2020 has been a great year for laptops and tech devices so far. Dell launched a bunch of new laptops like the updated XPS series and new G7 laptops. Similarly, we got to see new devices from HP with AMD hardware crush their intel counterparts. Asus came up New and attractive laptop designs like twin-screen laptops and Zephyrus series with interesting airflow vents.
Xiaomi launched their RedmiBook series a couple of years ago. These notebooks provided the thin and light MacBook experience to windows users. While they try, there are still some places these devices lack when compared to a Macbook.
There are a lot of design choices that companies have to make while manufacturing thin and light laptops or Ultrabooks. These choices directly affect how the device performs and functions. One of the main decisions is the selection of a suitable processor to maintain the sweet spot between performance and thermal output.
While AMD has been an excellent choice for this generation of laptops, companies still tend to prefer Intel for the more stable support and compatibility.
A few days ago, Xiaomi announced the Intel variants of their RedmiBook 16 and RedmiBook 14 their ultrabook series. The other specifications remain pretty much the same, but we have an in-depth review of these new devices for you.
The latest revision of the RedmiBook laptop series from Xiaomi first launched in May 2020 with three models RedmiBook 13, RedmiBook 14, and RedmiBook 16. The three laptops came equipped with AMDs 4000 series Renoir processors. These processors enabled excellent performance at the low price we observed in these laptops.
After a few months of the initial release, Xiaomi has now announced Intel-based versions of the devices. The devices will come with the latest 10th gen Intel CPUs. The new Ice Lake processors are built using 10nm technology and offer up to 4 cores on mobile devices.
In addition to the difference in CPU, we also get a dedicated GPU this time. The updated models feature Nvidia’s MX350 GPU. Based on Pascal architecture, MX350 is similar in design to a GTX1050, with a few things cut down. The rest of the device, like the chassis and the I/O ports, is similar to the AMD models.
The device specifications and design remain the same in this update. Inside the updated notebooks is the 10th gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 and Core i7-1065G7 processors. These processors provide an excellent balance for performance in thin and light machines.
On the graphics side, the Core i7 has a better-integrated GPU than the i5, but that did not affect our gaming performance since both models come equipped with a dedicated graphics processor. The upgraded models include the Nvidia MX350 GPU with 2 gigabytes of GDDR5 graphics memory.
The top models come with 16 GB of DDR4 memory and a 512 GB Samsung solid-state drive for storage. The included SSD is pretty standard and does not offer any exceptionally high speeds. The display included is a 16-inch 1080p panel with decent viewing angles and good color accuracy. We did observe that the display has an average brightness level of 260 nits, which is not that great.
The keyboard and trackpad are also pretty standard and do not have any premium feel to them. Ports wise we have 4 USB ports(2 Type-A and 2 USB Type-C) and HDMI port and a headphone jack. There is no SD card slot on the device, which is a bummer for creators. In addition, besides being a portable machine that people may use for office or school work, it does not have a webcam. There is a fingerprint sensor included in the power button for faster sign in.
The two included speakers sound petty average too, in ultrabooks the only speakers that shine in our opinion are on MacBooks. Compared to that, the sound lacks a lot of texture. The mids and lows are also not as great either. The battery is 40 WHr and gives around 10 hours of use according to official numbers. We also get the support of 65W USB Type-C charging out of the box. The fast-charging allows you to go 0 to 50 percent in just 28 Minutes.
Design is the one place where this device shines, measuring at 232.86 x 367.20 x 17.55 millimeters the 16-inch device offers a compact size with some great build quality. The aluminum chassis, coupled with space grey color gives it an elegant look.
The laptop is also pretty light and only weighs around 1.3kg, which is useful if you prefer to carry around your device throughout the day. The full-sized keyboard is a good inclusion at this size, and it feels natural and comfortable to type on. The 1.5mm key travel makes it satisfying to type on.
The upgraded model comes with a quad-core Intel Core i7-1065G7. It integrates four Sunnycove processor cores clocked at 1.3 (base) – 3.9 (single-core Turbo) GHz. 2 cores can reach 3.8 GHz while all four can go up to 3.5 GHz using Turbo Boost. The quad-core CPU combined with 16 GB ram is more than adequate for daily tasks like web browsing, movie, or music streaming.
Although there is a dedicated GPU here, the laptop did not perform particularly well in games. The MX350 delivers similarly to a GTX960M in games. For modern demanding games, you will need to play at 720p low for playable framerates. Less demanding games lIke Fifa will let you crank up the video settings or resolution with good framerates.
We found a similar trend in productivity tasks as well. The laptop performs better than a machine with integrated graphics but not as good as the one with a decent GPU. The CPU also works well for singe core loads but lags behind AMD counterpart in Multithreaded workloads.
For around 700 dollars for a 14-inch model and 850 dollars for the 16-inch one, the intel variants of RedmiBooks are higher in price than their AMD versions. At that price, it is not something easy to recommend for users. There are many other laptops in the market which offer higher value than Xiaomi. With that said, it is also important to mention that building a thin and light machine like this takes a certain amount of expertise and engineering and companies charge a premium for that.
For the price, Xiaomi offers a device with an excellent build quality and enough juice packed to power through most of the daily tasks and also some casual gaming. So if the small form factor is what you’re looking for, this is a device to check out.