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article imageXiaomi's Mi Notebook Air is thinner, lighter than the MacBook Air

By James Walker     Jul 27, 2016 in Technology
Xiaomi has unveiled its first laptop, a device that is designed to rival Apple's MacBook Air even with its name. The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air is thinner and lighter than the MacBook and comes with powerful hardware inside for an aggressive price.
Xiaomi unveiled its long-rumoured computing line today. The range is the Chinese company's first foray into laptops as it expands its growing selection of products. Two Mi Notebook Airs are available, 13.3-inch and 12.5-inch models to suit different uses.
Starting with the more compact configuration, the 12.5-inch Air weighs only 1.07kg and is just 12.9mm thick. The tiny body doesn’t leave much space for the internals though. You'll get a low-end Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SDD. It's a respectable configuration but it won't power much beyond basic tasks and light gaming.
For more intensive usage, the 13.3-inch model is the better choice. It's thicker and heavier, at 14.8mm and 1.28kg respectively, but hardly a heavyweight. Xiaomi is keen to point out it's both thinner and lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air, although the lack of Apple's tapering wedge design here means it still appears to be bulkier.
The 13.3-inch Air has considerably more capable hardware than the 12.5-inch model. The processor is a high-end Intel Core i5-6200U clocked at 2.3GHz, accompanied by 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD for storage. Gaming and video editing are catered to by a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 RAM.
On both configurations, you get a 1080p display and extremely slim bezels. There's a backlit keyboard, a USB-C charging port, gold or silver colour options and a 1-megapixel camera. How the last component made it onto a 2016 flagship laptop hasn't been explained. The laptops run Microsoft's Windows 10.
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air
The Mi Notebook Air is part of Xiaomi's extensive expansion plan that has seen it building everything from toothbrushes to bicycles. The company is becoming more than just a technology retailer, evolving into general consumer goods alongside its digital products. The Mi Notebook Air is a return to Xiaomi's technology roots though, expanding its core Mi range with a full-blown computer.
Xiaomi doesn't actually built the laptops itself. Instead, they are produced by a partner firm, Tian Mi, under its "Mi Ecosystem" branding. It's perhaps because of this arrangement that the Notebook Air lacks any exterior branding. The only logo on the device is on the front bezel and that's a simple "Mi" icon. The lack of markings creates a clean and minimalist look that befits a MacBook rival though, adding a sense of premium quality to the otherwise rather plain design.
The two laptops will go on sale in China on August 2. The 13.3-inch model will cost 4,999 yuan, around $750. The smaller 12.5-inch version will cost 3,499 yuan, around $525. Xiaomi does not intend to launch the Mi Notebook Air internationally, indicating it's not yet ready to rival Apple on a global scale.
More about xiaomi, Apple, Macbook, Macbook air, Laptops
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