Note: This article was first published on 27th July 2016.
Xiaomi is going places. The Chinese smartphone giant today announced the Mi Notebook Air, its first ever laptop, and one that looks like it belongs up there with the MacBook Airs of today.
Xiaomi has never been one to shy away from cramming high-end hardware into its latest devices, and the Mi Notebook Air is no different. It is actually available in two variants – a fairly powerful 13.3-inch (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) model, and a more power efficient 12.5-inch one.
For starters, the 13.3-inch Mi Notebook Air features an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD. It measures just 14.8mm thick, which is actually thinner than the Dell XPS 13, already an exceedingly light and portable notebook in its own right. At 1.28kg, it’s also in the ballpark of most of the other 13.3-inch ultrabooks on the market today.
But the most intriguing thing is that Xiaomi has somehow managed to cram a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 940MX graphics card in there. This can’t quite be considered high-end gaming-grade hardware, but the Mi Notebook Air is quite clearly more capable than its competitors equipped with the Intel HD Graphics 520 iGPU. At the very least, you’ll be able to get high frame rates on Dota 2, according to Xiaomi.
It utilizes a USB-C port for charging, while also including two Type-A USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI output. What’s more, Xiaomi says you can get up to a 50 percent charge after just 30 minutes of charging, which should be great news for mobile road warriors.
Then there’s the 12.5-inch Mi Notebook Air, which is touting even more battery life – 11.5 as opposed to 9.5 hours – than its bigger brother. The smaller notebook is powered by an Intel Core m3 processor, and features just 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. It is also lighter and thinner at just 1.07kg in weight and 12.9mm thick.
Of course, this comes with certain tradeoffs, and you won’t get the discrete GPU and will have to make do with one USB 3.0 port instead of two.
Like some other products in Xiaomi’s eclectic portfolio (it makes things like rice cookers, drones, and air purifiers as well), the Mi Notebook Air is actually made by a partner called Tian Mi. Still, both notebooks will be sold under the Xiaomi brand, although press images show minimal branding with no logo visible on the lid.
The 13.3-inch Mi Notebook Air is priced at 4,999 yuan (~ S$1,017), while the 12.5-inch version is cheaper at 3,499 yuan (~S$712). They will go on sale in China come 2 August, but there’s no word as to when, or if, they’ll arrive in other regions.
Source: Xiaomi (Twitter)