Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro, facing the challenge of maintaining the best quality / price in a higher range

Although much more known for its family of smartphones and accessories of all kinds, laptops make up a range of Xiaomi products that are more than interesting in what almost always stands out the Chinese brand: quality / price ratio.

The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is one of the products that is most expected officially outside of its native market after its presentation. Right now it can only be obtained through import but we should not take long to see it through distribution in their own stores or by third parties officially. If you are interested in it, here is the review of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro …

Data sheet of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

As the brand of the house, Xiaomi has assembled in a very interesting design a series of high level and latest generation components that, with a bird’s-eye view and looking at the initial price tag, look to a good quality / price ratio.

screen 15.6 inches IPS Full HD (1920×1080)
Processor Intel Core i7 and i5 eighth generation
RAM 8 and 16 GB
Storage 256 GB SSD + SSD Expansion Slot
Dimensions 360.7×243.6×15.9 mm
Weight 1.95 Kg
Connections SD 3 in 1 slot, 2 USB-C, full HDMI, 2 USB 3.0 and 3.5 mm jack
Additional features Backlit keyboard, trackpad with fingerprint sensor and 1 MP HD webcam
Price From 795 dollars

From this data sheet, it is worth mentioning the use of Core i5 and i7 eighth generation processors, a generous battery, a minimum of 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and NVMe SSD units (including a second free M.2 slot in case you want to improve the storage). However, in other sections that we will mention later, such as the screen or the graphic card chosen, this model we believe does not do justice to a Pro last name of which, at least in those points, we expected something more.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

Elegant design and good finish without any brand

Being a product of Xiaomi, of this Mi Notebook Pro we could not expect more than a great finish and a careful design. That’s how it has been. The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro has a solid construction in aluminum, and the details around its manufacture are positive, from the hinge to the edge of the edges, for which the manufacturer has chosen the straight and somewhat aggressive against the curves of many models of ultrabooks of recent years.

The laptop is elegant (the matte finish in which no fingerprints are key), striking and surprising something not very usual: a design without a logo / Xiaomi logo in sight, neither on the inside nor on the case. Only in the lower part we can find the Mi logo and very discreetly. Interestingly, this detail can be nothing about the brand in view in the design of the laptop that makes them recognizable among the public. However, and not exactly by surprise, the usual days of walking with him has been that he was mistaken for an Apple MacBook Pro, at least in the distance. That we only have available the dark gray color and those lines so straight in the design is what it has.

After these weeks with the Mi Notebook Pro using it every day, the conclusion at the design and finishing level is that I have the impression that it will not take very well the passage of time its casing, in which, without reaching a large alarm level , we noticed that scratch marks are quite easy to stay on the laptop forever.

The strangeness (and weight) of a 15.6-inch laptop

Everything that, as I will tell you, you enjoy a laptop with a generous screen of 15.6 inches in the era of ultrabooks and tablets, you suffer in the same way in terms of portability. The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro does not offer bad dimensions in its technical file but it is not one of the models that have been stylized despite this great diagonal.

The equipment is a little more than 1.5 cm thick, but after spending several weeks with it what is surprising is its weight (especially when we have been used to 12/13 inch models), of almost two kilograms. Here the choice of aluminum instead of other lighter alloys (and faces) takes its toll, and of the Mi Notebook Pro you will not be able to say that you are not wearing it. Also, when you pick it up, it transmits a feeling of being a solid team and weighs more than its figures indicate. And yes, it happens with almost all laptops over 15 inches.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

Landing these comments on the weight, I did not find a laptop to carry all day with him at least if we want mobility and comfort. Or take it in a backpack that are increasingly adapted for teams of maximum 13 inches in its padded compartment. Here we must also mention that this Mi Notebook Pro does not reduce frames much.

Good connectivity taking advantage of space

Reducing thickness, weight and others in a laptop usually takes a good series of ports along the way. With more or less reason. In the case of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro, its dimensions allow it to come quite well prepared in terms of connectivity and available ports.

On the left side we can find two USB 3.0 ports, the headphone jack and a full-size HDMI output. On the right side there is room for the two USB-C ports and a card reader. The USB-C ports are Gen.1, but not identical in functionality, so only the first serves to load the equipment as well as for video output (although it is not compatible with Thunderbolt 3). The second one remains only as a classic USB port but with a type C connector.

Does it affect that they are not equal to the use of the equipment? Logically Imagine that we intend to connect this laptop to two monitors at the same time. A priori we are in luck. We can do it with its HDMI port and also with the main USB-C at the same time. The downside is that we are obliged to use the first USB-C port, the closest to the screen, which we have indicated is that of multiple uses. So, unless we use an adapter, we can not use that output for a monitor and the laptop is charging.

Of significant absences at the level of connectivity, we only miss the Ethernet port at this level, since there is room and thickness to have enabled it.

And the webcam? Well of very fair quality, with a maximum resolution of 720p for video but that leaves much to be desired in its results. To get out of the way only.

Big screen, but not for the last name Pro

Everything “suffered” in size and weight is more than compensated when, already sitting (at home, the cafeteria, the workplace table …), you open the lid and you find the almost lost splendor of a screen of 15.6 inches on a laptop.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

The one in this Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro has a resolution of 1080p, enough pixel density level, but little ambitious if we consider that the last name Pro gives us play to imagine a higher resolution that allows us more work space on the screen and not that it is, in that aspect, simply a model in which the screen grows with respect to the Air models of the Chinese firm.

In global terms, and always talking about interiors, the screen of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro looks pretty good, with good viewing angles, color reproduction and correct brightness, although outdoors we started to suffer the consequences of that brightness, which round the 300 cd / m2, is not greater, and above all that the screen has a glossy finish. Even indoors, when there is strong lateral light, fluorescent … we already begin to suffer the undesirable and annoying reflections.

If we intend to use this Mi Notebook Pro to enjoy multimedia content, to the good diagonal of the screen you have to add a quite powerful sound. It is signed by Harman and we have two speakers located under the keyboard and have two outputs under the housing, although the sound is that the audio comes from the whole team.

Continue Reading: HP Omen X Notebook: Three-level overclocking and NVIDIA’s brown beast for an unlimited gaming experience

A high level touchpad, the keyboard not so much

The similarity at the design level with Apple’s Macbook Pro has a very beneficial side effect: the size and quality of the touchpad. It is not usual in Windows laptops and less at this price level.

The touchpad of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro combines size and quality of construction, it seems that with glass (Xiaomi does not give information about it in an official way) covering it, which facilitates that gestures and slides work perfectly. The same thing does not happen with the clicks on the touchpad, which I think is a bit hard, which reduces the fluidity of working with it. Because of its construction, only the lower half of the touchpad supports the mechanical click that helps us, for example, to select text.

In that touchpad we have, as in the most complete Air model, a fingerprint reader compatible with Windows Hello, which allows us to identify ourselves in the system with a simple gesture. Of those things, as in the smartpthones, that once you try (and it works well) you do not want to stop using on other computers. It is so intuitive that, after the return to other laptops, it is a gesture that I tend to do in an automated way.

The good sensations of the touchpad are not maintained 100% with the keyboard. Here to begin with, it should be noted that, for now, there is no other provision than the American one for the keyboard, so if you physically need the ñ as well as the classical distribution, it is not possible. Here it will depend on each one that this non-optionality on the keyboard is more or less definitive for their choice.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

On the keyboard itself, it has good size, with separate chiclet-type keys, correct path, but to the touch, the answer has seemed somewhat hard and tiresome over time. It is far from other level laptop keyboards, and even, for me, the keyboard of the Air models of the company itself.

The keyboard is backlit, which we activate manually, but only supports on or off and not different levels, another detail that we always expect in a higher level laptop.

Core i7 and Nvidia MX150: Only for occasional game

The interior of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro features the Core i5 and i7 eighth generation. As storage unit Xiaomi has integrated a 256 GB SSD; there are no other options in that aspect, but there is a second M.2 slot accessible if we remove the screws from the lower cover. As for RAM, we have configurations of 8 or 16 GB DDR4. The dedicated part of the Nvidia entry card, the MX150 , is in charge of the graphic part.

With the use of Intel’s latest i5 Core and i7, this Xiaomi team has had to reinforce the cooling. It does so with two fans that do not take long to connect even with undemanding tasks such as simple web browsing, although they do so intermittently and somewhat inconsistently. The noise is therefore quite continuous but not high during the work with this Xiaomi laptop, a situation that gets worse when we demand enough as then the fans are especially noticeable.

For the entrance / exit of air we have a large area in the lower part, which is very slightly raised by means of plastic plugs, as well as the main hot air outlet located under the screen taking advantage of the space left in the area of the hinge.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

As for operating temperatures and heating with heavy workloads, no problem. The areas that do raise their temperature are far from where we usually rest our hands, although if we are going to use it at some time on the knees, in that case we will be able to notice it.

Overall performance of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

Once we have seen the theory, we move on to technical and synthetic tests to check the raw performance of this Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro. The concrete model we have tested is the one that comes with the Core i7 processor in combination with 8 GB of RAM. In view of the results in the synthetic tests, the performance of this Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is suitable for any task of office automation, image and video editing, as well as for occasional game under certain conditions as we will check later.

Our first test is the Cinebench test, which reliably measures the performance of the processor and its cores / threads. In the CPU test we have obtained 529 cb, while in OpenGL we have been able to reach 96.06 fps. The results are in line with expectations, without surprises or for the part of those 4 cores and 12 threads with 2 GHz of maximum operating frequency, nor for the graphical section, where the MX150 stands out in front of teams that only have dedicated graphic element.

If we pass to the PCMark 8 test, and compare it with the results of two teams with eighth generation processors but different approximation at the graphic level, we can see the differences and value of both the use of one or the other processor, as well as the choice of an integrated graphic (Yoga 920), one to play (Gigabyte Aero 15) and the average term of this MX150 of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro.

If we go to the comparison of the tests done with 3DMark, the difference between teams is the following taking into account the Fire Strike test, where the team of GigaByte, with its GTX 1060, devastates the Xiaomi, which in turn has no problems in stand out against the integrated Iris graphic of Yoga 920. Everything as expected.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

Finally I leave you with the results of the tests of performance of the SSD of Samsung that includes this laptop of Xiaomi and that we verified that it is one of the best components mounted in the equipment on the part of the Asian manufacturer.

Playing with the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

As we have been commenting throughout this review, at the controls of the graphic section of this Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro we find the Nvidia GeForce MX150 (with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory), which invites you to, in addition to usual tasks, let’s try to think about getting something out of this team with games. Let’s see how we have done in this task.

The first test, as usual in our hardware tests, is dedicated to the game The Division, which with its internal test puts us on the track of what we can expect according to the chosen resolution and the level of detail of the game. It must be said that, before executing the title, it warned us that the configuration of the equipment was not the most recommended to play.

The performance of the game falls drastically as soon as we raise the level of detail or above all, the game resolution. To achieve a game rate higher than 30 fps in almost all current games, you must look for the combination of medium-level details and not exceed 1366X768 pixels in resolution. This configuration, and with patience to load, can give us a successful game session but only dropper and without too many pretensions.

And in the case of eSports or less demanding games? In this type of titles, maintaining that combination of reduced resolution and medium level of detail, we can easily exceed 50 fps. If we intend to play 1080p with the high details, some results left us in our tests 23.5 fps in CIV VI or 35.2 in Fornite.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

Good autonomy for such a large team

We had some fear of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro after our experience with the 12-inch Air model and its low autonomy. But soon they dissipated. The capacity of your battery is 60 Wh, which together with the good behavior of its components at the consumption level, leave us a very interesting autonomy for a team with this screen diagonal.

In the first scenario of use, that of a team for office tasks, web browsing and some video, with WiFi continued use, the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro measured 6.5 hours, a fact more than correct. If the dedication is only video playback, without Wifi and with 50% brightness, our test marked us on average 9 hours and 15 minutes of endurance. Finally, we loaded The Division with low graphic load and managed to be playing continuously for about 1.5 hours.

Charging, which is done through the USB-C port on the upper right (the LED lights red while charging, which turns green when they are completed), allows 50% to be reached in less than 50 minutes, starting at 5% battery, at which time the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is turned off by low battery. For the full load it took a little more than two hours.

The drawback of the charge of this Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro that we have found is a classic for buying an import Xiaomi product at the best price. This equipment comes with Chinese charger in which we must use an adapter, which is a nuisance (not just fit well, always stays in the plug …). The best option is to get a USB-C charger of sufficient power along with a long USB-C cable. Another extra expense that must be taken into account when it comes to having the equipment 100% operational and comfortable.

The charger that comes standard with this Mi Notebook Pro is 65 W, higher than the 45 W that brings the most affordable Air 12 model of the company. If we finally decide to buy a third-party USB-C charger, we must make sure the power is sufficient or the charging times will last. We tested with a 56 W and the full load was extended over 4 hours.

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