Xiaomi’s MacBook Air rival is thinner, lighter, more powerful

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Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air
Evan Apple has to be impressed with the Mi Notebook Air.
Photo: Xiaomi

Xiaomi has finally delivered its first laptop, and just as expected, it wants to battle the MacBook Air head-on. Its new Mi Notebook Air is thinner, lighter, and more powerful than Apple’s machine — and yet it’s still kinder on your wallet.

Despite its somewhat silly name, the Mi Notebook Air is a pretty special laptop. It’s designed to be portable enough to take anywhere, yet it packs enough power to compete with beefier, more powerful machines like the MacBook Pro.

There are two models to choose from — with 12.5- and 13.3-inch displays — and it’s the latter that’s really exciting. Its aluminum unibody measures just 14.8mm thick and weighs just 1.28kg, making it thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air (at its fattest edge).

If you splash out on the high-end model, which is priced at just 4,999 yuan (about $750), you get an Intel Core i5-6200U processor clocked at 2.3GHz (with Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz), 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB of solid-state storage, and a battery that lasts around 9.5 hours.

You also get an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics chip with 1GB of DDR5 RAM, which will allow you to get greater performance when editing video. It will even allow you to use your Mi Notebook Air to play games, though you’ll have to turn the settings all the way down.

The 12.5-inch model is even slimmer at 12.9mm, and even lighter at 1.07kg. However, it carries a weaker Intel Core M3 processor, just 4GB of RAM, and just 128GB of solid-state storage. It doesn’t have the graphics chip, either — but it starts at just 3,499 yuan (about $520).

Both machines have Windows 10, Full HD displays, USB-C and HDMI connectivity, headphone jacks, 1-megapixel webcams, and backlit keyboards. They will be available in gold and silver when they make their debut in China on August 2.

Xiaomi hasn’t announced any plans for international availability yet, but like a lot of its products, the Mi Notebook Air will probably remain exclusive to Asia. That means you’ll have to import one, or pick one up from a third-party on Amazon or eBay.