12-June-2020 – Xiaomi has launched two new Laptop Series in India for working professionals (business users) or students looking for high productivity machines. The new MI Note 14 and Note 14 Horizon come with the latest Intel Processors, Nvidia Graphics Cards, and with fast SSDs.
The laptop market is dominated by HP, Dell, and Lenovo that do a significant chunk of business (have more than 75% market share). These brands are seeing a surge in sales due to the current lockdown.
Due to the lockdown and more people are opting to work from home, and the demand for laptops and personal computers is increasing in India. Contrastingly, the negative impact of the economic slowdown is there, which is hampering institutional sales.
Raghu Reddy, the chief business officer at Xiaomi, said that the company is not going to Target the affordable segment. Instead, the company plans to Cater to the premium segment – creators, developers, gamers, and students.
He has also said that the company is not planning to launch too many models in the first year. Xiaomi will be importing the laptops from China initially, and later, when they can build a higher volume will look at assembling them in India.
Also, we at Candytech believe it is an opportune time for the company to bank on the demand. The second significant benefit for the company is to make a profit. Considering Realme is not allowing any breather to Xiaomi in other product categories; laptops can be a good money-spinner for the brand.
The laptop market size in India is close to 6-7 million units annually, with equal demand from the commercial and consumer segments. The market is stagnant for years, and only a few subcategories like “Thin and Gaming” are witnessing growth.
We were hoping that Xiaomi will launch an AMD Ryzen powered laptop but they have instead launched using Intel 10th Gen.
Latest Mi NoteBook 14 and Horizon Edition
Aforementioned, the company has launched two new Notebook series in India – the affordable Notebook 14 and a slightly premium NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition. These are thin machines which are ideal to carry to office or work or even college.
I will suggest considering these if you mostly work in Microsoft Office, Chrome, lightweight applications or want to enjoy multi-media. You can even do some photoshop work with it.
The laptops are lightweight and weigh 1.35 Kg to 1.5 Kg, and offer decent battery life.
Design and Display
Both laptops come with a metallic design and have a plain back cover without any logos or branding. The looks are minimalist but overall better than most plastic laptops that are available in this price range.
Both the Notebooks come with 14 Inch Display with 250 Nits of maximum brightness and matt finish. The display has very thin bezels and doesn’t reflect too much of ambiance light.
However, Xiaomi has not specified the sRGB or Adobe RGB for the panel (I don’t think so it is very color accurate based on initial reviews). Also, as Geeky Ranjit pointed out that it comes with a poor viewing angle and there is a color shift when viewed from sides. Also, the panel comes with a 60 Hz refresh rate, 16:9 aspect ratio but it is a Full HD (1920*1080) pixels screen. It is not a bad display considering the price of the laptop.
Trackpad and Keyboard
The trackpad is average and is not the premium glass trackpad that you will get with high-end machines but does the job. Also, it comes with Windows Precision drivers to make it accurate.
The keyboard is also good for typing and comes with a layout that is similar to the MacBook Air. There are no dedicated numeric keys. The key travel is decent – 1.3mm. Overall the keyboard is good but the biggest con is that it doesn’t come with backlighting.
For many people including me, it is really an important feature so my wife can sleep and I can work on blog posts like this one at night.
There is no inbuilt webcam on the new Mi Notebooks. This could be a let down for people who want to do Zoom calls or Virtual meetings. However, the brand is supplying a USB powered web-cam with the device in the box to ensure you don’t have to purchase a separate one.
Sale Date and Offers
Both the laptop series will go on sale starting 17th June from Mi.com, Mi Stores and on Amazon India. Notably, the pricing is introductory and as per brand, they can increase it in the future. Also, there is an HDFC discount offer of Rs. 2000 when you buy it using an HDFC credit/debit card.
Let’s check the Mi Notebook 14 and then the more expensive Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition.
Mi NoteBook 14
The Mi NoteBook 14 comes in three variants: Two variants come with Intel HD graphics and 1 version has Nvidia MX250 graphics card.
Mi NoteBook 14 Variants, Price and Specs:
- Intel Core i5 10th gen/8 GB RAM /256GB SSD Storage: Price Rs. 41,999
- Intel Core 10th Gen i5/8 GB Ram /512GB SSD: Price Rs. 44,999
- Intel Core 10th Gen i5/ Nvidia MX250 GPU / 8 GB Ram / 512GB SSD Storage Price Rs. 47,999
The Mi NoteBook 14 is the more affordable and comes with a crazy good price of Rs. 41999. All the three variants are good and you can get the Nvidia MX 250 version if you want to have slightly better graphics performance for day to day tasks.
Powering the laptop is the Comet Lake Intel Core i5-10210U Processor Quad-core with a base clock speed of 1.6GHz and a boost clock speed of up to 4.2GHz. Also, there is either Intel UHD 620 graphics or the Nvidia MX 250 graphics card that comes with 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM.
Additionally, there is SATA SSD with 256 GB storage or 512 GB storage (600 MB/s speed) and 8 GB DDR4 Ram with 2666 MHz clock speed.
Connectivity Ports include – 2 x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Combo Audio Jack, 1 x DC-jack. The laptop comes with a USB Type C port but you can’t use that for charging.
There is Dual Band Wifi 5, Bluetooth 5.0 support. The laptop runs on the Windows 10 Home edition and comes with a 46 Whr battery that is sufficient to make it last for 7 hours of mixed usage. (Xiaomi claims 10 Hours of Battery life).
Lastly, the laptop weighs 1.5 Kg and has an 18 mm thickness.
Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition
The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition comes with a visually similar design, ports, display, and keyboard/trackpad. However, it has upgraded internals and offers superior performance than the Notebook 14.
Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Variants, Price and Specs:
- Intel Core i5 10th Gen / Nvidia MX350/8 GB ram / 512GB SSD – Price Rs. 54,999
- Intel Core i7 10th Gen / Nvidia MX350 / 8 GB ram / 512GB:Price Rs. 59,999
First, the SSD used in the Horizon Edition is faster and is NVMe. These are up to 3X faster than the SATA SSD used in the Notebook 14. The read and write speed are 3000 MB/s (read) and 1800 MB/s write speed.
The second upgrade is the presence of Intel Core i7 on the higher variant – Intel® Core i7-10510U Processor with 1.8 GHz base clock speed and with a boost clock speed of up to 4.9 GHz.
The processor on the lower variant of the Horizon edition is the same Intel Core i5 that is available on the standard Redmibook. If you are looking for higher performance it is better to get the Intel Core i7 Vs the Core i5 version.
Both the laptops come with the new Nvidia MX 350 Graphics card that has 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. It is slower than a GTX 1050 and much slower than the GTX 1650 that you will get with most laptops in the 50 to 60k price range.
Lastly, the ram is capped to 8 GB and is soldered on the motherboard. So, you can’t upgrade Ram to 16 GB on any of these laptops. Also, the you can’t add more storage. However, you can take out the SSD and add a 1 TB SSD in case you need more storage in the future.
Since the Ram is capped, the future upgrade for the laptop is not possible.
Xiaomi has not made it clear if the laptops come with a 1-year on-site warranty or if it is a carry-in warranty.
Some of the readers were inquiring if these are Made in India or China? These new Mi Notebooks are made in China and imported by the company.
Intel Comet Lake Vs Intel Ice Lake Processor
Another thing to note here is that the Intel U series processors that Xiaomi is using on these laptops are based on the old 14 Nm manufacturing process. However, Intel has just released the new Ice Lake Processors with a 10 Nm manufacturing process that is more energy-efficient. The performance difference is not too much.
Mi Notebooks Are Not for Gaming Or Video Editing – MX 250 or MX 350
No matter what reviewers or Xiaomi may want you to believe, I am telling you these are not gaming laptops from my 20 years of PC gaming experience. The MX 350 is about 20 to 30% faster than the MX 250 but is almost 50% slower than the most basic laptop GPU – Nvidia GTX 1650.
Also, these are U, series processors, with 15 Watts TDP not ideal for gaming or heavy workload like video editing (for Youtube) on Premiere Pro. Don’t get it for Premiere Pro, Ram is also not upgradable and Premiere is a memory hog.
These are ultra-books and not performance machines required for gaming or video editing.
The Missing Ryzen 4000 Processor
If you are living under a rock, you have probably not heard about the new Ryzen 4000 series processors that are better than the new 10th Gen Intel Processors. We were expecting Xiaomi to launch laptops with the new Ryzen processors as they have done in China but they are sticking to Intel for the moment.
To Sum Up and Conclude Let me List down the Pros and Cons for the Mi Notebook
Pros – Mi Notebook
- Robust Metallic Design.
- Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i5 and Core i7 Processors
- Bezel-less Display.
- Fast SSD Storage.
- 8 GB RAM – Good for Most Tasks.
- Fast Performance for General Work.
- Light Weight and Portable.
- Superb Pricing.
Cons – Mi Notebook 14
- No Backlit Keyboard.
- Missing Webcam.
- Only 8 GB RAM, not upgradable.
- No Slots to add more storage.
- Display and trackpad are Average.
- Good for Only Casual Gaming.
Since these are not Gaming laptops but are ultra-books I am not listing a mediocre graphics card and missing Ryzen 4000 series not as a real con here.
Also, read about the Xiaomi Laptops Powered By Ryzen Processors.