Xiaomi Does Itself Some Good, Copycatting the MacBook Pro to the Max

Xiaomi and laptops is a new thing, and if you don’t know just how new, get this. It’s been just over one year since the China-based manufacturer released its first laptops. Smartphones, however, have been the company’s focus for quite a while. It was until Xiaomi, cleverly looking into what the most important brands were in America (ahem, Apple!), that the company was ready to dig right into the laptop market, not quite with a bang at first, however. The Mi Notebook Air series came out with a cute $750 price tag, and as the first ever laptop line, it had a lot of things consumers liked. With Windows 10, an ultra-slim body, and a top-spec option, the flagship 13.3-incher came with an Intel Core i5 Skylake-U CPU processor, and Nvidia’s GeForce 940MX GPU for graphics.

Thinner and lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air, with a 40Wh battery with 9.5 hours of life, and a super quick USB-C charger for a half-hour full charge expectancy, this machine was made to compete hard. Here we are, over a year later, and let’s see what Xiaomi has done for itself now. Following the Mi Notebook Air comes a direct MacBook Pro competitor, the Mi Notebook Pro. This upgraded machine is now a 15.6-inch clamshell, geared towards the performance user. There is now an 8th generation Intel quad-core CPU, an Nvidia GPU, and SSD.

Specified above is one of the highest upgraded models, featuring more than just that new 8th gen i7 processor from Intel, but that dedicated GPU is Nvidia’s GeForce MX150, with 16GB of RAM, and a price just around $1070. The GeForce card isn’t for the gaming-ready, but as long as you’re a fan of photo and video editing, that option will get you through.

What’s going on here is one of those, “so what’s the big drawback” kind of things. The Xiaomi counterpart has such a liking to Apple’s MacBook Pro, with allegedly more superior performance, and even more ports (including two USB As, two USB-Cs, a full-size HDMI, and SD card slot), added to give more practicality to the subject. However, the most impressive aspect of this machine is its coming in at less than half the price for a comparably specced machine, by the biggest name in tech for decades. The best Dell could ever do in being the sleekest, Apple-iest (not an actual word, for the record), was its XPS 13 9360 Rose Gold Edition with a 7th gen Intel CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. This guy was considered the smallest 13-inch notebook on the planet, and 17 percent smaller than the MacBook Air.

The Mi Notebook Pro has so much going for it, but believe it or not there’s an impending flaw. The hardship makes this more real, since balance is everything. In this case, the fact that the Chinese “equivalent” of the MacBook Pro is not the same build quality, it isn’t going to be all quality in every way. On the other hand, it seems to hold up pretty darn well. One thing that might be a surprise are features that aren’t a bummer but could've easily been expected- such as the keyboard (which is said to be sturdy and satisfying), or the trackpad, which works so similarly to Apple’s Force Touch design it could be spooky (and that fingerprint reader isn’t so bad either).

Additionally, if you want the more serious downfall in your face so you can deny or give into the desire of a beautifully running, cheap laptop, know the major missing element of the Mi Notebook Pro is its weight against Apple’s amazing LCD screen color reproduction and pixel count. It has fine reproduction, yet its resolution of 1080p could throw plenty of folks off. I know how hard it is to go back once you’ve edited and worked on a Mac, especially for years. But one thing we need to be thankful for, in this insane and imperfect world were living in, is options and alternatives are always there, and they aren’t always bad.

Topics: Technology News Laptop Trends Laptops & Ultrathin Ultrabooks Tech Reviews

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