The 13-inch Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air gets an extensive update with the very recent Kaby Lake i5-7200U and a Nvidia Pascal MX150 graphics chip. So far, we’ve only tested the 12.5-inch laptop, which has been my constant companion since September last year. 2 weeks after I switched from my old 12.5-inch Mibook (which by the way still works perfectly), you can now read the extensive review of the latest Xiaomi 13.3-inch Notebook (2017). In case you’re also interested in a review of the new Mi Notebook 12.5 version, leave a comment!
Overview of Mi Notebook Air’s versions
|Mi Notebook Air 12.5-inch (2017)||Mi Notebook Air 13.3-inch (2017)|
|Weight and dimensions||
Design and build quality
The design stays discreet and the rear (without a logo) can be designed to your own preferences. The aluminum casing is torsion-resistant and there are no gaps to be found with Xiaomi Mi Notebook 13.3-inch. If you press strongly on the display’s rear, it doesn’t bent, but it is possible to open the display with just one hand (if the notebook stands firmly on the table). The 13.3-inch Notebook Air is very compact and not really heavy with a weight of 1.3kg. With dimensions of 294x165x14.5mm, mobility comes first and the notebook is the little brother’s equal in every way.
In contrast to the 12.5-inch Mi Notebook, the 13.5-inch Notebook has to be cooled by a fan. The ventilation slot on the bottom is easily covered when the notebook is on your lap. Performing demanding tasks, the laptop gets unpleasantly warm. The fan is only activated when more intense tasks are being performed, and it is very quiet. You only need an increased cooling activity when you’re playing games, and in this case the fan is quite loud. In order to secure a firmly and slightly elevated stand on the table, the bottom offers 5 rubber studs, which fulfill their task outstandingly.
After having removed 8 screws at the bottom, it is possible to have a look at the Mi Notebook’s inner workings. You’ll notice the 40Wh battery. Build quality seems to be excellent outside as well as inside and promises high durability. A free M.2 SSD slot makes it possible to expand the storage simply and economically. At the bottom of the 13.3-inch notebook, you can also find both of the AKG stereo speakers, which I significantly like better than those of the 12.5-inch Mi Notebook. Now you have enough bass and middles, and the speakers are of a higher quality (for a laptop). Volume is more than enough for one or the other YouTube video.
The 2MP front camera can be used for Skype or podcasts, but the quality is not that exciting. Nevertheless, the HD-Ready resolution (720p) with 30FPS secures a decent picture and voice quality during talking via Skype.
There are HDMI 1.0, 2x USB 3.0, headphone and USB Type-C (USB 3.1) connections as well as a status LED. The headphone connection offers a clear and loud sound. There is nothing to complain about. The HDMI port supports 4K output only at 30Hertz (HDMI 1.0), but you can use a corresponding adapter (from USB Type-C to HDMI 2.0) to get a 60Hertz picture from the Mi Notebook to the 4K monitor. For about 20$ you can buy the original Xiaomi adapter. The two models I ordered from Amazon were not working!
Touchpad and keyboard
Without having a good touchpad and keyboard, no laptop can make it through daily life. The 13.3-inch Mi Notebook has a different keyboard than the previously tested 12.5-inch Mi Notebook.
The single keys have a perfect distance (1.6mm) to one another and have a pleasant feedback. Moreover, the keys are much quieter and the stroke is slightly earlier than with the 12.5-inch Mi Notebook Air. The power button has a bit of an unfortunate position, as it is placed next to the “remove” button. This problem is resolved as you have to press the power button considerably stronger than all other keys. During the test phase, I only once pressed the power button wrongly, which sent the laptop into sleep mode. Activating the sleep mode by just pressing the button once can also be deactivated, which puts an end to this problem. Pressing the keyboard strongly in the middle, it gives way a bit. Those looking for a perfect laptop keyboard are well-served by the Mi Notebook.
The touchpad of this model is one of the largest versions, measuring 110x67mm and it also works perfectly. The cursor never glitches and runs constantly when used with one finger. A left-click is performed either via strong pressing (with feedback) or a slight tap. Both work perfectly. The standard gestures for zooming (moving 2 fingers outwards or inwards) and scrolling (moving 2 fingers up and down) mostly work well, but sometimes I zoomed instead of scrolling. The integrated fingerprint scanner in the touchpad is new compared to the predecessor, and it works well and unlocks the laptop reliably and fast. The surface feels like glass, and the finger glides perfectly over it. Those who like working with the notebook on the lap and using the touchpad won’t be having any problems with the 13.3inch Mi Notebook.
The Mi Notebook’s IPS display has a resolution of 1920x1080pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 166PPI. Image sharpness is immaculate in daily use, and the Sharp SHP1447 display offers a great image. Color representation is strong, but not too strong, which I personally liked very much. The display is perfectly illuminated and there are no color changes at the edges (backlight bleeding). Brightness is on average with 350cd/m² and the Mi Notebook is suitable for the use outside. You can also decrease brightness if you use the laptop in the evening. Viewing angles are stable. In direct sunlight, however, the display reflects too strongly. The Mi Notebook also offers a deep black at a contrast ratio of 800:1.
In the standard 16:9 ratio, the display surface is 294x165mm and the bezel is quite slim with 5.6mm. Xiaomi uses scratch-resistant glass, which doesn’t really matter as it is not a touchscreen and you can’t open the notebook too much.
Our 13.3-inch Mi Notebook is the middle version in terms of performance and houses an Intel i5-7200U, which clocks at 2 cores @ 2.5-3.1GHz (in the turbo). Via Intel’s Hyper-Threading 1 core each can perform up to 2 tasks simultaneously (4 threads). The 13.3-inch Mi Notebook is supported by a Geforce MX150 with 2GB GDDR5 storage. 8GB of RAM (2133MHz) and a 256GB SSD complete the package. There is also an i7 version available that has the same amount of storage, and an i5 version with only 128GB SSD storage.
The 256GB SSD hard disk by Samsung is insanely fast. Load times are minimal and archives are unpacked quickly as well.
In terms of benchmarks, the Xiaomi 13.3-inch Mi Notebook Air 2017 is not only faster than its little brother (Notebook Air 12.5-inch) but also significantly faster than the Mi Notebook 13.3 from 2016. In total, you have an insane increase in performance by 30-40 percent. If the i7 version will also make such a big difference and justifies the additional value is a different topic. However, I strongly doubt that.
Playing 4K videos is a task Mi Notebook Air should be able to perform and the notebook does it perfectly. There are no lags or problems when skipping forward in the video. Because of the i5 and the dedicated graphics card, the laptop can do a lot more than just standard Office tasks and surfing. You can also edit videos (4K) and play games like Dota 2 and CSGO without any problems. Nevertheless, the Mi Notebook is not a gaming-laptop, mostly because the battery life only lasts 2.30-3 hours when playing games. In addition, the laptop then gets hotter than 50°C at the top side (in the middle above the keyboard).
Windows 10 Home
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook 13.3,3 is delivered with pre-installed Windows 10 Home, but in the Chinese version. The Chinese version differs from the ‘normal’ Windows version; with these instructions, you can install the normal Windows.
- Download and install the Media Creation tool here
- Connect a USB stick with minimum 8GB
- Create Windows Boot-Stick
- When turning on the Mi Notebook, press and hold “F2”, select the USB stick in “Boot” – “Boot Device Order”
- Install Windows
If you like to use the available product license, just select Windows 10 Home during the installation. Then, you can activate Windows via the troubleshooting, as the system finds a digital license. In addition, you should download and install the latest Nvidia driver for the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics chip.
The laptop is fully charged in just 1.5 hours. In only 40 minutes the battery percentage rises from 10 to 80%. The fast charge time is simply impressive and one of the things I like best about the Mi Notebook Air. With Wi-Fi and medium brightness settings, a FHD video runs for 9 hours. However, the battery dies after only 2.5 hours of playing Counterstrike GO. In daily use, the laptop lasts for about 6-7 hours with a mixed use of surfing (many tabs opened), writing and reading e-mails and watching YouTube videos. I think that the 13.3-inch Notebook 2017 is on the same level as my old 12.5-inch MiBook 2016, in terms of battery life.
The Chinese charging adapter is, however, a bit impractical with its short length of 1.5m. You can solve this problem by buying a 33$-charging adapter from Amazon (2.5m).