Reaction to the release of Xiaomi’s very own notebook can vary greatly depending on who you ask. Apple fans will probably roll their eyes and shake their head disapprovingly at this “cheap Apple rip off”. On the other hand, tech geeks are likely to rejoice at the introduction of yet another value-for-money product. To be fair, both parties do have a point.
For one, the Chinese smartphone maker is not called the “Apple of China” for no good reason. Of all names they could have picked, they chose to call their first notebook the Mi Notebook Air. Well, I doubt this cheap trick will be able to convince users of the MacBook Air to switch to their side (I, for one wouldn’t). However, given its incredible specs and ridiculously low price, Windows users should give it some serious consideration.
So, what exactly is so good about the Mi Notebook Air?
1. There are no visible logos on the lid
This is a huge relief for those of us who are secretly brand conscious. How many times have you wanted to buy a handphone cover or just a simple coin pouch but stop short because the huge logo of an obscure brand is staring right in your face? For me, this has happened more times than I like to admit. While it’s unavoidable that your friends will eventually know you are using a Mi Notebook, at least you wouldn’t be shouting this to the whole world while you’re doing work at Starbucks.
2. It’s thinner and lighter than the Macbook Air
The Mi Notebook Air comes in 2 sizes: the 13.3 inch and the 12.5 inch. In terms of thickness and weight, both models triumph over the Macbook Air! The 13.3-inch model is 14.8mm thick and weighs only 1.28kg, making it thinner and lighter than the 13.3 inch Macbook Air (which is 17mm thick and weighs 1.35kg).
The story is pretty similar when we compare the 12.5 inch Mi Notebook Air to the 11.6 inch Macbook Air. The smaller Mi Notebook Air comes in at 12.9mm and weighs just 1.07kg, while its MacBook Air counterpart measures 17mm and weighs 1.08kg.
3. It has awesome technical specs
The one thing about Macbook Air which irritates me to no end is the need for an external adapter to get HDMI access! However, both models of the Mi Notebook Air comes with an HDMI port. While we are on the subjects of ports, it’s important to note that while the Macbook Air comes with 2 USB ports, only the 13.3 inch Mi Notebook Air has the same number. Sadly, the 12-inch model only has 1 USB port.
To get more technical, the 13.3 inch Mi Notebook Air comes with an Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU that seem to make it a viable option for some light gaming. The smaller model has slightly weaker specs as it only comes with an Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD. However, the 11.5 hours battery life of the 12.5-inch Mi Notebook Air is a clear win over the 9.5 hours of the bigger model.
4. It’s cheap, really cheap!
Wouldn’t all the points above be moot if we tell you that the Mi Notebook Air costs SGD $2000 each? Luckily, the 13.3-inch model only costs 4,999 yuan (~SGD$1,020) while the 12.5-inch model is priced at a mere 3,499 yuan (~$715).
Please do not stone me when I tell you that they are currently only available in China! You can still use services like Airfrov to get hold of them without flying over or paying for exorbitant shipping fees. Just ask friends or travellers to tompang!
To buy or not to buy?
It’s a relief that despite its growth over the past 4 years, Xiaomi is still sticking to its roots by offering such cost effective products. However, there’s always two sides to a coin. Critics have cast doubts over the color accuracy of the screen and raised concerns over potential cooling problems. Perhaps, it would be prudent to wait a few months for more tests and reports to see if the build quality holds up to standards. Nonetheless, right now, it still looks like a ridiculous bargain!
I cannot wait. How to get Mi Notebook Air in Singapore?
#DontSayBoJio, You can use the Airfrov website/app to look for travellers who are in China, to help you buy.
Here’s how it works:
1) Post a New request / Shortcut: just click on “+” on these requests to copy others’
2) Input details such as color, willing to pay price (cost price + tips for traveller’s effort)
3) Wait for traveller to offer help
4) Pay deposit (held safely by Airfrov until traveller returns with correct goods)
5) Wait for travellers to return to Singapore!
New to Airfrov? Enter “GET10” on your credits page to receive $10 off your first purchase!