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 new discoveries – initially unearthed by the XDA Developers community – it now looks as though Xiaomi might be prepping not one, but up to three new slates, that could arrive in a matter of months.
When will the Mi Pad 5 launch?
While there's no official event yet scheduled, the latest report from MyDrivers suggests a "mid-to-late August" release for the Mi Pad 5 line.
This aligns with a statement from the Product Director for Xiaomi's Redmi line – Wang Teng Thomas – who, in response to fan questions on Weibo, revealed that we shouldn't expect to see the Mi Pad 5 series launch until the second half of 2021.
This also helped dispel an existing rumour from the XiaomiUI Telegram group that suggested a 25 June unveiling.
How much does the Mi Pad 5 cost?
2018's Mi Pad 4, was a decidedly mid-range slate, 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 – talk of Snapdragon 870 SoCs and 5G have been floating around – 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?
While the Mi Pad 5 looks to be the most likely moniker for these new Xiaomi tablets, the name has yet to appear in any official capacity. 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 next 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.
Of the three, only "Enuma" appears to support voice calls, implying support for cellular connectivity (it's expected to support 5G), while the other two slates are said to be WiFi-only.
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 and the XiaomiUI Telegram group, all three devices are expected to sport a 16:10 aspect ratio, 2560x1600, 120Hz IPS LCD panel. XDA member kacskrz states that "Nabu" specifically will sport a 10.97in display, measure 236mm x 148mm and will potentially pack in an 8720mAh battery.
The thought that these tablets 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.
At least one of these potential Mi Pad 5 entries has 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 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 2K LCD panel, with a 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, and support for 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity by way of in-cell active pen technology, for stylus usage.
As spotted by MySmartPrice, an Apple Magic-keyboard-style keyboard cover has 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, a peripheral that was previously rumoured.