With the Covid-19 Pandemic still going on, we are on the verge of entering 2022, there hasn’t been a time where the demand for a great office and school laptops has been higher. Xiaomi, taking advantage of this situation to settle themselves in the laptop segment, has launched its latest flagship laptop, Mi Notebook Ultra.
While Xiaomi has been making some good budget laptops, has it managed to do the same with its latest flagship laptop? I will be answering just the question and a lot more in my review below.
Mi Notebook Ultra Specifications: 15.6-inch 90Hz Quad-HD+ IPS LCD display | 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H processor | Intel Xris Xe GPU | 16GB DDR4 RAM | 512GB NVMe SSD | 65W Type-C fast charging
Mi Notebook Ultra Price in India: Rs 76,999
Mi Notebook Ultra Review: Design & Build
To start off, I would like to say that the Mi Notebook Ultra looks just like a Macbook Pro from a distance. With the aluminium chassis in the grey colour, black bezels, a black butterfly keyboard and a big trackpad, the design looks to be heavily inspired by the Macbook Pro. I would reckon, that if I were to cover the Xiaomi logo on the lid and add an Apple sticker, many would be hard-pressed to differentiate between the two. However, that may not be a bad thing, as the Macbook Pro is one of the most elegant and sleek looking laptops out there.
The chassis feels solid in hand. There is a bit of vertical flex in the centre of the lid and back, but the keyboard area is solid. Overall, the chassis rigidity is good and is structurally solid.
The 15.6-inch with an aspect ratio of 16:10 gives you enough space to rest your arms on the sides of the trackpad while typing which is great. The edges even though being at a 90-degree angle aren’t that sharp.
The hinge feels pretty solid and soft. Although the hinge won’t open up to 180-degrees, the angle is good for almost all the usage case scenarios. The laptop passes the one-finger opening test easily without any movement to the bottom part, which is really good.
The laptop comes with an integrated fingerprint sensor which doubles up as a power button. The performance of the fingerprint sensor is great. It manages to pick up the fingerprints correctly almost every time and is speedy too.
Overall, the build quality feels good, specifically for the price. Although I haven’t dropped the laptop, it feels like it can take a few hits without any major damage. If you are looking for a laptop that can take a few hits then and now, then the Mi Notebook Ultra won’t disappoint you.
Mi Notebook Ultra Review: Keyboard & trackpad
For people like me, a laptop’s keyboard is one of the most important aspects to look for. Our workload requires a lot of typing and a comfortable keyboard makes the job much less tiring.
Mi Notebook Ultra’s butterfly keyboard was quite good. The key presses are really satisfying. The key travel is pretty good, the actuation pressure is also just perfect for me. The only thing I found weird, was that the chassis had enough space for a dedicated Numpad, but the company decided to not include one. Apple does the same with the Macbook but they include beefy speakers on the sides, which would be great if Xiaomi implemented speakers there. I feel that they could have done better with the layout. There is a macro button that can be customised to open any app or a file which is nice.
The trackpad glass feels quite sturdy and the clicks are satisfying. I found the trackpad to be fast, reliable and accurate. The DPI of the trackpad is not as high as I would have liked, but you can always increase the sensitivity.
Mi Notebook Ultra Review: Display
Mi Notebook Ultra sports a 15.6-inch 90Hz QHD+ IPS LCD display. One of the major disappointments is that the company chose to use an LCD display instead of an LED panel, but the 90Hz and the Quad-HD+ resolution does help a bit.
The display is bright enough and the details are sharp. I do not have the right equipment to measure the colour accuracy of the display. But I do feel that the colours were a bit boosted.
While gaming, I appreciated the higher refresh rate of this laptop, however, I did miss my 144Hz PC screen. Even while web browsing, or watching online content, or just going through my daily work, the 90Hz refresh rate makes the experience a lot smoother.
One more thing that troubles me about the device is its 16:10 aspect ratio, which feels pretty weird while using it. But it is a personal preference, which is why I won’t beat this topic much.
The laptop has a matte display, which helps avoid reflections. This is especially noticeable when you are working outdoors. Due to the matte coating on the display, the visibility is really great. Overall, the display panel is a good one, the only issues I have with it is that it is LCD and the 16:10 aspect ratio.
Mi Notebook Ultra Review: Performance
Mi Notebook Ultra is powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11370H processor paired with 16GB of RAM and an integrated Intel Xris Xe GPU. While that might be just tech jargon for most, for a tech nerd it is music to the ears. The only addition I can ask for here would be a better graphics card and that’s it.
The laptop managed to easily complete all of the basic tasks I threw at it. I found no stutters even while having triple digits of chrome tabs open inside of a single window. So if your workload consists only of basic tasks, this would be a perfect laptop for you.
Now onto the more demanding tasks, gaming on the laptop is a big if, due to it not having a dedicated graphics card. Basic games like CS:GO work perfectly fine, but many of the newer more demanding titles like Gears 5 were not playable. Many games simply did not even open.
Editing basic videos on Adobe Premiere Pro was fun and easy with a 5 minutes full HD video taking around 10 minutes to render. However, while editing heavy load renders the machine struggled a lot.
Android Studio also worked well, with the laptop was able to easily handle app development and testing.
The laptop works quite well with workloads that are not GPU heavy. There is a bit of thermal throttling under extended workloads but that was expected, due to the thin and light profile.
Mi Notebook Ultra Laptop Review: Battery
Coming to the battery, the device features a 70Whr battery, which is decent enough. During daily usage with the workload including typing, browsing the internet and watching a few YouTube videos, the device managed to provide me with a battery life of around ten hours. Heavy workloads made the laptop last for around 8 hours.
The laptop comes with a 65W charging brick, which fills up the whole battery in about 3 hours. The charger is a Type-C USB PD charger which is great.
Mi Notebook Ultra Review: Verdict
Mi Notebook Ultra is priced at Rs 76,990, and for that price, the laptop does manage to impress. It manages to deliver great performance, battery life and more. It manages to punch above its weight and take a few wins. The only loss here is the disappointing speaker setup, an LCD display and no dedicated graphics card. Other than these drawbacks, the laptop is pretty good for the price.
If you were looking to buy a sub Rs 80,000 laptop for your work or day to day usage, this is one of the better laptops you can buy without a touch of regret. However, I would be worried about the after-sales support and durability as Xiaomi is a fairly new company to the laptop game.
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