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MacBook Air Too Expensive? Meet Xiaomi's Mi Notebook Air, The Cheaper Mac Alternative

27 July 2016, 9:14 am EDT By Horia Ungureanu Tech Times
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Xiaomi officially announced its first laptop, the Mi Notebook Air, which reminds us of a global tech rival in more aspects than name alone.

The laptop, which runs on Windows 10, was announced during a recent event where the company's new Redmi Pro handset was also unveiled.

The laptop does come in two different sizes featuring significantly different specs, and with price tags catering to multiple types of clients.

Both holster a number of common features, such as the 1080p display with slim under-glass bezels, the USB Type-C charging port and the backlit keyboard. It should be noted that the company prides itself on the slim, minimalist metallic design, and offers two color variants for each model: silver or gold.

No logo sits on the outside of the case, so users may decorate it as they see fit. A neat feature of the gadgets is that users who wear a Xiaomi Mi wearable can auto-unlock their laptops when they get close to them.

The entry-level model is a 12.5-inch laptop that measures 12.9 millimeters (0.5 inch) in thickness at a weight of only 1.07 kilograms (2.36 pounds). Portability and size come with a few compromises in terms of specs, however. Processing power will come from an Intel Core M3 CPU backed by 4 GB of RAM. Storage space is of 128 GB SSD via SATA, but there is no dedicated GPU in the rig. Xiaomi featured the device with a free PCIe slot for future upgrades, but keep in mind that only the OEM is allowed to pack additional stuff into your laptop.

The 12.5-inch Mi Notebook Air comes with one USB 3.0 port and an HDMI port. The manufacturer touts that users can expect 11.5 hours of battery life from the device. All of the above can be purchased for 3,499 yuan, or around $525.

The flagship model is a 13.3-inch laptop with the general dimensions of 306.9 x 210.9 x 14.8 millimeters (12.08 x 8.30 x 0.58 inches) and a tad more weight, at 1.28 kilograms (2.82 pounds).

This brings a more powerful configuration as well. Processing power relies on an Intel Core i5-6200U (dual core, clock running up to 2.7 GHz) paired with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. The default hard drive can hold 256 GB of storage, SSD via PCIe. Should you want Xiaomi to upgrade your device, there is one free SATA slot for expansion.

Graphics are powered by an Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU, packing 1 GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM. A 40Wh battery provides power for 9.5 hours, and can be charged to 50 percent in 30 minutes, via the USB-C charger. The larger Mi Notebook Air comes at a price point of 4,999 yuan, or approximately $750.

In a bit of a boasting act, the OEM pointed out that its top laptop is thinner and lighter compared to the 13-inch MacBook Air. Rumors about the launch of the two laptops surfaced earlier this month, and it is good to see the company delivering on them.

The Mi Notebook Air will roll out in China on Aug. 2. The company did not provide any detail on foreign market availability, but we will keep you posted as soon as it does.

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