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Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12.5-inch Initial Review: Is this Your Next Notebook?

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Xiaomi, a Chinese brand that’s known for affordable, bang-for-the-buck phones is also in the business of making other electronic doodads like TVs, air purifiers and now, notebooks. Despite bearing a striking resemblance to a notebook offered by another tech firm based out of Cupertino, California, the Mi Notebook Air is a surprisingly solid notebook on its own for people who are on a lookout for a beautiful, value-packed machine.

Mi Notebook Air 12.5-inches specs

  • Intel Core M3 processor
  • 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • 12.5-inch Full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 128GB SATA SSD storage, SSD expansion slot available
  • 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x USB Type-C port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Lightweight at 1.07 kilograms, thin at 12.9 millimeters
  • 11.5-hour battery
  • Windows 10 Home OS

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Initial Impressions: thin, light, and surprisingly not too expensive

If you mistake Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Air with Apple’s current gen Macbook Air, you’re not alone. The only thing that’ll clue you in that this isn’t an Apple device is the plain, machined aluminum lid. It looks barren and uninteresting, and we’d reckon you’d want to put some kind of protective sleeve (or stickers if that’s your thing) to keep the surface pristine.

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Take a closer look at the device though, and you’ll see that it’s not a complete clone of the Macbook Air. For one thing the design of the notebook is more angular, and lacking the distinct taper on the bottom that gives the Macbook Air the illusion of being thinner than it actually is. Speaking of thinness, the Mi Notebook Air measures in at just 12.9mm, which is thinner than the Macbook Air, which clocks in at 17mm at its thickest point and a hair thinner than the current generation Macbook, which comes in at 13.1mm. 

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Open the lid, and you’ll see the backlit keyboard, along with the 12.5-inch full HD IPS display. The display looks good, has punchy colors and brightness. Our review unit, provided by Widget City, sports a full English keyboard for people wondering. The keys have good travel on them, but since the notebook is on the small side keyboard spacing isn’t the best, but nothing too bad.

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There’s a glass covered touchpad at the bottom that’s wide enough for comfortable use. It’s responsive, easy to use and clicks positively.

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Going around the chassis of the notebook you’ll see a USB Type-C port and a USB 3.0 port on the right. The USB Type-C port also does double duty as the charger. On the right you’ll see the full size HDMI port. While physical connectivity isn’t as bad as Apple’s new crop of Macbooks that have a single USB Type-C port, we’re still disappointed to see the limited connectivity options for the Mi Notebook Air.

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While other users have reported that the Mi Notebook Air came with Chinese versions of Windows 10, the review unit provided by Widget City had English Windows 10 pre-installed. Inside the notebook runs Intel’s Core M3 processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD drive. The hardware doesn’t include discrete graphics, just Intel’s built-in HD graphics so we wouldn’t attempt to use this for games.

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What the Mi Notebook Air should be good at is endurance – Intel’s Core M3 processor may not be a powerhouse, but it’s good enough for basic productivity and content consumption. To that end, Xiaomi’s outfitted the Mi Notebook Air with AKG and Dolby Audio, as well as a 600Whr li-polymer battery. Xiaomi estimates that the notebook can go for 11.5 hours on a single charge – we’ll have to see if the notebook lives up to that promise.

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That’s it for this hands-on. If you want to grab the Mi Notebook Air, you can do so via Widget City for Php 29,990.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

4 Comments

  1. Hi guys, I think this is the same unit we received but in Chinese version of Windows 10. We installed the English version and WC later had offered units in English. Nonetheless, great hands-on.

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