Xiaomi is updating its Mi Notebook model series and is adding a hardware upgrade to both the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13 and the compact Xiaomi Air 12. What upgrades it is and how the new Xiaomi Air 13 beats, more in this review!
Last year, the Chinese electronics giant “Xiaomi” with the Xiaomi Air 12 and the Xiaomi Air 13 brought two notebooks on the market, the 2016 in particular by a contemporary hardware equipment for a small price and a, based on the Apple Macbook Pro design convinced. One year later, Xiaomi launches two new models. The design has remained the same, however, both models have experienced a significant hardware upgrade . Especially the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13makes a lot on the data sheet and surprises with a powerful Intel Core i5-7200U processor, optionally with an Intel Core i7-7500U, a dedicated Nvidia MX150 GPU and rich 8GB DDR4 memory. The notebook is available from just 600 €.
Xiaomi has also opted for this model for a simple design, which – at least externally – does not require manufacturer’s logo. The case is made entirely of aluminum and is reminiscent of an Apple MacBook Pro, especially with its silver tone. Made in the so-called unibody design, ie milled from an aluminum block, the housing offers particularly good stability and no visible gaps.
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 13 is constructed as follows: The housing dimensions are at a length of 309.6 mm, a width of 210.9 mm and a height or thickness of just 14.8 mm. The weight of the entire notebook is just 1.3 kg, which will be particularly pleasing to the mobile user.
The laptop’s connectivity options include a USB-C port that can be used for data transfer, power and video output, two USB 3.0 jacks, one HDMI jack and one 3.5 mm audio jack. A memory card slot is missing! The connection placement is well chosen.
On the underside of the case 5 rubber pads provide a stable stand. At the same time there are hints, including a speaker system from AKG, a support of DOLBY Audio and other details about the notebook itself. These notes are all on a sticker and can be removed for the sake of simplicity. An essential difference to the smaller Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air 12 is that the Air 13 has an active cooling system and accordingly has ventilation slots on the underside. The two stereo speakers are also located on the bottom.
To access the interior of the notebook, the bottom can be removed. The base plate is attached via 7 Torx screws. The internal hardware components are arranged extremely well sorted and allow easy access. Battery, fan and M.2-SSD can be easily replaced.
In summary, the Xiaomi Air 13 notebook convinces – after the first impression – with a simple and extremely high-quality design as well as a clean build quality without gaps, paint defects or other defects. The scope of supply includes the notebook, a charger with NEMA-1 connector, which is why you need an additional EU adapter to use the included charger, and a Chinese user manual.
Most of the Xiaomi products are intended for the Chinese and partly also for the international market. Accordingly, the notebook is also available only with English keyboard layout (QWERTY). The “Chiclet” keyboard features silver buttons with a smooth surface and black lettering.
The keys are of a comfortable size and are placed so that you do not need to get used to a conventional PC keyboard. The typing feel is good overall. The key stroke is low, with a noticeable pressure point, the click volume is barely audible. Due to the solid unibody housing, the keyboard does not yield even to stronger pressure.
To work in the dark with the Xiaomi Air 13, the keyboard has a backlight. The lighting is activated at the touch of a button. A regulation of the brightness is not possible.
The pleasantly large touchpad recognizes both touch and click inputs . An ideal smooth surface is ensured by a particularly smooth surface. On inputs and clicks, the touch panel reacts extremely precisely. Ghost touches did not occur during the test phase. The mouse pointer stays where it should be. Click inputs convince by a pleasant and above all crisp pressure point. Touchpad gestures, such as 2-finger scrolling, are also integrated and accurately recognized in the test. A major innovation compared to the predecessor models is the fingerprint scanner, which is located in the upper right area of the touchpad. This has a high recognition rate and unlocks the notebook within fractions of a second.
The 13.3-inch display opens via a single hinge, with an opening angle of maximum 130°. A hand-opening of the display lid is possible. At the same time the hinge is adjusted so that even strong vibrations do not lead to unwanted collapse. When unfolded, the plain black screen appears with a protective (and reflective) glass surface . Below the display is an “MI” brand logo adapted to the design of the notebook.
The display is of type “IPS” and resolves in full HD, so with 1920 x 1080 pixels. Suppliers of the panels are Sharp and Samsung. For example, the example of the Xiaomi Air 13 tested here is equipped with the Sharp LQ133M1JW15 Panel (SHP1447). But it is also possible to get the notebook with a Samsung 133HL09-M01 panel.
Measured with a colorimeter, the display covers the sRGB color space to 98%, the AdobeRGB color space to 77%. The luminance of the notebook, which Xiaomi itself only cites at 300 cd/m², is even exceeded and amounts to 349 cd/m².
In everyday life, the display is doing extremely well. The presentation is sharp and the particularly strong color display makes the display extremely lively. Surprising is also the black value, where you can really speak of a “black”. The viewing angle stability of the panel can also convince. Whether from above, from the sides or from below, the image sharpness and the color reproduction remain well preserved. Something critical is working outdoors. Due to the reflective display glass, reflections can definitely occur. Nevertheless, the display provides sufficient brightness to work outdoors with the notebook. Only under direct sunlight, the readability is enormously difficult.
The Xiaomi Notebook Air 13 comes with two different processor configurations. The notebook we tested is the “smaller” model and offers an Intel Core i5-7200U processor. The performance- wise stronger model instead offers an Intel Core i7-7500U. Both models share a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 graphics memory.
The Intel Core i5-7200U is a dual-core processor, whose cores in the basic clock with 2.5 GHz and Turbo up to 3.1 GHz clock. The TDP is Intel in this, published in the third quarter of 2016, 15 watts processor . Hyper-Threading is supported. The processor graphics are an Intel HD Graphics 620 supported by the dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card. The memory equipment is an 8GB DDR4 memory and a 256GB SSD (PCIe) from Samsung, Optionally, the notebook is also available with a more compact 128GB SSD. The memory can be extended via an additional M.2 SSD slot.
In practice, the Xiaomi Air 13 notebook delivers excellent performance. The boot process takes hardly any time. Read and write access to the SSD is comparable to powerful desktop PCs. Generally, Windows 10 runs buttery on this notebook. Any office work, playing 4K video, and browsing the Web with numerous tabs will not bring the 2017 model of the Xiaomi Air 13 to its knees so quickly. Even cutting and rendering high-resolution video is possible with this notebook.
With the Nvidia GeForce MX150, a mobile variant of the Nvidia GeForce GTX1030 , the notebook is well-equipped for old, but sometimes even new, game titles. Games such as the older “Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2” or “Blur”, even with higher graphics settings without any problems fluently playable. Surprisingly, but also current titles, such as “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” with up to 35 FPS, if you adjust the graphics settings accordingly.
The active air cooling has the heat development under control. An automatic “underclocking” of the processor / graphics performance did not occur even under several hours of full load. The final measured housing temperature was after about 2 hours of full load at hot 48°C at the warmest point. The aluminum housing is just a good conductor of heat. The volume of the fan can be described in a few words as pleasant.
Windows 10 is already preinstalled, however, the Xiaomi Air 13 is only shipped with a Chinese Windows 10 installation. Accordingly, one is also greeted by a Chinese system interface whose language can not be changed. Only a new installation of Windows allows a language change!
In the middle of the display is a 1 megapixel camera that takes pictures and videos with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. A small indicator LED to the left of the camera indicates whether the camera is active. The sound is picked up by a well-hidden microphone located above the camera. Disturbing background noise is filtered as far as possible. A spontaneous voice or video telephony is nothing in the way with this equipment.
All models of the Xiaomi Air notebook series are equipped with an AKG speaker system. The AKG Acoustics GmbH specializes in audio technology since 1947 and is based in Austria, so best quality “Made in Austria” receives.
The built-in 2x 2W AKG speaker system offers a wide frequency response with a particularly balanced sound. The sound chip is a Realtek ALC255. For a movie night in bed or for spontaneous listening to music, the integrated speaker system is enough. The speakers also achieve a pleasant volume and do not distort even at maximum volume. Playback via the 3.5 mm audio output leaves nothing to be desired. Whether in combination with external speakers or headphones, the sound is detailed and clean.
An interesting addition is the compatibility with DOLBY Audio. In addition to an equalizer, the DOLBY user interface also offers predefined sound profiles that are optimized, for example, for the respective playback material. All settings can also be made individually.
Wireless transmissions are handled by an Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8265 chip. This card with two antennas can connect to both 2.4 GHz networks and 5 GHz networks. MU-MIMO is supported. Bluetooth is available in version 4.2. Wireless usage did not cause any problems in everyday life. Whether in the WLAN, or with existing Bluetooth connection, the transmission stability and the data throughput were consistently good. An Ethernet socket does not have the XIaomi Air 13 notebook.
The built-in 4-cell battery has a capacity of 40 Wh. The running time depends heavily on how to use the laptop. With conventional everyday use , meaning surfing the web, listening to some music, checking e-mails and typing, the running time is an average of 7 hours . The display brightness in the test was consistently at 50 percent. Depending on how you adjust the display brightness, the runtime can increase by one hour, or even shorten. Under full load, which is often achieved in computer games with high demands, the running time is only 2 hours . Just watching a moviespares the battery significantly more, which is why the running time is at an average of 8 ½ hours.
Particularly pleasing is the quick charge function of the Xiaomi Air 13. After 30 minutes, the battery is charged by more than 50%. A complete charge takes 85 minutes. The notebook is charged via a conventional USB-C socket. The charging status is indicated by a small LED.