The Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 and Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition laptops have just been launched in India and could shake things up for Indian laptop buyers. Xiaomi has risen to dominant positions in the smartphone and smart TV markets and the company has a well-earned reputation for selling high-end hardware at bargain prices.
Can that success translate to the laptop market, and should established brands including Dell, Acer, HP and Lenovo be worried? We’ve only just managed to get our hands on the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, which is the premium model in Xiaomi’s new lineup, and we can bring you this first-hand account of what it offers, considering its starting price of Rs. 54,999.
The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition isn’t perfect, but it is relatively affordable. If you’re tempted, and are considering giving Xiaomi a chance, here’s what you need to know about it, both good and bad.
- There are two options within the Horizon Edition line to choose from, and the main difference between them is the CPU. If you choose the Intel Core i5-10210U variant, you’ll also get a 512GB SATA SSD, and the price will be Rs. 54,999. The version with the Core i7-10510U and faster 512GB NVMe SSD would seem to be much better value at Rs. 59,999. The higher priced model also has a USB Type-C port while the lower one doesn’t.
- The laptop has a 14-inch full-HD resolution display and a matte coating. Some people like this because it’s anti-reflective, which is great for work, while others prefer glossy displays that make movies and games look more vibrant.
- There’s no built-in webcam because Xiaomi prioritised thin screen borders at the design stage. The company does include a USB HD webcam in the box with the laptop, but some users might find this inconvenient.
- Xiaomi has used a discrete GPU, the entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX350, for better graphics performance than the Intel CPU’s integrated GPU. You should expect a small speed boost if you work with heavy media files, but don’t expect to use this laptop for high end gaming.
- You do get one USB Type-C port which works at USB 3.1 Gen1 speed (5Gbps), but only with the Core i7 variant. It also does not support DisplayPort video output, and you can’t use it to charge the laptop. Aside from this, both variants have two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports and HDMI output, but there isn’t an SD card slot.
- The keyboard features full-sized keys with a scissor action and 1.3mm key travel. The arrow cluster is cramped, like on many other laptops. There’s also no keyboard backlighting, which has disappointed many prospective buyers.
- You get 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM which is soldered-in and can’t be upgraded. The higher priced Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition variant does have a high-speed NVMe 512GB SSD which can be replaced. It’s worth noting that the lower-cost variant ships with a slower SATA SSD which is also replaceable.
- The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition weighs 1.3kg and is just 17.15mm thick, which makes it very portable. The body is made of an aluminium magnesium alloy, and should be relatively durable.
- Xiaomi promises 10 hours of battery life, but doesn’t specify what workloads that involves and under what conditions. Quick charging will get you up to 50 percent in 35 minutes so you can be productive on the go.
- Many people familiar with Xiaomi’s phones are afraid of ads and bloatware, but you get plain Windows 10 Home on the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition. The only preloaded apps are Blaze Unlock, which logs you in automatically if you wear a compatible Mi Band, and Smart Share, for transferring files between PCs and smartphones.
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