RedmiBook 15 Pro Review: Dependable Performance But Not Without Compromises

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Xiaomi has a history of disrupting different product categories. After dominating the smartphone, Smart TV, and the IoT category, the tech giant is now hard-pressed to make it big in the PC segment. The Mi Notebook series (2020) was a great attempt to explore an uncharted territory and the products did well with their good price to performance ratio.

 

Rating:
3.0/5

RedmiBook 15 Pro Review

Since Xiaomi follows a set pattern of introducing slightly affordable yet powerful products under its Redmi brand, the RedmiBook 15 Pro's launch was inevitable. Priced at Rs. 49,999, the 15-inch laptop is powered by the Intel Core i5-11300H CPU (Intel's Iris Xe graphics) and offers 8GB RAM with 512GB SSD. These are some powerful figures that are hard to find in this price segment. Other specifications are also up to the market standards; however, some compromises are made to deliver the overall package.

Needless to say, the legacy laptop manufacturers should be ready for stiff competition and the consumers are in for a treat. Should you buy a Redmi laptop with a focus on performance rather than a PC from legacy brands with inferior hardware? Let's find out.

Xiaomi RedmiBook 15 Pro Specifications & Variants

Xiaomi RedmiBook 15 Pro Specifications & Variants

  • Display- 15.6-inch Display Full HD (1920 x 1080) Resolution
  • Processor- 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11300H 4.4GHz max clock Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Memory- 8GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage- 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Battery- 46WHr, 65W Power Adapter
  • Dimensions- Width: 243.5 mm Weight: 1.8 kg
  • Webcam- 720p (HD)
  • Audio- 2 x 2W Stereo speaker, 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Connectivity- 1 x USB 2.0 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 1 x HDMI 1.4 1 x RJ45 (LAN port) 1 x 3.5mm audio jack 1 x Kensington Lock 1 x SD Card Reader

The laptop is available in one memory option, i.e. 8GB, and there's no option to upgrade it since the chip is soldered with no extra slot. Yes, it's disappointing but that is how you keep the price low. The 512GB storage capacity is swappable but as Xiaomi mentions, doing it yourself will void the warranty. A visit to the service center is recommended to upgrade the notebook's memory.

RedmiBook 15 Pro Design- Minimalistic & Subtle But Looks Somewhat Dull
 

RedmiBook 15 Pro Design- Minimalistic & Subtle But Looks Somewhat Dull

Unlike last year's neatly designed Mi Notebooks, the RedmiBook 15 Pro focuses on delivering a good overall package. This doesn't mean it is a poorly designed laptop; it isn't just exciting enough to set any design benchmarks in its respective price category.

Available in just one color- Charcoal Grey, the laptop has a minimalistic design but rather ends up looking dull. The top has a soft brushed metallic kinda finish but it is essentially a polycarbonate construction. The hinge is quite firm, allowing you to raise the lid with just one finger, something hard to find in this price bracket.

It’s Hefty, It's Big, It’s A 15.6-inch Laptop After All

It’s Hefty, It's Big, It’s A 15.6-inch Laptop After All

The RedmiBook 15 Pro isn't a very portable notebook. The 15.6-inch display with noticeable bezels and a big keypad-trackpad combo makes it a big laptop with measurements- 363.8 mm x 243.5 mm x 19.9 mm. You would need a big bag pack to carry this Windows laptop. And if you travel via the metro or any other public transport, the hefty form factor with 1.8kg weight should be considered before buying.

Those bezels are put to good use since you do get a webcam (720p) this time, which is a relief because I am currently using a Mi Notebook and have already misplaced two third-party webcams. Moreover, the big size of the notebook comes in handy while typing and long-video editing sessions, something we will discuss later in the review.

Lastly, the 2W speaker setup is positioned at the bottom panel and produces decent sound for the price. The sound delivery is better than most 50K laptops.

Most Required Connectivity Features

Most Required Connectivity Features

As far as the connectivity is concerned, the RedmiBook 15 Pro gets most things covered. It comes equipped with the most required connectivity features but lacks just one, i.e. a Type-C port. The setup includes-

  • 1 x USB 2.0 port
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 ports
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4
  • 1 x RJ45 (LAN port)
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
  • 1 x Kensington Lock
  • 1 x SD Card Reader
  • Wireless- 2 X 2 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth V5.1.
15.6-inch Full HD Resolution Panel- Poor Viewing Angles & Contrast Levels

15.6-inch Full HD Resolution Panel- Poor Viewing Angles & Contrast Levels

The RedmiBook 15 Pro gets three things right in the display department- size, brightness, and resolution. Other important display characteristics- such as color accuracy, viewing angles, contrast levels, etc. are disappointing.

I wouldn't recommend this notebook to creative professionals who spend their time fiddling with Adobe Photoshop/Premiere Pro or any other tools that demand accurate colors. You would need a screen that shows true-to-life colors and this is not one of them. Even watching movies or series isn't a very joyous experience as colors look off and the restricted viewing angles are a pain.

Best Used With An External Display

Best Used With An External Display

The RedmiBook 15 Pro's screen is only good for basic PC jobs such as writing documents, web browsing, some occasional photo/video editing jobs where color accuracy isn't required, PPTs, data entry, Excel, and some occasional video streaming. Not keeping the brightness in check on a display with incorrect color settings can lead to some serious eye fatigue. Overall, the RedmiBook 15 Pro is best used with an external display.

Performance- Excellent General Purpose Windows PC

Performance- Excellent General Purpose Windows PC

The 50K price bracket mostly offers 10th gen. Intel processors with SSDs or 11th gen. Core i3 SoCs with HDDs. You will hardly find a deal with an 11th gen. Intel Core i5-11300H (up to 4.4GHz max clock) with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

The graphics are handled by an Intel Iris Xe unit, which is a common affair at this price. If you want a discrete GPU for better graphics performance, you need to spend some extra thousands. So what does this hardware means in terms of real-life performance? Let's find out.

The RedmiBook 15 Pro is more than capable of smoothly running day-to-day PC tasks. It didn't freeze or show any signs of slowdown with multiple tabs in Google Chrome, VLC running high-res video in the background, three to four MS Word files alongside a zoom call.

Doesn't Disappoint With Day-To-Day Tasks

Doesn't Disappoint With Day-To-Day Tasks

The H-series Intel chip with 512GB SSD ensured smooth performance all day long. The laptop scored some good numbers- 7548 in the PC Mark 10's essential score. The 512GB SSD returned a max sequential read-write speed of 1605 MB/s and 1437.76 MB/s respectively.

Not A Pro Machine For Creative Workloads

Not A Pro Machine For Creative Workloads

And while it isn't exactly a creator's machine, it can very well handle decent workloads including RAW file rendering, casual photo/video editing, etc. PC Mark 10's Digital Content Creation score of 3588 signifies just that. I was able to edit/render a 1080p 60fps video with two to three layers in the Premiere Pro without any performance issues but only when no major background tasks were consuming the memory. The 8GB RAM felt slightly restricted when you try to perform most heavy tasks at once.

For instance, if you shift from editing panel to graphics or effects panel with a 1080p 60fps video in the Premiere Pro timeline with multiple layers, you would experience slight glitches. The timeline scrubbing also lags sometimes, mostly when the resources are occupied on some other heavy tasks. Killing background apps and other major tasks can help while rendering videos in the Premiere Pro.

Overall, I would say that the RedmiBook 15 Pro can be used for photo/video editing but not alongside other heavy apps. On the software front, the RedmiBook 15 Pro runs Windows 10 and will get a free update to Windows 11 as per its availability. The laptop ships with pre-loaded MS Office Home and Student Edition 2019. Overall, the RedmiBook 15 Pro is more than capable of basic computing tasks.

Benchmarks

Benchmarks

In terms of graphics performance, the RedmiBook 15 Pro scored 1633 in the 3D Mark's Fire Strike benchmark test with a graphics score of 1924, a physics score of 9985, and a combined score of 482. The laptop managed to log 3786 points in Cinebench's multi-core and 1375 points in the CPU single-core test. In the PC Mark 10, the laptop returned a combined score of 3766.

Typing & Track Pad Experience

Typing & Track Pad Experience

I enjoyed working on the RedmiBook 15 Pro, thanks to its big-size keyboard with a good 1.5mm key travel that ensures a good typing experience. Xiaomi has used a scissor mechanism and the keys have a grainy matte texture that feels good to press.

The key travel is good and the feedback is pretty satisfying. The big size of the laptop offers enough real estate for a neat layout; however, some would miss a dedicated number pad on such a big laptop. It isn't that big of a problem for me since I am using a 14-inch notebook but got accustomed to the layout in no time.

If you have been using a 15-inch notebook with a dedicated number pad, you must know that the RedmiBook 15 Pro doesn't have it. Most importantly, this keypad isn't backlit, nor does it have any protective layer to avoid liquid damage. These two omissions can be a real deal-breaker for users out there with these basic requirements.

Good Palm Support & Big Trackpad

Good Palm Support & Big Trackpad

The spacious layout is utilized for good palm support and a big trackpad that gets Windows Precision drivers support. Navigation is smooth and fun; however, if you have been using a premium notebook, you might find the trackpad a bit flimsy.

Battery Life- Good Enough To Last You A Day?

Battery Life- Good Enough To Last You A Day?

The RedmiBook 15 Pro is powered by a 46WHr battery, which as per Redmi lasts for a good 10 hours. With my use case scenario, the laptop lasted for about six-hours. This is quite understandable since I am a heavy user and keep multiple tabs open in Edge, stream videos/ music in the background, edit pictures/videos for a longer duration, mostly with the screen brightness set to 50-70% and the laptop connected to Wi-Fi.

For moderate users that mostly use their notebooks for writing, web browsing, and some video streaming, the 15-inch laptop can last up to seven-hours or even longer, depending upon the usage. This is not groundbreaking but not bad either. The 65W charger takes around an hour and a half to refuel the battery from flat to 100%.

Verdict

Verdict

True to its Redmi moniker, the RedmiBook 15 Pro is a good value-for-money package despite some of its shortcomings. It won't disappoint you with its performance and is more than capable of most day-to-day tasks, thanks to a powerful 11th gen. Intel CPU and speedy 512GB SSD. The laptop also doesn't compromise in terms of ports and connectivity.

However, I must mention that the RedmiBook 15 Pro deserved a far better display, a backlit keyboard, and a bit more flexible hardware customizability. If these come across as major omissions, you should look otherwise.

The RedmiBook 15 Pro is priced at Rs. 49,999 in India and is available in a single color option- Charcoal Grey on Flipkart, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores across India.

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