Xiaomi, the white-hot Chinese hardware maker, held a big event in Beijing on Thursday where it launched its first tablet, the Mi Pad. Not only does the name sound like an Apple product, it also physically resembles the plastic design of the iPhone 5C.
According to Xiaomi, the Mi Pad is going to be impressively specced: a 7.9-inch screen running at 2048 x 1536 resolution, which exactly matches the screen currently on Apple’s iPad Mini Retina. The Mi Pad will be running Xiaomi’s MIUI Android skin, which has been accused of ripping off Apple’s design language but remains a well-liked and beautiful alternate Android interface. Most notably, the Mi Pad is the first device to make use of Nvidia’s new Tegra K1 graphics chip, which has 192 cores and promises impressive gaming performance.
All told, the Mi Pad looks like an impressive tablet, but its strongest point may be its price: it starts at 1499 yuan, which works out to just over $240 — which is just over half the 2,888 yuan price tag of Apple’s least expensive iPad Mini with Retina.
American consumers may not be familiar with Xiaomi, but it has had a lot of success in its home markets, selling nearly 19 million phones in 2013. Recently, the company has been gearing up for an international push, rebranding its products under the Western-friendly “Mi” moniker and expanding to new markets — although, unfortunately, there are currently no plans to widely distribute the Mi Pad in the United States.