China’s Xiaomi has made a name for itself for a while already in the smartphone market, delivering plenty of bang for your hard earned buck in terms of hardware specifications and performance. To think that it will make the jump to the laptop market might raise a few eyebrows, but Chinese companies should not be underestimated in their quest to dominate various aspects of the consumer electronics industry. Hence, the reveal of the Mi Notebook Air from Xiaomi is far from surprising.
Xiaomi has also been associated as the Apple of China, but if one were to look at the fundamental aspects of both companies, that is a far-fetched claim. Perhaps the only thing that Xiaomi and Apple have in common would be the minimalist designs in its products, and so far, Xiaomi’s main bread and butter has been its smartphone collection where certain models do look like something rolled out from Cupertino’s production lines.
Their latest foray involves the Mi Notebook Air which will arrive in a couple of compact form factors. The body itself is sleek in nature, being made out of a lightweight metal. It might look like a MacBook Air clone of sorts at first glance, but that might just be prejudice talking.
13.3-inch Mi Notebook Air
The two different sizes will arrive with a 13.3” display as well as a 12.5” display. The difference would not be as stark as 13” and 11”, but underneath the hood, there is quite a gulf that separates them. Needless to say, the larger sized model would pack more of a punch than the 12.5” model, where it will have Windows 10 Home as its operating system, running on an Intel Core i5-6200U processor that is accompanied by an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics chipset. Alongside that would be 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage space.
Measuring slightly more than 1.4cm at its thickest point, it tips the scales at 1.2kg. The laminated display will not be 4K capable, but it does come with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and a small 5.5mm thick bezel. It might seem to be very little, but there is still enough space to stash a 1MP video chat camera. Your fingers will not feel cramped when typing either thanks to a full-size keyboard, and even better is the fact that each key will have individual lighting, letting you hammer away in the dark without having to disturb your roommate. Two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C charging socket, and an HDMI connection round off its hardware specifications, and the battery claims to offer 9.5 hours of use.
12.5” Mi Notebook Air
The 12.5” Mi Notebook Air can be said to be the netbook of today, taking into consideration its rather low level specifications. You will find an Intel Core M3 processor with 4GB of RAM running the show, while a 128GB SSD is available for storage purposes that can be expanded thanks to an SSD slot. It tips the scales at just 1.07kg and measures 12.9mm thin, with a battery that will run for slightly more than 11 hours on a full charge.
You will be able to pick from gold or silver shades for the 13.3” Mi Notebook Air, where it will sport a $750 sticker price. As for the smaller sized 12.5” Mi Notebook Air, it will be a whole lot more affordable with an asking price of $525, but do bear in mind that you get what you pay for in this case. Chances are first timers who would want a decent laptop that looks good without breaking the bank will do well to pick up the 13.3” model, as the 12.5” model seems to be more of a toy than a serious working tool.
The new Mi Notebook Air laptops will hit the China market from the beginning of August 2016, and it remains to be seen whether they will be sold outside of China or not in due time.