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Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Review: Laptop That Fits Most People's Bill
In India, Xiaomi is primarily known for its smartphones and smart TVs, but the company's ecosystem includes IoT devices, home appliances, wearables, audio devices, and laptops as well. The notebooks are further classified into two categories- Xiaomi notebooks and slightly less expensive Redmi notebooks. And, although the company is relatively new to the PC market, its products speak volumes for themselves.
- Crisp & Fluid 2.5K IPS Screen With (120Hz Refresh Rate)
- Premium Looks & Sturdy Build
- Smooth Performance (Faster LPDDR5 RAM)
- Excellent Keypad-Trackpad Combo
- Loud Speakers
- Display Could Have Been Brighter
- RAM Isn’t Upgradable
- Not Meant For Hardcore Gaming
According to our testing, the long-term performance of the first-generation Xiaomi notebooks is on par with rival notebooks from legacy PC makers. Year after year, the company has been working to improve its PC portfolio through generational upgrades in the majority of areas. Another worthy example is last year's 'Ultra' notebook. In our review, the premium Core i7 notebook performed admirably well, and in some ways proved to be a better overall Windows machine than some of its competitors.
In 2022, Xiaomi is back with another premium notebook. The all-new 'Notebook Pro 120G,' according to Xiaomi, is an ideal laptop for students, professionals, and entrepreneurs who require uncompromised productivity performance in a stylish and portable form factor.
Starting at Rs. 69,990, the new notebook brings a familiar MacBook-inspired design and a gorgeous 120Hz Quad HD matte coated display. It is powered by the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, which is accompanied by a soldered 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD. The new notebook runs on Windows 11 and gets a 56W battery cell with support for 100W fast-charging.
We used the upper variant that gets a dedicated Nvidia graphic chip with 2GB memory. It is priced at Rs. 74,999 and picks up a fight with some notable contenders such as the Asus Vivobook Pro 14 OLED, Acer Swift 3, and Lenovo's Ideapad Gaming 3 notebooks. Should you consider buying a premium Xiaomi notebook in 2022? Let's find out.
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Specifications
Design- Aerospace grade Series 6 Aluminium, Thickness- 15.9 mm, Weight- 1.4Kg
Display- 14" 2.5K (2560 x 1600 Px) IPS, 120Hz Display, 16:10 Aspect Ratio, 100% sRGB Wide Colour Gamut
Audio & Camera- 2 x 2W Stereo speaker& DTS Audio Support, 720p HD Webcam
Hardware- 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12450H, GeForce MX550 GPU, 16GB LPDDR5 5200MHz Dual Channel RAM, 512GB PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD
Connectivity- Dual-band 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, BT 5.2, 1 x Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 11, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1 x Combo Audio Jack
Keypad & Touchpad- 3-Level Backlit, Scissor Mechanism, Multi-touch with Windows Precision drivers
Battery & Power- 56Wh Cell, 100W Type-C power adapter
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Design
The design of the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G is heavily influenced by the 4th Generation MacBook Pro line-up. Anyone could mistake it for a MacBook if the Xiaomi branding is removed from the top. We don't mind the design similarities as long as the notebook doesn't sacrifice other design fundamentals like looks, ergonomics, and durability.
However, Xiaomi has managed to match the fine craftsmanship and build quality of Apple MacBooks to a large extent. The Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G looks and feels premium, thanks to its aerospace-grade series 6 aluminum construction. The CNC precision cut design appears clean and minimal. The notebook is available in a single dark gray color scheme that has been sandblasted to create a fine texture.
Sleek & Portable
Xiaomi could have experimented with more color options. This design will look stunning in matte black. In terms of ergonomics, the notebook weighs 1.4kg and has a thickness of 15.9mm. It's not the lightest or most stylish notebook in its class, but it's small enough to fit in a bag pack without putting strain on your shoulders or back.
Webcam & Audio Output
Because the Notebook Pro 120G prioritizes productivity and media, it does not skimp on basic utilities. The laptop includes a 720p HD webcam as well as a 2x2 stereo speaker audio setup with DTS audio support. The Xiaomi Notebook's webcam, like most 720p webcams, provides adequate image quality for virtual meetings; however, Xiaomi could have included a 1080p camera for improved performance. We anticipate this from Xiaomi because the company has a history of delivering products with higher specifications than the competition.
Moving on to the audio, the speakers are reasonably loud but lack the fine details of a well-balanced setup. These are typical laptop-quality speakers (though a little louder) that sound flat but do the job for casual multimedia needs. Tweaking the DTS Audio Processing app can improve the sound output to some extent.
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Physical Ports Arrangement
The new productivity-focused notebook has its fair share of connectivity ports, but it's far from ideal. A Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, a Thunderbolt 4 port for high-speed data transfer and fast charging, a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an HDMI 2.0 port are included. The notebook lacks an SD card reader as well as wired Ethernet connectivity.
A second Type-A USB port is greatly missed, and because one USB-C port will be used for charging, you will only have one USB-C port for all of your connectivity needs.
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Display
The screen on the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G is adequate, but it could be better for the price. It excels in fluidity and color vibrancy but falls short of the peak brightness and contrast levels that one would expect from a 70K-75K laptop in 2022. Xiaomi claims that the Notebook Pro 120G has 100% sRGB color gamut coverage, which appears to be accurate.
Visuals do come alive on the 8-bit Quad HD panel if you are using the notebook in ideal light scenarios. When there is too much ambient light indoors or you are sitting in direct sunlight, the Quad HD panel appears a bit dull. The maximum brightness does not appear to be adequate. The matte coat reduces reflections and improves visibility from corners, but it also has an impact on the contrast levels and overall color output of the LCD panel. If you prefer bright and shiny graphics, the matte panel on Xiaomi's premium notebook will let you down.
No HDR Support
The premium Xiaomi notebook lacks HDR support, which is a significant oversight. However, you do get Windows' built-in HDR streaming option, which can activate some HDR effects in compatible apps such as HDR, but the results aren't promising. The 14-inch screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio (88% screen-to-body ratio). Some brands have switched to a 3:2 aspect ratio, which offers slightly more real estate in some cases.
120Hz Refresh Rate Ensures Fluid Performance
Webpage navigation, scrolling on Microsoft tools and native UI, and window animations are all buttery smooth. The 120Hz refresh rate alone makes a compelling case for this notebook; however, it reduces overall battery life. We will go over it in depth later in the review. The refresh rate of the display can be set to one of three levels: 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz.
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Keypad-Trackpad Response
The Notebook Pro 120G, like the Mi Notebook Ultra, comes with a chiclet-style membrane keypad. The keys have a 1.3mm travel distance and use the standard scissor mechanism. The keypad is backlit, and the white LED backlighting can be adjusted to three levels. Xiaomi has also included a special macro key that can be used to launch any app or file/feature.
In terms of performance, it is one of the best keypads available at this price point. The keys are well-spaced, have a nice texture, and have a good travel distance, making typing a pleasurable experience. The power button in the upper right corner has a capacitive fingerprint sensor that works well but is a little slow.
When it comes to the multi-touch trackpad, it is both spacious and responsive. It's made of plastic, but it's quite sturdy. The trackpad has a nice matte texture that aids in precise UI navigation movements. However, because it is a large trackpad, some accidental touches may occur. Two-finger gestures should be used with caution because the resting palm can cause some annoying interferences. Aside from that, the trackpad is pure bliss.
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Hardware Performance
The Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G has enough hardware to get through all of your day-to-day work tasks with ease. The notebook is available in two models, both of which use the 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12450H CPU to handle computing tasks. The base frequency of the 8-core CPU is 2.0GHz, with a maximum speed of 4.4GHz. Both models come standard with 16GB of 5200MHz LPDDR5 integrated memory (soldered to the motherboard) and 512GB of PCIe 4.0x4 NVMe M.2 flash storage.
Nvidia GeForce MX550 GPU (2GB GDDR6 Video Memory)
The underlying GPU is what makes the difference. The standard model includes Intel UHD graphics, while the higher model includes an integrated Nvidia GeForce MX550 GPU with 2GB of GDDR6 video memory. While it isn't a gamer's dream, it can easily run light multiplayer games and older titles at reasonable frame rates. You can do casual gaming with titles such as GTA V, CS: Global Offensive, PUBG, etc.
Good For Most Day-To-Day Tasks But Not A Power Machine
In terms of day-to-day tasks, you can make virtual calls, run more than 15 tabs in Chrome, work on Excel or Powerpoint, create documents in Google Drive, and edit photos in online photo editors without experiencing any performance slowdowns. The 16GB RAM ensures lag-free performance all the time. The notebook can also be used for most front-end development tasks with the React JS and Angular JS frameworks.
The notebook does not get too hot during normal day-to-day tasks, but it does overheat and become noisy when stressed. With strenuous tasks such as gaming and video editing 4K or 1080p files in Adobe Premiere Pro, fans begin to make audible noises and you begin to feel the heat signatures and drop in the core performance.
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Benchmark Results
Our synthetic benchmark testing further informs us about the Notebook Pro 120G's performance abilities. In the 3D Mark's Time Spy benchmark, the notebook achieved a graphics core of 2426 and a CPU score of 7185, which corresponds with its real-life performance. The overall score in the 3D Mark's Time Spy remained at 2693. The laptop touched a graphics score of 4746 in the Wild Life Extreme test.
Moving on, the Notebook Pro 120G managed an overall score of 5117 in the PC Mark 10 Extended test with 8843 in the Essentials, 8472 in the Productivity, 5322 in the Digital Content Creation, and a passable 4650 in the Gaming component.
The notebook recorded a score of 9108 points in the Cinebench's multi-core CPU test and the single-core test.
Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G Battery Life
The new Xiaomi notebook is powered by a 56Wh battery cell and its lasting capacity on one full charge is largely dependent on the screen's refresh rate. If you set the display to run at the standard 60Hz refresh rate and keep the brightness around 100-120 NITS, the notebook lasts for up to seven hours on one full charge with light to moderate usage.
Bumping up the resolution to 120Hz and using the notebook for high productivity tasks cut the backup by up to 2.5-3 hours. This isn't very inspiring and we think the battery life could have been better on the new notebook. Fortunately, the included 100W Type-C charger can charge the battery from flat to 100% in 75-80 minutes.
The Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120G is an excellent daily machine for working professionals, writers, and college students looking for a sleek and modern-day notebook. It isn't intended for hardcore gaming and heavy video editing. You should consider a notebook with a more powerful integrated GPU if you plan to perform demanding tasks on your notebook.
Having said that, which variant should you consider buying? I wouldn't recommend spending an extra 15K for the integrated Nvidia GPU as it doesn't truly justify the additional cost. The standard variant should easily suffice for most general day-to-day work and multimedia requirements.