The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is a 15-inch notebook from China with very interesting hardware. It offers a full metal body, a new Intel Core i5 8th generation processor and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card. It kind of looks like a MacBook clone and has nice premium features like a fingerprint scanner. I’ve used the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro for over two months now and this is my review.
In most countries, you can’t get the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro at your local retailer. Usually, you have to import it from Chinese shops like GearBest. They are the ones who send me this review unit.
Design & Build Quality
Let’s start this review with the design and build quality. The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro looks very high-end with its full metal body. As I mentioned at the beginning, it kind of looks like a MacBook Pro clone. But there is no Apple logo on the back. But the Mi Notebook Pro does feel very high-end and well build. The back of the screen is made out of metal too.
Once you open the screen, you see a “Mi” logo underneath the display. The bezels around the screen are quite thin but not as thin as with Dell’s XPS series. Above the screen, we get a 1-megapixel webcam. The picture quality is not bad at all but not awesome either.
There are two USB Type C ports on the right side and a full-size SD card reader. Like with some other recent notebooks, it is charged using one of those Type C ports. On the other side, we get a 3.5-millimeter audio jack, two full-size USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI connector.
All the way on the bottom are two speakers on the sides. Actually, the audio quality is surprisingly good. Much better than on my ASUS ZenBook and better than on all Windows tablets I reviewed so far. I quite like it. However, I’m sure other 15-inch notebooks have room for decent speakers as well. I just didn’t review enough of them.
Keyboard, Touchpad, Fingerprint Scanner
The keyboard is pretty good too. While I often have to get used to a keyboard a bit, I felt comfortable here right away. Just remember you can get the Mi Notebook Pro with an English QWERTY layout only.
Underneath the keyboard sits a decent sized touchpad. I didn’t have any issues with it either. It is precise and just works.
Xiaomi placed a little fingerprint reader in the upper right corner of the touchpad. Using that scanner, you can unlock Windows 10 fast and easy using Windows Hello. And yes, the fingerprint scanner works as expected.
Display: FullHD Only
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro has a 15.6-inch screen without a touchscreen. Sadly, it is a glossy display even though it is not a touchscreen. So, it’s just like a MacBook Pro. Usually, I prefer matt displays. However, glossy screens look nice and offer a better contrast. Editing pictures in Lightroom or Photoshop look really nice on this display.
Well, obviously you can see reflections easily on a glossy screen. But in fact, it’s not too bad here because the display is very bright. I often work with my devices outside and never had any problems. But you will see your own reflection.
It’s an IPS panel with good viewing angles and a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. That’s a bit low for a 15-inch device but I think that is still alright. A full HD resolution is better for the battery life and performance. However, if you look closely you will see pixels. Every smartphone has a much higher pixel density.
As I said, the display is very bright. But I did notice a problem with the lowest brightness setting. I noticed a couple of times that the brightness varies just a bit if I turn it down all the way. It looks like there is an ambient light sensor going crazy – even though there is none. The problem vanishes completely if I turn the brightness up just a bit. It might be a problem with my unit only and I couldn’t replicate it for this video.
Hardware & Performance
The Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro ships with very recent hardware. Inside runs an Intel Core i5-8250U 8th generation processor. This is a quad-core chip now and its four cores are clocked at 1.6GHz. In Turbo-Boost, they can run at up to 3.4GHz. In addition to that, you get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Xiaomi is offering the same notebook with an 8th generation Core i7. And you can get it with 16GB of RAM as well. All versions come with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 dedicated graphics card and they all have a 256GB SSD.
Thanks to that NVIDIA graphics card and especially the new Core i5 quad-core chip, the performance of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is very good. Especially if you compare it to previous generations. In the Geekbench benchmark, it gets excellent results with 4080 and 13800 points.
In Chinebench R15, the notebook gets 87.14 frames per second in the Open GL test and a result of 592 in the CPU test. As you can see, the Lenovo MIIX 520 with the same processor but without the dedicated graphics card gets much lower results in the Open GL test.
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro Gaming Test
The performance is excellent for everyday use too. I edited a lot of pictures in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and didn’t notice any problems. The same goes for Premiere Pro. I edited a couple of full HD videos and the performance was good enough.
I don’t think you could call the Mi Notebook Pro a gaming notebook. There are better ones out there. However, I did try a couple of games on here. That includes Cuphead which runs very nicely. More demanding games like the Forza 7 Demo runs as well. But only at the lowest graphics settings and then it gets around 30 frames per second.
Another game I tried is Fortnite. I was able to set the graphics settings to high and it did run pretty good with 25 to 30 frames per seconds. But you should probably set the settings to medium in this game – just in case for action-heavy sequences.
Two SSD Slots
As I mentioned earlier, the notebook comes with a 256GB SSD from Samsung. That SSD is quite fast but not as fast as it can be. To get the best speed you can update the BIOS but new ones are probably updated already.
Well, if you want more storage you actually can replace the SSD easily. Not just replace it but add another one because there are two slots in total. One of them is not used at all.
To change the SSD or add another one, you have to remove the bottom plate. You have to remove a couple of screws, one of them is underneath the center plastic foot. Once you removed those screws, you can take off the bottom plate. But be careful, its held in place by little plastic knobs.
While trying to remove the bottom plate I thought I will break it. But I didn’t, its just held in place very tightly. But be careful and bring enough time and the correct tools. I was kind of too hasty and damaged the bottom housing with my screwdriver a bit. Try not to do the same.
Alright, as I said there are two SSD slots. I kept the build in one and added another 1TB Samsung 960EVO NVME SSD. That worked without any problems and now I have two fast SSDs running in my review unit.
Windows 10: Chinese Or English
By the way, the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is shipped with a single language Chinese license of Windows 10. To be able to use it in English or another language, you either have to enter a license you already own, try to change it to single language English version or update to Windows 10 Pro. That can be very cheap and is easy to do. I talked about it a bit more in my unboxing video:
Let’s take a look at the battery life. In my standard battery test, the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro got a runtime of 11 hours. That is very good, especially compared to Windows tablets. But there are other notebooks out there with a similar and sometimes better runtime. For example, according to Laptopmag, the Dell XPS 13 can get up to 15 hours.
For my battery test, I’m always looping an HD video at 50 percent brightness and activated WiFi.
During my everyday use, the battery life was excellent as well. I usually managed to get a full working day out of it with standard office work and some web browsing. But, like with all devices, the battery life can vary a lot. It depends on what you are doing. If you are playing Fortnite, you’ll get a couple of hours only.
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro Review: Final Verdict
As I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve been using the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro for over two months now and really like it. It is great for office work, but also for editing photos and videos. At the same time, the build quality is very good and the performance is great as well. The display could have a higher resolution – but well, full HD is fine.
So overall, I think the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is a great notebook which is not too expensive.
But, obviously, this is a notebook from China. Well, most notebooks are made in China. What I mean is, that you probably can’t get it at your local retailer. So while I think the value is great, you might not get the same support you might be used too if something goes wrong. I haven’t tested it and Xiaomi is a famous brand, so their support might be fine. Just something to keep in mind.
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