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Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition unboxing and first impressions: an ambitious debut

On: June 11, 2020

With working from home becoming the new norm these days, laptops have become more important than ever. Therefore, it came as no surprise when Xiaomi decided to finally launch its laptops in India, a few years after they were first introduced in China. The laptops have been launched under the brand’s Mi Notebook series, and include five different models at various price points.

Also readXiaomi Mi Notebook with Intel Core i7 processor launching on June 11th, will be an India-exclusive

Xiaomi has launched the Mi Notebooks in two series – the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition in two configurations and the standard Mi Notebook 14 in three configurations. I received the top-of-the-line variant of the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition ahead of the launch, and here are my initial impressions and unboxing of the same.

The Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition comes in a brown cardboard box. Inside the package you’ll find the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, 65W fast charger and a complimentary webcam. If you’re wondering why a separate webcam is being provided in the box, it’s because the laptop doesn’t have an integrated webcam.

This is a surprising omission, but as per Xiaomi, it’s because the Mi Notebooks for the Indian market were developed in 2019, at which point in time webcams were rarely used. While the COVID-19 situation has changed things significantly, it was too late for Xiaomi to make any changes, since the Mi Notebooks adopt a bezel-less design.

The lack of a webcam could be good or bad news depending on the end-user. Those who make frequent video calls, either for work or to connect with friends and family, would be disappointed by the omission. However, for security-focussed users, the kind who tape their webcams over when not in use, the lack of an integrated camera could be reassuring.

Coming to the design, the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition maintains the minimalist look seen on the brand’s previous laptops. There’s no branding on the lid, however, you do get a small ‘Mi’ logo below the display. Xiaomi claims that the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is narrower than an A4 sheet, and about 2cm longer. The laptop is definitely compact, and much narrower than my MacBook Air. And at just 1.35kg, is only slightly heavier (the MacBook Air weighs 1.27kg).

The laptop has been crafted from the A5052 aluminium and magnesium alloy, which is also used in aircraft, with a sandblasted anodised coating on top. The coating makes the laptop corrosion and abrasion-resistant, as per the brand. Thanks to the all-metal construct, the laptop feels solid despite being compact.

As for the ports, there are two USB 3.1 ports, one Type-C port (lets you charge other devices and make data transfer), HDMI Out, and a charger input on the right. The left side is home to a USB 2.1 port, 3.5mm audio jack and a large air vent. Xiaomi has placed the loudspeakers on the underside of the palm rest, angled along the curved left and right edges, which allows the sound to bounce off a surface rather than being muffled.

Coming to the display, the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition ships with a 14-inch 16:9 screen with an anti-glare coating on top. The display is surrounded by 3mm thin bezels on three sides, and offers an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 91 percent. The 60Hz panel offers a screen-resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and a viewing angle of 178-degrees. The colours and text appeared sharp during my initial testing of the laptop.

The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition features a full-sized chiclet-type QWERTY keyboard with a scissor mechanism. The keys have a travel distance of 1.3mm, which allows for satisfying clicks. I love typing on the laptop, and it’s also comfortable due to the ample palm rest (10.5cm) on each side of the trackpad. The trackpad itself is accurate and responsive, with features like gestures support and palm rejection.

Coming to the core specifications of the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, the company is offering two variants of the laptop, in a choice of 10th-generation Intel Comet Lake Core i5 and Core i7 chipsets. I received the latter, which as I mentioned before is the top-of-the-line variant in the line-up. The laptop comes with 8GB RAM, 2GB VRAM, and 512GB SSD storage. Backing the graphics of the laptop is the NVIDIA GeForce MX350, which hasn’t been used on any laptop yet as per the brand.

The laptop runs Windows 10 Home Edition and offers features like Mi Smart Share (an AirDrop-style feature to make data transfers), Mi Blaze Unlock (automatically unlocks the device when you’re wearing a Mi Band), performance mode, and silent mode, among others. During my short stint with the laptop, it booted up and loaded apps fast. A detailed review is in the works, where I will get into more details of the performance.

Coming to the battery, the Xiaomi Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition is equipped with a 46Wh unit that can last up to 10 hours on standard usage as per Xiaomi. The laptop comes with a 65W fast charger, which can charge it from zero to 50 percent in 35 minutes.

Xiaomi has launched the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition in India for Rs 54,999 and Rs 59,999 for Core i5 and Core i7 variants, respectively. At this price point, the laptop is one of the most loaded offerings with a Comet Lake 10th-gen Intel Core-i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU, SSD storage and more. It remains to be seen whether Xiaomi manages to disrupt the laptop market just like it did with smartphones. The laptop will go on sale starting June 17th, on mi.com, Amazon, Mi Home and Mi Studio.

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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.