Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 full review
Although tablets are in short supply these days, especially the Android variety, Xiaomi has a new model for 2017. The Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 might be pretty similar to its predecessor but it's a decent tablet nonetheless. Here's our in-depth review. See also: Best tablets 2017.
Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Price and where to buy
Xiaomi doesn’t have a UK website or High Street store from which you can buy its products (also see how to buy Xiaomi devices in the UK). However, as you might have noticed from our reviews of other Xiaomi and Chinese brands, it's pretty easy to import devices.
You have a great many options for importing the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 to the UK, including from the two companies we deal with most frequently for Xiaomi review samples: Geekbuying and Gearbest. We have used these two sites for several years now and have had no issues with either.
Geekbuying is the cheaper option at the time of writing, selling the 64GB Mi Pad 3 in gold for £203.05 ($254.99 / 229.77€).
Gearbest, which is currently offering the Mi Pad 3 at the higher price of £214.82, says you can use the voucher code 'MIPAD3CANAL' to get the lowest price. For us the voucher code took down the price to £204.
You should note that both retailers offer free shipping to the UK, but since the tablet is coming from China delivery might take a little longer than you would usually expect. You will also likely be asked to pay import duty, which is calculated at 20 percent of the value printed on the shipping paperwork, plus an admin fee of around £11. Remember to factor this into your budget.
Before you import anything, though, check out our advice on buying tech from China.
See also: Best cheap tablets.
Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Design and build
As the phrase goes 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' and that seems to be Xiaomi's thinking with the Mi Pad 3 when it comes to the look and feel. Read: Best Android tablets 2017.
You'd be forgiven for mistaking the new model for the older one as the Mi Pad 3 has the exact same dimensions as the Mi Pad 2 - 200 x 133 x 7mm. The only difference is that it weights a few grams more at 328g.
There's no escaping that the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 is reminiscent of the iPad mini but any small tablet with an aluminium case is going to do the same.
It might bother you, but the Mi Pad 3 looks great and feels premium in the hand, too. The champagne gold colour is once again a very subtle gold which we're pleased about.
The tablet is incredibly easier to hold in one hand and the camera bump is minimal. There are reasonable but acceptable bezels around the screen so our only real, and small, gripe is that the Mi Pad 3 is a little slippery.
With it not being on sale in the UK, you might find it tricky to find a case so you might be best off ordering one to be shipped with the device.
Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Specs and performance
It's not just the design that's the same this year as Xiaomi has stuck with the same screen for the Mi Pad 3.
That means you get a 7.9in display – the same size as the iPad mini 4– with a 1536 x 2048 resolution. In turn, this results in Apple's 'Retina class' pixel density of 326ppi.
Once again it's crisp with good contrast, vibrant but not garish colours and great viewing angles. There's plenty of brightness available – although not outstanding - and a reading mode that subdues blue light accessible via the quick settings.
Never fear because there are upgrades and the first is that the tablet now comes with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The latter helps performance and the additional storage is especially handy as Xiaomi doesn't offer expandable storage via a microSD card slot.
The processor is different with a move from Intel to a Mediatek MT8176 which is a hexa-core chip (3x2.1 GHz Cortex-A72 & 3x1.7 GHz Cortex-A53) and has a PowerVR GX6250 GPU.
It's difficult to compare the Mi Pad 3 with the Mi Pad 2 in terms of performance as we tested the older model with current benchmark apps like Geekbench 3. Looking at the website, the two tablets get similar scores in the current Geekbench 4.
What we do know is that that device isn't quite as good when it comes to graphics performance which is a shame. However, outside of synthetic tests, we've found the Mi Pad 3 to be suitably smooth albeit not the fastest tablet we've used.
As with the previous model, the Mi Pad 3 isn't packed with modern features like NFC and a fingerprint scanner. This is likely to keep costs down but it does have Bluetooth 4.1 and dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi.
Although we're not keen on tablet photography, shooting with the compact Mi Pad 3 isn't so bad. The tablet has an upgraded camera on the back with a 13Mp main camera albeit with a smaller f/2.2 aperture.
The camera performance is an improvement but still nothing to write home about and it's a similar story for the 5Mp front camera. The odd thing is the lack of controls and settings in the camera app – for example, the usual button which links to the gallery doesn't work.
There's a nice upgrade with the battery which is now 6600mAh, up from 6190mAh so it's almost back to the capacity of the original Mi Pad. You get a reversible USB-C port again and fast charging, too.
Xiaomi claims you'll get up to 12 hours of battery life watching video but you'll need a low screen brightness for that. We expect you'll get around eight at a suitable level and more like five with it at maximum.
Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 Software
Things are up to date on the software front with Android 7.0 Nougat and MIUI8, the latest edition of Xiaomi's user interface. It no longer comes in a Windows model.
It's not a huge departure from the Mi Pad 2, in fact, it's very similar indeed. All your app icons sit on the homescreen like iOS still which is a pain if you like the traditional app draw in Android.
The dropdown notification bar is eye catching and useful with elements like screen brightness and quick settings. Swipe right from the main homescreen and you get a collection of widgets like a calendar, calculator, clock and music controls.
There's no bloatware to speak of and the Mi Pad 3 even comes with SwiftKey installed.
Xiaomi's MIUI8 won't be for everyone but the beauty of Android means you can install a different launcher to make it completely different. If you install the Google Now launcher it's like having a new Nexus 7 for 2017.
Xiaomi Mi Pad 3: Specs
- Android 7.0 Nougat with MIUI 8.0
- 7.9in 2048x1536 IPS touchscreen, 326ppi
- Mediatek MT8176 hexa-core processor
- PowerVR GX6250 Graphics
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage
- 12Mp main camera
- 5Mp front camera
- 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Type-C USB
- 6600mAh non-removable battery