Xiaomi has made a habit of redefining every category it steps into. Xiaomi is already the leader in the smartphone, Smart TV and accessories segments in India. Unlike Realme which is rapidly expanding to various product categories, Xiaomi is closely looking at the category before stepping in. It is only entering into categories where it can make a difference. After launching the Mi Box 4K, Xiaomi has finally entered into the laptop category. The company is starting the journey with Mi NoteBook 14 series and it says the models have been developed exclusively for the Indian market, keeping the Indian consumers in mind. For starters, there are two models- the standard Mi NoteBook 14 and the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition.
The Mi NoteBook 14 and Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition laptops feature cutting-edge hardware, but they are priced on the lower end of the spectrum. This is why Xiaomi is considered as the market disruptor. I have been using the premium Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition model with Core i7-10510U CPU, 512GB of SSD and NVIDIA MX350 graphics card for more than three weeks as my daily driver for both professional and college work. Continue reading to know more about the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition in detail.
Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Design
First of all, let’s start with the shell (the top) of the laptop. Interestingly it does not come with any branding. It is completely plain following the route of being a minimalistic product. The laptop comes with a metallic finish. The metallic finish of the body will give you sort of a luxurious feel when you carry it around or use it. However, even though the body has a metallic finish, it is not quite as sturdy as you would like. When you press the shell of the laptop you will notice that it has a certain level of flex. But this is not the issue with the bottom of the laptop. There is absolutely no flex in the bottom. You can lift the screen of the Mi NoteBook Horizon with one finger just proving further that bottom of the laptop has a sturdy body. Xiaomi has advertised this feature during the launch event as well.
One of the best things about the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is that it is very light. Even after having a metallic finish, the laptop weighs at 1.35 Kgs. This is right in the lines of the weight of MacBook Air which weighs in at 1.27 Kgs. Talking about the ports of the laptop, all of them are on the side right after the air vents. Visually, the design of Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is very likeable with thin bezels around the display and not much branding.
Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Display
Let’s start with addressing the elephant in the room. The Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition doesn’t come with a webcam. There is a reason behind that though. In order to keep the bezels thin, Xiaomi had to exclude the webcam from the laptop. Even though video calling is very necessary today, Xiaomi said that the design and display of the laptop were decided last year when video calling wasn’t much of a necessity. But just to make for that fact, Xiaomi has included a USB camera in the box of the laptop. You can plug it in whenever you want to use the camera. It is a standard 720p camera, so if you want one with better quality, you will have to purchase the ones available in the market.
Coming to the display of the laptop, it is a 14-inch screen and has an impressive 91% body-to-screen ratio. The top and side bezels in the laptop are only 4mm thick. Colour accuracy, contract levels and sharpness are just fine so you will enjoy watching movies on your laptop. There is also an anti-glare coating on top of the screen so that would remove all the unwanted reflections from the display. The screen can achieve the highest brightness of 250 nits which is not as impressive as you would like. It is worth noting that the screen attracts smudges, but it does not affect the overall viewing angles.
Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Keyboard and Trackpad
Irrespective the laptop may look, it needs to get two things always right. Those are — Keyboard and Trackpad. Starting with the keyboard of the laptop, one thing that you are going to like is that it offers a decent travel of 1.3mm. The keys don’t wobble and you can press them as hard as you can and they will work just fine. The layout of the keyboard is pretty standard and it is a chiclet-style keyboard.
The only odd thing with the keyboard of the laptop is that it doesn’t come with backlighting. This is a major bummer for many. If you are someone who work a lot in dark conditions, then you might struggle with the Mi NoteBook Horizon Edition. It is odd because at the price segment of Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition, most of the laptops come with a backlit keyboard. However, the design of the basic Mi NoteBook 14 priced at Rs 41,999 and the Mi NoteBook Horizon Edition is identical which could be the reason behind Xiaomi omitting a backlit keyboard.
Coming to the trackpad of the laptop, it is very responsive. The texture of the trackpad is quite decent as well. However, there are two things which I did not like about the trackpad on Mi NoteBook Horizon Edition. Firstly, it is large. Well, a lot of people prefer a large trackpad, but for me, it often came in between while reaching the middle of the keyboard and the cursor used to move. This is something which annoyed me a lot. The second disadvantage is the feel of clicks. Before the Mi NoteBook Horizon Edition, I was using a MacBook Air and its trackpad is probably the best one any laptop. The trackpad on the Mi NoteBook doesn't provide a satisfying tactile feedback.
Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Performance
The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is powered by 10th generation Intel Core i7-10510U processor which is the best hardware available right now. The processor boosts up to 4.9GHz. As of graphic section, the laptop rocks a 2GB Nvidia MX350 dedicated GPU which is specially designed for compact machines and it is the first machine in India to sport the MX350 graphics card. Further, the laptop has 512GB SSD storage. There's one more model of the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition with 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U processor. The only difference between the two models is the processor- 10th Gen Core i7 on the high-end model and 10th Gen Core i5 on the model priced at Rs 54,999. One of the disappointing features of the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is the non-expandable 8GB DDR4 RAM which means that customers will have to adjust their work and entertainment needs as per the performance of the laptop.
In case if the customers will purchase the laptop for normal business working, the performance of the laptop will be decent. However, if the laptops are being purchased with the purpose of hardcore gaming and other tasks such as video editing and production, customers may not be satisfied.
As of gaming, the laptop managed to handle heavy games pretty well. There was no lagging while playing PUBG and Fortnite. The audio setup on the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is a little underwhelming. The speakers are placed on either side of the laptop, and it gives the stereo output. In case if you are playing games on the laptop, you will not be happy with the output of the speaker. In some cases, the audio was too low and it was not able to fill the room. One of the significant drawbacks of the audio output was the placement of the speakers. We tested the audio levels of the laptop by putting it on the lap and due to the placement of speakers, a significant sound was lost.
In video editing, the laptop was able to handle random cuts and transition in 4K videos which is really good to see. For day-to-day usage, the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is a really good machine. I have used the laptop for both professional and college purposes. The NoteBook 14 handled more than 10 Google Chrome tabs with ease and a couple of tabs had live college sessions going on. There was no lag whatsoever. It also handled apps like Cisco Packet Tracer, Microsoft SQL Server 2017 and VMWare Workstation with ease. This is something I expected from the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition.
Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Connectivity and Other Features
The ports have been put very carefully and smartly by Xiaomi in the laptop to keep it thin and light. The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition has three USB ports on the sides. Two of the ports are USB 3.1 and one of them towards the left side is USB 2.0. Apart from USB ports, the Mi NoteBook Horizon Edition 14 has one combo audio jack, HDMI output and DC power-in plug. The USB ports delivered fast transfer speeds. The placement of the ports was closer and there was no issue in using all the four ports simultaneously (HDMI, USB 3.1 ports and Type-C port are placed on the right side). Since Xiaomi excluded the Webcam and offered it as a wired accessory, the USB 2.0 port on the left side comes in handy.
The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition runs Windows 10 Home software and there are no ads in the interface. The laptop comes pre-installed with just two additional apps other than the normal Windows 10 apps. One of them was the Mi Blaze Unlock which allowed us to login into the device by using the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 and Mi Smart Band 4. I have tested this feature with the Mi Smart Band 4 and it works flawlessly. Make sure the band is placed close to the laptop. The other app was Mi Smart Share which allows users to transfer files quickly.
Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Battery Life
Battery is another thing which is very important to consider when you are purchasing a new laptop. The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition comes with a 46Wh battery and it is claimed to offer up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. My usage mostly included attending online classes and mostly surfing the web on Google Chrome. With this moderate usage, the laptop was able to run for around 7-8 hours on a single charge. But one good thing about the laptop is that comes with 65W fast charging as well. So in about 90 minutes, you can charge your laptop completely.
Xiaomi Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition Review: Verdict
The Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is the first-ever premium laptop from Xiaomi in India. And as everyone expects, there are some flaws with the major ones being- lack of webcam, no backlit keyboard and flawed trackpad. However, keeping these aside, the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition brings power-packed performance to the light and thin laptops segment. For starters, it packs powerful hardware in the form of 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor which goes up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor.
The top model of the laptop with Core i7 processor is priced at Rs 59,999 and the other variant slightly on the lower end is priced at Rs 54,999. The final verdict on the Mi NoteBook 14 Horizon Edition is that Xiaomi has done a great job with it. Laptops with the same specs are priced much higher in India. With the coming time, Xiaomi is expected to upgrade its game even better. So if you are someone, who can do without a backlit keyboard and webcam on the screen, the laptop will suffice your work just fine. And at a starting price of Rs 41,999, it sure is a steal deal.