NEW DELHI: Laptops are getting a lot of traction on account of the remote working requirements and pent up demand. Many PC brands have reported a surge in sales. To take advantage of this, Xiaomi, better known for its smartphones and TVs, is finally bringing its laptops to India.
We reviewed the top variant of the Mi Laptop 14 Horizon Edition, which costs ₹59,999 and runs on Intel’s 10th gen Core i7 processor. The Core i5 variant costs ₹54,999.
Even though remote working is the new norm, having a compact and light notebook always feels very reassuring. One can easily tuck it under arm and move from one room to another. At 1.35 kg, it is comparable to any of the lightweight premium notebooks with 14-inch screen. It doesn’t feel fragile or cheap and is swathed in a full metal jacket.
The bezels around the screen look thin and give the laptop a 91% screen to body ratio which is among the highest. For users this means a more immersive feel while watching movies. The bezels are thin but are a bit raised, to prevent the screen from directly pressing against keyboard when the laptop is closed.
The only downside of the thin bezels is that there is no room for webcam. At a time when people have to be on video calls almost every day, not having a webcam is very limiting. Xiaomi has no intention of letting users stranded and is bundling a HD webcam with the laptop.
The base of the laptop includes a roomy set of keys with ample space between them so you won’t end up mistyping. The keys also look big with large lettering. Overall, typing experience is fast and accurate.
The only niggle is that they lack backlighting, which will restrict typing in insufficiently lit rooms. The touchbar feels a bit small but is accurate and one can depend on it full time.
Connectivity options include HDMI, USB 3.1 and USB Type-C and 3.5mm jack, which is what you get in most thin notebooks. The laptop lacks finger print sensor but gives the option to unlock it using a Mi Band 3 or higher variant.
Further, the 14-inch display is big enough for anything from office work, editing videos or watching movies. The non-reflective coating is a bonus and improves visibility in well light rooms. Display packs full HD resolution and looks sharp. Colours in photos and videos look bright too. Overall, it is an impressive display and look on par with any mid-range notebook.
What really makes the Xiaomi laptop stand out among rivals is the powerful innards. It runs on Intel’s 10th gen Core i7 processor with 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX350 (2GB) graphics.
Intel’s Core i7 10th gen is a top of the line processor and is available on laptops that costs over ₹75-80k. Having 512GB SSD is a big bonus too as that amount of SSD storage is usually found in premium laptops.
The only laptop that offers same Intel hardware with a dedicated graphics is Asus VivoBook S15. However, it has slightly bigger 15.6-inch screen, weighs 1.8kg and costs around ₹80k.
The Nvidia graphics isn’t primarily meant for gaming and is more suited to handling editing and designing workloads. It handled video editing on Adobe Premier Rush well. However, we managed to play a few older games like PES 2018, which indicates that can handle some amount of basic to moderate gaming. Video playback is quite enjoyable. Audio quality from the laptop lacks punch and often sounded feeble. Battery backup is not in the same league as an Apple MacBook. We got 7 to 8 hours of backup on moderate use, which makes it quite dependable.
Overall, the Mi laptop 14 Horizon Edition, despite its few physical limitations is an impressive laptop. If sold at a higher price tag, these might have irked many. But given the price at which it is available, it is still a steal.