9-inch display, like the iPad Mini, and it plays in the same league as Apple when it comes to build quality. Xiaomi is giving us a full metal body. Even though the tablet is very cheap, it doesn‘t feel cheap at all. Instead, it feels quite high end.

You can get it in champagne gold, which looks nice. With 8 millimeters it is a bit thicker than the iPad Mini though. But it weighs very similar at 329 grams.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 metal body

Cameras, Ports and no microSD reader

Around the display is a black bezel which is thin at the sides but relatively big at the top and bottom. Above the display is a 5-megapixel front camera. Underneath the screen are three capacitive buttons. They‘re the same as with all Android tablets that have those.

On the right side are the volume controls and a power button. On the top is a standard 3.5-millimeter audio port. There‘s a USB Type C port on the button of the device and yes, there is no microSD card slot. Maybe Xiaomi copied a bit too much from Apple here.

You might not need extra storage because the internal storage has a capacity of 64GB. If you still need external storage, you can connect an SD card reader and other accessories via the USB Type C port. That works very nicely.

Underneath the Xiaomi logo on the back are two speakers. The sound quality is decent. As you might expect, it‘s not the best though. There‘s also a 13-megapixel camera on the back. Both cameras offer good enough video, but I‘ve seen better. They are fine for snapshots or video calls though.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Display

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 review

Let‘s take a closer look at the screen. It‘s a 7.9-inch IPS panel with an aspect ratio of 4:3. Like the iPad Mini, it has a resolution of 2048 x 1536. That‘s a really nice pixel density. Text and icons look sharp and colors look nice. It‘s one of the nicest displays in this price range.

The viewing angles are good too and I could even work with it outside. Obviously, it‘ll transform into a mirror in direct sunlight. But if the background is bright like in Microsoft Word you can still read the screen.

So the display is quite good. I did notice one negative aspect though. There is a scratch on the display already. While I didn‘t use a cover or any other kind of protection, I didn‘t mistreat it either. Usually, there shouldn‘t be a scratch. So, if you get it, it might be a good idea to use some kind of protective cover.

Hardware and Performance

Inside the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 runs a MediaTek MTK8176. It‘s a hexacore chip with four cores clocked at 1.7GHz and the other two at 2.1GHz. We‘ve seen this chipset inside the ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 already. Other specs include 4GB of RAM and a 64GB internal storage.

The MediaTek MTK8176 is a solid middle-class chip. Usually, the performance is good enough for most things. It‘s not as good as the one inside the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, but this one costs a lot more.

I played a couple of games on the Mi Pad 3 and they did run fine. Mostly though. I had no issues with Dead Trigger 2 at all. Even when playing it with the maximum graphics settings. The same goes for Asphalt Xtreme, it did play very nicely.

There were some big issues with Modern Combat 5 though. I did notice some heavy lags. That shouldn‘t be the case because weaker tablets can play the game just fine. There must be some issue with Xiaomis software customizations.

Comparing Benchmarks

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 benchmarks

Everything is fine again in the benchmarks. The Mi Pad 3 performs as you would expect from this chipset. In Geekbench 4 it gets 1539 and 3836 points. That‘s a bit weaker than the ZenPad 3S 10. In AnTuTu Xiaomi is a bit better with a result of around 81000.

Considering the price, the benchmark results are excellent. The Huawei MediaPad M3 might be an interesting alternative though. It offers a bit better performance and depending on where you are, the prices are similar.

Other hardware features are WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1. As of now, there is no LTE 4G version available.

Android 7.0 Nougat and MIUI 8

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 software

On the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 runs Android 7.0 Nougat including the Google Play Store. So you‘ll be able to install most apps that you are used to from your phone or older tablet.

There are very few apps preinstalled and that is a good thing. Besides the Play Store, there‘s the Gmail app, a calendar, folder and FM radio app. Xiaomi has their own browser as well. You can install Chrome as an alternative though.

I had no issues with the software during my review. Everything works as expected. It‘s kind of sad though that there is no split view mode build in. So you can‘t open two apps side by side.

MIUI 8: Similar to iOS

On top of Android 7.0 Nougat runs the MIUI 8, that‘s the own interface from Xiaomi. While it doesn‘t look overloaded, it is customized quite heavily. For example, there‘s no app drawer. Instead, all apps are installed directly to the home screen.

There are a couple of interesting features you can turn on in the settings. For example, there‘s a so called quick ball. That‘s a little ball with a couple of shortcuts you can access easily from everywhere. You an go back to home with that, take a screenshot or start an app quickly.

Xiaomi is giving us a kids mode as well. It doesn‘t offer a nice, kid friendly interface though. Instead, it just restricts which apps your child can use.

Battery Life

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 battery life

Inside the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 is a battery with a capacity of 6600mAh. According to Xiaomi, it should last up to 12 hours. Under certain conditions, that certainly can be true. In my battery test, I got a runtime of 11.5 hours. That‘s quite good for the price.

To get comparable results, I always do the same battery test. I‘m playing an HD video until the tablet goes dark. Brightness is set to 50 percent and WiFi is activated.

I am getting comparable results with this battery test. But how long does it last in real life use? To test that, I did a kind of battery diary for two days. In my normal use, I got a total runtime of 25.1 hours. The display was turned off 19.5 hours and I used it actively for 5.6 hours.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 with Bluetooth Keyboard

The battery life is not great in my real life use test. And there is a reason for that. The Mi Pad 3 is losing too much power during standby when the display is turned off. I reviewed the Lenovo Tab4 10 Plus at the same time and its battery is losing much less power during the night.

I used the tablet as I would use it normally. I did a video call using Skype, wrote articles in Word, surfed the web and watched videos on YouTube. Brightness was set to 100 percent a lot of the time. WiFi and Bluetooth were activated the whole time as well because I connected a keyboard to it.

During my review, the battery did last me a whole day. The only problem is that it loses too much battery in standby mode. So, if you get it, you‘ll probably have to charge it every night.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Review: Final Thoughts

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 review

Can I recommend the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3? Well, it depends on what you‘re looking for. If you want a great build quality at an affordable price, this tablet is great. I like the design more than the one from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. The 7.9-inch display is very nice as well.

But as usual, you‘ll have to make a couple of compromises with such cheap tablets like this. The performance is good in benchmarks and games like Dead Trigger 2 run nicely. Other games like Modern Combat 5 have huge issues though. Something is not right there and I hope Xiaomi will release an update.

You also have to compromise with the battery a bit. It‘ll get you through a day but you‘ll have to charge it at night. If you are traveling a lot and don‘t have access to power easily all the time, then I would recommend it.

So can I recommend it? Yes, if you‘re looking for a good build tablet for little money. Yes, if you‘re browsing the web, work with it or watch YouTube videos. But I wouldn‘t recommend it for gamers until Xiaomi has fixed this issue.


7

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Display
Review: The Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 offers an excellent design and a nice display at an affordable price. While the performance is good in benchmarks, you might encounter bugs with certain games. The battery life could be better too.
Positive
  • Very nice design
  • Full metal body
  • Nice display
  • Good general performance
Negative
  • Weird issues with some games
  • Battery life could be better
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