Mi Notebook 14 review

Xiaomi is one of the few new brands in the laptop space, but it’s not a new name given its huge presence in the Indian smartphone and TV market. Brand awareness and trust are important when spending a lot of money. Of course, the Chinese giant is best known for being great value for money in the entry-level space and it will be interesting to see how this affects laptops. We have already tested the premium model Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition. Now is the time to take a look at how Xiaomi is targeting more budget-conscious laptop buyers.

The Vanilla Mi Notebook 14 loses some of the signature design elements and features of its Horizon Edition counterpart, but is still a sleek and lightweight laptop. The company holds its own in a highly competitive segment and has to fend off key players like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Asus. Let’s see what the Mi Notebook 14 has to offer.

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The Mi Notebook 14 has a 14-inch anti-reflective Full HD screen

Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 design

The standard Mi-Notebook 14 is not quite as chic as its sibling, the Horizon Edition, but it is still quite modern and attractive. It has a metal body with an anodized sandblasted exterior and the same logo-free lid we liked on the more expensive model. The overall look is pretty minimalist and humble.

There’s really nothing to see on the outside except for the connectors on the left and right and a small indentation to help you exit the lid. The inlets are at the bottom and hot air is drawn in through the back of the hinge.

Unlike the Horizon Edition, you have to hold down the base with one hand while lifting the lid with the other. The total weight is 1.5 kg and the thickness is just under 18 mm. Therefore, this laptop should be easy to transport and even be able to commute every day.

When you open the lid you will see a relatively thick chin under the screen and an empty space all around. This is one of the most important distinguishing features between the standard Mi notebook and the Horizon Edition, which is characterized by narrow bezels. Although there is enough space at the top for a webcam, this model does not have one built in. According to Xiaomi, this was a conscious choice made during the design process. Since people are now suddenly more dependent on video conferencing in order to be able to work and study remotely, an external USB webcam will be included with every Mi Notebook.

The keyboard deck is also made of metal and has a recessed shelf for the keyboard keys in island style. The arrow keys are lined up in a row and there is no backlight, but there are no major layout issues. In fact, there are additional Fn line keys compared to the Horizon Edition keyboard, so PrtScrn and Insert do not have to be secondary functions. The palm rest areas are generous enough and the size and placement of the trackpad are standard.

The lid is only slightly curved and the screen does not warp when pressure is applied. The hinge opens 140 degrees and is pretty tight. Overall, Xiaomi seems to have done a good job with the design – the Mi Notebook 14 doesn’t feel cheap and plastic, which gives it an advantage in its price segment.

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The choice of connections on the Mi Notebook 14 is relatively limited

Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 review

There are three variants of the standard Mi notebook that all use the same quad-core 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ Intel Core i5-10210U processor. This CPU has base and boost speeds of 1.6 GHz and 4.2 GHz and integrated Intel UHD graphics. All three versions have 8 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM that is soldered in and not upgradeable.

The basic variant was started at Rs. 41,999 and has a 256 GB SSD. As you move up to the middle tier, the SSD capacity doubles to 512GB. This seems like great value as the price is around Rs. 43,999. On the high end, the SSD stays the same, but you also get a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU for Rs. 48,999. This is the one I have to review.

In contrast to the top-class Horizon Edition, there is no CPU selection. Xiaomi also used SATA M.2 SSDs for this model. You can exchange yours for an upgrade, but there is no free slot for an additional one. It’s also not clear if you can swap out a faster NVMe SSD.

The port selection is also somewhat limited compared to the Horizon Edition. Most tragically, you don’t get a USB Type-C port at all. There are two USB 3.1 (Gen1) Type-A ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI 1.4b video output, a 3.5mm combo audio jack and a DC input. An SD card slot would have been nice.

A non-reflective screen is usually better for work, especially with indoor lighting. Xiaomi has chosen a 14-inch Full HD panel for the Mi Notebook 14. The company does not claim to be color accurate, but has a 178-degree viewing angle.

The battery has a capacity of 46 Wh, which according to Xiaomi corresponds to a usage time of 10 hours. You get a rather chunky 65W power supply in the box and of course the external 720p webcam. Dual band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 are supported. The Mi Notebook 14 also has stereo speakers with an output of 2 W each and DTS audio enhancement.

Xiaomi delivers the Mi Notebook 14 with Windows 10 Home and a one-month test version of Office 365. The two internal apps we saw on the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition are also shown here – Mi Blaze Unlock allows you to automatically log in to Windows if you are wearing a compatible Mi Band, while Mi Smart Share is on to transfer files and from phones with the corresponding app.

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The keyboard is easy to get used to, but the trackpad doesn’t respond very well

Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 performance

The initial setup went smoothly and the Mi Notebook 14 was ready to use after following the standard Windows setup process. This laptop is practical enough to be used in various situations, including when lying down. It sometimes took 10 to 15 seconds to resume sleep, but in general it was not a problem to use at all. I was able to multitask and stream video with over a dozen browser tabs open.

The screen isn’t very vivid and the colors are a bit muted. Xiaomi’s claim about viewing angles is not an exaggeration, but the screen’s brightness does need to be pumped up pretty high. I really appreciated the anti-reflective finish. The speakers are not very loud and the sound is unfortunately scratchy and thin.

Typing is very convenient. The keys are just a little stiff, but that’s easy to get used to. On the other hand, the trackpad wasn’t always as fluid or responsive as I would have liked, and the click action is a bit sticky.

The strengths and weaknesses of the Mi Notebook 14 are easy to see in benchmark tests. The SSD speed is limited by the SATA interface. Therefore, the CrystalDiskMark test showed sequential reads and writes with an upper limit of 500.6 Mbit / s and 383.3 Mbit / s and random reads and writes with 300.2 Mbit / s and 269 Mbit / s. In real task tests, it took the Mi Notebook 14 7 minutes, 6 seconds to compress a 3.24 GB folder of various files with 7zip, and 1 minute, 34 seconds to convert a 1.3 GB AVI file into Transcode H.265.

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The Mi Notebook 14 looks subtle and minimalist, with no logo on the lid

PCMark 10 achieved values ​​of 3542 and 3371, respectively, in its Standard and Extended runs. Cinebench R20 achieved 361 and 1,604 points in its single and multi-core tests. POVRay finished its benchmark run in 2 minutes and 52 seconds.

In terms of graphics performance, the Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU is definitely not for serious gaming or anything else beyond entry level performance. 3DMark’s Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme scores were 1,217 and 171, respectively, while the Night Raid and Fire Strike Extreme scores scored 12,327 and 1,661, respectively.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider barely managed to cough at 23 fps while running at its lowest preset of 1920 x 1080. When the resolution was reduced to 1280 x 720 and AA was completely disabled, it resulted in a nervous but playable average of 41 fps.

This means that the Mi Notebook 14 can run older and less demanding games. It got quite hot, however, and unfortunately the area around the WASD buttons along with the left palm rest became uncomfortable after just a few minutes of play. The right side of the keyboard stayed cool, but I could feel the fan sucking air in between the keys. Speaking of fans, it was audible while playing, but not in a distracting way.

Xiaomi promises 10 hours of battery life, but does not say under what conditions. I found that with occasional use where a movie was streamed and multitasked mostly in a web browser, I got a maximum of eight hours, but typically more than six hours per full charge. The intensive Battery Eater Pro test lasted 1 hour and 23 minutes, which is below average. Thankfully, this laptop charges quickly – I went from zero to 55 percent in 30 minutes with the laptop turned off.

judgment

Xiaomi did a good job overall, and the Mi Notebook 14 is good for everyday performance. You shouldn’t expect to be able to play modern games and movies don’t look or sound great, but overall productivity should be fine. Students and office workers, as well as home users with reasonable expectations, will be satisfied with this laptop.

The build quality is good and I like the minimalist look with the logo-free lid. Not a lot of people commute these days, but if or when you have to move you will appreciate what Xiaomi has to offer.