Last year, Xiaomi introduced the Mi Notebook Air, which is meant to take on the Apple MacBook Air. Well, now there’s the Mi Notebook Pro; a competitor to the higher-end MacBook Pro. Unlike Apple’s offering, the Mi Notebook Pro has a key advantage: affordability.
However, beyond value for money, is the Mi Notebook Pro a good alternative to the MacBook Pro? Based on our brief time with the laptop, it’s…an “okay” alternative. But it’s worth noting that the Mi Notebook Pro is without a doubt a very good Windows laptop, especially for its asking price.
First up, specifications. The Mi Notebook Pro features eight generation Intel Core processors, an Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU, up to 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, as well as a fingerprint sensor built into the trackpad’s top-right corner. Its display, on the other hand, is a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display.
Respectable hardware, ordinary display.
That’s right. While the Mi Notebook Pro sports some respectable hardware, its display is really the odd one out here. It’s not a bad display by any means – it can get pretty bright – but the 1080p resolution don’t quite match up to the MacBook Pro’s sharp Retina Display.
Display aside, the Mi Notebook Pro has very good build quality with a solid hinge. Its metal construction gives a good sense of durability, and the laptop feels like a really premium product. However, the Mi Notebook Pro is still a little rough on the edges; literally. Its edges are quite sharp, which slightly mars the laptop’s premium construction.
Not the best keyboard, but good enough for a pleasant typing experience.
And then we have the keyboard. While it’s slightly on the shallow side of things, the keys have very good tactile feedback, which makes for a pleasant typing experience. On top of that, the keyboard’s standard layout takes little to no effort to get used to. However, I do find the keys to be a tad too “soft.”
One of the most beloved hardware on a MacBook is its incredibly accurate trackpad, and I’m happy to report that the Mi Notebook Pro has one of the best Windows-based trackpad I’ve ever tried. Its large enough to use comfortably, my fingers glide effortlessly on the trackpad’s surface, and most importantly, it’s a pretty darn accurate trackpad. Is it on the same level as a MacBook Pro’s trackpad? Well, not exactly, but it’s certainly one of the best trackpads I’ve tested on a Windows machine.
One of the best Windows trackpads around.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put the Mi Notebook Pro’s through its paces in my brief time with the laptop. Its MX150 GPU, however, should be powerful enough to run most popular games well, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and even PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – the graphics settings have to be turned down to get playable frame rate, of course.
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is certainly an impressive Windows laptop, but in comparison to the Macbook Pro…it’s not quite on the same level. Sure, the former has better connectivity options – such as an SD card reader – but its build quality isn’t as refined as the MacBook Pro, not to mention the lower resolution display. Aside from that, there’s also the fact that macOS and Windows are two different operating systems, but this comes down to user preferences.
Value for money is the main appeal here.
Then again, what the Mi Notebook Pro lacks in other areas is made up with its affordable price tag: it retails from 5,599 Chinese yuan, which comes up to about RM3,590. At that price point, not many Windows laptops can match up to the Mi Notebook Pro, especially in terms of sheer value for money.
And that’s really Xiaomi’s main appeal with most of its products: value for money. The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is without a doubt a compelling Windows laptop, but the thing is, it will most probably not be sold here in Malaysia – not officially, anyway. Parallel importers will likely bring it in, but expect the retail price to be marked up considerably.