• Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Ultra first impressions: We may have a winner here

ByASNF

Aug 30, 2021

The Mi Notebook 14 series was the first Xiaomi laptop to launch in India, and now Xiaomi has followed it up with the Mi Notebook Ultra and Mi Notebook Pro. I got my hands on the Mi Notebook Ultra, the most powerful laptop Xiaomi has launched in India yet, in the highest spec’d trim.

While Xiaomi did release a RedmiBook Pro laptop very recently, it was a middling budget-friendly Redmi brand. The Mi Notebook Ultra promises a lot more, but can it sway people away from the regular laptop brands that rule the segment? Ahead of a full Mi Notebook Ultra review soon, let’s take a quick look in Android Authority‘s first impressions.

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Design and display: Ticking the right boxes

Credit: Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Mi Notebook Ultra seems to get the basics right. The Mi Notebook Ultra looks quite pleasing to the eye, with an aluminum body and a low-key logo placement. However, the MacBook Pro inspiration stretches a bit too far.

The Mi Notebook Ultra feels like an older iteration of the MacBook Pro, which is a bit of both, good and bad.

The good here is that the laptop is great in terms of usability and feel. The bad is that it’s rather boring. An exciting design is far from a priority for a productivity-focused laptop, though, and Xiaomi seems to be aware of that.

Mi Notebook Ultra closed

Credit: Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Coming to the display, the Mi Notebook Ultra packs in quite a punch. The 15.6-inch, 3,200 x 2,000 resolution, “TrueLife+” display is crisp and very pleasant to look at. The display also comes with a 90Hz refresh rate and is rather color-accurate with 100% sRGB coverage. So far, it appears to be one of the best displays you can get on a laptop at this price.

The display has a matte finish, which less glare and improved visibility. Although a glossy display would have made the laptop feel more premium, matte seems like a more practical choice here. Safe to say that with the Mi Notebook Ultra, Xiaomi keeps up its tradition of offering stellar displays for the price. If only the RedmiBook Pro

Performance, ports, and everything else

Mi Notebook Ultra ports

Credit: Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

The Ultra offers two choices of CPUs — 11th gen Intel Core i5 and i7 chips. You get a 512GB NVMe SSD as standard, with the i5 version getting a choice between 8 or 16GB RAM, while the i7 variant comes with 16GB RAM only. The laptop feels snappy to use, and I haven’t faced any slowdowns yet. Intel Iris Xe graphics are also on board. This isn’t a gaming laptop, but the Iris Xe should be able to let you do some basic gaming.

See alsoAMD vs. Intel — which one is better?

Coming to the ports, Xiaomi has really hit it out of the park here. You get two USB-C ports, with one supporting charging and the other supporting Thunderbolt 4. The latter is not a common offering but does give you quite a lot of headroom in terms of expansion.

There’s also one Type-A USB 3.2 gen 1 port and another 2.0 one. A full HDMI 1.4 port and a headphone combo jack are also present. Surprisingly, the Mi Notebook skips the SD card reader, which the cheaper RedmiBook Pro included. Another notable absence is the ethernet port, but the laptop has Wi-Fi 6 to make up for that.

The keyboard and trackpad are large and feel solid, making the Mi Notebook Ultra a very comfortable laptop to use.

The keyboard has a backlight too. Xiaomi has included a fingerprint scanner in the power button this time, which feels as quick as those on some of its better phones. There’s also a mysterious macro key that you can assign to custom functions, but I’m yet to test that one.

Speaking of things I haven’t been able to test, the Mi Notebook Ultra promises 12-hour, all-day battery life. We’ll put it through its paces to find out how accurate that claim is.

Mi Notebook Ultra: Price and availability

Mi Notebook Ultra keyboard

Credit: Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

The Mi Notebook Ultra will be available in a total of three versions. The base version comes with the i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM, starting at Rs. 59,999. You also get 16GB of RAM in combination with the i5 CPU, and that version will cost you Rs. 63,999. The top of the line version — the one we’re testing — comes with an i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, and will cost Rs. 76,999.

The laptop goes on sale on 31 August, starting at 12PM Indian Standard Time. It will be available on Amazon India and Mi.com.

Mi Notebook Ultra specs

  Mi Notebook Ultra
Display 39.6cm (15.6) Mi TrueLife+ Display
3.2K (3200 x 2000) Resolution with 242 PPI
16:10 Aspect Ratio
100% sRGB Wide Colour Gamut
90Hz Refresh Rate
Processor 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11370H with max clock of 4.8GHz
11th Gen Intel Core i5-11300H with max clock of 4.4GHz
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM 8/16 GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Wireless Dual band 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Ports 1 x USB-C
1 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x Type-A USB 3.2 Gen1
1 x Type-A USB 2.0
1 x HDMI 1.4
Keyboard Scissor Mechanism
1.5mm key travel
Touchpad Multi-touch with support for Windows Precision drivers
Webcam 720p (HD)
Audio 2 x 2W Stereo speaker
Support for DTS audio processing app
3.5mm combo audio jack
In-built microphone
Battery and Power 12-hour all day battery, 70WHr
65W USB-C power adapter
Weight and Dimensions 350.1mm x 242.3mm x 17.9mm
1.79kg

Mi Notebook Ultra impressions: The verdict

Mi Notebook Ultra
Xiaomi’s most expensive laptop in the Indian market yet, the Mi Notebook Ultra packs in 11th gen Intel Core CPUs, up to 16GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB NVMe SSD, with a 3.2K resolution 15.6-inch display.

The Mi Notebook Ultra seems like a solid offering, looking to disrupt the market with its aggressive pricing. At first look, it may seem like any other MacBook Pro-wannabe laptop, but the display seems to put it ahead of the competition. Not to forget that the rest of the hardware is pretty solid on paper, too.

However, these are just our first impressions after having spent a short while with the Mi Notebook Ultra. Our full review will be out very soon and will include our recommendation about whether you should buy one, in addition to more detailed testing. Stay tuned.

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