Apple has long been the (un)disputed king of consumer tablet devices since it first launched its iPad over a decade ago. But while the tech giant has continued to develop and bring forth new technologies in its now extended lineup of iPads, others are edging closer. Apple recently announced the launch of its new iPad Mini with the A15 Bionic chip. The iPad Mini remains Apple’s most popular tablet device, according to the company.
Just a day after Apple’s ‘California Streaming’ event, Xiaomi globally launched its own brand new tablet device — the Xiaomi Pad 5. With both devices being roughly similar in price, which one comes out on top?
The Xiaomi Pad 5 was released globally but has no official India launch date yet and as such the prices are set for European markets. With electronics generally being slightly more expensive in India than in Europe, a huge price difference is unlikely. The Xiaomi Pad 5 has been priced at EUR 349 (just over Rs 30,000) for the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant, and EUR 399 (just over Rs, 34,000) for the 6GB RAM plus 256GB storage variant.
In comparison, the iPad Mini (2021) has been released globally and can be ordered through the online Apple Store already. The tablet is available at four different price points. It has been priced at Rs 46,900 for the 64 GB storage model with WiFi connectivity, Rs 60,900 for the 256 GB storage model with WiFi connectivity, Rs 60,900 for the 64 GB model with both WiFi and cellular connectivity and Rs 74,900 for the 256 GB variant with WiFi and cellular connectivity.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 will be available in Cosmic Gray and Pearl White colour options, and the iPad Mini will be available in Space Grey, Pink, Purple and Starlight colour options.
The pricing already starts to show the difference between the two devices. Apple’s lowest offering is nearly 40 percent costlier than Xiaomi Pad 5’s top variant. Apple’s cheapest iPad, called just the iPad, is more comparable in the price range with its price starting from Rs 30,900 going up to Rs 56,900. The iPad also saw the release of its new version during the Apple Event.
The Xiaomi Pad 5 comes with an 11-inch WQHD+ (1,600x2,560 pixel) True Tone display that gives a 16:10 aspect ratio and is capable of a 120 Hz refresh rate. The device also has Dolby Vision and HDR10 support.
The iPad Mini also got an upgrade in terms of its screen. The tablet comes with a slightly larger than before 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with true tone 2266 x 1488 resolution video and images in a slightly strange 4.6:3 aspect ratio.
While the Xiaomi display is larger and with a more standard aspect ratio, Apple’s pixel per inch density and brighter contrast give it a small subjective edge in display quality.
Perhaps the biggest difference and the reason for the stark gap in the price points are the SoCs used by the two devices. The Xiaomi Pad 5 uses the Snapdragon 860 SoC developed by Qualcomm, while Apple’s iPad Mini features the new A15 Bionic chipset that Apple has developed independently.
While the A15 hasn’t been tested yet, Apple does claim that its new chip is over “40% faster (in) CPU performance and, with the Apple Neural Engine, up to 2x faster machine learning” and has “up to 80% faster graphics” compared to its previous A14 chip.
Comparing the benchmark scores of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 and the A14 Bionic chip, it is easy to see that the older Snapdragon 860 is easily left behind by Apple’s new chipset in computational power. In various benchmark tests, the A14 is able to score anywhere from 50 to over 100 percent higher than the Snapdragon 860. With the A15 supposed to be a marked improvement over the A14, the difference in performance between Apple’s iPad Mini and Xiaomi Pad 5 will be keenly felt.
But in light-load tasks like browning, watching videos, typings, most casual users should not be able to tell much of a difference.
The iPad has an all-new camera set up with a 12-MP Ultra-Wide sensor capable of recording with a 122-degree field of view at the front, along with a new 12-MP camera sensor in the back. It is capable of recording 1080p HD video at 25fps and up to 4K resolution footage. iPad Mini provides Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, and USB-C port with optional eSIM support Gigabit LTE and 5G connectivity as well for higher-priced models. The new iPad Mini is also compatible with the latest second-generation Apple Pencil and Smart Folio case
The Xiaomi Pad 5 switches things around with a 13-MP camera at the back with an 8-MP camera at the front with full HD recording. The pad comes with an 8,720 mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging. For connectivity, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is able to support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5, USB Type-C port and other peripherals like the Xiaomi Smart Pen.
While the iPad Mini has more performance capabilities than the Xiaomi Pad 5, the latter is still a good tablet that can be used without feeling much of a difference at half the price of Apple’s most expensive iPad Mini.