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Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition First Look: Should PC Makers Be Worried?
Today is a big day for Xiaomi and an exciting time for PC enthusiasts in India. Mostly known for its smartphones and smart TVs, the Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has today forayed in the Indian PC market with its first set of Mi branded notebooks, thus giving more options to consumers in the notebook category. The company has introduced a total of five notebooks for Indian consumers under two series- the Mi Notebook 14 and the Mi Notebook Horizon Edition.
- The Mi Notebook 14 series includes three machines--1901-FC, 1901-FA, 1901-DG, all powered by the 10th Generation Intel Core i5 chipsets paired with 8GB RAM. The base model ships with Intel UHD Graphics 620 and has 256GB SATA SSD. It is priced at Rs. 41,999.
- The second variant uses the same Intel GPU, 8GB RAM but offers 512GB SATA SSD at Rs. 44,999.
- The high-end variant in the Mi Notebook 14 series runs on the same Intel CPU, has 8GB RAM but offers NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU and 512GB SSD at Rs. 47,999.
As for the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, the premium notebook series targets power users and content creators with a starting price of Rs. 54,999 for the base variant. The company sent out the flagship- Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition notebook for review which offers 512GB SSD and is powered by the 10th Gen Intel i7 processor- CometLake Core i7-10510U. It is priced at Rs. 59,999.
The 14-inch notebook also features a discrete GPU from NVIDIA and is touted as a productivity powerhouse capable of running casual games, video editing software and other power intensive tasks without any performance drops. We have just started using the Xiaomi notebook and cannot wait to share our experience. A detailed review of the Windows-powered premium notebook will follow later. So let's get started.
Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition Design
The virtual briefing conducted by Xiaomi gave a good idea about the design of the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition but nothing beats the first hand experience of the laptop. The clean and minimal design with premium finish instantly catches your attention, and yes it reminds you of the premium Apple MacBooks.
I have been using a 14-inch Dell machine for about an year as my daily driver and the difference in weight and size between the two notebooks is just hard to ignore. While it's not fair to compare these two machines because of the targeted audience and price-point, it still gives you a fair idea of how compact a 14-inch notebook can be if design is the priority.
Compact And Sturdy
The Mi Notebook Horizon Edition measures 17.15mm in thickness and weighs 1.35kgs which makes it extremely convenient to carry around in a backpack. It has dimensions of 321.3mm x 206.8mm (LxB) making it slightly longer than an A4 sheet. It is indeed one of the most compact 14-inch notebook you can buy in the market.
The lack of biometric scanner is a big letdown though. It's a basic necessity and we cannot find any logical reasoning of why the brand has not provided it even on the high-end variant which costs as much as Rs. 60,000.
The surface and chassis of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is built using the A5052 alloy. It is a blend of aluminum and magnesium and has a fairly high strength and good corrosion resistance. The alloy has also been given an anodized sand blasted coating to add aesthetics for smoothness.
It also works as a protective layer to protect the notebook from scratches and corrosion. The notebook has a centrally aligned hinge which ensures high durability for the lid.
Xiaomi's claim proved to be true when the company mentioned that the notebook's weight is so well balanced that the lid can be opened with just one finger without moving the base to even an inch. Overall, Xiaomi has done a great job in designing the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition. It is super compact and looks premium from all nooks and corners.
Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition Display
The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition flaunts a vibrant 14-inch anti-glare display which is surrounded by narrow bezels (3mm) on three sides, resulting in an impressive 91% screen-to-body ratio. However, there's one downside to these narrow bezels. The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition does not feature a built-in webcam. The company ships one in the package that you can plug and use for video conferencing. Would you sacrifice on a built-in webcam for thin bezels? Let us know in comments.
Moving on, the 16:9 aspect ratio panel has the conventional 60Hz refresh rate and maximum brightness intensity of 250 nits. The brightness levels are pretty adequate for indoor use but we would have preferred slightly higher 300 nits at this price-point. Notably, Apple has been offering MacBooks with panels scoring brightness of up to 400 nits.
Nevertheless, the colors pop out really well on this 14-inch display and the hues seem pretty accurate. The matte finish coating and the expansive 178 degrees viewing angles ensure good content visibility from extreme corners. The videos streamed on the 14-inch display looked immersive and crisp. If you prefer watching movies and series on your PC, you will simply love the 14-inch display on the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition.
Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition Specifications
We are testing the top-end variant of the 14-inch notebook which is powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U CPU (Comet Lake) and gets 8GB DDR4 RAM. I am a bit surprised that the company has not offered 16GB RAM option as the notebook is not upgradable. We might get to see a 16GB RAM variant in future if the company plans to expand the series.
This particular variant has PCI Gen 3x4 NVME 512GB SSD and is one of the first Windows-powered notebooks in India which relies on NVIDIA MX350 GPU. This is a fair amount of power to meet your daily PC requirements and so far we have not come across any issues on the notebook.
Fast Booting Time, Performance Mode, Windows 10 Home Edition
he Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition uses the NVIDIA MX350 GPU which can easily handle casual games and video editing software with no major performance issues. The notebook boots up in just nine seconds and also features ‘Mi Blaze Unlock' which allows you to unlock it by a Mi wearable device. You just need to bring the wearable closer and press any key on the keyboard to unlock the notebook.
We will soon be testing the claims by playing Crysis and editing videos in Adobe Premier Pro to see if there are any noticeable performance drops. The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon has a performance mode which can be activated by simply pressing Function +K keys.
As far as software is concerned, the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home edition and you get 30-day free trial for Microsoft Office 365 subscription.
Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition Keyboard And Trackpad
The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition ships with a chiclet keypad with 1.3mm travel distance. The keys use the conventional scissor mechanism that allows them to travel a few millimeters down upon pressing. The keypad is laid out very well and I found it extremely comfortable for long typing sessions.
Sadly, it's not spill-resistant which means you have to be cautious working on the notebook while sipping your coffee. Moreover, I was expecting the flagship notebook to ship with a backlit option but the brand has skipped it too, which again is quite disappointing.
The multi-touch trackpad (11cm x 5.7mm) offers enough real-estate to comfortably navigate throughout the Windows UI. It is extremely responsive and one of the best trackpad on a notebook in this price bracket.
Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition Connectivity Ports And Audio
As far as connectivity ports are concerned, the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition ships with a Type C port (exclusive to the top model), 2x high speed USB 3.1 port, USB 2.0 port for compatibility, a 3.5mm audio jack and an HDMI 1.4b port. Xiaomi hasn't included a SD card reader on the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition. The notebook comes packed with 2W stereo speakers and the machine offers a DTS Audio processing app to better customize the audio output.
Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition Battery Life
The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is backed by a 46Wh battery unit which claims to offer a backup of up to 10 hours. The notebook ships with a 65 Watt charger which claims to refuel the battery from zero to 50% in just 35 minutes. So far, the battery life seems adequate and the machine is up and running for about 8 hours on one full charge. We will soon run our battery tests to draw a conclusion on the battery performance.
Should You Buy The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition?
Xiaomi has kicked off the new product category in India with thin and light notebooks. The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is a promising Windows-powered machine that has been designed by keeping in mind the performance, display and compact form-factor.
It's too early to pass a judgment on the performance part of the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition but the initial response has been positive and we are looking forward to test the notebook to its true potential.
There are some noticeable omissions on the high-end notebook. There's no SD card reader and no biometric scanner. There's no built-in webcam either but the company has tried to compensate for the loss by offering a plug-and-use webcam in the box.
Overall, the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition will easily find its place in the crowded market despite some shortcomings. We will soon evaluate how it fares as a daily driver. Stay tuned.