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The Xiaomi Mi Pad is a plastic iPad mini for Android lovers

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$240 for the 16GB model in China, the first to feature Nvidia's Tegra K1

The cheapest iPad mini with Retina display costs $399, but today it's being undercut by a competitor that goes to great lengths to emulate everything about Apple's popular tablet. Xiaomi's Mi Pad has the same 7.9-inch screen size and even the same 2048 x 1536 resolution, while its color scheme, shape, and design are all evocative of Apple's iPhone 5C lineup. In fact, Xiaomi openly acknowledges that it's using the same materials as on the "unapologetically plastic" 5C. Its customized MIUI interface running atop Android seems to take similar inspiration from the look of iOS 7.

The one area where the Mi Pad distinguishes itself is in being the first Tegra K1 device to be announced from any manufacturer. Nvidia's latest chip showed great promise back at CES in January, but has taken a long time to make it to market in real devices. Now it'll be available in the Mi Pad, which can be had in June for 1,499 yuan (just over $240) with 16GB or 1,699 yuan ($275) with 64GB of storage. As with Huawei, Xiaomi's prices are likely to be higher should the Mi Pad ever make it out of China. The company describes the initial release as a beta, perhaps in an effort to tamper expectations and to gauge the interest in a high-spec, low-price alternative to Apple's best tablet.

Unapologetically derivative

Having poached one of Android's top executives, Hugo Barra, away from Google last summer, Xiaomi has been on a quest to assert itself as something more than just another Chinese copycat device maker. Alas, the debut of its latest product would suggest that old habits die hard.