Even though Hugo Barra has been flying around recently to expand Xiaomi's presence in the region, he took out some time to meet up with the local media including HardwareZone for an update on the upcoming products in Singapore.
Arguably the most anticipated product in Xiaomi's lineup at the moment, we had a chance to try out a prototype unit of the 7.9-inch Mi Pad tablet. As expected, the Mi Pad looks very similar to the Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display although its handling pales in comparison. As it is made up of entirely of a polycarbonate exterior, the Mi Pad does not feel as premium and well-built as the aluminum-clad iPad Mini. Moreover, its handling isn't as good due to its thicker (8.5mm) and heavier (360g) chassis.
Being a prototype unit, we didn't manage to run benchmarks. As such, we'll reserve our comments on its performance when we get a retail unit that's fit for review. With the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor running under the hood, one can expect its graphics performance to be on-par, if not better than the competition due to its PC-class GPU. When asked about the price and availability of the Mi Pad, Barra said that there is no time frame or any price estimate at the moment, but they are working to ensure it will eventually be available. We'll update once we get wind of it's availability, but pricing in the China market certainly looks enticing and could more than make up for some its less than ideal physical aspects.
Besides the Mi Pad, we also had the opportunity to try out the Redmi Note. As a quick recap, the Redmi Note is Xiaomi's first phablet with a 5.5-inch screen. It runs on a MediaTek MT6592 octa-core 1.7GHz processor with 2GB of RAM.
Despite its 720p resolution, the IPS display still looked fairly sharp and dense. We ran the game, Asphalt 8: Airborne and felt that its performance could be smoother; perhaps the advanced graphical effects are taking a toll on it performance. In any case, do note that the phone we've trialed is not a review unit and may not be running the final firmware. Handling-wise, the Redmi Note feels a tad heavy at 199g. It is also made up of the same glossy plastic material as the original Redmi.
Originally scheduled for release as early as May, Barra told us that the Redmi Note will be arriving in a few weeks. Since Xiaomi recently announced that the device will go on sale in Taiwan on June 27, you can probably expect the Redmi Note to be available around that time frame or soon after. Stay tuned to HardwareZone for the latest updates on its price and availability.