What if suddenly, Apple decides to drop a MacBook with an option to officially install Windows – while still retaining your warranty? The Xiaomi Notebook Pro (or Mi Notebook Pro) feels born out of the same concept.
With a design that feels quite MacBook-esque, the Mi Notebook Pro does have a bunch of appealing hardware beneath that premium all-aluminum finish.
Design & Connectivity
As already mentioned, – the design is inspired by MacBook Pro 15-inch. The build is quite sturdy. The front has wedge which helps to open lid single handedly.
Port selection is done well, and you get two full size USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI, two USB-C ports (out of which one is used to charge the device) also supporting 4K display out capabilities. Xiaomi also included a 3.5 mm jack & an SD Reader, -although it’s quite slow compared to SD card readers found other laptops.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The typing experience on the keyboard feels okay, not quite that premium although there’s pretty good tactile feedback from the keys. It is backlit, but there’s only an ON/OFF mode – no way to adjust the brightness of backlight. Despite being a 15.6 inch model, Xiaomi refuses to include a number pad on the keyboard – but let’s just leave it that way.
One thing that you’ll feel surprised is the presence of the large trackpad. In fact- this is the largest trackpads ever made in a notebook till now. To the top right corner of the trackpad is an Elan Fingerprint reader which is paired up with Windows Hello. It can be used for secure sign-in to websites.
The Notebook Pro has a 15.6 inch LCD Display with Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. The presence of a Glass covered display makes the screen glossy & reflective – it’s a bit difficult to use in sunlit conditions. Viewing angles are also very good.
Color reproduction was not that great out of the box. The display is made by BOE ( that’s what we got from HWInfo) & you need proper calibration to get better color saturation.
We love the way the display hinge is designed. The movement is so smooth. It isn’t just a Chinese laptop after all.
Performance & Usage Experience
All right, now getting to action – actually there’s two versions of Mi Notebook Pro. One with an i5 8GB RAM version and an i7 16GB RAM version. We got the i5 8GB version for review.
The first boot – you see the “MI” logo for a second and then ‘bam’ – you’re taken to the initial Windows setup screen in CHINESE! But with the help of Google Translate,the setup was done.
AN IMPORTANT THING – You need to login with your Microsoft account before formatting the Chinese Windows 10 for installing the English Windows 10. This links the product key of the Chinese Windows 10 to your Microsoft account and it can be used to automatically activate the English Windows 10.
The user experience is quite snappy & the system handles the Windows system animations quite well.
The notebook is powered by a Samsung NVMe SSD drive with reads upto 3Gbps & 1Gbps writes (Some of the models ship with an older bios which limits the PCIe lanes to x2, the newer bios unlocks the extra 2 PCIe lanes present – make sure you upgrade the bios).
It is possible to add a second M.2 SSD for expansion. Note that the second slot has only PCIe x2 interface, and both NVMe & SATA M.2 drives are supported. But considering the x2 lanes, it’s better to go with the SATA based M.2 drives.
This is definitely not a gaming laptop but titles like EA Sports FIFA19, GTA V are playable at High settings without generating much heat, thanks to the two cooling fans. Because of two fans – there’s a noticeable performance improvement by overclocking the CPU & the Nvidia MX150 while still keeping the temperature optimum.
A bit of web browsing – emails and Youtube, watching videos,typing out documents with the music playing in the background, the battery life was approximately around 7 hours.
( They’re advertising an 8 hr battery, so this finally makes sense for me) It is possible to undervolt the CPU to get a battery life boost & the review unit is currently undervolted with no visible reduction in performance – no lags.
The Mi Notebook Pro features dual stereo Infinity speakers from Harman Kardon. The two speakers support Dolby Atmos & sound extremely clear. However the downward position is a bit skeptical. They could’ve placed somewhere near the sides.
With that said, audio does get distorted after you cross the 80+ mark volume control. Normally we don’t need to turn up more than 80 as the speakers are quite loud otherwise.
Specs in a nutshell
- CPU : 8th Generation Intel Core i5/i7 ( Review unit has i5 )
- RAM : 8GB/16GB DDR4 soldered on MB ( Review unit has 8GB )
- Graphics : Nvidia Geforce MX150 – 2GB DDR5
- Display : 15.6 inch FullHD IPS Display with Gorilla Glass
- Ports : USB 3.0 x2, USB-C x2, 3.5mm jack, Full size HDMI, SD cardreader
- Connectivity : 2.4GHz/5GHz Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
- Battery : 8000mAh Li-ion
The build quality, the performance and the premium feel is something that surprised us here at TechBuzzIn Mediaworks. This from a Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is very cool. You’re getting the same features & design from other brands like Dell & HP for more than $1000 while the Mi Notebook Pro retails at $800.
The only thing which is making us hard to recommend this laptop – is the warranty. If you live outside Asia ( China maybe ) its gonna be very difficult to repair if something goes wrong.
And finally, you don’t have the option to upgrade the RAM on this device. Its soldered on to motherboard – so choose your option wisely by considering the future needs.
The Video Review will be up on our YouTube channel very soon! So stay tuned!