An unexpected Macbook Air copy

by Goh De No
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Xiaomi’s first appearance in the smartphone scene caused an outrage amongst many, claiming it had blatantly copied Apple’s iPhone design.

With a smart approach, Xiaomi understands that no publicity is bad publicity, and has since then continued on to be one of the largest smartphone makers providing nice devices at extremely affordable prices.

So it’s expected that Xiaomi would copy Apple on more than one instance, but the unexpected part is Xiaomi’s announcement of a laptop a couple of weeks ago, dubbed the Mi Notebook Air.

I, personally, am not impressed with the copying of designs, but really, who cares what I think. The Chinese firm has been successful throughout the years, and aside from smart devices, have moved into personal computing.

So the name of the Mi Notebook Air is terrible, because it sounds so familiar to the other laptop that is supposed to be light as air.

Anyhow, let’s look at what Xiaomi has to offer. The Mi Notebook Air comes in two size variants, 12.5- and 13.3-inches. I’m not sure why the size varies so little from one another, but they both have full Windows and a full HD display.

The 13.3-inch version’s body is made in an aluminium casing with USB-C charging ports and Xiaomi managed to squeeze two USB ports onto the device.

The full-sized keyboard are Apple-esque as well and have individual backlighting.

The Mi Notebook Air comes in two flavours: silver and rose gold. Image courtesy of Xiaomi.

Its internals include an Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and an 256GB solid state drive, and there’s even an expandable SSD slot, which is quite impressive.

The graphics card being used here is NVIDIA’s GeForce 940MX, which is decent, but not the best. Especially with NVIDIA’s recent offerings for mobile devices, the 940MX is pretty much outdated.

The laptop will weigh 1.28kg and has measurements at 306.9 x 210.9 x 14.8mm. In comparison, the Macbook Air is 325 x 226 x 8.94mm and is 1.35kg.

So in terms of weigh savings, the Mi Notebook Air already beats out the Macbook Air, and is 13 per cent thinner than the Macbook Air.

If you need a lower-specced device, the 12.5-inch has the benefit of being lighter at 1.07kg and is slightly thinner than its elder brother.

It doesn’t have a discrete graphics card, and will have only 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM with the lower range Intel Core M processor. The battery life will give two hours more than the 13.3-inch version with 11.5 hours per charge.

If you’re interested in these, the selling prices of the Mi Notebook Air is 4,999 Chinese Yuan ($1,000) and 3,499 Yuan for the high and low-spec respectively.

At $1,000, you get a really slim laptop at just above 1kg, and best of all, there’s a discrete graphics card. You could really do much worse.

Be wary though, because devices now have to be functional. If I buy a laptop, I want to be sure it can serve me day in and out for at least two to three years before thinking about an upgrade.

A first time maker like Xiaomi might be tricky, and risky, so shell out a bit more money and go with something established if you want to avoid any headaches (or potential heart aches).

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