Xiaomi's Mi Notebook Air's Design Pays Homage to MacBook Air Design

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-07-28
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Xiaomi's Mi Notebook Air's Design Pays Homage to MacBook Air Design
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    Xiaomi's Mi Notebook Air's Design Pays Homage to MacBook Air Design

    Xiaomi has built a notebook that looks deceptively like a MacBook Air, even down to the trackpad size. Here we give the Mi Notebook Air a closer look.
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    Mi Notebook Air's Two Screen-Size Options
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    Mi Notebook Air's Two Screen-Size Options

    The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air comes in the customer's choice of screen sizes: 12.5 inches and 13.3 inches. Xiaomi didn't note any major differences between the displays besides their sizes in their product specifications, but the company did say that the models feature 1,920-by-1,080 Full-HD resolution, which should make for a fine viewing experience across streaming video and video games.
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    Notable Differences Between the Models
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    Notable Differences Between the Models

    Depending on the screen size a customer chooses, the Mi Notebook Air comes with major differences. For instance, the 13.3-inch model has the sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processor inside, while the 12.5-inch version runs on Intel's Core M3 processor. The larger version also features a better graphics chip, more RAM and far more storage. So when choosing a screen size, customers also will be deciding how much power they get under the hood.
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    These Notebooks Run Windows 10
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    These Notebooks Run Windows 10

    Both Mi Notebook Air models come with Windows 10. Xiaomi did not say whether customers would be able to downgrade to Windows 8.1 if they so choose. Given the company's history of keeping customers locked into its designs, however, it's unlikely it will offer that option, so expect no choice but Windows 10 in the upcoming notebook.
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    Mi Notebook Air Puts Emphasis on Portability
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    Mi Notebook Air Puts Emphasis on Portability

    The portability factor in the Mi Notebook Air is stellar. The 12.5-inch version is just 12.9mm at its thinnest point and weighs about 2.4 pounds, making it both thin and lightweight. The 13.3-inch model is similarly mobile-friendly, featuring a thinnest point of 14.8 mm and a weight of 2.8 pounds.
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    A Good Selection of Hardware Components
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    A Good Selection of Hardware Components

    The 12.5-inch Mi Notebook Air is a bit underpowered by its Core M3; however, the 13.3-inch option comes bundled with several appealing components. In addition to the aforementioned Intel Core i5 processor, customers will find the Nvidia GeForce 940MX dedicated graphics chip, a 256GB solid-state drive and support for 802.11ac WiFi. It even has USB Type-C for charging and two USB 3.0 ports alongside its single HDMI port.
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    Differences in Battery Life
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    Differences in Battery Life

    Battery life matters in a mobile product, and Xiaomi knows it. The company says the 12.5-inch model will be able to last 11.5 hours on a single charge based on standard use. The 13.3-inch model battery pack will last 9.5 hours, but that version comes with a fast-charging feature that can boost the battery life by 50 percent in 30 minutes.
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    Adapter Provides Additional HDMI and USB Ports
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    Adapter Provides Additional HDMI and USB Ports

    Xiaomi plans to offer an adapter that plugs into the notebook that expands the device's usability dramatically. The adapter will deliver more HDMI and USB ports, allowing users to have up to three displays and an external hard drive connected while they're using the notebook.
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    Xiaomi Touts Mi Notebook Air's Ruggedness
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    Xiaomi Touts Mi Notebook Air's Ruggedness

    According to Xiaomi, the Mi Notebook Air will be rugged enough for corporate users to get work done. In addition to its hardened case, the Mi Notebook Air comes with strong, scratch- and shatter-resistant glass. Although Xiaomi didn't note how high the Mi Notebook Air could be dropped without any trouble, it did say it's far less likely than many other computers to sustain damage to its screen if it slips out of the user's hands.
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    Expandable Storage
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    Expandable Storage

    The 13.3-inch Mi Notebook Air comes with a potentially important feature for enterprise users: an expandable Serial ATA SSD slot that will allow users to plug in additional storage. On the 12.5-inch model, the Mi Notebook Air supports a solid-state drive with up to 128GB of storage.
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    Mi Notebook Air Pricing and Availability
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    Mi Notebook Air Pricing and Availability

    For now, the Mi Notebook Air will be available only in China starting Aug. 2. When the notebook launches, Xiaomi said it will retail for the equivalent in Chinese currency of about $525 and about $750 for the 12.5- and 13.3-inch models, respectively. While it's currently unknown whether Xiaomi intends to market the Mi Notebook Air outside China, the company has said it wants to expand sales of its products around the world. That suggests its latest notebook could go on sale in more countries across Asia, South America and perhaps even North America.
 

Xiaomi is often called the "Apple of China" for having a charismatic chief executive,  devoted fans and producing mobile devices that, some say, look remarkably like those made by the iPhone maker. On July 27, Xiaomi did not change that reputation with the announcement of the Mi Notebook Air, a lightweight PC featuring the choice of a 12.5- or 13.3-inch display. While the notebook comes with several nice features, including an Intel Core i5 processor and USB Type-C for charging, it also looks a lot like Apple's MacBook Air, complete with a thin profile, a unibody design and a big trackpad. That's not to say the Mi Notebook Air is a MacBook Air clone, but Xiaomi seems to have been inspired by Apple notebook design and incorporated much of that notebook's outward appearance into its own design. Altogether, the Mi Notebook Air is an attractive computer, and this eWEEK slide show covers its features in more detail.  Xiaomi plans to release the notebook Aug. 2 in China, but currently there are no plans to export it to the United States.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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