Xiaomi moves from strength to strength in the smartphone space, occupying practically every segment with at least one capable entry and delivering some of the best value on the market, but there are now signs that the company plans to return to the long-neglected tablet space, with a series of new Mi Pads.
We reviewed 2018’s Mi Pad 4 (an affordable 8in Android-based doppelgänger to Apple’s iPad Mini, which saw little appeal outside of China due to a lack of Google Services) and found it to be a capable low-cost slate. Following its release, however, Xiaomi took its foot off the gas and instead choose to focus its attention on smartphones in the years that followed.
Based on a series of leaks – initially unearthed by the XDA Developers community – it now looks as though Xiaomi might be prepping not one, but up to three new tablets; set to arrive this Tuesday.
When will the Mi Pad 5 launch?
With news of the company’s rise to position 338 on the Fortune 500, Xiaomi CEO, Lei Jun announced that his annual address will take place on 10 August at 7:30pm local time (12:30pm BST), which is where we’re expecting to learn about new phones MIUI 13 (the Mi Pad 5 series is expected to arrive on MIUI 12.5, according to MyDrivers) and the company’s long-rumoured tablets.
Sure enough, Xiaomi has subsequently pushed out teaser posters (as above) for its 10 August event, alluding to both the new Mi Pad 5 line and the Mi Mix 4 – its long-rumoured premium smartphone with an under-display camera.
How much does the Mi Pad 5 cost?
2018’s Mi Pad 4, was a decidedly mid-range tablet, available internationally on the grey market from import retailers at a respectable sub-£250/€290/US$350 starting price.
Based on the expected hardware this new series of Mi Pads looks likely to feature they’re expected to reach closer to premium slate pricing; albeit with Xiaomi’s iconic value still intact.
What features does the Mi Pad 5 offer?
The official teaser posters have offered up the most concrete details on the Mi Pad 5 line so far, including confirmation of the name; prior to these, however, while digging through the decompiled code of various MIUI 12.5 system apps, XDA Developers found what are believed to be codenames for the company’s slates, in “Nabu”, “Enuma” and “Elish.”
These particular names appear to be in reference to Babylonian myth, with the latter two forming two parts of the name for the Babylonian creation myth, “Enūma Eliš”, which paired with their respective tablets’ partial model numbers (K81 and K81A), suggest two variants of the same slate.
“Enuma” appears to support voice calls, implying support for cellular connectivity (it’s expected to support 5G), while at least one of the other slates are said to be WiFi-only. The more recent teaser poster featuring the stylus (further down this article) also shows cellular antenna break lines in the flat edges of the tablet’s metal frame.
The name “Nabu” is likely in reference to the ancient Mesopotamian god of literacy, scribes and wisdom; tenuously suggesting that the tablet (partial model number ‘K82’) will likely come with stylus support.
During their investigation, those decompiling the various MIUI 12.5 apps found references to “isPad” – thought to trigger unique features when fired off on a tablet – while an alpha build of the MIUI Home app also appears to contain system navigation controls and instructions for a tablet device.
According to the various tipsters across the XDA forums, the XiaomiUI Telegram group and Weibo, all three devices are expected to sport a 10.95in, 16:10 aspect ratio, 2560×1600, 120Hz IPS LCD panels.
XDA member kacskrz states that “Nabu” specifically will measure 236mm x 148mm and will potentially pack in an 8750mAh battery, although other sources suggest these figures might apply to all three tablets.
The thought that these slates will opt for a more premium experience and deliver more power than their mid-range predecessor comes from initial talk of Qualcomm’s SM8250 inside both “Enuma” and “Elish” – most likely the Snapdragon 870 – while “Nabu” will reportedly run on the chipmaker’s SM8150 platform – expected to be the Snapdragon 860.
In relation to this, a listing with China’s MIIT (the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) lists a device with the model number M2105K81C, said to sport 5G cellular connectivity, while a subsequent FCC listing – referencing model number 21051182G and tied to a Xiaomi tablet – affirms the use of MIUI 12.5, dual-band WiFi and makes mention of 22.5W fast charging (which has subsequently been connected with a new Redmi tablet).
This new budget slate has also cropped up on China’s 3C certification platform, listed as housing dual 4260mAh batteries (for a total capacity of 8520mAh), along with talk of a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 or Snapdragon 765G chipset in place of the aforementioned Snapdragon 860/870.
Additional 3C certification (as spotted by MyFixGuide) makes reference to three models of the Xiaomi tablet: M2105K81AC, 21051182C and M2105K81C. As already established by the MIIT, M2105K81C supports 5G, while both M2105K81AC and M2105K81C are listed as toting impressive 67W fast charging. 21051182C – which could be a ‘Lite’ Mi Pad 5 of some sort – is listed as supporting 33W fast charging.
The most capable of the lineup – thought to be called the Mi Pad 5 Pro (most likely “Nabu”) – is also slated to feature a display with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, by way of in-cell active pen technology, for stylus usage, tieing up with the stylus poster subsequently pushed out by Xiaomi on Weibo.
As originally spotted by MySmartPrice, an Apple Magic-keyboard-style keyboard cover also passed through the CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration), allegedly tied to the Mi Pad 5 Line.
The cover features pogo pin connections and a groove which, in one rendered image, is shown playing host to a stylus, as previously rumoured.
The keyboard cover has since appeared in one of Xiaomi’s official teaser posters, revealing a faux leather deck (the area into which the keys are set) and that the tablet itself features a display with rounded corners.