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Xiaomi Mi Pad Hands-on: First Tegra K1 Tablet Has Serious Power

Packing 192 graphics cores, Nvidia's Tegra K1 CPU has found a home in the Xiaomi Mi Pad. We had a chance to spend a few minutes with the 8-inch Mi Pad at Computex 2014 and were intrigued by its smooth performance, sharp screen and budget-friendly price.

When it launches in China only within the next few weeks, the Mi Pad will cost the equivalent of $240. For that price, you get an 8-inch tablet with the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as the $399 iPad mini with Retina display. There's also an 8-MP back camera, a 5-MP front camera, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD Card expansion card slot. Powered by the Tegra K1 chip and 2GB of RAM, the Xiaomi Mi Pad provides plenty of pop for gaming, productivity or surfing the web.

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The device's glossy white plastic sides and back weren't particularly exciting, but its capacitive hardware  navigation buttons had an attractive, modern look with a solid square icon representing home and a single left-facing angle bracket representing back. 

The 2048 x 1536 display was sharp if not overly bright and colorful in our brief experience. Some details, like sparks in a video game looked particularly rich. Xiaomi's MIUI skin, which rides on top of Android 4.4 KitKat, also looked really attractive, with its slightly rounded icons and artful desktop widgets. 

When we fired up a game of Trine 2 and made our way through some introductory sequences, our character moved smoothly through a virtual world filled with rain drops, smoke, sparks, and shadows. As our character ran past flames, parts of his body were illuminated accordingly, all tasks that require good graphics performance to achieve.

Overall, we're impressed with the Mi Pad. Though U.S. consumers will likely never get their hands on this slate, it portends good things for other Tegra K1 products.