Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 - Full Review with Pros and Cons
Xiaomi’s foray into the laptop segment in India is here at last with the launch of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14. It features premium level design and powerful specs, all at a competitive price point. This time Xiaomi decided to bring new models catered specifically to the Indian market instead of bringing in existing models which were already on sale in mainland China. The laptop comes in a special Horizon Edition as well with more powerful specs. The review for that can be found here.
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 is a 14 inch ultrabook with Intel’s latest 10th gen Comet Lake U series processors. Xiaomi’s debut seems to come at a time when people are in the market to buy new laptops especially due to higher Work-From-Home demands necessitates people to buy Personal Computers. The laptop also comes in variants with Nvidia’s MX 250 graphics which lends it some gaming chops as well.
Build and Quality
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 comes with a magnesium and alloy build with and anodized finish. This lends it a premium feel unlike anything available at this price range. The bezels are kept narrow resulting in a 81.2% screen-to-body ratio which is extremely competitive. The laptop weighs in at only 1.5 kgs with a thickness of only 17.95 mm, making it an ultraportable ideal for people who want their machines to be thin-and-light. The hinges feel sturdy and the laptop in openable with one-hand, signifying an even weight distribution with quality hinge construction. Overall, the laptop is well built and does not feel like a budget device at all. The laptop does not come with an in-build webcam but comes with a bundled Mi external webcam.
Ports, I/O and Connectivity
The laptop features a respectable number of ports for an ultralight machine. To the left there are 2x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, HDMI jack and the DC power jack. To the right there is a single USB 2.0 Type-A port and a combo audio jack. There are no USB Type-C ports though, it being exclusive to the Horizon Edition, which is a letdown. The laptop supports fast-charging.
The laptop comes with a dual-band 802.11 ac Wi-Fi card along with Bluetooth 5.0. It would have been nice to see a 802.11 ax Wi-Fi card but it would have been expecting too much at this price range.
Upon removing the bottom panel, one gets access to the SATA 3 SSD along with the Wi-Fi card. The memory modules are soldered onto the motherboard and are thus non-upgradable. The laptop features 8GB of DDR4-2666 MHz memory. The Wi-Fi module is user-upgradable and can be swapped out for a new one.
Keyboard – The keyboard on the Mi Notebook 14 features 1.3 mm of travel with a scissor-switch mechanism. Typing on the keyboards feels decent with well spaced keys and respectable travel along with some tactile feedback. The keyboard does not come with backlighting on any of the variants, even the higher end Horizon Edition which is a letdown for some users.
Touchpad – The plastic touchpad has a ‘clickpad’-style layout and does not feature dediated buttons. It is decently sized for a budget device. The touchpad does not support Windows Precision drivers and makes weird noises while clicking down. Overall, the touchpad is decent at best but could have been much better.
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook comes with a 14 inch 1080p Anti-Glare IPS display. The IPS panel has wide viewing angles upto 178 degrees and colours are punchier as compared to TN panels. The colour accuracy though, leaves a lot to be desired. The display only covers 45% of the NTSC colour space. This means that the laptop is ill-suited for colour-sensitive work like photo and video editing.
Peak brightness is around 250 nits making sunlight-legibility difficult.
The laptop comes with Intel’s 10th Gen i5-10210U Comet Lake processor. Intel is still using the 14nm process which it has been using for over 5 years now. The performance is decent and allows the user to carry out most takes expected of an ultrabook. However, with the advent of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 U series processors, it would have been nice to see them on this device as they outperform Intel’s processors in almost every scenario. The laptop comes with optional discrete Nvidia MX 250 graphics with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This allows the laptop to run some light esports titles at 60+ FPS at 1080p with low setting. Heavy gaming is not something to be expected of an ultrabook and a gaming laptop may be a better choice for those who want to do so.
The laptop comes with a single 2530mm² fan with intake vents of the bottom and the exhaust being under the display. The fan does not get too loud with a max of 37 dB which makes for a quiet laptop though it may get hot when running heavy applications and games.
This particular configuration has a 512 GB SATA3 SSD. The top-of-the-line model of the Horizon Edition comes with an NVMe SSD while the rest have SATA SSDs. Speeds are not upto NVMe standards but are still a huge improvement over HDDs. SSDs however are becoming the norm in even budget laptops nowadays so it is nothing exceptional here.
The Mi Notebook 14 comes with dual 2 W bottom firing speakers which provide for a sub-par experience. This is to be expected with most laptops at this price point though. The speakers don’t get exceptionally loud and one needs to resort to using external speaker or headphones for media consumption.
The Mi Notebook 14 has a 46Wh battery, which is on the smaller side. The laptop supports fast charging with the bundled 65W charger. The battery lasts upto 6 hours on light tasks with medium brightness. This can be extended to some extent by using Windows Battery Saver. Gaming while on battery causes the battery to drain fast and it is advised to plug in the laptop while doing so.