Technophile

Mi Notebook 14 Horizon review: Good looks, value-for-money performance

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on July 09, 2020 Published on July 09, 2020

Xiaomi’s entry to India’s PC market seems a tad hurried, still the new Mi Notebook manages to satisfy most requirements of regular laptop users

Xiaomi is known for the delicate balancing act its products play with pricing and performance. Hence when the Chinese gadget giant introduces its laptops to India, a market where it leads the smartphone market by a long and wide margin, expectations run high among its fans and foes alike. Hence, the recent launch of Mi notebooks - three Mi Notebook 14s and two of Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition — hogged headlines across the country and reports tell us that the laptops are in good demand.

Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition comes in two variants, based on the processor: The 10th Generation Intel Core i7 with 14-inch Full HD anti-glare Horizon display and the 10th Generation Intel Core i5. The Core i7 version features NVIDIA GeForce MX350 graphics chip and both versions have 512GB storage -- the higher variant has 512 GB PCI Express Gen 3 NVMe SSD while the lower one features SATA 3 SSD of the same size. Most other features and specs remain the same for both versions.

Cool looks, price

The notebook sits nicely and properly on your study table thanks to the two brilliantly designed sitting ridges at the bottom. Another interesting design element is the little space the device has on the middle, just below the touchpad and where the upper lid touches when you close it. This little breathing space offers enough room for you to easily reach the lid for opening and thanks to the design the notebook can be opened without any hassles or struggles.

The Mi Notebook 14 Horizon is a compact machine. It is indeed good looking and the minimalist design is eye-catching. This is an extremely light laptop, weighing just 1.35 kg. It has a thickness of 17.15 mm, length of 321.3 mm and width of 206.8 mm. One of the first things you’d notice about the laptop is its efficient use of screen real estate. The notebook has a 91 per cent screen-to-body ratio with minimal bezels. The metallic body, however, has a plasticky feel despite the good looks. The display has a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution with an impressive 178° wide-viewing angle.

 

The notebook has only 60Hz refresh rate, which typically means this is not meant for heavy-duty gaming or high-graphics jobs. Still, it plays most games without noticeable glitches and whatever video-editing jobs we did on this turned out to be okay. The device has an 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM (which is soldered to the body, apparently to optimise manufacturing costs) and the Core i7 version carries the NVIDIA GeForce MX350, which is known for its energy efficiency faculties and not exactly for aiding features such as graphics processing or artificial intelligence functions.

The notebook has a neat and well-laid out keyboard, which is unfortunately not backlit. Typing hence becomes a little tricky in dimly lit environments and at night. Students and journalists benefit immensely from backlit keyboards since they are forced to use computers in such environments a lot. That said, the keys, though feeling cheap, travel pretty fast. Overall, it’s a pretty decent keyboard which has got its components in the right place and helps fast typers immensely. The touchpad is spacious and easily reachable for negotiation without having to move your palm from its pet positions while typing. The touch response is also good, even though the touch surface feels a bit hard at times.

A big miss

That said, the notebook does not have an integrated webcam. This is a bit too much to avoid in these times when almost everyone is working from home and have online meetings to attend regularly. Xiaomi has supplied a stand-alone webcam along with the unit, but attaching it is a cumbersome exercise and in all likelihood, you will forget to carry it around.

 

The notebook comes with two USB 3 slots and one USB 2 slot. There is one HDMI slot and one for Type C USB 3.1 Gen 1 for data transfer. The 65W power adapter looks far from fancy and the charging pin goes into the slot with some difficulty. The notebook has Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2X2 and Bluetooth V5.0. Our experience suggests that the reception ability gets weaker if you are a room away from the modem. But this is dependent on several other factors, still, we feel the Mi Notebook lags a little on this front.

Xiaomi has supplied a USB-connected bluetooth mouse along with the notebook. The mouse, which looks and feels cheap, gets paired to the device pretty fast and works just fine. The notebook runs on Windows 10 Home edition but you have to buy MS Office tools separately if you want the complete experience.

The Mi Notebook Horizon scores nicely on the battery front. On a single charge, for an average user, the laptop battery lasts up to 6-8 hours or more. If you are a heavy user and stream 4K content for hours, the battery needs a recharge every 3-4 hours. Still, that’s a good deal given the price. The laptop tackles audio without major blemishes. It has a 2x2W speaker system with DTS audio processing app support. The audio output is good for streaming and music playback for the bedroom.

Another impressive faculty is video playback. The notebook supports video playback of up to 8K in resolution, which basically means if you are using YouTube or similar services, you can play content that has a resolution of up to 8K. Very few notebooks in this range have this support.

Clearly, Mi has got its target user right at the very start. The notebooks target the average user looking for a little extra in terms of display, processing speed and looks. Given the price and performance, the Mi Notebook 14 Horizon is not going to disappoint the user it is meant for.

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Published on July 09, 2020
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