Xiaomi’s latest premium laptop suffers from one flaw|
The 3rd-generation of Xiaomi’s Mi Laptop Air (or Mi Notebook Air, depending on where you buy the portable) has landed in a bid to outclass the growing legion of premium Windows laptops that aspire to be the best alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air or even the MacBook Pro.
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Just bear in mind that the Air is all but a clone of these two aforementioned laptops, despite the name used.
These machines come not only from established players (the Dell XPS 13, the HP Spectre 13 or the Lenovo Yoga 920 ) but also from up-and-coming vendors such as Microsoft with its Surface Book 2, Huawei (and its MateBook X) and – wait for it – even Honor with the MagicBook. So will Xiaomi manage to up the ante with the Mi Laptop Air 13.3 2018 edition? Let’s find out.
Xiaomi used the same design for its Mi Laptop Air as the previous generation. Well, there’s no need to change a winning formula, plus the savings involved in not redesigning a new product can be passed on to customers (or indeed used to increase margins).
There’s still no logo on the cover of the Laptop Air – you can find a stylized ‘MI’ logotype underneath the laptop, but that’s it.
Xiaomi is still using the minimalist design which has become a signature feature: the laptop has a brushed metal finish, an all-metal enclosure, sharper-than-average edges and an evident disregard for super-thin designs.
There are no visual tricks to shave a few millimeters off the spec sheet, and no tapered profile/wedge as seen on the MacBook Air.
As with Apple laptops, there’s a chamfered cut and a centrally located hinge that links the base to the display. Flip the machine upside down and you’ll discover five rubber feet and six screws that keep the base together. The three grills for the downward-firing speakers are still present, which also facilitate cooling.
The laptop is available in silver or dark gray colors, either with an Intel Core i7-8550U or Core i5-8250U, the two being identical except for the base/maximum CPU speed and processor cache.
While the laptop has exactly the same dimensions as its predecessor, the 2018 version is ever so slightly lighter by about 20g, which allows it to dip below the 1.3kg mark (both models are shown next to each other in the above and below images – the lighter colored model is the 2017 incarnation of the notebook). The power supply unit still weighs 223g.
Open the laptop and you will discover a sizeable display with an oleophobic glass overlay which encourages the user to touch the screen, only to be disappointed when nothing happens. No, the Air doesn’t do touch, which is sad to say the least. A matte finish would have been better.
There are five ports in all. You’ve got an HDMI connector (a rarity on thin laptops), USB 3.0 port and earphone jack on one side, along with a USB 3.0 and USB Type-C on the other. The latter also doubles as the power port (so you can’t use it when plugged into the mains). There’s also a tiny status light that turns red when the PSU is plugged in to let you know that it’s charging.
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